Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ironman Arizona Race Report

Ok I think I've finally calmed down enough to write a coherent race report. What an emotional weekend, a years worth of training coming down to one day. A day that could go any which way, depending on so many factors that you do and don't have control over. I was finally ready or not to do it.

4:00 am Alarm went off, it didn't matter, I was awake, I probably got more sleep than I thought I did, but it felt like I was awake checking the clock every 10 minutes. Ate toast and a banana, diet coke and a started on a bottle of water.

5:00 am Craig and Brent drove me down to Tempe Town Lake, our hotel was about 3 or 4 miles away. I almost started crying in the car, it was so overwhelming that I was on my way. Brent kept pumping me up with lots of positive comments, trying to keep me calm, he did a good job.

5:15 am Checked on my bike, filled by bottles, took trash bag covers off the seat and bento box

5:45 am Met Kate, we decided to start together, and got our wetsuits on

Brent took this picture of the lake, shortly before it looked like ............

This....the age group start, do you see me? Look close, I'm the one in the black wetsuit and the lavender cap.
7:00 am We are off. The water was cold, I heard anywhere from 59-61, I had a neoprene cap under my race cap and was glad I did. You hear a lot of horror stories about the washing machine swim starts. I started way in the back. I was afraid of not making the cut-off time. I had two hour and twenty minutes to finish the swim and not a second longer.
8:51 am The swim wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. I just tried to stay clam and keep going. If I ever do this again, I will definitely be braver and start a lot further up. Check out the clock, I made it! 1:51! I knew I made the cut off but honestly I didn't see that clock, I didn't see a clock until I came out of T1 and it was 2:02. WooHoo I had bought myself a half hour of time.

Craig-I think he was in a state of disbelief-I was out of the water!

Well for some unknown reason blogger won't load my pictures, so I will just finish this and add pictures later.
The bike mount area
Out on the course

9:02 am Next up, a long day on the bike, it's a three loop course which is great 'cause you get to see your family often. I started out strong on the bike course, but it didn't last long, it rained, hailed and the headwinds were ferocious. The good thing about the wind was that it was a tail wind on the out which is a false flat and a headwind on the downhill, Even though it was downhill sometimes I was only going 10-12 mph, it was a tough wind. I ended up with a 7:17, I was hoping for less than 7, but still had banked a little more time for the run. Some good advice I got from BMc: eat, eat, eat. And I did, I ate even when I wasn't hungry, and drank more Ironman Perform than I ever want to drink again in my life! Another piece of advice from me. I really stressed over what to put in my bike special needs bag, the only thing I wanted when I got there was my DZNuts Bliss (the she version of DZNuts). The volunteer got it out of my bag for me, I said close your eyes, and the rest of my ride was saved!
The bike finish chute-happy in an understatement

4:30pm Bike done, oh happy day! I now had 7 1/2 hours to finish this thing, I knew I could do it. I also knew that I would have to run, I wouldn't make it walking. I decided only to walk the aid stations and pretty much stuck to my plan, I walked a few uphills. The aid stations were incredible especially the police one, it couldn't help but make you smile every time you came through.

I kept going, it wasn't fast but it was forward progress, my Garmin went dead about 1/2 way through which was probably a good thing, it slowed me down more.
Kyle was at this aid station when I got there, My next comment to him was, "I hate Gu"

I didn't realize what was happening but I began to list to the left, have you ever seen anyone finishing a marathon or ironman bent over to one side, well that was me. I thought it must be something going on with my back after a long day of breathing to one side on the swim, staying aero as much as possible on the bike and running. I learned when I got home that is was brain hyperthermia. I was so happy to hit the last loop, but still at my pace that would mean two hours! I just kept going.
10:49pm Kyle met me at the cut-off for the finish line, I asked him how far it was. At the St. George Marathon you see the finish line a long time before you actually run through. He kept saying it's right there mom. Someone walking through the area said only 300 yards, really you're that close, at the last corner a lovely volunteer met me, saying something to the effect of Melinda, there it is, it's the finish line you did it, Mike Reilly is waiting for you, Chrissie Wellington is waiting for you. I was still running listing to the left, Mike Reilly saw me and said that is truly mind over matter and told the crowd to go crazy to bring me in.
I have never heard a finish line so crazy, and loud,thank you, thank you. They were incredible, I tried to stand up straight for the picture but I don't think I was very successful.
Finally crossed the line I wouldn't walk across the day before.

