Ironman Texas what a day!! I am at a loss of words and still overwhelmed by yesterday's race. It was an experience unlike any other. There were a few blatantly obvious failures on the day on my part, but also some great successes. I was so amazed at all of the wonderful support on course and truly had the time of my life. You know you have been doing this sport for a while, or maybe just racing a lot, when you start to recognize so many familiar faces toeing up on the starting line. Thank you for pushing me to put together the best race I could.
Before the start of the race, I wrote the worlds "relentless", "smile", and "HKTJ" on my arm. Relentless reminded me constantly of my old coach telling me to never back down and to keep going even when the going gets tough. He was in my mind the entire race telling me that I CAN do this. Smile was a reminder to keep smiling throughout the race and to enjoy and live in the experience. I did just that. HKTJ was for the Fantastic Four, at least that is what I came up with while biking. Heather Anderson, Kevin Anderson, and Tom Anderson, without you all, I wouldn't be me and I wouldn't have managed the race I did.
Three things happened prior to the race that were super significant to me, and they are messages that I want to share. 1) Dave Scott spoke to us at the opening dinner and said something to this effect...when you are on the swim and things don't go your way, think I GET to bike these people down, and at the end of the bike as you are nearing the run, think I GET to run 26.2 miles...you have opportunities to make amends throughout the race. It doesn't have to stop at one event. That is the beauty of this sport. It is a race to the very end. Coming out of the water, my very first thought was that I GET to bike these people down...I have no clue how many people are in front of me, but the number is irrelevant and the effort will be as though I am in last place. 2) My mom's flight got delayed coming in from Detroit until closer to 11pm, so I ended up grabbing a late meal in the Woodlands before picking her up to get a few hours of sleep before the race. I had the sweetest waitress, and she gave me on of those "Devious Traveler" mustaches. It instantly reminded me of IM South Africa my friend's perseverance to keep moving, and in a way she ran the entire marathon with me. I had to put one foot in front of the other, because she wouldn't give up if she were in my shoes. 3) The morning of the race, I had no expectations or really goals...I figured I would see what the day would bring. As I was walking over to swim start, I met a 74 year old man who starting triathlons at the age of 68. Incredibly enough, he is a kindred spirit as he raced 5 ironmans last year and has done them 2 weeks apart. He also has raced 3 back to back half ironmans! How incredible is that?? It was so cool getting to meet someone as crazy as me, but even more so. We were talking about the bike and he said that he has never gone all out on it and seen what his legs could do on the run. It got my wheels turning, and I thought...why not see what my legs are capable of. As such, I posted a new IM bike split PR of 5:18.
That leads to the mistake I mentioned earlier...in an ironman, it is very easy to space out. Never ever get over confident and don't think for a minute that obstacles won't be thrown in your way. I was in la la land on the bike just before mile 90 when low and behold, I hit one of those white lane markers that sort of look like a button in the road. Bam, I went down hard and in slow motion. There was nothing I could do...it was an idiot move and as a result my body got torn up. As a protective mother, I sacrificed myself in lieu of my bike and was lucky to only have to do some minor maintenance on her derailleur and chain to get her up and moving again. It hurt, but in a way, the pain blocked out any other pain, which perhaps helped me push harder. Not to mention, having road rash on both my arms where they sit in the aerobars and on my hands made me just want to get off the bike already. I honestly didn't know at that point if I would be able to run, but I knew I sure as heck wasn't going to give up without trying. This is what an ironman is all about after all, pushing through pain! I think I hardly feel sore today compared to how these rashes feel. Moral of the story, keep your focus and be cognizant of the road in front of you. But, when hardships come your way, take them head on, don't waste time crying over them, and push harder to get back on track. There was a great sign, among many, on course that said suck it up buttercup...that's exactly what I did.
Despite my failure, I managed a race that I wasn't even aware I was capable of. It goes to show that you should never put limits on yourself. I am super stoked with my results and thank you everyone who followed/tracked me and cheered me on. I couldn't have done this without any of the people I mentioned in this post and countless others. The Wolfpacktri was with me in spirit and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world for having such a fantastic support network. Wearing my US Military Endurance Sports kit and Team RWB attire always reminds me that I am racing for something bigger than myself and reminds me of people, like Tommy, that are sacrificing so much for us to be doing an Ironman and live our daily lives the way we desire to. Thanks so much to Vespa, Optimized Fat metabolism (OFM), Generation UCAN, Nuun Hydration, and Bonk Breaker for giving me the nutrition to achieve a 2nd place AG finish! Also, thanks to Trivillage Multi-sports for my awesome gear!