Since last year when I decided to do another Ironman a lot of things have changed in my life. Mr. Crampy's Multisport has officially become a second job and huge part of my life and that combined with my "day job" my life is very very full. Needless to say the time I had available to train was less than the years before. I did my best but I can confidently say I was on the side of being under trained.
Since my training was different I really had to change how I mentally went into the race, I had to let go of time goals or anything like that and decided to set some ground rules for my race - mostly I would not give up and not give in to anything negative. I really wanted to smile the whole day and not stress about it to much.
I got to spend a couple days before the race hanging out with my friends, Joe and Eric in CDA and go to bed early, get some extra rest and generally get ready for the race.
Kyle came into town late late Friday night after the Rock n roll expo was packed up. Saturday was full of the usual pre race stuff - a little workout, bike check, a nap, and then a chill dinner with friends. Kyle also managed to help a bunch of people with last minute bike issues as well.
Morning of I felt pretty calm considering. I knew my plan, the water was pretty calm and I just went through all the prep, met up with all my team mates and friends that were also racing and got into my wetsuit. I did manage to cry a bit when I gave Kyle a final hug before heading into the swim start. But that is pretty normal for me
By far the most scary part of the day for me. Last year I was beat up pretty bad. So I decided to do what I did for my first ironman and swim crazy wide and avoid all the crowds. I lined up with a friend, Sean Sullivan at the very far right side of the beach away from the bouy line and once the gun went off I actually forced myself to let the wave of people to go with out me. I swam so wide I actually just sighted off the boats on the outside edge of the swim area. I had open water and did not have to fight for room to breath. It was exactly what I needed I did not waste any energy stressing and freaking out.
It was really cold very cold. My fingers went numb with in a couple minutes and my feet ached the entire time from being so cold. It literately felt like I swam the entire 2.4 mile swim doing fist swim drills only really being able to use my forearm to pull with. The 1st loop was actually bearable but by the 2nd loop it was even colder. I was sooo happy to see that swim finish and get out of that water.
They had volunteers in the water unzipping the top of peoples wetsuits because everyone could not feel their hands. I pretty much went into automatic mode - ran up and had the wetsuit strippers help me get my suit off, grabbed my bag and went into the changing tent. I can't believe how many people were changing all their cloths and trying to put on sports bras when they were wet.. don't they know that is almost impossible. Since I was so cold I put on a pair of cheap stretchy gloves and a light vest on top of my tri kit. I had also put toe warmers in my shoes, so my shoes were nice and warm even after I took them out.
I was beyond happy to get on my bike. The gloves helped a ton and so did the vest I was able to warm up quickly and by the 1st out and back I was warmed up and look off my vest and gloves. I tossed them to the Pauole crew on government and headed out to the fun part of the course. Joe caught me at the main hill on english point and I was shocked that he was behind me since he is a faster swimmer but he said he was put in the warming hut for :20 min or so. I road steady up all the hill and maintained that over the top and down the backside. I actually felt pretty good and enjoyed the entire 1st loop. Starting the 2nd loop I felt good and just tried to stay focused and maintain my effort and keep eating. Which was difficult around mile 90 I had to loosen my race belt because my stomach had started to bloat and hurt. So I cut back on eating and just drank some and took some more salt. Luckily by the time I came in on the bike I thought it was mostly ok.
Quick change of shoes, helmet to visor and got some more sunblock and I was off. Oh yeah and at the last minute I grabbed some water and some pretzels on my way out.
Started my ironman shuffle and just told myself to smile and run to the aid stations and that is exactly what I did. Each aid station I walked and got some pretzels or water to pour on myself because it was hot. but then by the end of the aid station I started my shuffle again. I also walked up the big long hill at the turn around to, but ran all the flats and even the downhills. Other than my stomach I felt ok and just did my little ironman shuffle and cheered on all my friends that were racing.
2nd loop I felt good at the start but as I got further along my left ankle and top of my foot just hurt like I had a bruise or something. It was actually kind of a sharp pain and I could not get ride of it by moving my sock or adjusting my shoe but I kept shuffling to each aid station. Since it was no worse when I ran or walked I just kept at it till I got to the turn around point Jess caught me, after I passed her while she was in the porta potty. She did not feel good at all so we walked up the big hill and just chatted the whole way. She tied to do some jogging but couldn't and even slowed her walking pace a bit at times. Though she seemed better as long as we kept talking and walking. So since I had no real time goals and just wanted to enjoy the day I decided the last 6 miles or so of my race were best spent walking and talking with Jess all the way to the finish.
We finished shuffling down the street together and crossed the line smiling as if we had won because we did, we finished another Ironman.
It is funny because no one knows what to say to me about my race. I was smiling all day but I did not really have a fast time and my run especially became much longer than expected. Also I went into it with a different goal than usual - to just enjoy the day vs most people s goal for a faster time and that sort of thing. I just wanted to have fun and enjoy the sport of triathlon again. I did not really gut anything out, I smiled, push myself and had fun all day. It was the perfect day to spend swimming, biking and running and I had a great day with 2000+ other people who also like triathlon.