Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Ironman Texas 2014
Thursday morning I met up with my fellow Utahns and went to the Ironman Village to register and buy all sorts of memorabilia and pick up our bikes.
Friday morning was the practice swim. It was calming to be able to get into the water and even more so with the revelation that the water temperature was such that we were going to be wetsuit legal! After a quick shower, it was time to drop the bike and bags off at transition.
Race morning - The morning was beautiful. After setting up and checking our T1 transition, we had about a mile walk to get to the swim start. As far as swim starts go, it was pretty normal. Lots of energy, anxiety and anticipation. And long bathroom lines. But eventually we found our way to the water and the cannon went off.
I felt good so even though the wind was more than I had planned on, I felt like I was hanging in there and it wouldn't be an issue! And it wasn't for the first 30 miles. I wasn't tracking my speed so a lot of this is in retrospect. I had practiced my nutrition on my long rides so I stuck with what I knew, water sips every 15 minutes and some Vitargo every 10 miles. And salt tabs. I'm not sure when things started going downhill but I know when I got to 40 miles, the wind and "rolling" hills were starting to get to me. Training in wind had made me confident but when I reached 50 miles my confidence was waning. I was enjoying the scenery and especially when we rode through the Sam Houston National Forest. It was beautiful and I remember thinking it would be fun to go camping there! I passed the 60 mile cutoff point and stopped at the aid station a couple miles further up. They informed me I had about 14 minutes to get moving before they would have to pull me. I freshened up a bit, refueled and refilled. I started to take off but realized that with the predicted headwinds I was not going to make the 80 mile cutoff time so I walked back to the med tent and told them I was pulling myself.
I have never not finished a race. This was a very hard decision for me and I've been second guessing myself for the past 4 days. I know it was the right thing for me to do but it's still disappointing. I was loaded up in the SAG wagon with 3 others who couldn't finish and we started the long drive back to The Woodlands. I sent a text to Lizz on what happened so she was waiting for me when I arrived. Not sure if I cried or not but it was great to see her "coach" face and have her help me dissect some of what happened. She kept saying "when you do your next one" to which I said "oh hell no"!!!
After a quick shower, I grouped up with my crowd to cheer for the racers still on the course. It was really fun to see them run by a few times and then to see them cross the finish line! We took a little break to eat something after our group had finished but went back to the finish line just after 11 pm to see the end of the race. If you've never been at an Ironman finish at midnight - you must! The energy from the crowd is amazing, we are all loudly cheering in the last of the runners. It can also be heartbreaking to see someone who isn't going to make the cutoff by just seconds.
Sunday we went to the awards banquet. I keep using the word amazing but it really does describe the people, the energy and the determination of all the participants. By this time I had become more amenable to thinking about registering for another full ironman race. A few of texts from coaches and friends were encouraging me to make the attempt and to not waste the training I had worked on. So far there isn't one that will work in my schedule but I'll keep looking. In the meanwhile, while still at the banquet, fresh from defeat, with coach's approval, I registered for the Boise 70.3. It's in 17 days. I haven't looked at the course but know that for myself it's important to jump back on that horse!
Most of my group left on Sunday and try as I could, there were no available flights to get me home earlier so I spent the rest of the day and the next morning doing one of my favorite things!
I know I have forgotten a lot of the goings on from the weekend, it was an emotional time for me. I do know that I have learned a lot - about participating in an Ironman and most importantly, about myself. I hope to take that knowledge and keep on pushing myself to the limit!
I'm grateful to all who have encouraged and supported me on this journey. I have an amazing tri family, coach and friends. And an even more awesome husband and sons who have cheered me on from the very beginning. Love you all!!!!