Slept really well on Saturday night and woke up just before my alarm at 3:45am. I ate my banana and PB&J bagel and got sunscreened, body-glided and dressed. I ate another part of a PB&J bagel and went to the bathroom a few times before grabbing my gear and heading down to the car. Since our hotel was only 1.2 miles from the race start Preston and Siani were still sleeping and were going to walk over to say goodbye to me before the swim start.
I got my frozen stuff from the hotel freezer and my special needs bags along with my bike pump and tri-bag in the car and there was a card on my seat. It said For This Morning Pre-Ironman on the outside and next to it on the passenger seat was a CD and People magazine with a note that said For Post-IM Relaxation.
I had turned the car on and immediately I heard talking. At first I thought Preston had left the stereo tuned to talk radio and I went to turn it off but then I heard what it was.
I opened the card and it was absolutely priceless. He knows me so well!!!!! I got a little choked up as I drove into town around 4:45am listening to the motivational clip and thinking about his words for me.
I re-read the card before getting my bags and heading to the transition area. I got body marked, hit the port-o-lets, then added my frozen bottles to my bike, pumped up my tires and went to drop off my special needs bags. Along the way I saw many of my friends and wished them well and gave hugs and high fives along the way. It had rained pretty hard overnight with the thunderstorms so our transition bags were soaked. Normally it’s very easy to spot my bags because I tie them with Pink and Green feather boas. Unfortunately feather boas are useless in the rain and I finally located my bags and now sopping, limp boas. Hehe! This made me laugh. I added my frozen stuff into my 2 bags and made the rounds looking for my bike pump that I’d left with Cathy and Kelly from BT.
Another turn waiting in line at the port-o-lets before getting suited up. Luckily I met up with my camp friends Zoe and Celeste and they helped me into my new long sleeved wetsuit. I used tons of bodyglide because chafing was a real concern for me seeing as how this would be the first time ever swimming in this particular suit. I packed all my stuff up and then stole away to see Preston and Siani and say my goodbyes. All morning I’d been listening to my Ironman iPod mix and just as I approached them our song (Fly by Sara Groves) started to play. I got very choked up seeing Preston and he hugged me very tightly and told me to “Have Fun!” before I headed back into the tent to get my goggles and cap.
I felt so calm and ready as I headed towards the timing mat. I found Kelly and Cathy on the way in and we went over the timing mats together. Met up with Randy (easy to spot in his sleeveless) and Dan and then moved back away from the front while the National Anthem was sung. Hooray!!! Last year I couldn’t hear any of this stuff because of the wind.
The cannon blew and we were off! I had a TON more contact than last year. It was absolute mayhem out there to the first turn buoy. I felt really good the whole first lap and my new wetsuit was working great. Started lap 2 at about 45 minutes in – WOO HOO!!!
Unfortunately things started going downhill fast. I was starting to get cold and the chop was picking up a bit more. There were a lot of people swimming erratically and it was hard to find a draft. I just kept telling myself to get to the turn buoy, focus on the turn buoy. I seemed to take in quite a bit of water getting there but I finally made it. At this point my fingers had started to freeze open and I was having trouble swimming. I couldn’t scoop the water and I was getting colder and colder. For the first time ever I did not how I would ever finish this thing. The shore seemed so far away and I was really having a lot of defeatist negative thoughts because I felt like I was swimming in place with my hands clawing the water.
I took a moment and gathered myself and thought about what I did to calm myself when I was swimming at home. I count laps using the alphabet and I sing a song for each letter so for M I would sing Move Along or for A I might sing After the Rain etc. So I just started going through the alphabet and singing the songs in my head. I also decided since I couldn’t do much on my own with my hands like they were that drafting was the way to make forward progress. I found any feet I could and stayed right behind them til someone else came by. Slowly but surely the shore got closer and closer. I finally knew I would make it out of the water in one piece.
I’ve never been so happy to finish a swim. Ever! Not even last year’s crazy choppy, people yukking in the water swim was as bad to me as this.
As I exited the swim I remembered the photographers were right there and waited a sec to start taking the wetsuit off. I saw Preston and Siani who happened to be standing right next to Paula Newby Fraser as we headed to the peelers so I pointed to the long sleeved suit and yelled THANK YOU to her as I moved past.
