A week in Arizona: Ironman Recap
The magic was KT’s Kona Tri suit. I have no CFC racing digs, so at the last minute (literally) -9pm Saturday evening, KT showed up at my hotelwith the magic. A generous act, considering I just formally met her the night before!
When I signed up for Ironman Arizona last year, I was thinking it would be a warm and sunny race day. Ha! That tricky Mother Nature…
I arrived in Tempe that Wednesday of race week. It was gorgeous. Sunny and high 70s. Perfect. Every day was beautiful. I was constantly checking the race day weather forecast, which was a high of 73, partly cloudy with winds 5-10 mph, and a 20% chance of rain in the evening. That did not happen…
It was cloudy, tad windy and around 56 degrees. The water temperature was 63 degrees. I am from Michigan, so that was was not that cold to me. It was a rolling start. You were to seed yourself based on the time you expected to finish the swim. I went to the 1:15-1:30 section. I think it went fairly smooth. It was quick to get in after the cannon went off. I dove in and started. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming… going over and over in my head as I was pulled on and knocked in the head. I swallowed soo much water. I have one speed in the swim. Relaxed. Cruise control. I was happy it was cloudy because I worried about the glare of the sun. Nothing to worry about there! I was so excited to see the last bridge we had to go under because the last turn buoy was close. Turned and swam in to the stairs. Awkward exit. I felt like the kid who can’t climb the rope in gym class!
I ran to the strippers all jazzed to get to the bike. I used this Tri spray on my wrists and ankles and swear it was the fastest I have ever gotten that suit off. Got my bag. I was not cold at all, so decided to not wear gloves or shrug, snagged bike and off!
I was so happy I wasn’t freezing! It started out cloudy with little openings in the sky. It was pretty. I had contemplated wearing the shield on my helmet or sunglasses. So glad i went with the shield. After the first turnaround on the first loop, the rain started. It was just a little drops. At first, I was thinking i was dripping sweat on my forearms. Then it landed on my hands. yep. Rain. I was COMPLETELY flabbergasted. No Way was it going to rain in Arizona! There WAS a chance, but I never really thought it would happen. Oh, it happened. Happened for the rest of the ride. About 95 more miles of rain, pouring. And some wind. I actually didn’t mind it. I felt like I had an advantage because I am from a cooler climate and have thick experienced skin to cold and elements. On the way to the first turnaround, I was wondering if I had a flat. I was trucking at a big 15 mph pace, feeling like I was putting out a 25. I realized that was def the notorious false flat. Because on the way back, I was stoked to see 30 mph on my Garmin. So in my head, saying to self, remember, be careful on your way back. This is going to happen 2 more times!
One of my favorite parts of the ride was the turnaround loop downtown, where I saw Pete and company pumping their arms for me. Made me smile. Another favorite part was a stretch where the birds sang. I would say in my head, the line from Dumb and Dumber, “pretty bird”… I still need to figure out what those were!
Coming around the turn at the second loop, after B-line, there was an aid station. Just before it was a duck blind- like bottle catching set up game that some volunteers set up. They were using duck calls to get you to chuck your bottles. I of course had an empty, wanted to take the challenge. My aim was off. I chucked the bottle and nailed him right in the nether regions. I was mortified. First I yelled an expletive , then an apology.
The whole third loop, I felt so bad and hope he had heard me apologize. Oy. As the turnaround came up again, I started my apologies as came up on them and an OK was gestured to me. Oh, the relief! So I felt so much better on that ride back to town. Way better. Because it was the end of this long ride, in the pouring rain and I just wanted the run to start, the part I had been waiting for since I woke up at 3:55am.
I said I wasn’t cold on the bike. I didn’t really know I actually was until I ran into the tent with my bag and could not do anything on my own. My fingers were so numb and my brain, probably as well! The killer volunteer opened my bag, helped take my bike shoes and wet socks off. I tried so hard to pull my calf sleeves up, took like 20 minutes, swear. No, not really… My toes and fingers were stiffs do numb . Being aero for over 5 hours in cool wet conditions tensed my back up. I finally got out of T2 and started what I’d been waiting for all day. But thought, $uck, I can’t run what I want feeling like this!
The first 2 miles I was talking to myself… Shake it off. http://www.hulu.com/watch/4133
You’re good. This is YOUR WEATHER. Finally after the mucky clay trail, I got my act together. I LITerally was so angry how sloppy and wet it was… Swearing out loud and running penguin style…. Arms out to balance me. Got onto solid ground and felt way better. Saw Pete on his bike and his white poncho cape around 5/6 ish? I don’t even remember! But it always helps to see a familiar face to motivate you. And he does. Coming back around across the lake I saw KT and crew and cheering and taking god awful pictures of me (sorry but I looked like I had huge hitch in my get along ) … Back to the muck. More swearing and slowing down making me angry again, but best part was I knew I didn’t have to go back there again!!! Holla! Yay, I was almost done! Finish tough and strong. I was super focused on what time I wanted to do the marathon in, and I was pretty close. I said to myself, run as hard as you can. And I did. I felt great and I do believe the clouds and sprinkles were a gift. At least to me! I was so happy to see the beginning of the finish chute. Smiles the whole way to the end. My 7th Ironman in the books.
Kudos to Pete and KT. Greatest cheering section especially because I was flying solo this race.