Ironman Arizona - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
Ironman North America
70F / 21C
Total Time = 13h 45m 10s
Overall Rank = 1744/2516
Age Group = F35-39
Age Group Rank = 76/119
Pre-race routine:

Woke up and ate 2 mini-bagels with peanut butter and also had a banana. Played on BT for a bit and then wrote on my arms. Right arm "Suck It" because when you have a lull in IM you have to suck it and move on. On my left arm "For Dad". The night before IMAZ I found out that my dad's lung cancer has returned. He will start chemo next month, so I wanted those words there to remind myself that no matter what IM would throw at me, it was nothing compared to what my dad will have to endure.
Event warmup:

It's an IM.....the swim is the WARM-UP! Although with the chilly water, it's more of a cool-down! Took a few pics, tried to stay warm and relaxed. Before heading into transition Jon (jonmetz) said to me, "you are going to have a great race!" I smiled and thanked him for jock-strapping for me.

Headed into transition and found Nancy from my tri-club. Threw on the wetsuit and headed toward the water with Nancy where we ran into Andrew and Todd, also from my tri-club. Suddenly people behind us start cheering and clapping, Rudy (IM athlete without legs) is heading down to the water. Inspirational is not enough of a word to describe this guy, I would see him throughout the day.

The cannon sounds for the pros and I look at the guy standing next to me who is looking a bit nervous and say, "Great news, I heard this is a downhill swim!" he cracks a smile. Nancy and I hold hands and ease ourselves into the chilly lake. Somehow I lost Nancy in the water. I decided to make my way toward the front of the pack and close to the bouy line.

  • 1h 29m 51s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 08s / 100 yards

I'm trading water, seeing the sun just starting to come up over the horizon...I float on my back and look up at all of the people lined up on the bridge to watch this amazing thing, called Ironman. I am in awe of all of the people in the water and a bit worried about getting my ass kicked and punched, literally, by these same people! Mike Reilly says, "It's a great day to be an Ironman!" Chills run down my spine, not just from the cold water, but because he is right....this is a great day to become a Ironman, again for me!

The cannon goes off and I attempt to swim and just wind up with a handful of wetsuit. There are so many people! Eventually I get some water and I'm constantly beaten by those around me. The water is just a mass of random arms and feet. I was groped plenty, but did my fair share of playing grab-ass as well.

I kept "swimming", poking my head up every so often to watch the sun rise and to attempt to find some open space in the water. I look all around me and there is no-where to go other than forward. I don't bother to look for the bouy, just follow whatever swimcap, feet or ass I find in front of me. Finally I come up on the turn bouy and everyone just kinda stops to take a left turn. It's a log-jam! I yell out, "um, aren't we supposed to be swimming?" A few of the people around me chuckle and we start moving slowly toward the next turn. I make it to that one in 40 minutes, I'm pumped that I may have a great swim time even with all of this contact!

I keep moving and some woman next to me punches me in the face. I grab her arm and she yells out "hey!" and I said, "we'll don't f-ckin punch me in the face!" Call it my version of swimmers-rage! The underwater beating continues the entire way back. I try to stay calm, but am annoyed by everyone around me and just want out of the water. At one point I smell horse poop and think to myself "am I swimming in sh-t lake?"

Finally we it the final turn toward the exit, yay! I keep sighting off of one guy waiting to help pull us up the stairs and out of the water. I yell to myself, "swim, you are almost done with these people! Then you can pay back the favor by smoking them on the bike!" Finally I reach out and this guy practically flings me out of the water. I steady myself and another volunteer point me toward the wetsuit strippers. I look at my watch, kinda bummed at my swim time...oh well.
What would you do differently?:

Practice swimming 2.4 miles with over 2,000 of my closest friends beating the crap out of me.
Transition 1
  • 05m 51s

I run down the row of volunteers until I find a big guy. I point to him and yell "big guy, it's all you!" I sit on my butt and he flings my wetsuit off. Thankfully I held onto my tri-shorts or else they may have gotten stripped off with the wetsuit! He grabs my hand to help me up and launches me about 3 feet into the air.

I run down the chute smiling and yelling to the crowd. Someone yells my name. If you are reading this, sorry I didn't recognize you!! I grab my bike bag and see Shaun (Cubefarmgopher) in transition. He yells out to me and I am so happy to see a familiar face I pull a "Flying Abbie" and leap into his arms. Sorry Shaun, I must have felt like a cold, wet, noodle.

I make my way to the ladies change tent and it is packed, there is no way for me to get in. So I start to get ready outside and nice volunteer begins to help me. She says, "I hear the swim was brutal!" I say, "you got that right!" She puts my ghetto arm-warmers on socks with the toes cut off, shoves my EFS nutrition in my pockets and off I go.
What would you do differently?:

I forgot to put a towel in my bag, so I had to wipe my feet off on my wetsuit. A towel would have been sweet!
  • 6h 15m 41s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.89 mile/hr

As I head out of transition I see Jon and he yells to me. Once again, was thrilled to see a friendly face after getting my ass kicked during the swim.