I was in at 15:49 and as soon as I crossed the line I was in Chrissie Wellington's arms getting a huge hug. Wow, the world champion, she had just set a new world record that day and she was at the finish line to greet me. I am her biggest fan, what a kind, wonderful, genuine person, she is very impressive not just as an athlete, but as a person.
Don't ask me what I went through for a medal, a t shirt and a hat!
Craig was just happy I was alive!
Thank you to all the volunteers, they were incredible, they would do anything to help you! Thank you most of all to my family for putting up with me for the past year. I was up early and off to the gym, Craig made breakfast and lunches for the boys, weekends were long rides and runs. My family never complained they picked me up after long runs and bike flats, encouraged me when I got discouraged and believed in me. They made sure I had great equipment, they wouldn't let me fail. On race day, they were there cheering for me all the way. I have pictures of Craig with tears in his eyes when I came out of the swim. The boys met me on every loop of the bike to cheer me on. The run course is three figure eight loops and Craig, Kevin, Brent, Kyle and Brad were always somewhere cheering for me. I love you all.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 3

This was really last night, Kev and I on the way to the mandatory meeting.

WooHoo the world's greatest support crew is assembled!  Thanks guys, how lucky am I?
Brent spelled Wright wrong on purpose so I would notice it--yeah right, I think that boy spent too much time in the backcountry!

Practice swim, met up with Kate, we had a great swim!

Bags checked, bike racked, let's do it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 2

Part of my support crew arrived this morning.

Love row 42, I think I can find it--I know I can find it
it will be the only bike left in T1.

I drop my bike off right here tomorrow.
The finish line, I refused to walk across it today.
I am working on my transitions bags, decisions, decisions especially what to wear, it's supposed to rain, that changes everything.  Long sleeve, short sleeve, swim in tri kit or speedo, jacket, no jacket, running tights, shorts or stay in kit?  Hmmmm, I don't know.  Today was a fun day, we picked up Kev at the airport this morning and Kyle, Brad and Brent will be here soon.  I walked around the expo, had a very cool laser treatment done on my shoulder (darn swimming) went to the mandatory meeting, Yep I think I'm ready.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wait-Can I Get a Refund?

Signing my life away.

                           A little body art.
  Oh yeah and I have to walk around with this on my leg, oh man and I paid for this?

Whew, checked out the lake, day 1 was rough!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Tempe Town Lake, note there is water in TTL.  This summer the dam broke and within a few hours the lake was completely gone.  Tempe promised to have it fixed by November and Tempe, being part of the great state of Arizona actually got the job done.  Now, not to bad mouth my beloved state of California, 'cause I really do love living there, but if Tempe was in California do you think it would have happened?   Thanks again Tempe.... maybe.  Do I look strong, confident....well hopefully I'm faking it well cause that nice, calm lake you see behind me terrifies me.  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Grandma and Grandpa

Can't wait to see you at Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Really Dad!

Do you have to take one more!

Surf Trip

Brent and Brad



Kyle and Brad were out of school on Thursday and Friday so Brent decided it was time for a surf trip.  They went down to San Onofre on Thursday, Craig and I went down on Friday to hang out with them for awhile.  Now Kyle and Brad are getting cleaned up for an Assisteens dance and I think we have a mom and dad date with Brent!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Brent is Home

Brent at our front door before leaving for the airport for his NOLS semester.
First section was sea kayaking, looks pretty calm here.

Rock Climbing--Squamish
Backpacking-Pasayten Wilderness

Sailing-Desolation Sound, Sunshine Coast, Strait of Georgia and the Gulf Islands
Home again, to spend a few weeks with the little bros.  Check out Brent's Facebook page for some incredible pictures of his NOLS experience.

Beach Babies

Congratulations to Brian and Sarah!
Bri got the internship with Price Waterhouse Coopers.  They will be in Irvine for the summer.