Race Schedule and Results

Thursday, November 19, 2009

And then it fell apart

Or maybe I fell apart!

T2 was fine. I was happy to be off my bike and quickly made my way through changing and hitting the potties once more before the run.

The first mile or so of the run I felt fine. Kind of in a fog quite honestly. I saw my friend Edie and her brand new son cheering me on right outside of transition and I think that carried me for a little while. But then my stomach flipped. It hadn't felt "right" on the bike, but didn't really bother me. With every step of the run, it flipped over once more. I saw Tom at mile 3 and faked a smile, told him about my penalty on the bike (which made him laugh) and continued on my way. I shuffled. That's about all I could muster. I knew it would be a long day.

I saw my mom and dad at mile 5. I told them I wasn't feeling great, but that I'd be fine. I knew that it would worry my mom to tell her how I really felt. Miles 6, 7 and 8 were very hard - emotionally and physically. I wanted to be running, but my stomach was horrible. I tried Tums, I tried making myself sick, I tried anything I could at the aid stations. I was running through St. Andrews park and it was beautiful. The sun was setting. I was running in an Ironman. I wanted to feel good. My legs felt fine. Why couldn't I go? This picture makes it look like I was having fun.When I saw my parents again around mile 9, I told them that I knew I'd be walking soon. My stomach just couldn't take the jostling of the run. About the same time I saw Tom and that's when I lost it.


I didn't want to cry. I didn't want to walk. I wanted to feel as good as he look. It just wasn't happening. He hugged me, told me to do a run/walk, told me he loved me and that he believed in me. I didn't believe in me at this point. I shuffled along to the half way point. I saw mile 14. 12.2 miles left. I can do this.

But I was so nauseous. I started walking around mile 15. I just figured I would walk the rest of the race. It's a humbling thing to have to walk a race that you know you are fit enough to run, simply because of your upset stomach. It's the only way that my stomach was alright. No great, but alright. I saw my mom around mile 18 and told her that I was walking and would like her to walk miles 20-25 with me (just to give me company). It was totally dark at this point and my legs were starting to hurt from walking. At mile 17, I decided that I needed to figure out if it felt worse to shuffle slowly or walk. I was back in the park and at this point couldn't see anything. I befriended a guy who was in the same boat as me. He was sick, walking, in pain. He wanted to finish, but knew that the road was still a long one. We would point out things - lights, cars, trees, and say "let's run to that spot". Then we'd walk a little. We repeated this until we were out of the park. Michael (my new Ironman friend) asked if I do this alone. I told him that Tom had already finished and on cue, as if I had planned it, Tom bikes up. Seeing him totally lifted my spirits!

After Michael figuring out that my hubby was a badass, we talked about me walking with my mom. I asked Michael what his goal was and he said that he would continue our shuffle/walk plan. He gave me company. I thanked my mom when I saw her and just told her to meet me at the finish.

My stomach started to feel better in the last 6 miles. I don't know if it was the walking or what. Michael and I talked about everything... it took my mind off things. Our walk breaks became longer and although I probably could have shuffled in, I stuck with him. I didn't care about my time and I knew that I would finish. I was so elated that I didn't feel like I wanted to hurl.

At mile 25 I wanted to run in. I was **this** close to the finish and I knew that my adrenaline would get me there. Michael stopped to use the potty and I said my goodbye to him. I was off to become an Ironman again. The last mile was a blur. The crowd was amazing. As I rounded the corner to the finish, I saw that I had the shoot to myself. And let me tell you ...


So much different that last year, but just as cool! I took it all in, repeated to myself "you must not trip, you must not trip". I smiled as they said "Colleen Kingery, you are an Ironman". I think the picture says it all.This wasn't the race that I thought it was going to be, or even hoped it would be. I had images of myself PRing, feeling great, smiling the whole way. The Ironman Gods definitely tested me. They humbled me a little. They toughened me up a bit. I learned a lot about pushing myself past the point of comfort, I learned what the draft box is, I learned that I don't give up when the going gets tough. That's all part of the Ironman journey. And unless you've done an Ironman, you can't fully appreciate it. It's so much more than a really long day of swimming, biking and running. It's a journey. You feel so alone at times and so part of a group of amazingly crazy people just like you. And there's no way to describe the feeling you get when you hear that you're an Ironman. The first time, the second - it doesn't get old!

