Tuesday, 28 August 2012
I am an IRONMAN!!
Well I did it!!! I completed my first Ironman and I can truly say it was an unbelievable experience! I crossed the finish line after 14 hours and 54 mins...
My goal was to finish before 15 hours....and I did that YEAH!!
So if you are willing to take the time and read I am about to give you my detailed race report of the day......
I will start with the day before the race...
On the Saturday I spent the morning getting my gear ready and set out. With this race and many other long distance races you need to have all your transition gear in bags...you don’t have you gear set out at your bike like many of the smaller triathlons. So I needed a bag with my bike gear, one for my run gear then also 2 "Special needs" bags...this is a bag you get half way through your bike and your run with things you need, such as food, clothing etc.
After I got my bags packed I was blessed to have so many friends and family who came to Penticton for the race. My lovely friend Kim who house we stayed at hosted a BBQ lunch so I could see everyone before the race. It was great to see everyone. My gang of ladies from Okotoks arrived and they were decked out in some FANTASTIC tu tu's, pink tanks and bling bling bling! It was too bad I never saw the girls in there outfits race day...I was too fast and they could not catch me...LOL...;-) (more on that later).
Here is a pic of my cheer team! (SO AWESOME)
After the BBQ it was time to get my bike and gear to the transition area...
and drop off the bags....
By this time the nerves were setting in a bit...seeing the thousands of bikes and bags and how the whole transition area looked pre race got me a little nervous but also excited!!
After that I dropped the kids with my mom and dad who were taking the kids for the night at the hotel (which was a HUGE help) then I headed back to Kim's where I had a light supper and headed to bed!!!
I was surprised that I actually got more sleep then I expected...I think I got about 6-7 hours so I thought that was pretty good :-)
Alarm went off at 4:45am and I was UP!!!
Had some breakfast (Pancakes (pre made) and some granola) got dressed and we were off...
So glad Kim’s hubby Anthony offered to drive us down so we did not have to worry about parking.
We got down to the start line at 5:20am and it was time for body marking..
Here is the pic..
After that I left Brad and I was off to get ready...I was happy I ran into my buddy Brian and was able to hang with him before the start and calm my nerves a bit..
I should mention the weather at this time was sunny and about 12 degrees!
Then it was time..I proceeded to the beach to find my spot...I knew I wanted to start far left...since this race is a mass start..so 2600 people starting at the same time I did not want to be in the thick of it for the swim..
So I got to the far left...then I saw the balloons of my cheer team!!
I was able to find a spot and right in from of my gang!
Here was a pic before the start..
Now for the race...sorry it took me a while to get here ;-)
The Swim 3.8 km
So I started a bit back since I was a bit nervous about swimming with 2600 people..so I started off and well it was not nearly as bad as I thought. Yes I got kicked and punched a few times but I just tried to weave around people and just kept going.
My goal for the swim was 1:45...I was pretty happy when I got out of the water at 1:30.
here is a pic of what the start looked like...
The swim felt really good...now off to transition!
Got to my bag and they shuttled me off to the girls transition tent. Greeted by the BEST volunteers!! Then helped me get my bike shoes, helmet etc and sent me on my way!
THe Bike 180km
This is the longest and most times the most challenging part of any Ironman! For me this was the section I worried about. I knew I had 9 hours to complete the ride once I got out of the water...and since I had done the course twice before I knew I could do it in about 7 hours....without any issues...
So I headed out...The first section of the ride is about 70 km and that takes you to Osoyoos, it is a relatively flat road and quite pretty as you pass by many winery’s!! I was happy to see parts of my cheer team as I passed through Oliver.
Then I reached Osoyoos and this is where I knew the challenge begins! It is time for Richter Pass! Richter Pass is an 11 km Climb to the top and it is an elevation of 2295 feet. So NOT an easy climb! And this time of the day it was getting HOT...It was about 29-30 degrees during the climb!! Again so HAPPY to see some of my FANTATASTIC cheer team as they followed me cheering as I made the climb!!
I made it to the TOP!! Now it is time for the 9 rolling hills! At this time I was well ahead of my pace and on pace to finish the bike in 7 hours...
BUT then as I am approaching the 6th roller and I attempted to gear down...BAM...my gears JAM! Now I am stuck in my hardest gear!! Not fun when you are trying to climb!
So I should mention they do have tech support on the ride I believe there was about 7-8 bike tech cars on course. Of course I saw all of them before this happened. So I jumped off my bike since I now was unable to get up the hill and started to walk...watching for the support. Got to the top and jumped on my bike and rode down...and next hill jumped off and walked....did this for the last 3 rollers....then I hit the flat....here I was able to ride...it was slow since I was in a hard gear but I could ride. FINALLY after 15 km and ate up about 30-40 mins I saw the techs...stopped and they fixed my gears in about 10 mins and I was back on course...
Now I was behind pace...the issue was my family was watching my progress online to see when I would get to the location they were watching and I hit the senor before the bike mishap...so I was about 45 mins behind where my family thought I was..so they waited a while for me and some even missed me..so that was sad :-(
The next part of the course I hit the out and back...this is a hard part of the course mentally. The reason is you have to back track a part you already rode so you feel you are not making progress..and it is flat and it is HOT!!
Now to the next challenge YELLOW lake..this is the next big climb on the course. This climb is tough for a few reasons one it is a tough elevation gain again this time about 2400 metres. The second challenge is this climb comes about 130 km into the course...so yup we are TIRED!!! This is the LAST big climb then it is smooth sailing into Penticton!!
