Coles notes version - just call me Ms IRONMAN!!! 16:21 and some change.
For those ready for a long and hopefully good read - grab a wobbly pop (I know I have) a comfy cushion and settle in - story time is about to begin boys and girls.
There is sooo much to talk about but I will just cover day of the rest will be in another post with some pics.
The alarm went off at 4:30 am and I was up like a shot - another great sleep - thankfully I am pretty much naracaleptic (?spelling?). Kettle on, bagel buttered, OJ poured and yogurt opened. Tylenol 8 hour taken breakfast eaten. Bottles out of fridge in appropriate bags and clothes on - 5:20 out the door. I felt ridicuously calm - on the drive in as we made the last turn Joe cranked IRONMAN by Ozzy Osbourne on the car stereo - it made me smile. I hopped out of the car gave him a kiss grabbed my bags and headed off to the special needs trucks. The energy was amazing - wow I was at Ironman. After I dropped my special needs bags I headed to body marking, added some final things to my bike to run bag and went to stand in the potty line. Then the nerves finally started to kick in - Joe called at this time to say he was by the Peach on the beach and would be watching. I sipped my Gleukos bottle and held my banana realizing I was not going to eat the banana. My turn came for the facilities, I used them and went to drop my dry bag and then realized I needed to do another bathroom run - my nerves were screaming it dawned on me - dear god - I am going to do an Ironman - holy crap....
I suddenly became absolutely terrified and started to tear up - I took a deep breath and walked towards the arch to the beach and realized I still had my thongs on - a volunteer - they were so great - took them for me and I walked under the archway onto the beach amongst volunteers and officials clapping yelling have a great race. I walked on to the beach and looked at the crowd it was a sea of people along the entire stretch of Lakeshore there were thousands of people and then I turned and close to 2650 people were on the beach with me - I was really starting to panic now - I thought look for Joe find him but I could not see him and then I truly started to panic - this lovely lady on the beach could see my distress and said they are looking for you just as much as you are looking for them - you will be fine. I kept trying not to cry and then I did one final scan of the crowd as the national anthem started and I saw him and ran across the beach to the fence - I had to talk to him one last time. He could see my distress and was starting to tear up - he grabbed my hands and said it's okay you are going to be okay you can do this. I looked at him and said I love you, wiped my tears and ran back - okay I can do this. Breathe.
The gun went off and I started out at the back walking till it was about at my waist and then I started to swim and it was okay - I felt calm and I just focused on the swim - the very LOONNNG swim all 3.89 km. It was fun to see the divers below and I did wave and I did not get clobbered or anything - mind you I did swim the first 500 metres off course but once I sorted out the right buoys to follow it was great. Swim time :1:52 and change. Swim - checkmark now for a lovely bike ride through the country....
Transition went quickly - so quickly that everyone missed me coming out - I had decided to swim in my shorts and sports bra - I had trained that way with no issues. So all I had to do was have my volunteer - talk about feeling catered to - help me put on my jersey , wipe my feet, pull on socks, shoes and helmet and such. I hugged my volunteer and headed out of the change tent. I would have been faster but I needed to use the bathroom again.
Bike - I was hoping to get off the bike in 7-7.5 hours. Coach Barb and I had chatted and both felt this was a reasonable expectation. I had set a plan to get to the special needs around 4 - 4.5 hours top end 5 hours - 120 km marker. The ride out to Osoyoos was nice but not a cloud in the sky so I knew it was going to be a warm one - ah it is the Okanagan - big shock (final temp 36). Barb had said to keep my heart rate around 73 - 78 to Macleans - the first major hill - and then spin up and take it to Steady State - 78-83 for the majority of the rest of ride. I got to Macleans and spun up the hill easily after I settled into the arrow bars for the ride to the base of Richter's - I was looking forward to it. It was pretty uneventful and I got to the base of Richters about 3 hours into the ride - right on schedule. Richter's/Cypress one in the same to me - and up up we go - easy peasy - one guy I passed was like don't you know you are riding Richter's - I was like Cypress once a week for the last 6 months. The next guy (yes I was passing boys like they were standing still) said someone who knows how to gear - the whole time I was watching my heartrate - careful - careful. Next up the rollers - WEEEEEEE! The best part of any uphill is downhill and again thanks to Coach Barb for showing me how to tuck and fly. Legs were feeling great and then the out and back from hell - literally - this was a bleak moment for me - I cursed under my breath and questioned the accuracy of measurements - I still question it - 20 km my ass - and then I was at special needs. Thanks to the amazing volunteers - they were so sweet and helpul. I grabbed my cold bottles of Electrolytes, fresh gels, my chips and a V8 juice. Drank my juice ate a handful of chips and we were off - time at Special needs 5 hours - darn it. Still lots of time - next up Yellow Lake.
So I came out of the out and back from hell and back on to the highway by the Bear at Kereomeos and saw the Shaunettes - boo ya! Just in the nick of time - what a pick me up! At this time the chips and V8 were trying to make a come back - oh no no no. Some deep breathing and plain water seemed to settle everyone down. The crew was doing rotating drive bys and it was awesome intermixed with the other crowd support- spectators are amazing. And then I was at Yellow Lake - right it is just a smaller version of Cypress - bring it - and away we go - I was at the top in no time - Joe was like you were looking super strong - he actually had a guy who had dropped out in the car that he was taking to the next aid station to meet an ambulance and even that fellow said that he had not seen anyone look that strong going up Yellow Lake and this was his 8th Ironman. Again Coach Barb's magic at work. Plus at the top it was all downhill home - WEEEEE! But surprise - at the top when I was SUPPOSED to have a fast easy ride back to town - finally I hit headwinds - and not a little headwind - I actually had to work - grrrrr - no fair - but this is Ironman and nothing is a given. So my easy coast into town was now a hot headwind battle to transition. Thankfully there were so many supportive spectators in cars. They were like look at her great smile - I had a smile/grimace for 16 hours+ - the entire time.
