The day started with tons of nerves as usual. I planned to meet my friend Don Bosch to do a good swim warm-up but we never made a meeting spot and there were athletes and spectators galore gathered all around the start. Prerace I spent most of my time after check in near the “ladies room”. I finally made my way to the pier at 6:20 in my new TYR Sayonara and to my delight Don was standing there with a smile. We got in and did a ten minute warm-up, gave each other a big good luck water hug and I was off to the professional start line. The minutes leading up to the start of the race are very nerve racking and exciting at the same time - but the last five minutes seem to go so long as you never know exactly when they will fire the cannon. Then suddenly BAM !! In the first 50 feet I got one side of my goggles kicked off and they were hanging by one eye, I was ticked that I missed the pack but thankful they actually stayed on my head. I made a quick adjustment and was back on track. I worked hard throughout the swim to keep a good line and stay in a draft when possible. I was satisfied with the swim although a faster time would have been nice !
Next up the 112 mile bike - Overall my bike ride was so much fun!! I got on the bike but within minutes my computer was lodged in the rear cog – I was screaming for help and a nice guy just tore it off my bike and I was back moving. In the short debacle I lost the athletes I was out of the water with, but about ten minutes later a group caught me which included Sandra Wallenhorst, Yvonne Van Vierken and Kate Major. It was a blessing in disguise because I was warmed up and ready to keep contact. The four of us stayed 10 meters apart for about fifteen miles, then shortly after Yvonne broke away.
I started to get sick on the bike about mile 95 and got passed by Linsey Corbin and a few others. I got off the bike and OUCH !! My legs were cramping from loss of fluid, had a long transition and the shuffle began. I must honestly admit I was feeling awful and getting worse. I was doing the walk, jog, shuffle thing trying to take in calories but I seemed to be getting worse. I wanted to quit – people were cheering like crazy and all I wanted to do was cry – I had imagined pushing my body and running fast and my stomach hurt so much that I couldn’t. I saw Todd, gave him a hug – had a few tears and said I was going to do the best I could as I thought of my daughter Jordan. Many people know the story but my daughter has cerebral palsy and has fought her entire life to overcome and in doing so has come so far. I know that she would give anything to be able to run someday so the thought of stopping a race because of the pain I am in is not an option in my mind. If nothing else I would walk the entire race and keep going for Jordan.
I saw coach Paul from Lifesport – my mind was saying stop but Paul encouraged me to “keep going – it will come back” I walked half way up Palani then started to run once again. I got salt from a competitor and fluid from the aid station and finally started to feel a little better. Each mile got better and better, it was an amazing turnaround. The last half of the race I felt great and pulled in almost all the women who passed me earlier. It is a great life lesson to never quit no matter what the circumstances as you never know what is around the corner. I finished this Ironman day with a smile on my face and a thankful heart.
I am thankful to all of those who helped me along the path to race day including my great sponsors: Trakkers, K-Swiss, Quintana Roo, First Endurance, Fuel Belt, Gu, Village Bikes, Zipp, Oakley, Lifesport, Marc Strickland and the Center 4Massage – you are the Best – your continued support means the world to me!!