The short version of chesapeakeman was a swim of 1:19, bike of 6:36 and run of 5:34. Overall time of 13:45:49, good enough for 5th overall female considering this race doesn't pull a huge elite wave and is more geared for first time ironman athletes...but whatever I was just happy with finishing under 14 hours honestly. Just a finish was a win for me.
The longer version.
We left wednesday afternoon to go to Cambridge. This is the same site where Eagleman is held in June/July. A great little town. It was Tim, the boys, my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, tim's parents and our niece. We rented a house about 6 miles from the finish of the race. I had broken down and started snorting Afrin on Tuesday so Thursday was the last day I could take it. I was still so stuffy and coughing uncontrollably Friday. It was only after warm herbal team with honey that I was able to get any good rest before the race.
Saturday morning, Tim got up with me at 4 and we headed to drop off my special needs bags and then over to the swim start. I think I had been so nervous since about 5 weeks out that I just didn't have any nerves left. From the time we got into town Wednesday and even throughout the day Saturday, I was never nervous. I was not worried, I was just ready to start. I don't get it, perhaps the one time I should have been nervous and it wasn't there. It was very surreal and just seemed like any other race day, really more like a training day.
Swim: I was actually able to touch bottom at the start, which was nice. They had warned us about jelly fish, but I didn't run into any. Aside from a few head bonks and a few elbows, the swim was uneventful. I was very conservative on the first lap just due to not knowing was kind of effort I could get away with and still have the energy for later. I guess that happens with the first try at each distance. I must have been hydrated because I used the bathroom at least 5 times during the swim. Although my left calf got a charlie horse three times and I couldn't kick for the last 500 m of the swim, I was happy with the swim. I swallowed/snorted salt water twice...so not a ton but enough to open my sinuses and keep me from coughing all day.
T1: Lots of ladies looking very scared and quiet. I used the bathroom again in T1...good hydration.
Bike: My family had gone out the night before and put messages on the bike course every 5 miles. This was a flat course...windy from all directions, so at least it wasn't a head wind the entire time. I have to say that I thought I would love the flat, and I did love the absence of big hills, but I would have like something to give my legs a little break every now and then. The messages were a great way to break the ride up. Not only that, my family drove the bike course and stopped every 10 miles or so and waited for me...yelling, clapping, dancing...it was awesome. They started cheering for others riding around me too. I tell you, that came in handy on the second lap especially when I started to hit that wall. It gave me that little extra boost. I actually used the bathroom while riding the bike...never thought I would do that...but holy crap I must have been hydrating well. Again, uneventful ride. Nothing crazy going on, just riding. Trying to push when the head winds hit and then trying to take advantage of the tail winds. The thing that was odd was the sporadic bursts of energy and then lack there of; this started happening about 85 miles in. Again, take advantage of the energy periods hoping they weren't met by the headwind and then just trying to push through the lack of energy.
T2: I was in the tent all alone with a bottle on unopened water somebody had left...so I used it to shower off before changing clothes. Loaded up on sunscreen, stretched out a little and drank some more fluids oh yeah and went to the bathroom again.
Run: This was an out and back (3 times) with not a lot of shade. I just tried to get my legs going. By the time I was starting the run it was about 96-97 degrees out, the good thing was that it was not humid. I made it to the turn around where they had tikki torches, a grill, a keg of beer and upbeat music blasting....it was nice. I wish they had that set up at all the stops. When I got back to aide station 2 my sister and mom were there to see me, I had to sit and vaseline up my feet...yucky blisters already formed on the balls of both feet and three toes. At the start of lap two, I met up with Brian from Delaware and we agreed to run the last two laps together...and we did. run every mile, stop at the stations and drink, take a few slow steps and start running again. I had to stop 3 times to use the bathroom on the run...I'm telling you, I had the nutrition down on saturday. By the time we started lap 3, the sun was setting and you couldn't see the road at all, they only had 2 rented lights on the 4.2 mile stretch of road. Tim met Brian and I out there and "ran" beside us.
The finish: Brian told me to go ahead of him at the finish because I had "saved him from a race that would have been over 15 hours". So I did....grabbed Brayden on the way in, Ryan was asleep with Nina, and everyone ran across with me. One of the most amazing feelings I ever had!
It's crazy to think that my first marathon ever was at the end of an ironman. Actually prior to race day my longest run ever was 17 miles. I never felt overwhelmed with the day or what I had to do, it never felt like a daunting task...it just felt doable. Tim's only comment was "well it didn't feel that way because you were physically prepared." And he's right, so thank you Marty Gaal...you are the reason that the only daemon I had to face Saturday was myself. I was equipped physically and nutritionally.
On that note, I whole heartedly believe that the reason I was able to conquer myself Saturday was because of my family. My day wonderful and fun and exciting only because of my family's support and willingness to share in it with me. For almost a year now, Tim and the boys have dealt with training on a daily basis, my parents have come through on countless occasions so that I could get long rides/runs in on weekends and still allow for Tim and I to have some time together and my sister been the ear that has heard it all. And on the day itself, I couldn't have asked for a better cheering section...if anyone ever needs fans, I'll rent my in-laws out...when I tell you that you can hear them calling your name a 1/4 mile away, I'm not exaggerating! And if it's loud, you'll still hear them above everyone else...and that keeps you moving.
I absolutely love triathlon, and now I know why so many people love the ironman distance. My day ended with my sister and I in the back of the truck back at the house, both crying. Her emotionally exhausted from all the support she'd been giving all day, not just to me but to everyone else. Why would that make her cry? The connection you make with these athletes trying to do something so crazy, right? And then not knowing if they made it. And that made me cry. Because somebody else got it. Maybe my friend Malinda was right, I'm a "waterhead", but that's why I love this sport...the months of sacrifice, crazy crap and then the one day pay off that lasts a life time.
Will I do another one? Absolutely. When? Not for a while, it's my family turn for the same commitment and attention that they've shown me over the last 10 months. I'll post pics of the tattoo when I get it...sister is helping design it.
Oh yeah, and guess what.....I'm an Ironman!
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