April 1, 2012
United Airlines and US Airways SUCK!!! Just sayin'...
1.2 mi swim: Your mind is very powerful. The gun went off and by default, a group of gals made their lead pretty distinctive. A few were trailing in front of me, but not even close enough to get a draft. I ended up swimming alone for the entire swim, not realizing that there was another group of gals behind me. They were far enough behind that I couldn't see them; that totally played with my head. I thought I was dead last. I exited the swim and headed to transition. It was smooth sailing...getting off the wetsuit quickly, putting on my helmet and sunglasses, heading out to the bike exit.
56 mi bike: I forgot one thing though…clipping on my race number belt. They were laying across my aerobars; I realized this after I got on the bike and started pedaling. I looked down, said, "sh*t" and decided to keep soft pedaling while I tried to get the belt on. If you've ever ridden a TT bike, it's not exactly friendly for "hands free" riding. I eventually managed to get my number on after a minute or so. For those of you that do triathlons, just use your imagination…it was pretty entertaining.
13.1 mi run: By the time everyone started the run, the temperature had risen. The run course, just like the bike, was out in the open. Thankfully, we were fortunate to have a water/nutrition station approximately every mile (some races don't do that). Ironman was also very considerate for giving out sponges soaked in water. Those are my favorite and key to keeping core temperature down as much as possible. I started the run not feeling that great. I thought to myself, either I'm going to keep feeling this way the entire run and it's going to suck, or my legs are going to open up at some point of the run. I headed out for the run; I got passed by Christie Sym of Australia and Nina Kraft of Germany, about a mile and a half into the first lap (3-loop run). I told myself that I could either continue going at my pace, or try to stay with them. I stuck with Christie for the first half of the run while Nina picked up the pace. Christie and I passed a few gals on the way that seemed to be affected by the heat. It was even too hot for Jenny Fletcher, who had stopped on the first lap. I think the momentum of picking people off and the consistency of the pace did my legs good. At the halfway point with about six miles left, my legs had opened up and I started to feel really good, so I took off at one of the water stations, opening up a gap and eventually catching Nina.
Getting back to PA: I crossed the finish line with limp legs, waited around a bit, gave a couple high-five's, shook Nina's hand, and went off to gather my things. At this point, I had about 90mins to get to my hotel, take a shower, and pack my luggage/bike. The only good thing that came out of this was that I wasn't "suffering" from any GI issues thanks to GU Energy Gels, and I got to the airport on time. I got to PHL at a quarter to 11pm, only to find that my bike never made it. I spoke with a very nice lady named Tanya at the baggage claim office, asking her if this was some kind of April Fool's prank. It turns out that the guy who tagged my bike in Houston via US Airways, put the wrong tag on! I was technically "Diane" at that moment; my bike was on its way to Jacksonville, FL. By the time we got all the paperwork done to ensure that the bike would arrive safely at some point within the next 48hrs, it was 11:30pm and I had another 80mins of my travels left. By the time I got home and in bed, I had about 4hrs until I had to get back up for school. I wish I could've stayed an extra day to enjoy Galveston Island. Life.
Kudos: I'd like to thank Erica Sheckler (for being my swim partner and keeping me level-headed at the airport Friday night) and Craig Sheckler of Endurance Multisport for hooking me up with some training partners, Cyndi Roberts, those individuals that dealt with my irritableness leading up to the race, the cycling community here in the Lehigh Valley, Bike Line of Allentown, Honey Stinger, Gu Energy Gel for keeping my GI normal during and after the race, and those that have encouraged me along the way.
I'll be back in September! For now...