This is long.
You've been warned.
On Thursday we headed down South to The Woodlands, about a three hour drive from Dallas. I picked up my packet and somehow managed to run into EVERYONE I knew that was racing. It was great to see the friendly faces but boy howdy, it was HAWT standing out on that pavement in the sun. We've had a very mild spring and summer decided to show up just days before Ironman. Rude.
Getting my stuff. Thank you to all the volunteers who worked out in the hot sun - y'all are fantastic!
Not a fan of expos, I did no shopping, instead opting to high tail it out of there and get inside to rest. I spotted a Chocolate Milk booth and quickly became a sad panda when I realized they were not giving out chocolate milk. (everyone knows that chocolate milk is my jam) But the much more observant Cyclist noticed that they were accepting applications for Team Refuel. So I made a little video. We'll see where that goes.
Yes, that's chocolate milk on his head, y'all!
Race morning I was up at stupid thirty and we headed to transition to set my bike up and then walked the mile to the swim start. Side: I am IN LOVE with the Smashfest Queen kits. (although, don't get me wrong, I'm still Betty Designs loyal - but, but, but pink and orange!) And I don't know why my gut is hanging out like that. It was early and I was too preoccupied to suck in? Sheesh, TPG, get your act together.
Thx for the pix, TR13CE!
It has been very cool here, unusually cool. But the days leading up to the race it heated up and FAST. So did the lake water. At 5 am they made the call - wetsuit optional. That meant that if I wore my wetsuit, I'd have to take an overall 10 minute penalty. I chose the penalty. I've done all my OWS training in a wetsuit. Race day was NOT the day to take away my thunder shirt.
I FINALLY got a pink race cap! Well, so did all of the women. But pink!
After OKC last year, where I wore a sparkly pink run skirt, he promised to one day spectate for me wearing sparkles.
This picture, a favorite, from sweet Mama C
And spectate in sparkles he did. I had no problem spotting him from the water in all his pink finery! I pink sparkle heart him! How cute is his shirt? How cute is HE? Best. Spectator. Ever. Best everything.
Now, we all know that the swim is my monkey. I am not a fast swimmer, but I'm a very capable swimmer. I just don't like all the flailing arms, legs and the crashing waves. Wearing my wetsuit meant that I started 10 minutes after the washing machine. I found a hole amongst the other more timid swimmers and floated. And prayed. You see, heavy on my heart are my friends the Morenos. They have a critically ill newborn son, Beckham. That is real fear - a very sick baby. I asked God to take away my fear and allow me to swim with confidence, focusing not on me, but instead on baby Beckham. I prayed for that sweet little baby the entire 1 hour and 44 minutes. (yes, I'm slow) And you know what? Not a single moment of panic. Yes, I, no exaggeration, prolly swam a good 5000 yards - I was all OVER the place. But my heart rate stayed down and I just repeated his name with each stroke. "Beckham. Beckham." And I prayed that one day he will be strong enough to learn to swim, or run or to ride a bicycle. Every child deserves that dream.
The entire swim was congested - swimming in a canal will do that. I got punched and kicked. I punched and kicked. I took an elbow to the inside of my bicep - that hurt like snot. One guy punched my goggles into my eye socket - ouch. (that still hurts now) But I made it. Before I knew it, I was climbing woggly out of the water. Climbing out to my wonderful friends who volunteered as strippers. I shook my shoulders and screamed, "STRIP ME, BABY!" They all screamed when they recognized me and Drum picked me up and whirled me around before Sare Bear stripped me. Lot of hugs later, I was headed down the chute.
Swim start pic from The Cyclist
I'm all kinds of blurry because I snuck up on him. But check out the guy over my right shoulder!
Happy to be on my bike. Pic by The Cyclist
And then. And then things began to fall apart. I was taking two bottles of water and drinking two bottles of water between each aid station. I arrived at the aid station at Mile 80, threw my empty bottles and held out my hand only to be told, "We are out of water." The look on the volunteer's face matched mine. Disbelief. How could Ironman run out of water??? They freaking ran out of water. Water. Water on a day that it was nearly 100 degrees and we were all riding 112 miles. I came prepared to race in the heat but I also came with the expectation that they would have adequate fluids for me once I exhausted what I brought. Nope. They did hand me some Perform - something I don't drink. But it was better than nothing, right? Nope. The syrupy, sugary sweetness made me sick. I don't train with that stuff. I drink water, use salt tabs and eat real food, not gels. I was in shock and didn't know what to do without water.
This slowed me down significantly. I was quickly becoming dehydrated, even sipping on the Perform. The next aid station was over an hour away. Long story short, I started to get heat sickness. I barfed all over myself a few times on the bike. (mad bike skillz, the girl who can barf and ride) I started getting very dizzy and a little confused. Eventually, I came across an aid station that had water. I took two and downed them, but never really recovered.
The Cyclist caught me at mile 110 but my Garmin had died and I had no idea what mile I was at or how much time I had before the 5:30 bike cutoff. I knew I was feeling worse and worse and my window was getting smaller and smaller. Here I am, miserable, barely acknowledging him. Just focused on trying to stay upright and get to transition before it closed.
I made it, barely. My bike, at 8:19, was an hour over what I anticipated on a "slow" day. The volunteers were AMAZING. I cannot say this enough. The IMTX volunteers rocked! I was so disoriented. They thought I had to be OUT of transition by 5:30 so I only had about 10 minutes. She sat me down on the grass, out in the open and put my socks and shoes on me. Put my hat on my head. Filled my bottle with cold water and another poured water down my back. Turns out, I actually had about 25 minutes - I had until 5:45 to be out of transition. But they were awesome. I stood on the run course, unsure of which way to go. My brain was NOT working. I downed two salt tabs and more water. Barf. Downed a Tums. Barf. Water. Barf. I kept stopping to barf anytime I put anything in my mouth. I was barely walking. I just couldn't overcome the lack of water for all those miles. A medic saw me squatting, barfing and asked if I was okay. I assured him that I was. Then I got up and started swaying. He suggested I let him take my vitals. He can check on me - just can't give aid. Hearing my blood pressures and pulse, I knew, continuing was a bad idea. I sat there for a bit, drinking more water, barfing more and then with tears streaming down my face, choked out, "I'm done."
Those were the hardest two words I've had to say in a long time.
The rest is kind of a blur. I spent time in the very busy medical tent (over a 15% DNF rate this year) getting a few bags of fluid and some Zofran for the nausea. The medical volunteers were EXCELLENT, even letting me use a phone to call The Cyclist. I laid on that gurney, crying, shaking uncontrollably, unable to regulate my body temperature and feeling sad and confused. What had happened? Where did my day go? Was this really happening?
It was. After a while, my vitals were back to normal, the shaking stopped and I started to become lucid once more. They eventually let me go and I left the medical tent to find this guy worried sick.
He gets my obsession with the Honest Toddler.
Best. Crew. Ever.
Back Row - The Cyclist, duh
Middle l-r - Sare Bear, Marci, Gretchen, Drum, Fi, Julie, Violator, MK, Melissa
Front Row l-r - EK, Byron
It wasn't my day. Would things have been different if I hadn't run out of water? I believe so with all my heart. I'm not making excuses. But I was ready to race. And I know HOW to run a marathon. But I made the decision that was best for my body on that day, difficult as it was.
I'm disappointed but not devastated. I don't know what is next. Right now, I'm just going to stay low for a bit and get my head on straight again. I so appreciate all the kind messages, tweets, texts and phone calls. Y'all are incredible - thank you for your concern. I'm okay. I'll be okay. I'll live to fight another day. Because after all, I am fierce.