Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Never give up!

The Ironman is arguably one of the most grueling races imaginable. For those that haven't hear of it, the Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, followed by an 112 mile bicycle race then topped with a 26.2 mile marathon. Commonly referred to as a 140.6 which represents the total amount of miles you race.

In the US in 2009, 1.2M people competed in Triathhlon's, of those only 17% even attempt an Ironman. So doing that math (disclaimer my sister is the math teacher, not me) that means less than 0.4% of the US can do a triathlon and only .0006% attempt an Ironman. Clearly this is an elite group....

I'm proud to say my sister is competing in her second Ironman in a few weeks. For practice she did a half marathon this weekend. That by the way, is 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run. Below is her race recap post.

Not only is Diane competing in her second ironman but she is raising money for my cousins wife who was just diagnosed with ALS. The money Diane is raising will hopefully be enough to pay for an elevator to be installed in the house since insurance does not cover that. More info is available http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130824/GJNEWS_01/130829605/0/SEARCH and if you want to donate, you cna do so at here  http://www.gofundme.com/2prrzc.

Before you read it though a few things about Diane. Diane was not a track star in high school. Growing up sh could swim, mostly. I remember her riding a bike but no further than I ever did. She didn't grow up as a super jock. In fact when she took up running, she had a hard time catching her breath and went to the Dr. 

The Dr. ran some tests and said "You have the lungs of a 60 year old sedentary woman". She was not yet 30. "Your body is just not made to run".

Diane was determined though and in spite of her reduced lungs completed her first ironman 140.6. 

Whenever I hear someone say "It's can't be done, I smile and say, let me tell you a story..." Never give up. If it's important to you, you can find a way....

In August of 2007, after having my second tumultuous swim at Ellacoya, I vowed never to return again. I can’t even drive by that place without having a panic attack! But after what happened at IMLP last year, I knew I had to go back, and defeat this demon. This time, I upped my game, and signed up for the half iron distance. This course has a reputation for being very difficult, not only because Lake Winni is known for being quite choppy, but because of the 2200 feet of vertical climb in the bike, another huge weakness of mine.

Fast forward to August 18, 2013. I got up at 3 am and rode up with the Toracintas. Chanel has been my training partner and huge inspiration, as we are both doing Ironman triathlons a day apart. Having her there calmed me down, and seeing the serene water, was priceless! Then I realized I had forgotten a few very important items: my prescription sunglasses (without these, I can clearly see for about 5 feet), my chip, and my Garmin. Oops! Luckily Kelly lent me a pair of sunglasses, which protected my eyes. I was able to get a replacement chip, and the Garmin, well, more on that later…

They set up the swim waves so that the slowest groups would start first, after the pros. Sounds like a great idea, right? Except when you’re a slow swimmer like me. I had 8 minutes of pure bliss, then WHAM! The next group of swimmers come on me like a shark stalking its prey. The water starts getting rough. Do I go left or right? It doesn’t matter, there are people all around. I try desperately to get out of the way, then another group comes up. I’m in the middle of a mosh pit, being kicked and poked, and scared to death. Finally I manage to swim out of this mess and grab a kayak to get myself together. I quickly compose myself and devise a plan, to swim far left, avoiding other swimmers at all costs. I get into a groove, then come to the first turn. WTF was that! I got pummeled by a giant tidal wave! I kept hearing Chanel’s voice “Whatever we swim in cannot be as bad as Wallis Sands.” She was right. It wasn’t pretty, but I got through the swim at Ellacoya in 56 minutes.

Time to bike, and it starts off with a nice size hill right out of the gate. My plan was to use this race as a training day and to take it easy because I only have 5 weeks until Chessie. Then several hundred cyclists passed me, I got caught up in the moment, and once I saw the Crayola pack of body condoms, it was time to MOVE IT! After the first 12 miles, it was relatively flat, so I was averaging close to 19 mph. Felt strong, perfect temp, and went with it. I made a quick pit stop and continued the second part of the course. Time on the bike was about 3:30, which was a 16 mph average. I was very happy with this since I had biked part of the course before (the hilly part), and averaged like 13.3 mph, though it might have had something to do with it being the day after a 90 mile ride in extreme temps.

When I hit the run, it was cloudy and getting cooler, which was ideal! The first 3 miles took FOREVER! But without my Garmin, I had no idea how to gage it. The course is a double loop out and back, so you get to see everyone, several times. About half through, I was nicknamed “the porn star” due to my heavy breathing. True story, you can hear me coming from a mile away! At about mile 10 my ITB started acting up. There was a severe camber on the road, and not being able to switch sides of the road, I had to do some power walking. But no worries, I still finished under a 12-minute mile and was able to “chick” a few guys.

Overall, happy with my time, and looking to bike about the same pace at Chessie next month, but that will be a flat course. Best part of my day, hmm, either Chanel’s daughter Fran giving me a big hug before the start and saying “Good luck other mom!” Or Andy Potts putting the medal around my neck.

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