Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday morning I did something that I always wanted to do and never could find anyone who was willing to do it with me - I got up at 3:30 to Christmas shop. I didn't really have all that much to get, but what a way to get into the spirit. I met my friend Rhiannon at 4am at Kohls and we hit probably 10 other stores before parting ways. It was so much fun. Tom never would have enjoyed it. Between the lines and the sleep deprived chipper women (and men), it would have been enough to make him divorce me - hell he slept until just before I got home. It's definitely a tradition that Rhiannon and I are going to have each year!
It's hard to believe that it's almost December. I don't know where November went. I feel like I just did the Ironman last week. And December is going to be busy so I'm sure I'll soon be saying "where did December go". Between cookie exchanges, secret santa exchanges, the actual holiday, a Christmas jazz show, and New Year's Eve, I think it's going to be over before I can blink.
Lots of plans for 2010 - trips, racing, business, etc. One of these days I'll spell it all out in a "where do I go from here" post which should have been the one after my final Ironman post. :)
Best of luck to Kim tomorrow in Cozumel. I know she won't be reading this before the race, but I'm sending you big kick ass vibes from Ohio. I've gotten over my jealousy of her being in Cozumel, especially knowing what lies ahead of her tomorrow!!! Go get 'em girlfriend, or should I say "Buenas suerta, chiquita!"
Thursday, November 19, 2009
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 ...
IT WAS AMAZING!
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!!!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I got on my bike and it was a gorgeous day. I had arm warmers on, but didn't need them which was a nice thing. It was sunny as could be and the first 7 miles or so just flew by (I had a tailwind which helped). We made our first turn around mile 8 and I started thinking "this is going to be a long day". I got settled in and just rode. There were bike everywhere and clumps of people on each other's wheels. I wondered if drafting would be as prevalent this year as last year. I turned at mile 20ish and got smacked with what would be my biggest enemy for the next 30 miles - a straight headwind. It sucked! And for the record, Ironman Florida might be flat, but this 30 mile stretch is a lot of false flats. It was tough and sucked your energy out. I stopped at mile 35ish to use the facilities and had to wait on line. Yup... the joy of being a woman that day. :( I had not other choice! Special needs came around mile 48. I always laugh at Special Needs. I stopped, refilled my bento and was on my way. Others lay in the grass, have a picnic, etc. I guess they realize that it's a long day and they might as well enjoy it. To each is own! I'm still fighting the headwind at this point and know that the turn is coming soon. I can't wait.
Then it happens...
I make the turn about mile 50 and I'm coasting along on a 4 lane road. All lanes are open to the public and there are quite a few cars. People have spread out a little, but I still see clumps of bikers. I've worked so hard to keep my 7 meters all day because the motorcycles and race officials are EVERYWHERE. I get up close to a man that I want to pass and know that I'll have to go out into the lane to pass him. I get right by his wheels and hear a car. Not wanting to kill myself as I pass him, I drop back. He slows to which means that I'm in the draft box too long. Of course a race official saw the whole thing and had no pity for me. "Number 2307 - that's a red violation. Serve your 4 minute penalty at the next penalty tent." AHHHHHH! I was so pissed! Especially since I was trying so hard to not draft. I silently cursed Ricardo who was the man in front of me who had slowed as I dropped back, but of course just smiled as I passed him a few minutes later. All I could think about was the damn penalty. And I wondered how far the next penalty tent was. I knew there had been one around mile 20. Surely another was coming up. I kept my eyes peeled. I see the 60 mile sign, the 70 mile sign, the 80 mile sign. Now I'm worried that I missed it and I'll be disqualified or something. And I've totally embraced the fact that I'll sit for 4 minutes once I find the tent. Finally around mile 90 I see it. I stop. I've never gotten a penalty so I didn't know the routine. There were 3 other girls in the tent, all bitching about the same thing as me - how come the guys get away with it and when we don't think that we are drafting, we get dinged! They hand me a stopwatch which I have to hold for 4 minutes. They mark all my numbers with "X", and laugh about how fresh we'll feel on the run because of our break. Not funny... The head lady at the tent had a clipboard and said that she's never seen so many drafting penalties in her life. She was on page 11 and there were 8 people on each page. She was only 1 of 3 penalty boxes. My 4 minutes was up soon enough and I hopped back on my bike, grumbling to myself the whole time. I only had about 22 miles left - I wasn't going to let it ruin my day.
