Close to the Finish Line

Each day is one day closer to the finish line. Each preparation step is one less thing to do. It’s hard to believe it is 2 days away from race day. I remember freaking out when it was 12 weeks away. Time didn’t stand still, it actually went by pretty slowly. There’s a meme that says, “Life is short, triathlons make it seem longer.” So true!

A couple of weeks ago I raced in my last pre-Ironman race; it was a local race that I’ve done 11 times now. My race plan went exactly how I wanted it too. However, there was drama.

Frank Dunn Triathlon Race Report – August 13, 2017:

First, in the morning I was setting up my transition area and had to borrow a bike pump. As I was removing the pump,  it pulled my entire valve off my tube. So I had to change my tube with the only extra tube I had. On this particular course this was not ideal – there are many places to get a flat. I had to wrap my head around the fact that if I flatted that my day would be done. However, I didn’t flat and all was well.

Second, on the bike course my aero water bottle cage broke. As I mentioned, this course has a very rough road and it just broke. I stopped to see what happened and a tech stopped too. He asked if I wanted to tape it, I took a few sips of the bottle, gave it to him to give to the race director, and said “fuck it, I’m going.” So off I went.

Lastly, I was biking along and I felt really good. On the last lap, around 50km into the bike, I started to think about the run transition. For some reason I was thinking about setting up my transition area and couldn’t remember if I had put my socks in my shoes. I had to prepare myself to potentially run barefoot in my shoes. I made a plan that if I started to hurt that I would stop. I got to transition – no socks. I went through my tri bag, nope. So off I went running with no socks. I had a decent run, doing my run-walk intervals of 4:1. Apparently I can run in my shoes without socks. I had some small blisters, but overall not bad. I knew that they would heal before Ironman and that was all that mattered.

Christine and I at the Finish Line of the Frank Dunn Triathlon.
Christine and I at the Finish line of the Frank Dunn Triathlon.

My friend, a beginner triathlete, was doing the race so my family and I hung out waiting for her to cross the line. I was worried for her. It is a tough bike course and she’s a pretty new road biker. She came down the road and we were so excited. Her daughters were so happy! I am so proud of her! She is one of the most positive people I’ve ever known and to push through everything to finish is amazing. I remember my first time doing this race and being one of the last to cross the finish line. It is beautiful to push through all of the mental and physical challenges of a long day.

That day was beautiful to me because I had such a huge training section. My parents, my aunts and uncle, my grandma (she just turned 97), and my cousin all were there! It was amazing to see all of their beautiful faces as I was transitioning and at the finish line. I was faster than they expected, so they missed me sometimes but I’m ok with that. I like the idea that I exceeded expectations.

In my mind, I was exactly where I wanted to be. I performed exactly how I wanted. Despite all of the issues that came up, I kept going how I wanted. I proved that I can get through times of adversity with quick planning and positive thinking. This has made me feel ready for Ironman. The fact that I know exactly where my body is at and have realistic expectations, I am confident in my estimations for Ironman.


Ironman Coeur d’Alene 70.3 – June 25, 2017:

I never did a race report for IMCDA 70.3 in June. I guess it was because nothing major happened, there was nothing really to report on. The race went almost exactly how I wanted it to. I felt great crossing the line and the whole thing went smoothly. It was kind of weird. 

Here are my times though:
Overall: 8:05:43
Swim – 45:40
Bike – 4:09:15
Run – 2:55:11

Afterward, though, I did have some anxiety. It was about body image. I saw the photos of me on the race and I cried. Why doesn’t my body look like I’m training like a mad woman and eating well? I don’t look like a triathlete! Why won’t the excess weight and fat go away? I had to wrap my head around these questions and work on acceptance of my body the way it is. Evidently, I’m not 29 anymore, or even 35. Taking 3 years off of serious training had an effect on my physiology and this is part of it. Also, I’m older and things change. However, my body works just as well and I’m in the best condition of my life. I’m injury-free and strong. Mentally, I’m way stronger than I used to be. So fuck body image! I’m just how I am, bad pictures and all.

Two of my running buddies, missing is one human and one other canine running buddies.
Two of my running buddies, missing is one human and one other canine running buddies.

I’d love to say that in the last 2 months I’ve shed the excess fat and now “look” like a triathlete. However, I’m even happier to say that I look about the same, but I am a stronger triathlete than ever. I’m ready for Ironman. I’ve put in the time and effort and have tapered properly. My nutrition is on track and I’m fully ready for this race.


Ironman Coeur d’Alene Pre-Race:

Good times in Calgary for a concert of one of our favourite bands, The Decemberists. And it was my birthday!
Good times in Calgary for a concert of one of our favourite bands, The Decemberists. And it was my birthday!

Josh and I got to Coeur d’Alene late on Wednesday night. The drive down was not drama-free as we were both stressed and we just needed to get to our destination. The saying for Ironman training is, “If your relationship is working, you’re not training hard enough.” I think I’m training hard enough. It’s hard on our families to watch us put ourselves through the hard hours of training. He has seen me cry when looking at those race pictures and doubt myself, he’s seen me puke from heat exhaustion, he’s seen me go out on Saturday mornings in the rain and in the heat, he’s dealt with me when I’m miserable from exhaustion, he’s fed me when my hangerness got the better of me, he’s taken my bike in to the shop when I couldn’t make it home in time, he called around town looking for the last 650cc tire in the city, went and got it, and changed my tire, and he’s done everything around the house. There are many sacrifices that everyone makes around someone training for Ironman. It takes its toll on everyone.

Now we are in Coeur d’Alene and the finish line is closer and closer. All of it will be worth it. While I’ll be crossing the line for me, I’ll also be crossing it for Josh, my family, my friends, and my coworkers who have heard of little else for the last year. I’ll be crossing this off of my Life Goals list. I’ll be crossing it off my “Never doing it again” list.

My journey from 2009 to now is a long story (the 2009 IMCDA Race Report is here). I feel like this will be the end of my Ironman chapter. Never say never, but this was a loose end that I needed to fasten. I don’t need to start another spool for a very long time.

So I’m off to do a swim in the lake, check in and and do some race pre stuff, and enjoy the opening ceremonies tonight. Let the journey continue!

Ironman is Forever

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