A quick check of my watch told me I would get in before cut off but the 7.5 hour was unlikely - shoot. As I got to the main drag I had had enough - my neck had been siezing for the last 30 km, my toes felt like they were on fire literally and I would have seriouly considered selling the bike for a case of beer and pitcher of margarita's plus there were these 2 guys who would pass me and then just sit there - it had been going on for the last 5 km or and was annoying me - so I thought screw this I am so over the bike ride and just yelled at them on your left, sucked up the pain got into the arrow bars and flew by then and down to transition. TOtal bike time 7:48:54 - not 7.5 but not 8 hours and in before cutoff - I'll take it.
Transition 2 was a treat because June Bug - one of the Shaunettes - was working and as I came in all I heard was this scream and June running to me for the biggest best hug ever. I will not lie at that moment I grabbed her and looked in the face and with my toes on fire and my neck throbbing said to her quite seriously - June this has to be the stupidest thing I have done - don't ever do this - promise me - she was like no worries - but you are so awesome. So a quick change of shorts, socks, shoes, running cap and fuel belt another hug and off for a wee run.
So I set out at a brisk walk because I was hurting but determined - after I made the first 2 turns I started to run - okay not so bad - I can handle this - as I am running down Lakeshore I suddenly can hear the Karen and my Guardian Angel - Judith yelling form their hotel balcony - just a short run now Shaun - you got it in the bag. You're right - I have got this. Then I got to the first aid station and thought Pepsi - I NEED PEPSI and grabbed a glass and started to walk uh oh calves started to sieze - okay walk for a bit. Then I see the Shaunettes - Yes - awesome - pick me up but not enough and all of the sudden Cindy - my other riding pal/guardian angel is beside me. She is officiating the race and says give me a hug you are doing great! We chat for a bit and she says don't worry your legs will ease up - just the words I need to hear - as she rides off I decide time to implement my 10 and 1's. So I do this and it is going great - at around 7 miles I come across Lana - one of Judith's friends and we walk/jog together until about 9 miles and then I hit another bleak moment where my legs are just too tight so Lana continues and I change to a brisk walk. I continue this until about 11 miles where I look at my watch and quickly realize that for the first time ever I will be taking over 5 hours to run a marathon - yeesh I am getting my money's worth for this race - that is for sure.
The crowds had thinned out now and we were handed our glow sticks. Then I come to the downhill to the turnaround at mile 13 and special needs - I thought it is now or never, time to dig - so I just started running - there was potato chips at the turnaround - if that can't make a girl run I don't what can. I passed Lana and a few other folks and just motored right to special needs. I got to my chips and the Tylenol - popped the tylenol and opened my chips and went to my happy place - ketchup chips YUM. I ate about half the bag and tossed the rest - right lets get this thing done.
By now it was dark and then as I came around the corner cowbells and the Ironman song greeted me - the SHAUNETTES were in the house! "Ironman, Ironman Shaun is going to be an Ironman - she will swim, she will ride, she run day and night LOOK OUT Shaun's going to Ironman (sung to the Spiderman song)." It was awesome - so I started running, new strategy I would run from mile marker to next aid station and then walk aid staion to next mile marker which was about 100 - 200 meters after the aid station. The Shaunettes would drive past yelling, cowbells and cheering for everyone and then park up the road and crank the tunes- they were loved by all - plus I totally appreciated the updates on phone calls they were receiving from family and virtual shaunettes.
It was not easy the calves were seizing something fierce but I just kept saying in my head - Pain is Temporary - Pride is forever over and over. Joe was like you kept getting faster and it was pretty much uphill most of the way back - they don't call me the hill nazi for nothing. I just wanted to finish this thing and I thought shoot for under 16 hours. The plan was working until around 23 miles - then my legs really started to get upset with me - Pain is Temporary - Pride is Forever. Mile 24 came up and my left leg did a nifty little mini buckle thingy. WHOAA - right okay speed walk it is - I can not go down now. So then I started power walking as fast as I could - 2 miles - only 2 miles. And then I went wait in 2 miles my adventure will be over - the thing that has defined me for the last year will be over - but wait that means I can go on a new adventure - MOVE IT! I came around the corner to Lakeshore and went run - this is your moment - time to suck it up princess - (legs please hold up) - and I saw the Shaunettes - boo ya - ok lets rock it.
Around the corner and oh it is my Guardian Angel Judith - yeah! and down to the end and there are Karen and Cindy - awesome! and what is that in the background YMCA - one of FAVORITE SONGS - WEEEEEEEE! So I picked up the pace - only 1/2 a km now and then there was Judith and it was poetically the best time to see her because she has been my guardian angel from the moment I met her on my first bike ride with Coach Barb and total believer that I could do this. I could not think of a better person to run the last 300 metres to the bright lights with than her. And then it was my time - Shaunettes were there, the lights were bright and stands were full and cheering - OMG - Amazing!!! I crossed the finish line arms raised and had one last surprise JOE was there to hand me my medal and hug - the perfect ending to my amazing adventure. 16:21:33 I am an Ironman. I will do another post with the rest of my thoughts - but suffice it to say - it was everything I hoped for and was promised and now that the pain has subsided it was not the "stupidest" thing I have done and YES I will be doing another - because really "HOW BAD CAN IT BE!" I need to do sub-15 hours.