I did it! I am an IMWI finisher with a new PR for the 140.6 distance.
Over 40 minute PR form IMFL on a much harder course. All that hard work, the hurdles along the way... it was so worth it at the finish line after swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 and running 26.2 preceded of course by the hardest part- juggling and balancing it all through months upon months of the ironman training journey which consisted of some very serious lows (injuries and life stressors) and highs (incredible relationships and exciting progress).
I was lucky to stay in an adorable house 2 miles from the start with an incredibly supportive and fun group of athletes. We had a great time. There were a few hurdles for me before the race a bike mechanical taking an entire afternoon to sort out leaving me with no race wheels, oh and a nasty spider bite putting me in urgent care for a few hours once I landed in Madison, but I navigated through all setbacks just fine. I was just happy to have the opportunity to race! My parents flew in and I had my husband by my side whenever I needed him to help me get ready. I didn't do this race alone... I had my family.
I kept thinking about the swim start at IMCDA of 2011 after my bad crash and how big tears formed and were dripping down my cheeks once the cannon went off and I watched so many friends and strangers swim away from me- experiencing my dream... with out me. "At least your tears will keep you warm", said the girl I was standing with when she happened to look up in that moment. It was pretty cold outside- so I gave her a hug and pulled it together. I knew I'd be so very appreciative the day I got to toe the start line of an ironman race again. That simple yet vivid memory kept me somewhat calm in the days and moments leading up to the starting gun going off.
Racing with gratitude is what got me through the day with success. I felt so grateful for the health, fitness, and mental ability to race. Having the friends, family, and support network cheering me on both physically at the site as well as watching my progress online with the race's tracker meant the world to me. Remembering that the ironman is a very long day and you can come back from set backs along the course also helped. I had a stellar swim, my bike was slower than I had wanted and I had to stop a few times (Five! 5 times for various pesky issues) but I fueled it really well and was able to run off the bike shaving 26 minutes off my fastest marathon time... faster than my stand alone marathon PR. I'm happy with that. I believe I have even more potential to go faster... but of course, that is what most triathletes start thinking about the instant we accomplish a goal. There's always a way to improve or get better or something new to learn.
I'm so grateful to everyone that helped me PR at IM Moo. I did this with my husband and my family. I also must thank my training and triathlon friends, my friends who don't do triathlons but remain so supportive, the coaches that gave me a great foundation and base from which to build (Michael and Tyler), my co-workers for listening to my training stories, all the very patient people that helped me overcome my injuries both post bike wreck and the dreaded plantar fasciitis. I thought of everyone out there. They were all with me on race day. I did not race alone. Once I finally saw the finish line, tears welled up again- this time full of joy. I wiped them off my cheek, smiled and ran happily to the end of my Ironman 2012 journey.
I feel accomplished, happy, and really excited about taking some serious down time before ramping up for Ironman Texas in 2013.
I will try to do a more detailed race report later... but no promises. This journey is over and a new chapter is upon me!