The last miles went fast - the tailwind helped... and maybe the 4 minutes off my bike! It's funny how you try to occupy your time on the bike too - for me, it was trying to convert the kilometer markers to miles. Sure I could have just looked at my computer, but that's not nearly as fun right? :) I was excited to get back to transition though and start my run. I knew that I would have a PR in the bike, even with the penalty which made me happy. I haven't been feeling very confident on the bike lately and well... let's face it, I hate riding in the wind so to survive that, I was pleased. The crowds really bring you in the last few miles. It's almost surreal. Another successful leg - besides the penalty. Total bike time was 6:33:29 - 17.1mph. That was fine with me. (I have to note that Tom had an awesome day on the bike. He finished in 5:22 something which was 20.8mph. He was really happy with that and said that he felt the wind a lot too! He also thought it was so cool that I got a penalty - So cool honey, let me tell you! He's weird!)
Sunday, November 15, 2009
We checked our bikes and bags on Friday afternoon, had an early dinner and then hit the bed around 8pm. It's amazing how tired you can be the night before the Ironman. Tom was freaking out a little with nerves, I was beyond that point and I think our bodies were just done. I slept like a baby!!!
If you've never experienced an Ironman swim start, you can't fully appreciate the utter chaos. There are arms, hands, feet, bodies flying everywhere. You look up to sight and all you see are heads - where are the buoys? You can barely put your head in the water and when you do, you worry about your goggles getting hit off or your face getting punched. It's a brawl. The first lap of the swim in Florida you just kind of go with the flow. I felt like I was in a dirty nightclub. People would grab my body and hold on as they swam over me. Their hands would land on my neoprene covered butt and they'd push it down as they tried to complete their strokes. You have to be a confident swimmer to do the Ironman. I may not be fast, but I can hold my own. The water was rough. Lots of waves, even more mouthfuls of salt water! I got out on the first lap in 40 minutes. Right on track. I stopped to tighten my chip (it felt loose) and realized the second lap would be much more rough than the first due to the waves. As we entered the water on the second lap, people were getting knocked down by the waves. I found my groove quickly, but it was a lot of up and down. I couldn't get a good rhythm with breathing because inevitably right as I would breath, a wave would get me. I had a hard time sighting the buoys and timing the waves. The second lap seemed to drag a little. I got out at 1:27:24. I was happy with that. I knew it was rougher than last year, and they didn't let us cut it as short this year (teehee) so I was happy. I got my wetsuit peeled, saw my parents and ran to T1. The madness had just begun!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
I'm so freaking excited. The weather looks awesome (upper 70's and sunny every day, including race day). Things have been a tad stressful around our house - between running a company, Tom being gone 15 of 31 days in October for Team Type 1, training a crap ton and all the other every day necessities (like keeping up with house cleaning - how does my dog have any hair left???). Both of us can't wait to just lay on the beach, walk in the sand, drink beer, oh...
and race an Ironman!
Small detail - but I'm actually really looking forward to it. Of course I'm totally doubting that I've done enough training, but who doesn't go through that a week before a 140.6 mile race. Weirdly enough I'm worried the most about the bike which is usually the thing I'm most comfortable with. We didn't do a ton of long rides - a 100, two 90's, an 80 and two 70's, but I've put a lot of miles in elsewhere. My swimming feels good. I have done three 2.4 mile swims (or thereabouts... depends on how long the pool really is). In any event, they were all 10-12 minutes faster than the same length last year. And my running - who am I kidding - I don't run in the Ironman. It's more of a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other shuffle to the finish line. :) I'd love to go sub 5 hours on the marathon which I should be able to do any day, but you never know how the day is going to turn out. Last year I went 5:04 and actually felt good (I told you it was a shuffle) so we'll see. Again, I have no time goals... just want to hear them say "You are an Ironman" (which I missed hearing last year because I was so overwhelmed with the finish line - I'm sure that'll happen again this year!!!).
I hope to update pictures and stuff throughout the week. Send me good race vibes and I'll be thinking about all of you as I'm sipping cocktails in a bathing suit at this time next week (yes, I know that it's only 1:57 in the afternoon, but I'll probably still be sipping drinks then!)