Seriously I would never have made it out of the swim had I not gotten the full suit. There’s no question in my mind.
Swim – 1:43.17
Made it to the wetsuit peelers and dropped down and they had my suit off in a flash. Found my T1 bag despite the wet boas and entered the tent. It was craziness in there. Found a place to sit and tried to open my bag. It was futile as my fingers were just not working so I ripped the bag open and dumped my stuff in front of me.
I couldn’t think straight and I could hardly use my hands so thankfully a volunteer arrived and started helping me. We got my feet washed off and socks and shoes on and my sleeveless jersey on and pockets filled. I couldn’t even fasten the chinstrap of the helmet. It was so ridiculous to me that I was just laughing. I felt so incompetent like “how the heck was I going to ride my bike for 112 miles when I can’t even put on my helmet”.
Took a moment and made sure I had everything, thanked the woman who was now getting a new bag to put all my gear in and off I went. Heard Preston and Siani cheering again as I grabbed my bike and hurried to the mount line.
It was about 8:54 when I started the bike, a few minutes later than last year but that was ok by me cause I’d lived through the swim.
T1 – 9.17
One of the best things about IM CDA is that the course is 2 loops and you go out and back several times on various parts of the course so you’re almost always seeing other people either ahead or behind you. I took it very easy through town and out to Higgens Point when I finally started warming up and looking around me. I saw Jenny and Sue and Ovetta while I was out on Lake CDA drive and Katherine just as I was coming back into town.
I was going very relaxed and easy and I knew I was having a great start to the bike as I made it back into town almost 5-7 min faster than I have in the past. I actually surprised Preston and Siani who were near the car which I’d parked facing towards the bike course and they waved and cheered as I was early and they hadn’t expected to see me yet.
Made it up to 4th and OMG could it be, possibly, YES!!!!!!! There in the middle of the road was Elmo – WOO HOO, I smiled and laughed and yelled the whole way past. What fun I was already having. One of the things I love to do while riding is wave to spectators, smile lots and say hi to all the farm animals I’m passing. I’m not sure why exactly but I love Alpacas. They are like my favorite animal to see. I knew there were 2 Alpaca farms on the course and as I came up on the first I yelled really loudly “ALPACAS – I LOVE YOU!!!!!!” I think I scared the crap out of the girl I was passing at the time.
Up to the golf course and into the hills. Knowing the course well I felt really good about my shifting and having the inside track on when to descend fast, go easy etc so imagine my surprise when on one of the only unimpeded descents of the course (where you didn’t have a sharp right or left at the bottom) this girl that had passed me while I was climbing who is now riding to the left as I am starting to descend like a freight train and I’m yelling “on your left, on your left” and she barely moved over. It’s not like there was anyone else near her and she yelled “you could put on your brakes you know” and I’m like “whatever girl – just because you kicked my butt up the hill and I’m now schooling you on the descent doesn’t mean you have to be mean about it”.
Rode through my favorite part of the course and was doing well on pace, nutrition and everything felt good. Climbed up English Point and was feeling good going into the turnaround on Ohio Match road. At this point the pros started to catch us as we made our way back to Aid Station #4. My Uncrustable tasted amazing and I was done with the hills on lap 1. WOO HOO!
So as I’m heading back towards town on Rimrock and there’s this really great fast descent. I started into it and noticed that the Pros were all starting to catch up but guess what!!!!!! I descended past Viktor the winner from last year and I actually (unless he was resting) held my position on the descent until he passed me on the flats. Even if I was imagining it – it seemed very cool to be such a fast descender.
My nutrition was working great and I was drinking my cocktail and taking GU regularly and getting water at each aid station for my aerobottle. At this point it’d started to warm up quite a bit (or so it seemed to me) so I also poured some water over my head and down my back to keep my core cool.
As I started the last stretch into town I could feel the wind pick up and I saw storm clouds forming over the mountains towards Spokane. Uh-oh!!!! This wasn’t a good sign because that meant the last 12 miles of the race would be into a headwind. It felt pretty steady and I got a few gusts that caused me to grip my bars very tightly to keep from getting blown over as I was rounding corners. Made it through lap 1 and was super stoked about my lap1 time. I was riding at about a 7:15 bike split pace coming off the first lap and that included 2 very quick bathroom stops.
