I was unusually calm about this event. I normally can’t hold a conversation, but I think I wore Chris out on the way to Conway. I was a regular Chatty Cathie. I tried to save some of that energy for the race, but words just kept flowing out of my mouth. I don’t know what came over me! We pulled into the park and got a really good spot. I was standing next to the truck and a woman walked up to me and asked, “Are you the Irons’?”. Well, it turns out that they are Eric and Kayla’s (Chris’ brother and SIL) neighbors. Unbelievably, their names are Rebecca and Chris as well. Too weird. She does tri’s but he doesn’t and this was her first 1/2. They recognized Chris because he looks like Eric with no hair.
We got our body marking and found spots for our bikes. Next was chip pick-up. Time to set-up the transition area. This is getting better and better each time. I had a good feeling about my transitions today. I was very relaxed – also very weird. It was nice to just chat with the ladies in the area. I met Angie who I’ve seen at several tri’s, she has a Guru as well, but she really liked mine a lot. Me too!
The swim was wetsuit legal and a two loop swim – swim a little over 1000 yards, get out and run, get back in and do it over again. It was mentally tough to see the finish and know that you had to re-acclimate yourself to being vertical for a split second. I was a bit dizzy, so running was a little difficult. I got brushed and kicked a few times, but nothing major and I just kept moving forward. I felt like the second loop of the swim went a little faster. I feel pretty good about the swim, but it still needs work and will probably always need work.
I entered the transition area and took a bit of time off of T1. I crossed the mount line and attempted to get on my bike. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the chain. Will and Denise were standing on the sidelines shouting, “Go Rebecca”! Then they would have to say it again a few seconds later. I was starting to doubt that I remembered how to ride. Then I remembered that Chris has to push the gears all the way down in order for the bikes to fit into his vehicle. I finally mounted my steed and took off. I held a steady and easy warm up for about 20 minutes. The bike course was an out and back with about 3500 feet of climbing. I paid no attention to my speed and spun up the hills. I felt good, but my hamstrings were starting to seize up a bit so I backed off a little and tried to stretch them on the downhills. I felt good about the bike over-all.
Time for T2. I got all the bike gear off and started to get my run stuff together. I ended up falling over trying to put on my socks for the run J. I never would have sat down on purpose, thank you, Patrick. The run was also two loops. I took off and used the first three miles as a warm up. But once I passed the three mile mark I just decided that I needed to stay with that pace and call it somewhere around what I would like my Ironman pace to be. I passed Marianne the first time and she looked fresh as a daisy, smiling and talking. She was telling me that Chris was just a little ahead of me and that I could probably catch him. The next time I saw her she told me Chris was walking now and I could definitely catch him and beat him. The third time I saw her she was telling me I could now catch Jo and maybe even Heather! How does she do that talking while running thing? She is truly an amazing person. I told her I wanted to be her when I grow up! I did catch Chris eventually. His low back was killing him. I still saw Jo ahead and she was walking. She started running again and got out of my sight. I got to the turn around for the second time and I was really confused because I didn’t see her going the other way in front of me still. I grabbed some water and continued on. I ended up walking a lot of the second loop after the turn around. My hips were getting sore (muscularly) and my knees has started getting a little cranky. Unfortunately all I had left was just over a 10 min. per mile average. I knew I was well hydrated because I had to stop at the port-a-potty. I saw Chris off in the distance walking with someone that looked like Jo. By golly, it was Jo! Now I was thoroughly confused. They were laughing and she explained that she had to receive oxygen and be iced down. Again, very weird.
I crossed the line with a big smile on my face – I thought “Crissie Wellington”!
I compared my time last year when it was an easier course in Arkadelphia with this year’s harder course in Conway. My time in Arkadelphia was 6:23 and my time in Conway was 6:12. I was going for a sub 6 hour time and if I could’ve avoided walking so much on the run, I think I could’ve done it. Biggest accomplishment I can think of is finishing strong with a smile and not having to see the inside of a med tent! Thank you Gary, Patrick, Michael, Denise, Will, Andy, Carrie for the awesome cheering! Especially at the homestretch.
Tri’s are not easy for ANYONE! I just can’t think of anything else I would like to do for the rest of my life (besides when I’m doing it). It’s a feeling like no other to look back after crossing the finish line and saying, “I just did all of that!” and sincerely want more. Is it self punishment? Do we really like pain that much? It’s about breaking through barriers and limits that we often mentally put on ourselves. Sometimes you really have to question yourself about why you continue to do this to yourself. And you try to recruit others to do it as well. I will do tri’s as long as I am able because, yes, I do like the pain and the suffering. I like trying to constantly improve my time. I like seeing if I can really keep from talking myself out of it for I have yet to quit anything like this! And, no, it will never ever be enough!