"Most of us can learn to live in perfect comfort on higher levels of power. Everyone knows that on any given day there are energies slumbering in him which the incitements of that day do not call forth. Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. It is evident that our organism has stored-up reserves of energy that are ordinarily not called upon - deeper and deeper strata of explosible material, ready for use by anyone who probes so deep. The human individual usually lives far within his limits."
- William James
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would see an eleven on the clock when I finished my first Ironman. I knew I would finish. I told you I'd you finish. I wanted to finish in less than 13 hours. I thought, given the right conditions, that was possible. I even told you that 12:30 would take a perfect day. I wasn't sandbagging' - I promise...so all I know to do is tell you the story....
Pre-race:I was a little bit on edge Friday, the day before the race. I met up with Jere, Missy, Abby, Dee, and all the other Nashvillians there racing, and we did the Gatorade swim...about 1000yds or so, and then some of us took off for a short bike ride. I enjoyed the mini workout, and I was glad to go ahead and get a feel for the water. It was cold the first few strokes, but then very comfortable once you got out into the deeper part. It was calm and smooth, and nothing like the waves we had back in May for the half iron. I got back to the condo to find that my whole family had arrived - JT and the boys, my dad, my aunt(Dana) and uncle(Eric). It was good to see everyone, and I showered and then did a final check to make sure I had everything I needed in my transition and special needs bags. We hung out for a while, then made our way down to the Ironman village where they all made signs for me and did some M-dot shopping while I got my bike and bags checked in. They said they could tell I was uptight, although I was trying to play it cool. I really just wanted the damn thing to get here already. And that was pretty much my attitude about it. I had trained all year long, made it through those final tough weeks of 10 hour training days on the weekends, and to top it off I had gained about 6 lbs during the taper! NOT. GOOD. I just wanted to get started. I wasn't afraid of it, but I was impatient. I just wanted to hear the gun go off and get moving.We had somewhat of a tiny fiasco trying to get through dinner. First, we locked our keys in the condo. We got that taken care of with the help of a very nice security guard, and then we went to Carabba's for my "final meal" as they all called it. I decided that the final meal would be Chicken Parmesan. Easy enough, right? Wrong. I thought Chicken Parmesan meant chicken with marinara and cheese on top of pasta. I wanted that pasta. Come to find out Carabbas considers the pasta a "side"...so when they bring mine without the pasta I had a bit of a meltdown. So bad, in fact, that my uncle pleaded for some pasta quickly and the poor waiter rushed back to the kitchen and brought it back very quickly. I pulled myself together and devoured the pasta, and then Holly and my Dad gave the sweetest toast you've ever heard. We got back to the condo around 9:00, and I got in the bed around 9:30 or so. Not too bad.
I dreamt about Ironman all night, and I got up at 4:15 ready to go. Ready to finally get this show on the road. J.T. and Holly took me down to the transition area and I added my peanut butter sandwich to my special needs bag, filled up my water bottle, gave hugs to friends, and soon headed down to the beach in my wetsuit. I found the rest of my family, and even ran into Bigun! Holly and my dad were volunteers, so they had front row access. My dad stood with me as I waited and prayed with me a couple minutes before the gun went off. And it finally went off.
The gun goes off and everything changes... the world changes... and nothing else really matters. -Pattie Sue Plummer
The Swim: You know that feeling, right? The one where you've waited and waited on something, and the time is finally here, and you don't know anything else to do but to throw yourself into it like there's no tomorrow. That's how I felt. I dove in and swam. No, I didn't really swim, I fought. That's all you could do! With 2300 people swimming towards the same buoy, I just pretended to swim as the draft carried me along, and I fought off all the people kicking and flailing around me. It was the most fun I've had in a race, ever!!! Even after I got nailed in the eye by someone kicking like crazy. I laughed and giggled to myself over and over at how much freakin' fun this was! I'm not supposed to have fun during the swim - I suck at it! But it was a blast. When we all converged at the turn buoy people were freaking out. Finally somebody yelled "Ok look!!! Everybody just calm down - We're going to get around this thing!!!" And I just felt like a kid on a roller coaster ride or something. I finally got around the turn and got to start swimming, and made it back to the beach for the 1st lap in 36 min and something. I even paused to show off my bicep for the camera. The second loop wasn't as physical, so I just relaxed and enjoyed the water and all that was around me. I was doing the Ironman...finally...and loving every minute of it. My goal for this swim was an ambitious 1:30, so you can imagine my excitement when I crossed the timing mat to a 1:14:04. If you can't imagine my excitement, here's a sample:
Yeah, I was pumped.
T1: Crowded. I just grabbed my bag and did it myself. I meant to put on arm warmers, but I wasn't feeling anything cold at that point. And I'm glad I forgot them, because it warmed up quickly. What I was feeling was the need to pee. But I just couldn't kill the momentum and use the port-a-potty...so I sorta just let'er flow as I was running out with my bike...sorry guys behind me...but it's the Ironman!!!
