Well... it is done. I could do a long race report but 144.6 miles is a lot to cover. I am going to briefly hit the high points.
What I do know is I feel kind of sad, lost, and wondering what do I do now. After training since January, following a plan, and planning work outs around family time, work, coaching, etc. It seems so weird to just have nothing. I was actually relieved when I looked on training peaks and saw that Liz had scheduled some recovery bikes and swims this week. This feels normal. As much as I hated many of the early mornings and the long days, it is sad to be done. I know I will quickly get in the spring of things or the fall of things. I LOVE fall and can't wait to spend mornings drinking coffee and reading on the porch, doing outside stuff with the kids, yoga, bootcamp, and trail runs and mountain biking. I also have a girls trip planned for next week and Stewart and I have a trip to Vegas for the week after but today I feel maybe a tiny bit depressed. The HUGE high and build up of last week and yesterday is just over - just like that but you do have some great memories. Some of those best memories were having all of the kids ( only Noah has seen me do an Ironman before) and family cheer me on. They were such a welcome bright spot every time I see them. Hearing your kids call you your hero and say I am so proud of you lets you know that you are doing a great job of being a wonderful role model and example for them. I know many people think training takes away from family time but if you do it right, it really doesn't and it provides your kids with so much more. I love that my kids see me as so much more than mom but someone who goes after what she wants, is not afraid to go after my dreams, never backs down from a challenge and has my own hobbies, desires, and dreams.
Chattanooga was just awesome. It is one of my favorite places to be and getting to go there on Thursday and spend time with Riley before the race made it that much more special. The town knows how to put on an ironman and the crowd support was wonderful . I think this was the first time that I ever ran with someone setting fireworks off over my head.
I knew that I wanted to be in the 12 hour zone and I wanted a PR. I knew that the swim would be a PR - regardless of current, I was swimming down a river. I was super excited to PR my bike and my run as well!!
As I jumped off the dock, the man yelled at me " You ready to have a PR swim" and yes I was!! This was also the first time I have ever done an Ironman without a wetsuit which was a huge accomplishment for me! Although I am still not a super fast swimmer, this summer I really became confident in my swim. Beside not being able to swim straight the swim was uneventful. After seeming like we stood in line forever, we were running down the dock to jump in. Stewart still had not put on his cap or goggles so I turned around to see if he had jumped in. I didn't see him again until about 25 minutes later when I saw a foot with red tape under me - I yelled at him, we talked for a moment and then swam on. Neither of us knew we were even by each other and we were super excited to exit the swim ladder 3 seconds a part! The only time I was going to see him that day and I loved it! Both of us not being strong swimmers were celebrating being out of the water. Loved having the kids waiting on us and thought about seeing them the whole 2.4 or more as I weaved my way down the river.
The bike was great! I loved that I had biked it a couple of times so I knew where I was all the time. I also knew it was a beautiful course in the valley of the mountains so I made sure I took the time to enjoy the scenery. Liz and I discussed me riding steady and easy on the hills. My goal was to be in the 6 hour range and I was. I stopped at the 60 mile mark to grab my bag and chat with the family ( so much fun again) and stopped one more time to fill my bottles but the rest of the time was all go. So this summer, I did a lot of solo riding as Liz often had me riding on Sunday and nobody rides on Sunday or I rode solo because I was always behind Stewart. Paid off huge yesterday as mentally I was good the whole time! I was use to being alone and enjoyed the few conversations that I had with my fellow racers. In fact, the time seemed to go by really fast.
I started the run and felt good, was hoping to run steady enough, walk through the aid stations and average close to 9 minute mile. This worked for awhile and then I hit the hills! Holy Hilly! It was crazy! After the first 13 miles, I decided I didn't care if I met my goal, my new goal was to enjoy it, soak it in, and get to finish. Somehow I managed to get a PR from previous ironman runs but I seemed to be walking more than running. Before I knew it - I was rounding the corner to hit the finish line.
I have said it before and I will say it again. There is nothing like an ironman finish line! Just thinking about it brings me to tears. This is where all your training, dedication, hard work come together and it is so emotional and so amazing as you run through crazy screaming fans to bright lights, music, people cheering and giving you high five and your family there waiting!! After 12 hours and 41 minutes all my hard work this summer and the day was over! You can not imagine. I am so thankful that I have a body and mind that allows me to do this! I was once again reminded what a lucky girl I was!
Finally saw Stewart and saw that he had a great day and did an 11:52 on his first ironman even after possibly biking too hard ( surprise) and running like a crazy person with a 6:52 first mile. I was so proud of him and do not think I quit smiling the rest of the night!
I do have to brag - although he beat me by an hour - I beat him in the swim by 3 seconds and on the run by 15 minutes. Sorry baby... it wouldn't be right if I didn't throw that in there.
We went to mellow mushroom but I really couldn't eat and then we went to the finish line and brought home the last finishers. Truly inspiring! The last finisher made it with a minute to spare.
I couldn't sleep at all because my foot was killing me and my appetite finally returned so I found myself up before 5:00 and walking to waffle house for a quick snack.
So... for now - not sure what my plans are going to be. I am definitely taking some time to just be but I may have a half ironman in the future, race a half marathon, run sylamore and finally break my 6 hour time goal after being so close for two years, do ragbrai, or just become a sprint specialist. I do know that Stewart is more than likely going to sign up for Louiville Ironman. That I think - I mean I am pretty sure I am going to pass. I will just concentrate on my Sherpa skills starting with the NOLA 70.3... can't think of a better place to Sherpa and just as much as I hate riding in the heat - I really hate riding in the cold
Thanks Chattanooga Ironman!! You were awesome!