Saw Preston and Siani as I headed back through town towards Special Needs. My bag was easy to spot this time cause the Special Needs boas hadn’t gotten wet and I wisely packed everything extra into 1 bag and everything I knew I planned to take into another. The volunteer was very helpful opening my cold bag and handing me a fresh cocktail bottle (that was still cold), new Uncrustables, Peeps and Chocolate Cinnamon Bears and helping me fill my bento box with tortilla chips and Cheetos. Stuffed a few extra in my mouth as I pedaled away. Hit the port-o-let on the trail to quickly add some extra BodyGlide and pee again. This is where I started to get worried.
I didn’t see my friend Jenny at all and Katherine, Ovetta and Sue were all just heading towards Higgens Point as I was going back to town. I sent them all speedy vibes and hoped Jenny was ok.
Back on Government Way and saw the most $(#*@@ thing ever in a race. They had blocked off the left most lane for cyclists and cars were riding on the right of us with no left hand turns allowed by cars. So we’re all riding along and all of the sudden a car turns right into the cycling lane narrowly missing the rider directly in front of me and causing me to swerve to miss the car. OMG – if that cyclist hadn’t have been paying attention she would have been hit by the car. I screamed, she screamed, people on the sidewalk cheering us basically swarmed the lady’s car and just flipped out on her. Very scary stuff.
I knew at this point that this was the only time I’d have the wind with me so I pedaled hard going into the hills to build up some time in preparation for the headwind heading back. Up and down the hills and UGH they suck on the 2nd lap. There were lots of people walking at this point but there were fewer people on the course so it’s actually a great chance to chat as you see the same people as you climb, descend, repeat. Ate 1 Peep after English Point and snacked on my Cheetos and Tortilla Chips throughout lap 2. Yummy!!!!
One fun thing was that as I passed the 2 Alpaca Farms on the first lap I yelled out my greeting to them and they were like in the middle of the field far away from the fence but as I passed them on the 2nd lap they had all moved up right next to the fence and that made me super happy – I LOVE YOU ALPACAS!!!!!! Turned around at Ohio Match and boom, right into the headwind. My lower back was really starting to bother me and I kept sitting up and stretching again and again trying to relieve the pressure. The wind just never let up. I knew I had plenty of time but as I headed back towards town I saw my 2 friends Katherine and Ovetta and knew that they were going to be super super close to the cut-off based on the wind and distance they still faced. I tried to encourage them as I went past.
The last 12 miles were a dogfight for me. I was hurting and the wind was sucking the life out of me. I sang songs out loud and talked to my new buddy Lasko who I saw for much of the 2nd lap. As I went down Government Way for the last time I was struggling so much that I had shifted into my small chain ring and was just spinning as easily as I could. Turns out by the time I hit transition I had shifted all the way down to my 3rd lowest gear for the flat to downhill section. EEEKKKORAMA!!!! The wind was killing me but all of the sudden there I was making the turn into transition. WOO HOO – in spite of the wind I had rocked last year’s bike time and put some time in the bank. Saw Preston and Siani again as I hopped off the bike and it was whisked away by a very nice volunteer.
Bike – 7:46.47
Grabbed my bag, which was easy to spot since my boas had dried out and were fluffy again and zipped into the tent. Was met by several volunteers who I’ve worked the tent with in previous years and they were efficient and helpful. I got more sunscreen, vaselined my feet and put my socks and shoes on, body glided my inner arms and thights, my volunteers got my fuel belt loaded with my frozen GU20 bottles, put my race belt on and hat and my sweet tank top that I’d designed as a surprise for my husband to celebrate our 10th Anniversary this summer. After I loaded my pockets with Mike & Ikes and Chocolate Cinnamon Bears, I thanked the volunteers, took a deep breath and was out the door. I felt very ready to get out on the run!!!!
T2 – 6.46
As I headed out of transition I turned on my interval timer, which was set for 3 min run/ 1 min walk intervals. My plan was to stick with these intervals as long as I could and walk each aid station and the hills. Running was the area this year where I’d made the most improvement in terms of speed so I was hoping that would pay off with a faster marathon time.