Tom and I didn't sign up for next year's race. I'm happy. I need a change. I'm looking forward to shorter racing and training, to moving my business forward, to spending more time with family and friends, to strengthening my already amazing marriage, to having time for "me". I need this.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support. I have the world's best husband, who happens to be my training partner and best friend. Brady, you never cease to amaze me (he PR'ed by 10+ minutes this year) and I appreciate you pushing me, supporting me and loving me, tears and all! I have great parents who have yet to miss an important race and I thank them so much for their continued support as their daughter takes on these crazy challenges. I thank my sister and brother-in-law for the constant pep talks!!! I have an extended family that many could only dream of. I have the most amazing friends - your patience and support means so much to me and I'm so happy that I finally get to see you guys again! And to my blogger friends... I appreciate the friendships that I have with complete strangers! And to athlete #610 - thanks for getting me through those last 6 miles! :) You too are an Ironman now!!!


Tom Kingery said...

A journey indeed...and one that made you realize how strong you really are. The Ironman throws everything at you and then a little more and you really captured the amazing feeling when you overcome, and all that you learn about yourself during the journey that started a year ago. Great job my dear - I couldn't be more proud of you!

Trisha R Jackson said...

I'm so proud of you! I can't get enough of your story every time I read or heard about it.

Danica said...

I am so proud of you! You are an amazing woman. I'm so blessed to know both you and Tom.

Liz said...

I'm glad I'm WFH today so I don't have to explain my tears! :) I am SO proud of you! It takes a lot just to train for an Ironman, but to make it out alive and cross that finish line is amazing. Way to go chica! I'm glad to have you back again :)

Kim said...

i want to cry! you are so amazing colleen! way to hang in there and get through every last step of that marathon. youre such an inspiration my friend. CONGRATULATIONS!!! you and tom are adorable!

Allison said...

Congratulations, Irondiva!!! So proud of you!!!

Lora said...

Woo hoo! That determination you've got is some serious business. Big, big congrats to you! What a story!

Stevi N. Honaker said...

OK now it was my turn to let the tears flow.
I can't say enough how proud I am of you.

Aunt Nan said...

Ok. So now my tears are flowing as well. Wow! To read your incredible Iron Diva day is amazing. I knew you'd finish, I knew your determination and drive, I knew you weren't feeling well (guess I really didn't how how ugly you really felt...thanks for not telling me along the way), I knew we'd hear "Colleen Kingery, you are an Ironman". You, indeed, are. But looking back on it all, I'm glad you're taking some time for yourself. Time for both you and Tom together, and time to reassess all that you want to do with the rest of your life. Sit back, and enjoy the ride. The best is yet to come.

Pharmie said...

What an amazing race. That's what Ironman is really about, itsn't it? Digging REALLY deep when you need to. I love making friends on the course. It makes it all so much easier, and it's such a small world - you may meet him again sometime. Enjoy a couple of rest days :)

Chris said...


Ryan said...

Well done, I know the misery of being strong enough to run but not being able to for "other" reasons.

Your hubby is a super stud if he can pick you up after racing an IM...I'm 6 weeks out and I am still shattered...maybe he could have pushed harder ;-) Ha!

Brittany M. said...

Great race report, and I love it that despite it not being exactly the race you wanted, you made it the race you needed it to be! I truly missed getting to meet you out there, but did track you online! Congrats on 2xIronman, and thanks for the encouragement you sent me about my switch to IMAZ. It was a great race, so if you decide to do another in the future, I totally recommend it!! Thanks again for all the encouragement!

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