December 7, 2010

I am an IRONMAN!!

Said I would never do it...but I DID IT!  Last weekend I crossed the finish line at Ironman Cozumel and got to hear those, oh so special words: "Amanda, YOU are and IRONMAN!"  Way cool!

So many people have been asking for a race report...which has been a bit overwhelming, because it seems like so much went on before, during, and after the race.  Also hard to put all the emotion and excitement into words!  Thank goodness Randy has some great pics that can fill in some of the gaps :)   I'm never one to enjoy a long blog or race report...WARNING, this is LONG!

The plan going into this race was to gain some experience at the Ironman distance, to see if Ironman 'was in my blood', and to challenge myself and abilities.  The results: I learned ALOT out there and it took a few days post-race to realize it, but IM is in my blood! 


Potts head 2nd from bottom, mine 3rd!
  After a less than stellar swim in Clearwater, I was ready to put down a great swim.  I'd swam on the course the days leading up to the was gorgeous!  The clearest, bluest water I've ever swam in...and so much to look at: fish, stingrays, coral, and more.  Good thing I got to enjoy it before the race, because it was 'game on' once the gun sounded and I don't recall seeing anything during the race!  My plan was to start next to Potts and stay with him as long as possible.  About 4min before the start, there was some confusion about one of the bouys.  We were already semi-lined up to start and when this happened, Potts moved to the complete other side.  Since I was stuck like glue, I went too...along with the entire field.  Some dude tried to wiggle his way between me and Potts, um excuse me?! So I swam underneath him and popped up right next to Andy!  I was a bit worried as they were counting down the time to start, because a lifeguard was paddling in front of us, I didn't want to get stuck in a mess.  No worries though, clear water in front of us and BOOM! We were off!

Since I haven't raced an ITU race in quite sometime, I wasn't fully prepared for the rough start.  I was pretty much in the mix with all the guys.  After a slap to the head, an elbow, and a yank on my foot, I was momentarily shocked.  A split second later I told myself to "Man Up and Put your Big Girl Boots on!".  That's what it was going to take if I wanted to maintain my position.  It started to thin out a bit around 150mtr and then at 300mtr the group seemed much smaller.  We were swimming against the current and the effort felt pretty easy, so I knew Potts was going to make a break soon.  I was ready, but when he went, a small gap opened and with the current, it slowly grew.  With Potts now off the front, I was now with a small group of guys.  We made our way around the far bouys.  Holy Moly!  As we made the turn to go down-current, it was amazing how strong the current really was!  This was gonna be a fun stretch of swimming :)  The swim was pretty uneventful, I just cruised along and felt good.  I was tempted to break away from the group a few times...but reminded myself that I had a long day of 'training' ahead!  There was a bit of confusion coming into the exit.  There was a shorter line to the stairs and I started to veer off that way, but a kayaker stopped me.  We ended up swimming around a bouy and then making a sharp turn to the stairs.  I guess they removed the bouy right after I came out of the water?!  I came out of the water and was only 1:30 down from Potts.  The crowd was going crazy!!!  They couldn't believe that A GIRL had swum that fast!  I ran into the change tent to the chanting and screaming of the crowd, amazing energy!

I was out on my bike in no time.  The streets were lined with spectators cheering...I did my best to take in all their energy and excitement in anticipation of spending some time alone out on the course.  My legs felt good from the get go.  I immediately found a good rhythm, my watts were totally under control: right where Lance and I wanted them to be.  I got in some early nutrition and then put my head down.  Just like the swim course, the bike course was spectacular.  Totally closed off to traffic, huge aid stations every 10km, stunning views.  I've never had to rely on the aid stations I was a bit scared of being able to grab all the water I'd need.  I missed the first bottle, but then thought of Freddy and Dorian practicing hand-ups with me in Texas...never missed another bottle!  A few of the guys zoomed by me like I was standing still!  Was I going too slow?!  I checked my watts and effort, right were I was supposed to be.  Back into my zone I went.  Since I was off the front, riding solo, I had no idea what was happening behind me with the other girls.  I never heard any splits, zip, zilch, nada.  Towards the end of lap one we started to come back into town and the streets were lined with people cheering, chanting, running all over, it was a mad house!  When I passed the swim start to begin lap 2, I saw age-groupers up the road.  Pick em off one by one!  So for the next lap, I pretended like I was pac-man, gobbling up the dots up the road.  Amazingly, there were no 'packs' of age-groupers...they were all spread out=good spread out targets.  My watts on lap 2 bumped up a bit, yah, feeling good.  Kept it steady and got the calories and water in.  I hit the back side of the island and that was the first time I really felt the heat!  Boy, it was going to be a hot day...let the water dumping begin!  Lap 2 done and I'm still riding solo.  I was right on pace to ride 5:00, I knew last year's fastest split was a 5:03, sweet!  I'd been warned before the race that there would be good patches and bad patches...and a bad spot was quickly approaching.  As I started lap 3 (around 80miles) my watts plumeted, my legs felt crampy, I had no energy.  OH NO!  A brief second of worry...did I go out to fast, was my nutrition off, I've never raced this far, what do I do?  My anxiety only lasted briefly as I quickly reminded myself of all the training and preparation I'd done.  I was prepared for the bad spots, so lets deal with it and get on. I took in extra calories, salt, and focues on keeping my cadence up.  I kept cruising along and that is when I found out there were 2 women within a minute of me.  Alright: just keep it steady, get through the next aid station to top off all your bottles, let you legs come around, and be ready when they get here.  Well, my legs didn't come around and unfortunately when Tyler and Yvonne came whizzing by, me legs felt the worst they'd felt all day!  Those girls are animals on the bike!  Before I knew it they were small specs way up the road.  Alrighty, re-focus, keep on the nutrition, trust that your legs will come around.  Then Dede passed me, whosh, and she was up the road.  Its okay, we still have a marathon to run, get yourself to T2 in good shape.  I made the turn back into town and all of a sudden my legs came around.  About the same time, Luke and Meg came by...great energy there!  I started to reel Dede back in...slowly but surely.  It felt so good to have my legs back under me...I got through my first really bad Ironman patch!  Going into transition the crowds were amazing once again, excitement all around!  Came into T2 a few seconds behind Dede, but got out on the run before her.  Yippee, time to run 26.2! 