It felt pretty warm out there by this time (only 74) so I started right away with ice in the sports bra but I avoided sponges cause I didn’t want my feet to get too wet. My lower back wasn’t really hurting anymore which was a bonus J I saw Suzanne as I came back from the short out and back and when I got back into town I was so excited to see Preston and Siani. He loved the shirt and I stopped to give them a hug! Up NW Blvd and out into the neighborhoods where the people of CDA really come out in droves and it’s just awesome to have such great support. I was feeling good and running along well at a solid pace repeating my run mantra of “Reasonable Sustainable Pace” on the run parts and “Strong Purposeful Strides” on the walks. Took in my salted GU20 and water at the aid stations and took in 1.5 Gus and a pack of SportBeans on the first lap. I was disappointed that I didn’t see Elmo on the run but maybe he had other plans this year. I love that once you’re on the run you can see all the other racers because of the out and back nature of the course, plus most people are wearing their run # and it has their first name on it so it’s great to be able to encourage people by name.
I felt like I had a rock in my shoe at about mile 5 so I stopped to get it out. Unfortunately it wasn’t a rock but a hotspot developing on the bottom of my foot. ACK! No time to dwell on it I just put my shoe back on and kept on moving. I was doing water, ice and 3ozs of my GU20 at each aid station. I hit the hill and walked to the top then ran to the bottom and headed back into town. Now on the back into stretch I saw a TON of people because I was able to see all the people way ahead of me going out on their 2nd loop and then those behind me still on their 1st lap. I saw Sue and Tanya but I didn’t see Katherine or Ovetta. This made me really sad cause I had wanted to see them out doing the marathon. They are both rockstars!
Kept up my pace back through town and saw Preston and Siani again right at the mile 13 marker. WOO HOO – 1 loop done and I was down the homestretch. Did the out and back, smiled lots, thanked volunteers, high fived a few kids along the way and then popped into Special Needs to grab my long sleeved shirt for around my waist, my big bag of Mike & Ike’s and another frozen bottle of GU20. At this point I made the calculated decision that I’d drop my fuel belt into my SN bag (since I got it back last year I hoped I’d get again this year) and just carried the 1 small bottle, which I was pouring over ice at the next few aid stations.
I saw my friend Carole and we exchanged updates on the status of some of our other friends racing as I jogged back up NW Blvd towards the lake. I also saw Preston and Siani again and I told Preston I’ll see you at our usual spot (the top of the hill just past mile 25 where we walked together last year) but be prepared because if I think I can go under 16 hours we’re gonna be running it in.
The sun still seemed pretty high in the sky as I passed mile 15 and just before the 16 mile mark they came by with the glow sticks. That seemed weird because last year I got my glow stick after mile 17 and it was still sunny out. Ah well. Passed through the neighborhoods and everything started getting skewed because I was so much earlier this year than last year. I was at like mile 17 almost 18 before I started thinking about hitting the chicken broth, before the sun started setting etc. I put my long sleeved shirt on just before starting to climb the hill and was doing water and chicken broth at the aid stations and Mike & Ike’s in between. I was really feeling strong as I ran back down the hill and I knew (even though I hadn’t seen a clock) that I should be close to going under 16 so I was like Forest Gump, I just kept on running. Did my walk intervals but kept them strong and brisk and then ran hard on the run segments. I was passing tons of people at this point who were walking and that made me feel great!!!!!
Hit the Inspiration Mile just after mile 23 and my message was displayed (Keep Defying Gravity) but more importantly I saw the race clock for the first time since I started on the marathon. It read 15:05 and that’s when I knew I had it in the bag. I felt strong, I was running hard and I only had 3.2 miles to go – WOO HOOO!!!!!!!
Kept up my pace and at the last aid station I made a quick pit stop to pee before starting up the hill towards town. I saw Preston at the top of the hill and I yelled “Hey Pup” and he was like OMG ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????? He couldn’t believe it was me already because he hadn’t expected me so early. We hugged and I did my walk interval and then he jogged with me until we got to the corner on Sherman. I gave him another huge hug and thanked him for making this race possible for me and I turned and ran.
Sherman is an amazing place on Ironman Day. The people are 5 or 6 deep and they are lined up for like 8 city blocks. This part of the day was surreal for me because last year I went into the race with the goal of enjoying the day and hopefully finishing by midnight. I played it safe all day and didn’t really push myself.
This year I worked my ass off all day. I struggled in the swim to keep my head in the game, I biked into the wind and through the hills and tried to stay as strong and focused as I could and once I started running, I just ran and left everything I had on the course.