When I did the course back in July this is where I started to feel not so great...my nutrition was off and the heat got to me...
But this time I felt great!
I worked with a great coach (Charles Miron) who helped me with a nutrition plan and I can say it was BANG on!! I ate on the first half on the ride some "real" food...wafers, PB and jelly sandwich etc..second half when the stomach tends to "shut down" I stuck to Perpedulm tabs (food in a pill really) and I took about 12 electrolyte pills as well!
So anyways I got to Yellow Lake and I felt pretty good so I made my way up...now in talking to my family I was expecting to see them on this climb...so I kept going and looking for their crazy costumes....but nothing....I still made it to the top and felt okay...
I kept going and made the ride back into town I had about 20 km to go now....there was one last small climb to make before town and as I rode over the top of that...There was the CHEER team! YEAH!!! Unfortunately some of the gang had to leave before I got there since they were scheduled to volunteer. It was too bad but since I was about 40 mins behind schedule as well the gang mixed up the location thinking they were at Yello Lake..oops! Oh well...still got to see my hubby dressed up in a DRESS and my kids and parents with the best signs ever!! For example "My Mommy is faster then your Mommy"...LOVE IT!!
So gave them all a quick kiss and into town I went..
Arrived at transition with a bike time of 7 hours and 38 mins...so even with a few set backs I was happy to be finished the bike and ready to the run...
here is a pic on the bike...
The Run 42 km
So here is the HARD part! I had biked the total distance of the race two times before the race BUT I never got off my bike and ran a marathon after...I got off my bike then and collapsed on the ground!!
Not this time I arrived at transition and once again greeted by some GREAT volunteers who helped me change into my runners and get my hat one and of course hit the port a potty...and off I went!
The crowd for the end of the bike and beginning of the run in town is AMAZING! I should note that as I was heading out on my run the finishers of the race were coming in!!! The funny thing is we run one part of the race twice along the beach...the beginning and the end...so as I am running out the leaders are coming in and the crowds are going CRAZY!! It was such a great energy! All the way out of town people lined the streets and cheered....saw my family and friends again and gave a few high fives then out of town we went.
The run course heads out a place called OK falls...it is a real pretty run route along the lake...and stays relatively flat until you get closer to OK falls...then the hills come!
So my plan for the run....walk the hills and the aid stations! So the first 21 km to the turn around I felt okay I kept an easy pace about 6-6:40. Felt good..still walked the aid stations and the hills.
I like the run since I got to run along side so many different people and get to know them and there stories etc..
Like the one girl who has a 3 month old baby and was doing IRONMAN!! Or how about the 82 year old NUN who is the oldest person every to complete an IRONMAN. I never ran with her but I heard her story and to hear she finished the race in 16 hours and 45 mins was incredible!!
So the run out to the turn around I still felt pretty good...but there was a little voice in my head saying "okay you have felt good the whole time is the knee or hip going to give out?"....I felt good and I kept going....I was now approaching the turn around and now all I could think about was my special needs bag and in it was a time for PRINGLES!! and YES I inhaled those chips and chips never tasted that good!
Once I turned around my pace on the way back got MUCH slower...I was feeling the effects of the day now and I was tired and I knew I had 21 km to go..so I took the pace down and now I was running about a 7 min/km and soon after that a 8 min/km...
I kept that up still walking the aid stations and hills..
Then it came to the 30 km mark..and well then it HIT.....my legs felt like they may fall off!! Now people on the road were cheering "You are almost there"...where I did snap back to one and said "No we are not I still have 6 km to go"!!! I remember hitting the 4 km to go mark and thought OMG that was the longest 4 km of my life and I have 4 more!!! I could start to hear the crowd in the distance....I was defiantly NOT running anymore..it was more like the IRONMAN shuffle...kind of how you would run if you had just raced for 14 hours....but I kept moving and got closer and closer into town....Finally hit main street...and the crowds were HUGE!!! I said to a girl running near me "this is the closet to a movie star we will ever get" so let’s do this! I don’t know how I did it but I picked up the pace! Then out of the corner of my eyes comes by me my training partner Tera..she is now sprinting! So I yell..Tera I am going to get you...thinking not sure how...but I did I ran and I ran fast..caught up to Tera and we sprinted to the finish! We hit the finishing shoot and the people were yelling the music was playing and saw Brad and my friends gave them a huge high 5 and I crossed the line with a time of 14 hours and 54 mins...and I crossed into the arms of my DAD!! My dad and 3 of my friends volunteered as catchers at the finish line. and to have my dad caught me at the end of the race was AMAZING!!
What shocked me more was I thought I would want to die when I crossed and I didn’t I felt pretty good.......got my medal got my pic...and all I really wanted to do is take off my shoes! (later to see I had a HUGE blister).
here is a few pics of me crossing the line...
A high five as I reach the finish line..
And in the arms of my catchers...
So that was it I did my first Ironman and man it was incredible! I loved every minute of it..and yes during the race I said to myself and I said again after I finished and I say it again now that will NOT be my last Ironman!!
It was the last Ironman in Penticton unfortunately. But there will be another Ironman in Western Canada and I hope to do it in either 2014 or 2015.
So my last words to you all who took the time to read this to the end.....It does not matter how big or small your goals are you can all achieve them...it is what is inside you that will drive you to achieve and you to can do what you set your mind to and I challenge you all to find that goal and make it your dream and soar!!!