Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Day Finally Came!

Saturday was the day that I had to drop off my gear to the transition area. We got down to the area where I was greeted by a volunteer who then gave me the grand tour of the transition area. First, we stopped at the bike rack and I hung my bike on my space that was stickered with my name and bib number. I lucked out! A prime spot on the bike racks-on the end and close to the bike out and in! Then we headed to the bag area. The bags were placed on the ground in numerical order-I was towards the back closest to the changing tents. Finally, we took a tour of the changing tent. The changing tent was a tent with a bunch of chairs and a couple of tables for gatorade and bananas. As we left the changing tents I was guided out of the transition area was not to return to my things until race day.

Race day!

The day finally came! After months of the training, I couldn't believe it was here! I stayed in a separate room that night before hoping that I could get some sleep-I don't know what I was thinking! I hadn't slept much for the week prior to the race because of my nervousness and the night before wasn't any different. My alarm went off at 3:30 am and I got dressed and headed back to my parents room so my dad could drive me to the transition area.

We got to the transition area early and ended up waiting for about 15 minutes along with all the other early birds. After finally letting us into the transition area at 5:00 am I quickly got my bike and filled the tires, water bottles, and bento box. Then I walked quickly to the swim start to get a good spot in line where we sat and waited until 7:00 am. I sat next to a man from Roseville, MN!

6:50 the pros started in the water. They swam past us upstream so we got to see them for a brief moment. We were next! There was a time trial start, so each swimmer started about 1.5 seconds apart. We swam against the current for about a mile. The was extremely warm-84.5 degrees! As I got closer to the far end of the island, the current got stronger and I didn't feel like I was going anywhere. As we rounded the corner of the island, my right should started to act up. The course then led us out into the center of the river before we turned to go downstream. I didn't find that going downstream was a ton easier as I had a harder time keeping my legs up and I was being pushed towards the shore or side of the river. I found the swim difficult. I started counting buoys and repeated in my head the phrase with every stroke "long and Strong." When I finally made it to the finish a volunteer pulls you up onto the stairs to help you in. For a swim that I felt took forever, my time wasn't terrible for a non wetsuit legal race-1:22. Coming out of the swim was awesome and there were a ton of people cheering you on!

I ran to the transition area, grabbed my bag and a volunteer followed me into the tent to help me change. She helped get me out of my wet clothes and handed me my new dry bike clothes, got me gatorade so I could take my electrolytes and a bag of luna moons. As I was taking my electrolytes I realized that I forgot to pack my electrolyte tabs on my bike! Crap! As I left the tent there was another volunteer that sprayed sunscreen on me.

I got my bike and headed out on the course. The bike course was out Hwy 42 to an out and back section and then two loops through the town of La Grange. About two miles into the ride a lady past by and asked if I was from the Midwest-she noticed my water bottles that said Gear West. That lady was from Minnesota too and trained with Gear West.

As people passed me, I realized that I forgot to wear my race number! When the officials passed I would get really low in my aerobars so they couldn't tell that I wasn't wearing it-it worked as I didn't get kicked off the course or DQ'd.

I had my plan in place for the bike-take the first half easy then if I felt good up the speed. I tried to maintain a speed between 16-18 mph on the way out. The course was pretty hilly until we got to La Grange. Some of the climbs were monsterous, however I relaxed and took each climb easy-focusing on keeping a steady cadence. The down hills were just as big as the up hill meaning people were flying down the narrow roads going probably 50+ mph. The heat really started to pick up and there wasn't much shade on the course. I was having a hard time taking in my solids that I brought, so I relied on the gatorade and carbopro mixture for most of my ride.

At miles 38 and 68 we rode through the town of La Grange where they had a festival going on and tons of people cheering. As I rode through La Grange, I became energized!

After the town of La Grange, there was a area that had a single lane road that was twisty and hilly similar to an area that I did some training rides on in Marine. On the first loop through this area a man crashed in front of me!

As the ride went on the wind really picked up- a head or cross wind for about 70 miles. The downhills became a little scary with the wind gusts.

During the ride I set milestone-first to get to mile 38, then 56, then 68, then 80, then 90-once I got to 90 I knew I had it in the bag! Each 10 miles I tried to remember the tips from my century ride with Jen and Cindy-except when I got to mile 70 I said "I will NOT get a Flat!"

The last 30 miles were great! The hills started to settle out and the wind was at my back. I was 20+ mph on the way back-passing all the people that hammered it in the beginning.

As we approach Louisville, traffic had picked up and I got mad and started yelling at the vehicles on the road! I think that everyone around me thought I was a crazy women-I was maybe a little loopy, but I didn't want to get hit!

Next I came into the transition area, a volunteer grabbed my bike and I head to the bag area and a volunteered helped me get changed. My feet were sore from the biking, but I was feeling good. before heading out on my run I took some electrolytes, a bag of luna moons, and some gatorade.

My plan on the run was to do Galloway 5 and 1's until the half way point and then reassess where I was at. I'm glad that I went in with a plan! I felt rely good on the run portion except for the blisters that I could feel on the bottoms of my feet. Each waterstop, I took a glass of ice that I put in my bra, dumped water on my head, took in either coke or gatorade and some pretzels. The half way point is where I picked up my special needs bag where I had more electrolyte tabs and some clif blocks waiting.

The run was two loops, which was crazy because you ran through the finish area twice. I felt strong on the run and the miles seem to peel away quickly.

The finish was awesome-ELECTRIFYING! There was thousands of people to pull you into the finish! After crossing the finish line-I couldn't wait to get my medal put around my neck!

After the finish we walked over to get my morning clothes bag at the KICC. There was a little mishap-they couldn't find my bag! I got pissed and made them keep checking that they kept saying they didn't have it. Finally, a volunteer found my bag that was in the wrong place-thank god!

After showering, guess what I got my nachos and beer!

Monday, we had the awards banquet. They handed out awards to the pro's, age groupers, and racers that raised money for charities. Then they finished with the official video of Ironman Louisville. As we leaving the awards dinner they gave us a copy of the video but they cut off our wristband that was placed at the beginning of the weekend-it was so final, everything was over. I almost was willing not to get a video just to keep the wristband on.

Tuesday, we got on the road early to head back. The ride was long to Madison. After arriving to Madison we walked around State St. I took pictures of the signs for the weekends Ironman, which brought my excitement. They started setting up course already.

This overall experience was amazing!

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