So as I ran down Sherman and high fived the crowds, smiled, waved and soaked it all in it was a totally different experience for me than it was last year because I really honestly felt like I had gutted it out and earned the finish that was waiting for me. I checked behind me to make sure no one was catching up to me and I ran into the chute to AC/DCs You Shook Me All Night Long.
Run – 6:01.55 I pumped my fists as I saw the time clock ahead of me reading 15:48 and I could hear Mike Reilly saying “from Beaverton, OR Bonnie Crawford you are an Ironman”
Total Time – 15:48.28
I crossed the finish line and was caught by my friend Carole who helped me get my medal, finisher hat and (WOO HOO) a size Medium finisher shirt. Got big hugs from BT friends Whizz and Shannon and chatted a bit while I waited for Preston and Siani to arrive. We took some pictures and I headed off to get my pizza and a massage.
Last year I ate 3 pieces of pizza at the finish line and I swear it was the best pizza ever so this year for 13 miles I’m thinking about that pizza. So I get to the food area and find out they just gave out their last piece. I was like well how long til some more arrives? The volunteer looked so sad to have to tell me that there was no more coming. I was like OMG I am so sad about this I have been dreaming about this pizza for like 2.5 hours and I finished way earlier than I did last year but there’s no pizza.
Talked to Preston and Siani about my bags and bike and they told me the shocking and horrible news that no one could find my swim bag. And I was like wait a second……my swim bag with my BRAND NEW WETSUIT in it? Yep – that would be the bag. It’s missing. So no pizza and the prospect of no wetsuit had me kind of bummed out going into the massage tent but I got a great massage from Joanne and had told Preston about the mishap with the swim bag in T1 and how they had to make me a new bag cause I’d ripped mine open so he went back to look for a bag without a #.
HOORAY!!!!! The bag was located, Joanne gave me the great idea to have pizza delivered to our hotel and I talked to my mom (in the UK) and my dad (in Hawaii) via phone while we drove home.
We waited in the hotel lobby on the cushy couches for more than hour for our 7 cheese pizza to arrive from local place Pizza Pipeline and after hearing all the fun stories of how Siani and Preston had spent their day we were all kind of crashed out and cranky when it finally arrived but HOLY MACKERAL it was seriously the most awesome delicious pizza ever.
So that’s the story of IM CDA 2008. It was a totally hard full out effort. The Bonnie of last year wouldn’t have made it to the finish line this year so I’m really satisfied with not only my completion but also my improvement year over year. I really felt like it took an Ironman effort to keep my head throughout the day and cross the finish line knowing that I had done everything I could to give my very best.
A huge thank you to my family and friends. IM Training is taxing but I hope my more sane training approach this year resulted in you all feeling less like you wanted to strangle me by the time the race arrived.
To all the amazing BT Peeps – I loved our group this year and it was an absolute pleasure to train, race and cheer for you through the months leading up to the race and out on the course. You are all rockstars!
And finally to Preston. You are the love of my life and truly my inspiration. You encourage me to keep discovering my true potential. As we prepare to celebrate our 10th Anniversary next month I can’t begin to thank you enough for all of the love, laughter and realism you bring to me everyday. You gave me this race when you saw me struggling without a big goal and I promised you that you would always come first and that IM training would take a back seat to us. I hope you feel that I kept my promise.
After getting everything packed and saying goodbye to Preston I headed off to my last massage with Stefan. On Sunday I had started to get a pretty bad head cold so I had laid low and rested all of Monday and Tuesday skipping my easy short workouts. Which makes waking up Tuesday with a very serious pain in the back of my calf so weird. I wasn’t freaking out but I did ask Stefan to please figure out what it was and how to fix it.
He said it was my papliomous (sp) which probably got inflamed because I’d run a 10k Sunday and hadn’t stretched well enough. He dug in and I held back the tears as he tried to loosen it up.
Whew!!! He pronounced me good to go. Asked me to get out of the car every hour or 2 and stretch and pretty soon I was on the road.
I made it up to CDA without incident stopping a few times for coffee, gas and the bathroom.
As I got closer to my exit I played my theme song for this year, which is from the Broadway show Wicked. It’s called Defying Gravity and I love it! As I drove into town I wasn’t quite as emotional as last year but tears did still spring into my eyes as I thought about what this year’s race meant to me and how excited I was to be racing again.
