First off, I want to thank you guys for your words of encouragement before, during and after the race... and then I want to shout from the rooftops "I am a TRIATHLETE AGAIN!!!" What an amazing weekend... I found a new place deep in the pain cave that I can go, and make stuff happen from.
This was again another race that I could not have done without support, and Linae, her hubby Joe, and my hubby Drew were absolutely great! We also had 2 surprise crew folks, Molly, who came out for the run and made it possible for me to not run a single lap alone, and Rebecca, the angle/demon/drill sergeant who pulled me through the last 2 hours. These guys were just phenomenal... When I say I cannot do it without them, I really mean cannot do it without them. I may put in the miles, but they make it happen and are with me ever stroke, pedal, and step of the way.
The SWIM: 7800m, 50m pool. I was worried because there were 5 people sharing a lane, but it was really quite nice. I wore my new Xterra wetsuit, sleeveless, with a little v-cut modification in the neck and it was pretty sweet. There were 2 faster people, myself and Trixie at about the same pace, and one slower guy so I had some nice opportunities to draft and also to distract myself from the monotony. Linae would show me a sign every 1000m so I had a general idea of how far I was. I miscounted the end, thought I had 300 to go and had just gotten onto Trixie's feet when I felt a bottle whack me on the back... guess I was finished! Left Trixie and the guy swimming and exited the water.
Transition: Run to the bathroom, quick shower, cram the girls into my new and marvelous Sturdy Girl sports bra, and out to the car. A 30 minute timer started and we drove down to the start of the bike. Had lots of time to sunscreen, eat, stretch, and chat before getting on the bike.
The BIKE: Started with a 2 mile out and back... headed out and Artemous was feeling ready to go. Passed a non-racer on the trail, smiling and ready to jam. Got to the turnaround, started my U and WHAM. Said non-racer turned right from my outside as I was slowing to U-turn and down I went. "I've never seen anyone not turn right here in 20 years" he said as I laid there taking account of my pains. I was pretty lucky, my left hand and hip were bruised and my chain ring sliced my right ankle but all in all nothing that would force a stop. Artemous has some scuffage, and his brakes needed some adjustment, but we were soon up and back to it. At the next turn-around I asked Drew and Linae to find me some bike gloves to cushion my hand and got back to business.
The main course was a nice 8 mile loop, no big turns, rather flat, but QUITE windy. The winds made up for the flatness of the course, adding that nice extra bit of challenge, but also kept us cool. I had an okay bike, nothing special, but about where I expected to be (somewhere around 15mph). I managed to move up to 4th from last (or 13th overall) from last (where I was after the fall). Artemous just got his aerobars a few weeks ago, and I definitely need to spend more time riding there... the girly bits weren't loving the position but I just did what I could and didn't stress. For about 5 laps in the midnight timeframe I rode with Trixie, Giselle (a team competitor from Sweden) and one of the volunteers so I had a good chance to chat it out and not get tired. Around 2 in the morning I was finally done and I was glad to put on my running shoes and get going.
The "RUN": Linae and I intentionally walked the first lap easing into things. And, the immediate thing we noticed was that everyone was walking. The top place folks were jogging along, but the main body of us were walking. After the run lap we tried to set a 4min run/2min walk as much as possible. This course was also flat, half of it on a nice tree lined path. After daybreak her friend Molly showed up and offered to run some. And so the first marathon passed by, slowly but steadily. The day got hot, my feet hurt, I was tired and well off of my planned pace, but I knew nothing would keep me from this finish. Honestly a lot of this time is a blur, I remember drinking some stuff, eating some stuff, lots of chatting... Trixie dropped out at the marathon mark. After that we had a few bad spots... I got really dizzy a few times and came close to passing out but we came up with a cold towel wrapped around my neck and that helped. I got nauseous a few time, but we worked through that too. The balls of my feet became bruised, and I had to walk almost entirely on my heels which stressed out my left knee (banged up in that fall many hours before). I was moving really slowly... but I was moving.
The feet got to be too much for me, and I sat down and we tried to put them in a bucket of ice water. YIKES! Tears, sobs, new socks, new shoes and now we don't have time to waste so keep moving. 5 laps to go and this gal Rebecca asked if she could run with me. She had run a 100 miler the weekend past and had blister issues and I welcomed the company (and Linae welcomed the chance to sit down for awhile!). She urged me to increase my pace by swinging my arms (remember, this is a heel-stride duck walk), and we chatted the lap away. 40 minutes for the lap, and we found that we had 2:30 left in the race, 4 laps to go, and even in my befuddled state I could calculate that we were in trouble.
She urged me to run 10 steps, walk 100. So I tried and it HURT. Fire in the balls of my feet. But, the second time we did it I decided to just keep running. So... we did. She drill-sergeanted, cajoled, begged, demanded, and basically talked me through every moment of the next 3 laps. When the blisters popped on the balls of both of my feet and I screamed, she just talked louder. There was no more walking to do. We were going to do this. And we did. We pulled down a 28 min lap, a 25 min lap, and a 26 min lap. You could hear us coming a mile away as I moaned every footfall when the balls of my feet hit, and she kept talking. She told Drew to take me through the last lap, and if it was over 30 she would chase him down. And he did.
I crossed the line WELL under the cutoff, and just like the movies the skies opened up and the rain started to fall as what was left of the crowd went wild and I collapsed into a crying puddle in Kirby's arms, then Linae's, and Drew's, and Wayne's, and well... anyone who would help hold me up.
The AFTERMATH: It is a LONG way down the concourse at DIA. I know because my feet hurt and bad. And, I am grateful every step because it reminds me that I went deeper than I have gone before and with the help of my crew, the race volunteers, Kirby, and my fellow competitors I have refound my inner traithlete. And she is strong! And, this season is going to be simply amazing!!! This year we will have the first American staged-Deca Ironman finisher and I look forward to the journey to get to there.
Thank you for reading, and for your support!!! Leslie