It was not a bucket list race. It wasn't even a top travel destination. It just worked. My family is about 90 minutes away and the logistics seemed perfect.
Heck, they were not going to come to me anywhere else and it all seemed to fall into place. It was a dream. It was fabulous. So much in fact, I am not even posting pictures.
It was so not.
Leading up to this race I was probably the fittest I have ever been. My confidence was finally building and all seemed in order to have a great race. Like I could feel it in me. Michelle had put it in my head though to NOT LET SHIT GET TO ME. Whatever happens during the day, stick to the plan and work through it. But Ironman is not as easy as following a plan or executing a workout, it is about the day. And last Sunday
A definite highlight of the trip though was meeting up with Team BSC's eastern contingency. Catching up with Leigh from Camp ( I know, I know I still owe a proper post :) It was a definite positive as we met the lay of the land from Scott and got the secret ins and outs of the course. A dinner that night completed the day with Bree who I predicted would win.
Typical no sleep the night before (must change that) and all of a sudden we are driving down to the start. Let me just give them one prop here. Although the swim start and exit are about a mile apart, and the transtions are self contained in this area. This was one of the BEST organized transition areas EVER. Your bike and run bag were together and the whole flow should be copied with every Ironman.
You could feel the heat in the air even at 4:55am. Especially to this coastal foggy Cali girl.
The time trial start was a unique experience. It just happened so fast. The river was currentless, hence my
My swim time was not reflective of my swim training this past year or a valid effort of the strength I felt. The positive of this was that I was not tired. So swimming long sets works for me. I was fresh coming out of the water and ready. Only on land did I look and see what time it was. Poop. DONT LET SHIT GET TO YOU. It already started.
I ran through transition to my bike and was amazed at how warm I was. I had decided to dial it back on the bike and opted for a non aero helmet to allow water pouring. As I started the bike I felt reasonably confident that I could still have a good race and that it wasn't over, but I could feel the day warming up FAST. When I got to the start of the first of two loops I remember Scott's words about "Michelle not wanting anyone to kill it on this 4 mile stretch." I smiled to myself wondering how she was probably killing it in Canada and knowing I was doing the right thing. The course is beautiful and legit. There is no fast sections just true rollers. Nothing hard or steep just consistently there. The one thing it lacked though was shade. Here was my head : I'm hot. I'M HOT. EAT. DONT LET SHIT GET TO YOU. WOW. THIS IS PRETTY OUT HERE. I'M SO SICK OF THESE FARMS. I'M FRICKIN HOTTER THAN HELL. Yep the whole time. It was fun.
There were a ton of flats on the loop. Rumor has it the town of La Grange doesn't like the Ironman and had thrown tacks down. I counted 39 people in one of the loops. Even the town sheriff and traffic controllers were helping people as Ironman support was underprepared for this. The second loop was hilarious as there were little parties of bikes huddled on the side of the road and people sitting under trees talking. Um, hello? There's a race going on. That just gives testament to the fact that it was an inferno out there.
All in all a soild effort, although I wanted to ride much faster. The day just didn't allow it.
Enter transition, flitter through tent and start the run.
O.M.G. I cannot run. WTF?
crisis mode steps in and I shuffle on around the corner to go up the bridge. Now this was probably an overpass or something tiny but it felt like a mountain. Okay, assess the situation and just keep moving forward. What is wrong with me? Eat. Pour water. Move legs. I go down and turn down and come back down the bridge and there is Bill. He says "chickie you look bad." Duh. It's hot out here. really. like I don't know this. DONT LET SHIT GET TO YOU. Give him a grunt and just keep moving. I think I had the most pathetic shuffle going on. I am afraid to look at my garmin. It's that bad. And that is how I rolled for the next 5+ hours. I think it was my worst marathon to date. I shuffled between aid stations and walked and dumped water and ice on me going through. All 26 miles. Thank goodness for aid stations, mile markers and volunteers. They were much needed. The volunteers make these races and I cannot say enough about how awesome they ALL are. SLOWLY, the miles ticked off and I finally crossed the finish.
All I know is, I did it. I never quit. I didn't even think about quitting. I was going to go until I could not any longer. That mantra kept popping up in my head, something about how someday you might not be able to do this. TODAY WAS NOT THAT DAY. I realize now that not every race can be great but dammit if I didn't want it. We all want it. But you know what? It's not over. It never will be. There will always be ups and downs and highs and lows and good races and bad ones.
Watch out. 11 weeks til IM AZ! There is only one place to go. Up.