The hotel people were wonderful and the room was huge so I got unpacked and headed out for a quick easy jog. My calf still felt sore and stiff but I just took deep breaths and believed that I would be right as rain come race day.
Met up with Kelly (tri-chic) from BT and her coach for a delicious dinner and then headed out to get my grocery items and get some sleep.
The locals have taken to calling this June – Junuary because of how cool and drizzly it’s been so we’d been watching the forecasts and water temp all month silently willing it to warm up. We got our wish and the race week forecast had full sun and temps up into the high 80s. WOO HOO!!! Unfortunately the water was still hovering at about 56-57 on Thursday. I tried not to freak out about it. I had swam in cold water before I was sure I would be fine. I met up with a bunch of my buddies from Beginner Triathlete (BT) at the morning swim and we got suited up for a practice swim. As I looked around at hundreds of triathletes I noticed several things. Everyone was wearing either a neoprene hood or booties and I was the only female that I could see in a sleeveless wetsuit. Uh-oh!!!!
I got in the water and got lots of looks and comments like “whoa, she must be hardcore”. If they only knew……I hadn’t bought a full sleeved wetsuit because I was worried about shoulder fatigue, I didn’t want to spend any more money on IM this year and I didn’t think I really needed it. Big mistake!
So into the water I went in my booties, 2 swim caps and sleeveless suit. It was bone chilling. Mind numbing. Ice Cream Headache producing. OMG – I can’t even describe it. I swam about 1100 yards and when I got out my hands were frozen open. Like I had no muscle control to keep my fingers closed which is very important when you’re trying to scoop the water during your swim stroke.
I got warmed up, dressed and then hit the merchandise tent to buy some gear that said IM CDA on it without the giant FINISHER on the back (since last year I hadn't wanted to jinx myself and buy anything pre-race). WOO HOO – they had tons of cute stuff and I only spent $200 (a huge improvement from last year). For that I got a zip-up hoodie, a long sleeved technical running shirt, a visor, 2 luggage tags, a women’s specific shirt and a t-shirt for Preston that reads:
“I don’t do the Ironman, I’m Doing An Ironman – IronMate”
Hehe!!! They had Men’s and Women’s versions which were so funny I had to get it for him.
Met up with Jenny and Randy, two of my friends doing their 1st Ironmans and we got all registered then I cruised through the expo to buy my reflective tape and some extra body glides, made a sign for some of my friends and headed off to have some lunch and work on organizing my gear into my race bags.
Jenny and I went for an easy bike ride on Thursday afternoon into town and back to spin our legs out and check our bikes, which was a lot of fun.
Thursday evening Randy and his awesome wife Angela had a bunch of our training group over for a BBQ at their rental house on the river. It was a wonderful evening of relaxation and good food and good friends!
I went to bed hoping that the neoprene gloves I had procured earlier in the day from a local dive shop would help keep my fingers warm the next day.
Friday was a weird day. I got up and headed down to meet up with a bunch of the BT peeps for a swim and hoped the water had warmed up. I had my diving gloves and after suiting up I got in and made it about 100 yds with them before I returned to shore and gave them to a spectator to put with my stuff. They felt like weights on my hands and filled with water. Not an improvement!
Started swimming with my fingers as tight as I could make them but by the turn buoy my fingers started drifting apart. I was so cold I couldn’t control the muscles well enough to close them so I was basically clawing the water. Ugh! All kinds of defeatist and negative thoughts were swirling in my head. I felt awful.
I finally made it out of the water and it took me 52 minutes to swim that 1 lap. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t think straight. It was all I could do to get my wetsuit off and wrap a towel around myself before heading to the Multisports.com Camp breakfast.
I talked to a few people there including Michael ;) who looked poised to have a great race! After the breakfast 2 very interesting things happened.
#1 - I asked Heather Fuhr and Paula Newby Fraser who were camp coaches if it was ok to give the Biggest Loser prize to the 2nd place person because assuming no one beat my weight loss I didn’t feel right about getting the prize 2 years in a row. They said if I won I could do whatever I wanted (more on this later).
