Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kentucky - 2009 - Ironman - Post Race

UMMMM, OK THAT REALLY HURT! I don't know why I can't remember how bad these things hurt or I probably wouldn't keep signing up for them! Each one is a different experience but the common denominator is each time you have to dig down to the deepest part of you to keep going and do your best.

Ok race recap! We got up at 4:15 yesterday to have our breakfast and get the rest of our gear together. We had about 1/2 mile walk down to transition from the parking lot and then spent about 10 min in there just loading the fluids on our bikes and checking tire pressure. We then had a mile walk to the swim start to go find a place in line. And then we had another mile walk to get a place in line! That was ridiculous! So I think our Ironman was actually 143.6 miles rather than 140.6 after it was all said and done. Leigh and I were probably in the last 100 people in line so we were definitely the "back of the bus" so to speak. It actually took 40 min for us to get to the swim start as the line was moving at a pokey pace and then all of a sudden it was the "hurry up plan" and we were scrambling to take our clothes off and run down the ramp and leap in the river. The water was at least warm so that was good. We got to swim upstream for the first 1 mile or so and then we had a little help from the current for the remaining distance. It was a choppy swim though and even with the time trial start there was a lot of navigating that had to take place. The only hurdle for me in the swim was leg cramps and I need to figure out if that is just being chilled going into it or lack of circulation since I apparently don't know how to use my legs while swimming! The swim was pretty much what I expected time wise though so I felt pretty much on track going into the bike. The bike was chilly for the first few hours but things were going well other than numb toes and a running nose! Ok this might be a little too graphic and gross for you but Ironman is not a glamour sport! One thing that cyclists learn how to do is "blow your nose" on the bike (no there are no tissues involved in this procedure) The key is to not blow it on an innocent person behind you but also not blow it on yourself. Well I managed to blow it right on my arm. nice. Now spitting of course is also one of those valuable skills and again the goal is to be mindful of people behind you, wind direction and not hitting yourself. Again the skill of spitting "loogies" (lol love that term!) should have been learned from having 2 brothers! But no, I managed to spit right on my shoulder. Now I am really feeling special! However, to those of you who are wondering, I did not pee on the bike! I took advantage of the port o lets! lol see, a glamour sport! We did have a good amount of wind yesterday so the bike course proved to be quite challenging between the non stop hills and the wind. The pavement was pretty rough too so by the time I hit mile 90, I was really ready to get off the bike as my saddle area was really not happy! Still everything was for the most part on track for my goal time. As I came into transition, a nice volunteer took my bike and then I had to attempt to make my legs run to the changing tent. That was rough as I thought I was going to fall down! So I put my clean socks on and some sunscreen on and off the marathon! First 2 miles involved quad cramps and something really sore behind the back of me knee but you just have to tune that stuff out b/c at some point or another something else will start hurting so you just keep moving. I was cruising along at my goal pace (always the goal is to break 4 hrs in the marathon) and feeling pretty good. There were a few hills on the run so it wasn't the easiest of runs but then again, running a marathon after 112 miles of cycling is never easy anyway. It actually was a little warm on the run but nothing unpleasant. I did manage to dump gatorade on my head thinking it was water..........so again really looking good at this point! I felt really strong until about mile 18 and then around mile 20 things started to really hurt and my stomach was no longer "feeling the love" for the gatorade. Now it becomes a mental race b/c the body is shutting down. I could feel myself "checking out" and no longer very aware of the cheering spectators or the other athletes. Just wanted to get to the next mile marker. I switched to orange slices and water just to keep taking in some calories as I had a headache from dehydration at that point. The last 4 miles my pace dropped from my 8:30ish per mile to 9:30ish and that's all my legs would do. It became survival mode at that point as my running looked more like hobbling than running. Mile 25, I can hear the finish line and I just think, 1 mile, you can run 1 more mile! It was the greatest feeling to know as soon as I crossed that finish line I could STOP running! And then the words I waited 11 hrs and 15 min to hear.............."Heather Butcher you are an Ironman!" I never get tired of hearing that.........or perhaps I am just so happy to be finished that it makes those words golden. I ended up 12th out of 130 in my age group so I was completely pleased with my race as I know I did my absolute best. My age group was very competitive and the top 3 actually beat several of the professional women as well. So needless to say, my hope of a Hawaii slot was well out of reach but I did my best and that's worth more than anything.

Leigh had a great race too and we celebrated with pizza and ibuprofin at 11:00 last night. I didn't sleep well at all as it hurt to move but was just happy to be horizontal. The soreness will only get worse today and tomorrow before things get better. The awards banquet is today at noon and then we will be packing all of our junk to head home tomorrow.

Thanks again for all of your thoughts, prayers and support! See ya for the next one! lol I am crazy!

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