Right off the bat, I felt good.  The enthusiasm of the crowd, amazing again!  Well, my good feeling only lasted about 800mtr.  Funny story! I have never worn socks in a race.  About 2 weeks before the race, Lance and I were going over logistics and he brought ups socks.  I was like, um, I wasn't planning on using socks, never have.  Then he reminded me that I'd be running 26.2 miles not 13.1 or a 10K.  Okay, I'll wear socks. At that time, the search for race socks began.  All of my training socks were either stretched out, had holes in them or annoyed me, I wasn't going to use any of them for the race.  Randy showed up in Cozumel with brand new running socks for me.  I picked the purple TCU colored ones for race day.  Lance had also told me to put an extra pair of socks in my run special needs bag.  I asked Randy, do I really need to?  I did not want to put a brand new, nice pair of running socks in there, I'd never see them again!

Okay, so back to the race.   About 800mtr down the road it felt like my sock was slipping down into my shoe.  Darn it!  I stopped, pulled up my sock and started to run again.  Dede had caught up to me, so I took off a bit faster.  A few minutes later, it felt like my sock had slipped down again. I knew I shouldn't have worn socks!  It became so annoying that I stopped, again!, pulled my sock up, but also noticed that my sock hadn't really slipped down?! Wierd. Oh well, off I went again, with Dede closing again.  A mile later and the same feeling in my shoe came back.  What in the world?!  I can't keep stopping to fix my socks.  At that point, I decided, the socks are coming off.  Well, as I reached down to fix them, I realized my insole was coming out of my shoe.  No wonder it felt so strange!  I assumed that happened in the hustle of transition, got it fixed and started to run once again, happy to have my 'sock' problem fixed. didn't take long for it to happen again.  A bit frustrated, I looked down, and my insole had worked its way out of my shoe again.  At that point I decided to put an end to this maddness for good.  Took my shoes off and whipped out the insoles, tossed them in the trash. Problem solved, now it was time to get moving!  I found a good rhythm and started to focus on chasing the leaders down. The run course was 3 out and back loops.  The far turn around was just past the Melia resort.  This is where Randy and I got married this summer.  When I ran past the Melia on the first lap my heart was filled with amazing positive vibes!  I let that carry me back to transition.  1st lap done, steady pace, feeling relatively good.   Then the long bad patch of my run decided to hit: miles ~9-15.  My bladder started spasming, it had never seen so much and such a constant influx of caffiene!  I tried to stop and pee several times, but nothing, no pee just intense pain.  So annoying to keep having to re-pass the same people!  Finally got that under control.  Around mile 11, I realized minus insoles my shoes were a bit roomier.  That plus all the water that I was dumping on me to stay cool, and I had blisters like never before!  Thank goodness Randy had 'forced' me to put my extra socks in my special needs bag!  Swaped my socks out and my feet felt like a million bucks.  I focused on putting one foot in front of the other, getting nutrition in, and getting my energy back.  I rouned the turn at the end of lap 2 and saw that the Soofie was closing in on me, she was less than 1min back!  Okay, this is where you dig deep and make it happen.  She hurts just as much as you...and she hasn't made 5 ga-jillion stops like you have.  No more stops til the finish!  My legs started to come around some-what and I ticked the miles off.  At mile 19, I decided to walk for about 10mtr to get a salt pill in.  Bad choice!  My legs were ready to stop right then and there.  Walking felt so nice...sitting down would be so much better...snapped myself out of those thoughts and forced my legs to run.  Okay, no more stops and no more walking until the finish line!  I got to the Melia for the thrid and final times, good vibes, good vibes, let them carry  you home.  I reached the 23mile marker and knew I was going to make it, I was going to be an Ironman!  That thought fueled me to the finish line.  About 800mtr out from the finish line, the streets were super crowed, there was barely enough space to run, madness!  I rounded the corner and saw the finsh chute, yippee!!!!!  Pure EUPHORIA!  I crossed the finish line and was flooded with so many, relief, exhilaration, pride!  A truly amazing expereince!  Congrats to Andy and Yvonne for phenomenal preformances!  Congrats to all my compeitors!  And Good Job to all the Ironman Cozumel finishers!

An experience that wouldn't be possible with everyone's love, support, and encouragement. 

1 comment:

Bret said...

Congratulations Doc! Quite a sock or insole saga. You rock Doc!