Race weekend started on Thursday when Kris, Robert, & I headed to the Woodlands for packet pick up and the athlete's dinner. In similar fashion with any other ride, run, or event during the season, we were matchy matchy all the way. Linda & Jenny met us at the hotel & together the four of us went together to make it official... #314 in da houzzz!!! Walking around the expo we were called out for our matching outfits and asked to be interviewed for YouTube Ironman AG stories...video That night we attended the athletes dinner and met up with a HUGE San Antonio crowd! This just got even better!!!
Friday we went to Lake Woodlands for a practice swim. The temperature was perfect and at that point it think it was still wetsuit legal. It was until race morning that it was officially announced that the swim was wetsuit optional with a 10min penalty. I practiced a little sighting and also drafting off of Jenny's feet. Being that visibility was close to zero, I instinctively turned to tactile drafting, I was feeling with my hands the bubbles from her feet. Cool. After our swim, we went back to the hotel and gathered our belongings for bike & gear check-in. After check-in we headed to Lululemon for a little retail therapy to calm our nerves, and also because we had heard that all of the athletes names participating in IMTX were on the window.
Race morning came early, alarm went off at 3:45am, but I had already been up multiples times looking at the clock. It's game day!!! Robert dropped Kris & I in front of transition and we went in to drop off our nutrition, air up our tires, and make sure everything was in its proper place. Then we started the mile walk to the swim start. Here we met up with Orissa & Brian, Shelly & Patrick, Herb, Heather; Hooray, all of the Iron-Whiners were here! Next thing I knew we were being herded into the water to start treading water. Kris & I let Linda go on ahead, she was vying for a front row spot! Kris & I finally got in and tried to find an open area. We gave each other one last hug and said have a wonderful race day! BOOM! GO TIME!
I tried to stay in the open area that Kris & I had wiggled into before the start. I tried to settled into my stroke as fast as I could. I tried sighting the buoys a few times and realized that was going to be impossible. From then on I sighted on the flow of traffic. I'm pretty sure I was swimming all over the course because of this, but I'll never know because my Garmin got kicked into T2 20min into the swim. Luckily, I had a great swim in the sense that I did not get beat up, have my googles knocked off, or get swam over. I took the turn into the canal, the final 900m stretch, and it occurred to me that I was almost done with the first leg of my first Ironman, it was actually unfolding before me. As I approached the finish I had no idea where it was, left or right?; 100m or 200m? Finally, I was about 15m from the swim exit and I saw that arch on my left. I exited the swim with a HUGE smile, DONE!
I quickly grabbed my bike gear bag and ran for the changing tent. I was ready for some intense pampering from all that I had heard, they will put your shoes on, have them help you with your cool wings, I even heard horror of volunteers offering to put on chamois cream. "I need help!", I yelled as I ran into transition, just as I had been instructed to by Coachie! Great, a volunteer came over to me and stood in front of my chair and... dumped out my bag in front of me! I started to grab my things and put them on myself and finally asked, "could you help me with my cool wings?" I stood up and she held them out as if slipping on a silk robe! Are you serious? I forced my still wet arm into the sleeves and left them all wrinkled. "My shoes! I need my shoes!" Hoping she would put them on me, all she did was move them closer to me. OK, thanks for your help... I got it from here! I ran to my bike still fixing my cool wings and shaking my head... not the royal treatment I had imagined.
BIKE- 112 miles
I ran to the bike mount line and hopped on my bike. As I started pedaling, I saw Allen with Ailani on his shoulders & Aleina at his side. I gave Allen a quick high five and yelled a quick "I LOVE you guys!" It was time to settle in and get comfortable. I had already been warned by Coachie that I needed to go out "crazy, stupid, slow." The first 20miles flew by, I remember looking at my Garmin and thinking it's already been an hour! I stopped at mile 30 to get some water and mix my Infinit bottles. I headed back out very impressed with the ride so far. There had been a nice tailwind, the roads were smooth like butter, and the heat was fairly tolerable... at that point! The next time I checked my Garmin was at 56miles, 2:58! I was a little nervous that I had gone out too fast, but I felt fine and just thanked the tailwind. The second half was a combination of crosswind & head wind, but I had ridden Castroville plenty of times and every time there was some sort of wind, I got this! I remember approaching a righthand turn and seeing a little boy on the corner holding a flag, it was standing sharp at attention! Headwind... here we go! I buckled down and broke it down into 10mile sections. I stopped at mile 90 for a quick pee break & hopped back on to finish the ride. The last 2miles dragged on, as they always do when you are praying for T2. I hit the dismount line and jumped off my bike with a HUGE smile, DONE!
As I headed for my run gear bag, a volunteer called out for my helmet & shoes. I clipped off my helmet and handed it to them, but kept my shoes on. I was too tired to take them off standing, I would later find out that was a wise choice. My friend Jeff & about 300 others who did take their shoes off ended up with 2nd degree burns to the bottoms of their feet from the heated pavement! I ran into the changing tent expecting to do everything myself again. Luckily, my volunteer was a lot more helpful this time. I quickly geared up for the marathon that faced me. I looked up for a split second and saw Linda exiting the tent. I yelled, "Linda!" and my volunteer asked, "Do you want me to go get her?", "YES!" I ran out of T2 and couldn't believe it, I was about to start the run with my training partner for the past 6mo! This is AWESOME!
RUN- 26.2 miles
T3- medical tent
I had already decided when I started vomiting that I would be going straight to the medical tent for an IV after I finished. But what happened next was a whirlwind! Kris & I crossed the finish line, gave a HUGE hug, smiled for a picture, and then... more vomiting! I tried to make it to a corner and not puke on anyone, Kris thanked me later! Next thing I knew I was sitting in a wheelchair and being escorted by Heather & Omar to the medical tent. Along the way I saw Coachie! I gave her a quick thumbs up & told her I'll be right back. Then I saw Allen & the girls! I tried to smile my best, so that he would know I was ok! He gave me a look that said I am so proud of you, then a quick sneer that said why are you hurting the woman I love! As I entered the medical tent, I immediately thought, Wow, this IS all it was talked up to be! The first room was filled with people in chairs icing knees, taping blisters, etc. The second room was twice the size and filled with stretchers and IV poles and it was FULL! They quickly drew labs and asked a few questions, including if I had urinated on the run... yikes, NO! My creatinine was 2.1, yikes! Acute renal failure! The rest of my labs were surprisingly good, my sodium was 140, normal. That told me I did good with the salt tabs, but not enough water! Lesson learned. I sat back and chatted with the girl next to me about her race while my IV finished. I exited the medical tent and there was my family waiting for me with open arms! NOW my IRONMAN was complete! WE did it!!!