# 2 - I was very stressed and agitated about the water temp situation and was still (almost an hour after getting out of the water) shivering and a little loopy. Paula asked me what the problem was and I explained I had a sleeveless wetsuit and she practically grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me. It was pretty funny. She was like “why would you not try a long sleeved suit” and of course I have a million reasons namely that you shouldn’t try anything new on race day and I’ve never swam in a full suit before blah blah. She’s like “OMG girl get down to the booth right now and try on a full suit, do you want to finish the swim???? Extreme conditions call for extreme measures etc”
So I left the breakfast and pretty much had to hold back the tears because honestly at that exact moment I felt so defeated and freaked out I just couldn’t even handle it.
I got to the Blue Seventy booth and they told me I could try on a suit in the water but I only had 10 minutes to swim before they closed. Fine I said and I told the woman my height and weight and she gave me a Women’s M/L suit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WOO HOOOOOOOOO – I was still melting down inside but as I slipped this beautiful wetsuit on I felt so happy and it clicked in my mind why I’d been getting so cold. I bought my sleeveless suit 3 seasons ago when I weighed 220lbs. They didn’t make a women’s suit large enough to fit me so I bought the Men’s Short and Stocky suit. Well I’ve since lost more than 40lbs and I didn’t really think about the size because the suit seemed to still fit me in the hips and butt which of course makes sense cause it’s cut for a man not a woman.
So into the water I jumped in this trial long sleeved suit. I swam around for about 10 minutes and honestly it felt fine and I seemed to be a lot warmer. I got out and was hurrying to get my towel and sweatshirt back on because I was now about to be late to my massage when I asked how much the wetsuit cost……
$550 + tax
Visualize my head exploding at this moment. I was like WOW – do you have other suits that are less. Yes – they had a high, medium and low priced suit and I was trying out the high one of course.
Jetted off to my massage and planned to hit the tent later to try the other 2 models on.
Joanne calmed me down, warmed me up and helped me relax with a lovely massage before I headed back to the merchandise tent. I ended up buying the medium priced suit because I could really feel the lower priced suit wasn't flexible enough and I just couldn’t justify more than ½ my rent for a wetsuit. $440 later (SALES TAX SUCKS!!!!!!) I have my new suit and I am feeling much calmer about things.
I hit the Inspiration Station where I found a pink marker and decided to make a big sign for myself that had pink spots all over it and said Speed Leopard in huge letters. It would give me something to look for while I was riding and running on Sunday.
Finally went back to the hotel where I did some laundry, mixed all my bottles, packed all my frozen bags and stored them in the hotel freezer and then relaxed and watched some TV before heading to the Athlete Dinner.
Sooooooo every year at IM they do the Biggest Loser contest where they say if you’ve lost more than 10lbs stand up, 20 stay standing etc and when they get down to like 3-4 people they bring them on stage. Last year I won the contest by a mile because I had lost like 170lbs at that point but Mike Reilly was injured and not hosting the dinner and I was really bummed out cause I wanted to talk to him. So imagine my surprise when he starts this portion of the evening by saying “If over the last 8 months, training for this race you’ve lost more than 20lbs stand up”
Not only did I not even stand up this year but last year I would have only been standing for 1 round - 2 guys ended up tying with 86lbs lost which is incredible and awesome but honestly if I were a first time IM like myself last year I’d want to be recognized for losing a lot of weight even if it had happened pre-Ironman training. So I’m going to suggest that they make the contest for first-timers instead of limiting it to just weight you’ve recently lost.
After the dinner I picked up my tortilla chips from Taco del Mar in Spokane and Preston from the airport and headed to bed because Saturday was going to be a busy day.
Woke up early because I’d been asked to share my story with the CDAWeightWatchersCenter members at which was awesome. There were about 75 people there and I talked for about 40 minutes. There were lots of members volunteering the next day which was great because I’d have a whole new cheering section. People seemed very motivated to know that a very normal WW member could go and do something like Ironman. Hopefully they were inspired :)
I zipped back to the hotel and met up with Jeff (IronViking from BT) for our now traditional pre-race brick. We chatted and rode our bikes for about 20 minutes and then hopped off for a 10 minute transition run. My legs felt good and I was really excited for the next day to start.
