Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ironman Florida....Part 1.

The journey to Ironman Florida began about 10 months ago when I entered a contest sponsored by Training Peaks. Many of you helped me gain my entry by clicking on my picture as often as you could for about 2.5 weeks. I finished 2nd with 1644 votes.

And then the training began. From February 18 through November 1 I swam 62.4 miles, ran 591 miles, and biked 2,142 miles. All this was to prepare to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and then run 26.2 miles.

The week leading up to the race, I was on an incredible roller coaster of emotions. My dear friend Karen sent me emails everyday helping me find focus and counting down my "days to awesome". She reminded me to be strong, to trust, be grateful, be brave, and remember I am loved. I looked forward to them each day.

Monday night Coach and I had a heart to heart. It was much needed and much over due. 2 hours later, many tears shed by me, and I'm too tired to pack and I'm devastated because my pink tiara visor is cracked and my attempts to hot glue it didn't work.

The ladies in Ironwilled: Women who TRI were awesome with suggestions on how to fix it. And Claudia recognized that I might want/need some help beyond the tiara.

Have I mentioned it takes a village to get me ready for Ironman?

Stacy sent me a packing list. I sent Claudia a shopping list. Then Tuesday night Claudia came over and helped me get it all together and brought me a sewing kit which proved to be the solution to the cracked crown.

Wednesday morning I woke up nice and early to meet up with Angela (#BeBraveBeBadass) as she said she had something for me and I owed her cookies.

After an uneventful drive to Panama City Beach, I was able to get checked in to a gorgeous condo and meet up with Stephanie to get checked in, shop and go to the Athletes' Meeting.
At the Athletes' Meeting I got to meet up with some women from our Ironwilled group. It was great being recognized by the tattoo Cyndi from designed for our group.

Some time to get settled and then I met up with Brad, Les, Stephanie and Bob for dinner. Then Brad and I drove out to meet up with Lane and Stacy to discuss gathering some warmer clothes if the forecast continued to deteriorate as predicted.
Thursday morning we had a great group meet up to go for a swim. We started swimming. Paused, regrouped, repeated. Easy easy swim out. Then we swam in and it was everyone for themselves! The gulf got a bit choppy and it was like getting smacked across the face when you least expected it. But it wasn't horrible.
A quick change of clothes and handful of us rolled out to check out what the wind was going to feel like on our bikes. I used this time to give the Rudy aero helmet that Lane gave me a test drive. The whole concept of nothing new on race day was thrown out the window this weekend. Wore the helmet for 10 miles and decided to wear it race day.

Did I mention I was with Stephanie? You know where we went for breakfast...WAFFLE HOUSE! The reality of the forecast was settling in and the word of the meal was SUCK. There really were no other appropriate words. The wind on our ride grabbed wheels and moved us around. We all started coming to grips that Saturday, Saturday was going to suck.
 It was fun walking back from breakfast and bumping into Hal, Allan and Shawn.
 Some downtime in the condo and then my parents got there. I helped unload their car and then it was time to head off to the banquet. We got to eat dinner with Bill who has been to Kona 10 times and has started IMFL 15 out of 16 times!
At the banquet I also saw Lizzie and got to meet Tom who I had connected with on Facebook through the IMFL group. There were some great lines presented that night. Two of my favorites: Be stronger than you excuses. And: Swim 2.4 miles. Bike 112 miles. Run 26.2 miles. Brag for the rest of your life! Also during the banquet I was able to get out more of the Ironwilled tattoos. I had them nice and organized in a white envelope that I put down on the table while taking a picture and forgot to pick back up. Total loss, about $30. No time to freak out over that but I do want to thanks Tom for walking back with me when I went to go see if by some slim chance the envelope had been turned back in.

Friday morning I woke up and went for a quick easy 2 mile run then headed out to breakfast with mom and dad.

From breakfast we went and picked up some wheels for mom so she would be able to get around to see more of the race. Back to the condo to pack up my transition bags and Stacy came by and we all took a stroll over to get my bike checked in. A volunteer started laughing when I was shocked to see my name next to my number.

Mom and dad headed back to the condo and I went by the Fusion USA booth to grab a vest. Chatted with Chance and left feeling good that I had enough gear for the next day.

The part most of you have been waiting for:

RACE be continued.

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