So this Sunday will mark 1 week post Challenge. My body has had a fantastic recovery and now my main concern is catching up on sleep. So much has gone on these past 3 weeks the only place that seems right to start is from the beginning.
WARNING! Ahead is a long, drawn out account of my ironman distance triathlon experience.
So, 2 weeks out. Taper time. My workouts were feeling really good and I was enjoying the significant decrease in volume. A slight headache had crept in with my hope of it floating away quickly It didn’t. It lasted fr about 5 days. Brutal! Along with this, my low back (which I’ve had trouble with in the past) started to lock up. Wtf!? WHY? So off to the chiro I go and 2 massages later, I feel better. Along with this, my tummy was unsettled leaving me feeling nauseous. Oh and I had had a few nights of very poor sleep. This is strange to me cause I am blessed with being able to sleep solidly all night.
Sigh. This was week one. Fuck I thought, I CAN’T feel this way going into the race.
Week 2 was much much better. My back and tummy had settled and my headache was gone. My brain went from slightly negative with a hint of curse words to excitement. The tents started to go up and my friends and family started to arrive. Triathlon was in the air and I was getting high.
Challenge eve finally arrived. It was all so crazy. Here it is. The day has arrived. You’ve worked so hard this past year and it’s tomorrow!! I had a great sleep until about 2am. Then bam, wide awake. Shit I thought. I’m not sure if I actually fell back asleep before my 415am alarm went off.
I ate, got my stuff together, took the VERY important pre race poo and off we went into the dark to be tagged with a # by wonderful volunteers. I was a bit anxious in getting all of my stuff together such as where the hell do I drop my special needs bags off and do my tires have enough air.
I finally tug my wetsuit on and head to the sand. The water is wavy. Not what I had ordered but oh well, what can you do?
My support crew was out with signs, cheers and smiles. A sight that would lift my spirits every time I saw them throughout the day.
The crowd was significantly smaller than it has been in the past years when this was an Iron town. That’s ok. I have no doubt that Challenge will continue to grow as the years go by.
Swimming is my best event. Who cares really as it’s the shortest part of your day! In any case, I was hoping for a certain time and didn’t reach it due to the crazy waves. Overall it was decent. I didn’t leave with a bloody nose, so bonus!
After a smooth transition away I went. The bike course is super tough and has been a slow section for me this whole year. I MUST be back in town by 530pm in order to continue on to the run.
I had a GREAT bike! My support crew was amazing, meeting me along the way with those cheers and smiles, the volunteers were great and the weather was perfect. I rolled back in to town around 345pm. Awesome! I was so happy with that.
After another smooth transition away I went on The Run:
I’m a slow runner. I struggled with the 12 minute run in school. I was athlete of the year but could barely run for 12 continuous minutes! My goal was to run as much as possible and if I couldn’t or chose not to run, then I would power walk.
The first 9km started off great. Feeling good. After about 12km I started to feel crappy. A little nauseous and didn’t want ANY of the food I had on me. This too past and I discovered the soup broth and pop. This got me through. At the half way point Randy, Heather and Jen were there waiting. I needed a hug so bad and got a good one. I was ready to make the trek home. I was going to make it!! I could have walked the entire way back to town and would still be able to meet my goal. Heather jumped out of the car at about 15km left to go. We walked and jogged and chatted our way all the way back to the lights of the town. What a glorious site.
After kicking Heather out of my lane so I could fully absorb every moment of my last few km home I was getting closer and closer to Lakeshore Dr. I could hear the noise from the finish line. Turning onto Lakeshore was amazing. Supporters on both sides of the road, seeing friends along the way and now finishing with some new triathlon friends. I found an extra boost of energy and enjoyed every step of the way towards the finish line. My volunteer caught me, took my timing chip, gave me my finishers shirt and medal and pointed me towards the food!
Before that, I was able to take a great picture with my friends. We made it! It was so surreal. I ate and collected myself and then found my crew. This was strange. Ok, you’re done, now what? Just go home. It started to rain pretty good so we got my gear home and I finally found myself in that cold tub that I had been thinking about all day.
I got cleaned up, stretched and we listened to the announcer call the final finishers across the line.
I soon fell asleep only to be woken up at 4am by a hungry body. I smashed on a can of soup and went back to bed. Woke up at 7am, feeding time again.
Later that morning I enjoyed a glorious breakfast with my crew and walked around as much as I could to work the legs out.
Now it’s the calm after the storm. All the tents have some down, out of town athletes have gone home along with my friends and family and the town is quieting down. Almost like it never happened.
Before completing the event I already had decided in my mind that this was a one time thing for me and that people that do it multiple times might just need a catscan. (1 word?)
Now, post race, I can’t say that I feel the same. The high you feel, the sense of accomplishment and all the people you meet along the way has been so wonderful. I now understand what keeps folks coming back for more.
I’m definitely not signing up for anything anytime soon but ya know, maybe one day.
For now, I am looking forward to focusing on gaining some strength with Crossfit and focusing more on my yoga practice.
If you are looking for a special experience in your life, consider this one even if you think that you’re NOT a swimmer and cyclist or a runner. Anyone can do this and it’s sure been a wonderful experience.
Except for my celebratory tattoo. See that post coming soon!