Jenny, Katherine and I had all met through our Weight Watchers Triathlon group and since we were all racing here at CDA we met up with Carole (also from our group) who did CDA in 2006 and her husband Tom and Katherine’s friend Pam who was also racing. We had a great breakfast hanging out and having fun! Preston had picked up my best friend Siani from the airport and we all headed back to the hotel to pick up my bags and bike for check-in.
After a quick check of my list (Reset speedometer, release some air from tires, GU, medicine and chapstick in my Bento Box, check my gearing to make sure I was in an easy gear to leave transition) I said a quick prayer for my bike to work well and for me to be strong and calm on race day and then headed back to the hotel.
Siani, Preston and I settled in and it turned out HBO had some great movies on that afternoon. We started with We Are Marshall, moved on to Oceans 13 and then rounded it out with Thelma and Louise - Kick Ass!!! I was rested, relaxed and calm about the next day despite the thunderstorm happening outside my window.
We got some dinner from the Olive Garden (my traditional pre-race Cheese Ravioli w/sauce on the side, yummy!!!!) and then I showered, stretched, wrote a card for Siani to give Preston while I was out on the course the next day and closed the evening by watching the YouTube videos of The Hoyts and Jon Blais. Those guys are the embodiment of everything the Ironman is and means and it always helps give me perspective on things to see them.
I promise a full awesome race report with pictures and everything but in the meantime I had another wonderful day on Sunday!!!!!
The conditions were way tougher this year which makes the result that much sweeter :)
I took 34 minutes off my time - WOOO HOOO!!!!!!
I wanted to post a picture of the race shirt I designed this year as a surprise for Preston. Last year my shirt was dedicated to all the people who had supported me over the years and this year in celebration of our 10th Wedding Anniversary I designed the shirt for him. The red line separates the front from the back of the shirt :)
I'm all packed and ready to go. I have a bit of cold but I'm not concerned as it gets better every day.
If you're interested in tracking my progress throughout the day Sunday here's what you need to know:
Look for the Track An Athlete link for Ironman Coeur d'Alene. My athlete # is 1861
The race starts at 7am Pacific Time and I will be swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and then running a full marathon (26.2 miles) hopefully finishing before the midnight cut-off. There's a live video link to the finish line so for those of you interested in staying up late I hope to finish sometime between 10pm and midnight.
I can hardly believe it's been almost 6 months since my last blog post. Where does the time go.....
This year it went to a lot of socializing, a good amount of training and hours spent with family and friends in person so they didn't have to read about my life on my blog :)
So Ironman is just around the corner. I feel excited and ready for the race to happen. I've had training ups and downs as you might expect, the great thing about this year is that I'm so relaxed about the whole affair. I know what it's like, I know what to expect and it makes me feel much calmer and it's great to be able to share my experiences and insight with people preparing for their first one.
I will try to blog a little more these next 2 weeks and of course I'll have pictures and a race report to share when it's all over.
In the meantime here's an amazing piece of news!
Last year at Ironman you'll remember I found out my body fat was like 26% which was considered healthy and normal. It was measured using the Ironman scale. This year I discovered that Adventist Medical Center in Portland has a dunk tank where you can get the Hydrostatic Weighing done. It's the gold standard for body fat measurement.
So I went down to get tested because I thought it'd be a great way to celebrate going into Ironman this year.
My Body Fat was 21% - HOLY MACKERAL!!!!! Elite athletes generally have BF between 15-18% and the average woman has between 23-30%. I actually fall into the lean category. OMG - I was so psyched!!!!
I know, I know. I have been horribly remiss in writing on my blog but expect more posts in the coming months as I again record my journey towards the Ironman finish line in 2008. Yep, I'm headed to Ironman Coeur d'Alene again in June.
The past few months have been spent relaxing, vacationing in Hawaii, playing lots of board games with my husband and our friends and generally enjoying the non-regimented life that is not consumed with Ironman training.
Along those lines, I've started doing weight loss, fitness and nutritional consulting this fall. I have 4 clients so far along with a series of seminars I give to a weight loss group at one of our local medical clinics - Greenfield Health Center.
It's been really fun and I'm looking forward to seeing my clients meet their goals this coming year.
So one of my friends and fellow weight loss success stories John (amazing guy who lost like 200lbs and then did IM Florida a few years back) was contacted about doing a segment on our local morning TV show. He doesn't live in Portland anymore so he gave them my name. Thank you John!