Bike: What beautiful weather. I took off feeling great but didn't push too hard. I did a really good job drinking and then pee-ing on the go...and this time I'm not apologizing because I saw plenty others letting'er go while on the bike, too. But then it came time to refill my bottles with Infinite...ugh. I didn't want to fool with it. (You know where this is going.) I got one bottle filled, finally, after half the powder blew in my face, and I ate half of a peanut butter and honey sandwich to make up for some of the Infinite I was not drinking. But then mile 70 came and it wasn't enough. I started fading. I had gone from constantly passing people, to holding my ground, and then to watching guys pass me. But hey, I figured they were just slow swimmers and strong bikers. Until a chick passed me. Then another. Then they started flying by me. By mile 80, I was hurting. I tried to start drinking more, but it wasn't helping fast enough. All my family was out on the bike course cheering in different places for me, and I knew they could see the concern on my face. I tried to smile and pose for the pictures, but by the time I hit mile 100, I couldn't find much to smile about. I wasn't sure what I was going to do...the only saving grace that I could think of was that I was pretty sure I had fig newtons in my T-2 bag. I couldn't stomach any more peanut butter, and I had tried to eat a shot block only to find out it had soured and it was nasty. I just kept saying "If I can just make it back to those fig newtons, I'll be fine." I was starving. With about 3 miles to go in the bike course, Michele flew past me like a streak of lightening. She looked great! But I felt horrible. I came around the final turn and there was my support crew again, cheering and yelling, and I saw that my Uncle Troy had made it all the way down from TN! I finally made it to T-2 in 6:01 and attempted to raise my leg over my bike...attempted, I say...as it actually took 3 attempts to succeed in that one. No matter how bad I felt, though, I had to be happy with that bike time. I had planned on it taking me 6:30. As for the rest of the race, though, I thought I was stick-a-fork-in-me-done. My only hope was those fig newtons.
T-2: This sweet little girl grabbed me in T-2 and started going through my bag and helping me get my socks and running shoes on. Bless her heart. That job is not one for the faint of heart. So I start saying "Thank you, thank you...fig newtons...fig newtons...the fig newtons are in there, right?" And she looks and looks and can't find them. So I dump it all out. No fig newtons. I had put them in my special needs bag...not the T-2 bag. Great. Oh well...nothing I can do now, so I take off shuffling out the tent.
The Run: The shuffle immediately caused a side stitch that hurt like crap. I toughed it out long enough to smile for the camera and get out of sight from the people who knew me, and then I just walked. I didn't know what else to do, so I had a little talk with myself. I said, "Now listen, Lana. You've got 25+ miles to run here. So you don't feel good right now, fine. You need food in your belly, and you need to cheer up. This is not about a finish time as long as it's under 17 hours...just get yourself some food and have fun." So I made it to the first aid station and practically raided the thing. I told the volunteers that I was starving and they gave me plenty of bananas, oranges and cookies. I stuffed my face and then even got some carry-out! I got enough that I was able to walk/shuffle on to mile 2, where I raided this one as well. I drunk the Gatorade, got some ice, washed my face with a cold sponge, and ate everything in sight. I suddenly wanted to run...so I took off. It hurt, but I was running. I wondered if I could make it a whole mile...and I did. From there on out, I ran 1 mile at a time. I ran at a pace that was barely comfortable until I got to the next aid station. I ate a bite or three at each, thanked them all, and took off for the next mile. Before I knew it...I was feeling great again. I found Holly and my parents on my way back in around mile 11 or so, and I convinced them that I was better now. I saw Steph and Jill and all of their crew and they yelled and screamed for me. I saw Bigun and Di and J.T. as I head for the turnaround, and then again going back out. Then I saw my parents again. My Dad ran up beside me and said "Ok, Lana. You've got 13 hours easily, and you've got an excellent shot at breaking 12. Now this it. This is the last lap. You go get it - you use that "SHEER MATTHEWS GUTS AND DETERMINATION" and go finish this thing up, you hear?!?!" and I said "YES! YES! YES I WILL!" And I ran, and I ran, and I ran. When I got tired I dug down and found something more. When my right knee started screaming bloody murder for relief, I said a prayer, and it was answered as the pain went away. When I crossed the 20 mile marker and saw the time, I knew I was still on pace to break 12 hours. I could see the sun setting and it got dark, and I pushed on. I got hungry, and I ate and drank, and then pushed on some more. I couldn't think about anything other than the present mile at hand, or I would start feeling like I'd never make it...so I just kept saying, "You can always run one more mile." I stopped for food and cola at the mile 23 aid station, and as I was walking they cranked up Ozzy's Ironman. I got chills down my spine and slammed my cup into the trash and took off running. At Mile 24, I could hear Mike Reiley calling people Ironmen...and that was my last stop...I got more cola, and decided it was time to bring it home. I ran right passed the Mile 25 stop, yelled and whooped and hollered at all my friends who were cheering, and I felt no pain. The family pen came into sight and I zoned in on Bo, who was waiting for me....
"BO!!!!!! COME ON, BO!!!! I MADE IT! LET'S GO BUDDY, LET'S GO BRING IT HOME!!!!"
He jumped up and took off running beside me, and then there were lights and screaming and I could hear Mike Reiley saying something about Manchester, TN. I pumped my fist and yelled with them...and
"YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!" as I broke through the tape.
Do not ever doubt your potential and sell yourself short. Do not ever count yourself out just because you get tired along the way. Or because you mess up or make mistakes along the way. I thought I was done with 40 miles left on the bike. I was supposed to drink 6 bottles of Infinite and I only got down 3.5. I was down, but I was not done.
It was Ironman.
It can take ordinary and turn it into extraordinary. It will dare you to dream, dare you to be bold, and...
...and then take all your damn money. I spent WAY too much money on M-Dot finisher schwag. WAY TOO MUCH...but hey, it was worth it!
Swim (2.4 miles):1:14:04
Bike (112 miles): 6:01:27, 18.6 mph avg
Run (26.2 miles): 4:30:21
Total (140.6 miles): 11:58:23
What a ride!
4 years ago