The morning started with the usual 4am wake up call for Ironman. A run downstairs to get my first cup of coffee in a week. SO GOOD. Was expecting to get antsy and jittery after the coffee but I got this intense focus. I had a breakfast of 2 pieces of gluten free bread with peanut butter, banana, and honey. Also had a few pieces of chocolate. Then we all prepped our race nutrition, packed our bags, and headed out the door around 5:30am.
On the walk over to transition I rocked the iPod with Linkin Park & Jay-Z “Collision Course”. It was the perfect album to get me amped, angry, jumping up and down and ready to race.
Our first stop was to drop our special needs bags off at their designated spots. Then we headed to transition to get body marked and finish our bike setup. Transition was CRAZY!! I’ve never seen something so jam packed with athletes and spectators so early in the morning. Very cool experience. Once in transition it was pure focus on getting race ready. I was fully expecting to be frazzled, but I was clear headed and focus. Start to a good day.
Off to the swim start. The water temp was 77degrees. Anything under 78 is wetsuit legal, but anything over 76.1 you can’t wear a wetsuit if you wanted a Kona Wold Championships spot or age group awards. Thought about it for a quick second. Then logic set it. There was no way in hell that I would get a Kona slot at this race. My age group is way too competitive, especially at this race. Wetsuit on.
The edge of Mirror Lake is pretty cool before this race. You have over 2500 athletes and there friends and family all jammed on this little hill. It was electric. The urge to race was on.
I said good bye to my mom, sister, and friends, I headed into the water with just about 9 minutes to the start cannon. I was a little surprised how many people were not in the water. I swam over to the edge of the dock to claim some space. After a few minutes holding on it was taking me to much stress and energy to fight for my spot. I looked over to my right and Anna was about 10ft away in what looked like a great spot. I figured I could tread water for a few minutes without wasting too much energy.
As the cannon went off Mirror Lake instantly turned into a massive washing machine. We were all fighting for water. I was aggressive and climbed my way over a few people. Took what felt like ages, but I managed to find water to actually swim in. I found feet to draft off of and settled into the first lap of the swim.
I came out of the water after lap one and looked up to see a bunch of people ahead of me. Sprinted to bridge up to their group. As I got closer I realized that there were just walking into the water. WTF? This is a race! I hit overdrive and dolphin dived between a few of them and tried to bridge to the next group. It worked like a charm. I sprinted in the water a bit and then found 3 set of feet swimming side by side. I hitched on to them for the ride around lap 2.
I exited the water and saw the clock at 1:06. Hawt damn! That was a good swim. I was right on my goal. Exiting the water I dropped my awesome TYR GelSeal Pilot goggles, but decide to let them go and get on my way forward. Two nice ladies helped me get my wetsuit off and I was off to the races. It is a relatively long run to the transition tents so I was very pleased with how light my new TYR Hurricane Cat 5 wetsuit was. It was great for the swim and super easy in transition. I grabbed my T-bag and hit the tent. Helmet, glasses, bike shoes, number, gel, sunscreen and I was out for my bike.
My strategy for the bike was to take the first loop painfully easy and then settle into the second loop. Everything went as planned and the new ERC TT bike rode like a dream. Super easy to climb on and very stable on the big descent into the town of Keene. (If you are looking for a new bike, you need one of these. Trust me.) I was surprised at the amount of blatant drafting on loop 1. There were mini peletons all over the course. I voiced my displeasure to a few of them.
Coming up Papa Bear I saw Christine (@holisticguru) and gave her a big smile for the camera. I hit my special needs bag and rocked out of town for loop 2. Loop 2 was much of the same ride with much less drafting and my Garmin battery died at mile 80. Rode by feel the rest of the way home. No biggy.
T2 was a quick swap of shoes, nutrition, and another layer of sunscreen.
I hit the run course and settled into a very easy pace. I knew that I would crumble late in the run if I didn’t play it safe at the start. My goal was to run around 4:30 and walk every aid station to ensure I got my nutrition in. I didn’t run as fast as I had hoped, but I ran so that’s a huge win for me.
I go to see John on the run a few times and yelled some motivation at him. I one point we were running in opposite directions and I told him to come catch me. As he ran by me he said “I’ve passed 8 people on the run. Here is a necklace of there skulls and souls”. Then hit put the imaginary necklace over my head. I needed that as I had a long way to go on the run. I tried to add a few skulls to the necklace. I also saw Anna and Dave out there on the course a few times. Felt like was racing with family, not 2500 random people.
I don’t remember much else of the run as I was pretty out of it and in my own head. I remember seeing Bobby, Mom, Leigh, Bill, Henry, Abbey, MaryBeth and a few other people how I recognized. Everybody was so awesome a motivating me. Thank you!
Coming back into town for the second time was pretty emotional. I had been out there for 12hrs already and the gravity of the day was starting to set in. As I passed my mom and sister I told them to head into the Olympic Oval right away. I tried to pick up the pace as much as I could for the last few miles. I hit the oval and was trying to push hard. As I rounded the top end I saw the clock at 12:29:30. I got a huge rush of adrenaline knowing that I would be under my goal of 12:30. I hit the finish line at max speed.
As I crossed the line a volunteer grabbed me and realized that I was pretty darn out of it. I kept looking for my mom and sister or my friends. The first person I saw was Bobby and I just grabbed him and broke into tears. I was so drained physically and emotionally, yet so elated that I made my time goal. Then Bobby did the most amazing job sherpa’ing me back to the house with my Mom and sister.
We topped the night off by going back to the Olympic Oval for the midnight finisher. Totally cool experience to top off an amazing day.