Race recap time! We awoke at 5:00, well 4:50 because someone's car alarm started going off about then }:(. It was a brisk 58 degrees with winds gusting between 20 and 25 mph. I almost threw the covers back over my head. When I started getting everything together to take to transition, the nerves really started in. We got our transition areas set-up later than usual which unnerved me even more. Time to put on my wetsuit and TRY to relax a little. We headed down to the start line and I began to feel a bit nauseated, which is pretty normal. Chris had told me that I looked REALLY nervous and flashbacks of Austin rushed in. I sort of felt the same way at the beginning of that race. So I started deep breathing exercises in order not to panic at the thought of a repeat. It was time to make my way down to the swim start. I found my place in line and all I could think about was how fast it was moving. My turn! I ran into the water and tried to stay calm, but as we all know it’s really tough when everyone around you is flying past you. I started the swim and couldn’t catch my breath. I felt like I had forgotten everything. Once I started talking myself down from the ledge and got into somewhat of a rhythm (relative to what it was) a man swam over me and kicked me in the head as he was swimming off like a speed boat. I think he poked me in the eye with his friggin’ toe! Like I wasn’t having a hard enough time with the choppy water! I rolled over onto my back and thought for a split second, “I can’t do this” and almost started flagging down a kayak. Then I thought, “Shut-up and swim you idiot! You’re not going to die”. So I collected myself and just focused on that first turn. After I rounded the first turn I mentally put a big bubble around myself to keep from getting accosted again. It worked and I all the swimming technique I had worked so hard on started coming back to me. Long reach, glide, pull, bilateral breathing, swim downhill, sight. I relaxed and found that rhythm! I rounded the last turn and looked for the big arch for a guide, but it wasn’t there. Just then someone brushed my ankle and I turned and he said, “Oh, I’m sorry”. I was shocked! No one has EVER apologized to me in the swim for touching me. I just said, “That’s okay”, swam off and had a new hope for common courtesy in the water. My goal was to finish the swim in 40 minutes. I finished in less than that!
On to the bike! As I exited the water I had my wetsuit unzipped and had started peeling it off when I got to my transition area. Even a sleeveless wetsuit is tricky to get out of. You tug and pull and pull and tug – it takes just about as long getting one off as it does to get it on yourself, especially trying to acclimate to being back on land! I finally got the damn thing off and gathered my stuff and took off. I had a great start to the bike, I looked down and saw 26.6 on my speedometer! Well, crap! You know what that means? Headwind is coming next. The only thing you can do is put your head down and pedal. So 26.6 mph was now 15 mph. May I just add that the crosswind almost blew my bike from under me because of the trispoke on the back? That will grab your attention! The bike was fairly uneventful besides the ever-changing wind factor.
Time to make a run for it! This is my favorite part because this is the real moment of truth. You also get to find out if you went too hard on the swim or the bike here. I stuck to my plan with the run. Go out super easy to get my legs back under me for the first mile. However, I quickly started cramping because I needed to pee. Just as I was thinking about ducking behind one of the semis on the side of the road, a woman passed me and had the same idea. Rats! I hoped that there would be a port-a-potty at the aid station. I was in luck! Well, sort of. There was a person in it and one waiting. I was just going to have to wait it out or I wouldn’t have finished. I was there for about two minutes! Two minutes! Oh well, it was worth the wait. I got back on the course and hit it. I saw several of our teammates and that’s always a great motivator. I got to the turn around and picked it up a little more. I was amazed at how good I felt. I was really going to finish strong. The last 400 meters of the run was on grass and I dug down deep! I felt like my heart was going to leap out of my throat and my lungs were going to explode – it was AWESOME! Waiting on the sidelines up ahead was Luvbug, Gary, Andy and John. They were jumping up and down and yelling and let me tell you there is nothing quite like that feeling of having people pulling for you. There is also nothing quite like hearing your name announced as you are coming across that finish line. I can’t wait to hear the words “Rebecca Irons, you are an Ironman”! That’s going to be so suhweeeeeeet! Anyway, this was a great race and really it is all about the journey. This part of the journey is on the list for next year.