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.
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.