|Landed in CO and started exploring with the in laws!|
|Us with my parents at the Rockies Game. Baseball with my dad is always a favorite memory of mine.|
|Pre race bike rides were amazing. Love Colorado cycling.|
|Holy cow!! It is getting real. All checked in, bike racked - Where we swim behind us!!|
I am not sure I can fully, truly describe my Ironman Boulder experience. Even months later, as I type this, I am not sure I can put into words to fully, truly get across my experience. But I will. We flew in about a week early to try and acclimate to the elevation and to have some fun before the race. It was so good to catch up with friends and family.
Having Colorado be my first Ironman was SO important to me. I really wanted my parents, Tom's parents and good friends to be there. I wanted them to be apart of this journey with me, and I knew I would want the support along the course. As race day rolled around..... I tried my best to remain calm. The night before the race my coach called me and talked to me about race day, we re-went over all kinds of details and he kept me calm. But let's be honest, sleep was far away the night before the race.
|My awesome co-workers gave this to my hubby to give me the night before the race. So awesome!|
Race morning came so quickly and we made our way out to the Boulder Reservoir bright and early. My parents and Tom's parents rode out with us. We got ready, body marked and wet suits on (I choose to use my wet suit even though it was not wet suit legal, I wanted the comfort of my wet suit and I knew I wouldn't be placing). The below pictures are us before the race as we are getting ready and with our family. It calmed me to have my husband and family there. But I was TERRIFIED of the distance of the swim.
Tom and I walked to the start line, seeding ourselves toward the back, for both comfort and because we were wearing wet suits and you had to be in the back. We walked to the start line hand in hand. As we started he gave me a kiss and wished me luck, and then off we went - him following me out like he had done at almost every training swim we did back home. I knew in this instance I was in it no matter and I had a LONG day ahead of me. But first, I needed to get through the swim. So I put my head down and I went. I just went. I LOVED the swim. I don't love to swim, but for some reason I was loving it. And it showed, I got out of the water WAY faster then I expected. This was seriously the best swim of my life to date. I was literally shocked looking at the time on my watching coming out of the water.
I ran through T1 changing tent, and off to my bike.... See picture below....
As I made it to my bike, I saw Tom. What the heck???? I was so confused. I asked him if he was okay - I didn't expect to see him until I got to the finish line. And especially not waiting by my bike in T1. He told me "I want to race this with you!" I asked him if he was serious (This happens in our relationship a lot... Me questioning his sincerity for things) and he laughed and said "I wouldn't have waited for 20 minutes if I wasn't serious." Good point. He was serious. So off we went.
The bike.... Was some leap frogging to stay near each other. And where I likely made my biggest mistake. I went out for lap 1 WAY to fast. I noticed it as I was entering my second lap, and told myself to calm my jets and slow it down. My coach and I talked about this pre-race. If I was going to run into an issue, it was going to be this. Going out to fast on the bike. DON'T DO IT JESS!! I did it. Of course I did it. The damage had been done.
I knew the killer hills were near the end. Around mile 90, I was suppose to save some energy for that. Which I did, but by the time I finished the hills I just wanted to be off this dang bike.
The below pics are Tom and I getting off the bike and heading to T2.
At this point I was JOKING with the lady next to me as I was coming in, saying things like "Why did we sign up to run a MARATHON after this??" I was feeling pretty good in the grand scheme of things. Oh how quickly that can change.
T2 is also where I learned that a long transition space, stairs to get to the tent are all cruel. But volunteers are amazing. All volunteers are. But in an Ironman, they are especially amazing. Seriously. One volunteer came up to me as I was entering the changing tent and wrapped her arms around me and asked what she could do for me. I didn't want to take up a volunteer because I was okay. I told her this, she told me this was my day and she was here to help me. I seriously tear up just thinking about this women and I don't even know her name. She took me to a chair, sat me down (I joked about not being able to get up, she promised she'd get me up), and she got all my run gear out of my bag. She asked if I needed anything, I needed some kind of lube for chaffing - She fetched it for me. She was amazing. She helped me get my compression socks on (This is HARD after 112 miles). She helped me get my shoes on. She held true on her promise and got me up and out of the tent to start the run.
But where was my husband??? I couldn't find him and I thought we were doing this together! But I didn't want to waste time, I was right on track to hit my goal, actually, I was going to get UNDER my goal! So off I went. Very early in the run I saw my family and asked where Tom was! Had he come out? My family said he was just a bit ahead of me, I'd catch him. So off I went. I ran awesome until about mile 5. And then I had to go to the bathroom.
Worst mistake of my life. Stopping in a HOT porta pottie I am pretty sure ruined me. Now, let me be honest I know it wasn't the porta pottie fault, but I think that was the icing on the cake. And it was terrible terrible icing.
I caught Tom. But I was in rough shape. He encouraged me to run/walk. We tried that for a bit. But I couldn't. The feelings went from elation to realizing I could come in UNDER my goal to slowly watching that tick away to eventually just wanting to finish before the cut off.
My amazing husband stayed by my side (or a step ahead of me at times, trying to almost pull me along). I feel like I basically walked the marathon at this point. This was the worst marathon of my life. I wanted to quit. Then I didn't. I had come so far. It got dark, and let me tell you the mental struggle you go through at that point is crazy. Mental strength is key.
The next picture is my attempt to run past my family and friends..... You know so they thought I was still running. I started walking as soon as I was out of their sight. (My father in law is jogging behind me in this pic? Not sure why haha).
I am so thankful that my husband stuck it out with me. I know he has never been on a run course that long and likely never will be again. But I needed him when it got rather empty in the dark on the out and backs.
As we finally got near the finish, and I could see the chute we looked at each other and I think I said something like "Let's go for it".... and we both started slowly jogging. We jogged the finish chute. That time was surreal. So many people yelling and screaming, cheering YOU in, people high fiving as you ran in, I just tried to focus. I reached out and high fived my friend, Garrett, when I saw him and his girlfiriend cheering for us. Finally about half way through the chute my husband and I looked at each other and grabbed hands. We ran the rest of the way holding hands and we crossed the line like that.
I remember we talked about the post finish kiss, the finish line kiss. That kiss didn't happen. We each got whisked away by a volunteer. That volunteer gave me my medal and made sure I was okay. When he (I think it was a he) was convinced I was okay, he left me with my husband and family.
The finish was amazing. Finishing with my husband hand in hand will ALWAYS be a favorite memory of mine, one I will cherish forever.
Hugging my mom and seeing her. She has always been a huge support.
Seeing my mother and father in law and hearing them say they were so proud of us.
One of my best friends, Garrett and his girlfriend Amanda was there the ENTIRE day randomly along the course with signs and cheering us on. Seeing their faces randomly along the course, receiving high fives from them seriously kept me going.
I will do another Ironman. If nothing else, to redeem myself. I know I cold have done. But for now, I finished in time and I became an IRONMAN!!
Us at the finish line and the finish medal!
|So happy Amanda caught this moment on video, us coming up to the finish and crossing!|
|My Ironman tattoo.!|
|I read this a day or two before the race and I had NO idea how true it would be. I learned this on race day.|
My friends signs! Loved seeing them along the course. Seriously!
My family and I before we were heading home back to Hawaii. This trip will always be special to me.