I get out onto the course and say to myself "bring it!" I'm so happy to be on my bike I am passing people like mad, but my feet are so cold from the swim I can't feel them! I keep repeating "ride YOUR race". As I'm riding out I see a guy in a MSU Bike Jersey, as I pass him I yell out "go State! Too bad we got crushed yesterday!" He laughs ans says, "well at least we have basketball season!"

I keep riding at a comfortable pace and then we hit the turn onto Beeline, yikes...HEAD-WIND! I yell out loud "are you friggin kiddin me? There has been no wind since the day I got here and now it's windy!?" My pace slows to about 12 MPH, this is an out and back with zero protection from the wind. I tuck into my aero-position and feel like a friggin tumble-weed at the winds mercy! I keep telling myself, the turn-around is coming, but it seems to take forever to get there. I finally make the turn in an hour and 10 minutes. I turn and with the wind at my back, I'm doing 24 MPH! I'm passing tons of people as they just coast. I'm on a mission to make it back in an hour, no coasting for me. I keep pushing myself, enjoying the free speed. AS I get closer I see I am close to the 1 hour mark, so I kick it up a bit and make it back right on time! Ton of people line the street and Jon yells, "nice split!".

I turn and head back out for more wind. Along the way I see the pros fly by, it's awesome! I see a lot of drafting and try my best to avoid doing it myself. Between a flat course and the head-wind I think it's tough. Lots of people with race wheels are on the side of road fixing flats, I see at least 30 of the during my 112 miles. On the second loop I pass Rudy and I as I go by I saw "Awesome, just awesome." (Rather than a hand cycle, he rides a tri-bike with prosthetic legs).

Back on Beeline again, and the headwind is still there but has changed direction. I take off my ghetto arm-warmers/tube-socks and look at my arms. When I see "For dad" I feel a lump in my throat and start to feel emotional. Then I look to my right arm and remember, just to suck it, THIS IS IRONMAN! I keep pushing and pass by 5 men all with race wheels or disk wheels and aero-helmets. I'm out of my aero-bars, stretching my back and I pass them. I smile to myself, knowing they will all be re-passing me shortly, because they have all been chicked by me and I have crushed their egos. Sure enough I start to hear the disk wheels coming up and I just laugh as they all pass me, but I'm riding my race and don't care.

Now I have to pee, but every porta-potty I pass is full, lots of people waiting. I made a deal with myself to be off my bike before the race clock strikes 8 hours, so no way am I stopping to wait. Eventually I see one without a line in the middle of no-where, yes! I stop and feel better. I keep pushing and at the turn-around this time, not as big of a tail-wind, but I keep pushing coasting! I hit special needs and grab another flask of EFS. Throughout the ride I get out of the saddle to give my not-so-iron tata a break. I'm not used to riding flat and being in the saddle endlessly.

Nutrition is going well, I eat when I'm hungry and drink when I'm thirsty. I take 4 Enduralytes every hour. I'm almost done with my second loop and I see Leanne (Canadarn2001). I say "Leanne, It's Abbie on BT! How are you?" She said, "I feel like crap!". I say, :You look great, keep going!" Finally I'm back again, as I head out for my final loop, Jon yells out "you own this course! Push it!" This is exactly what I need to hear as I'm dreading what the wind will be doing this time around.

I feel the wind, but it has changed direction again. I see Shaun and he yells out something about heels I think :) I pass a girl and her name is Abbey. As I ride by I say, "great name, I'm an Abbie too!" Finally I make the turn onto Beeline and I say, "this is the last time I have to ride on this f-in road!" A guy riding near me, hears me and turns his head. I say, "sorry I'm just so done with riding this road." He smiles and says, "I totally agree."

I keep riding and I'm so ready to be off the bike. When I hit the turn-around for the last time I know I will be off the bike in under 8 hours of racing, so I try to block out the tata pain, drop in the aero-bars and pedal my ass off! I get the final straight-away and I let the sound of the crowd carry me in.
What would you do differently?:

This was a great ride for me! PRed my IMKY 09 ride by over 35 minutes! The hardest thing for me was riding straight and flat roads, I just don't have that in Northern Cal. Riding a course like this was mind-numbing for me.
Transition 2
  • 03m 38s

Was thrilled to be off the bike and to have made such good time. Gladly gave my bike away to any volunteer that wanted it. Grabbed my bag, I think I high-fived Shaun or maybe I did pull another Flying Abbie, it's all a blur.

Got into the tent, Vaseline on the feet, and threw on the sneakers. I asked the volunteer to adjust my race belt, I realized on the bike that it's too big for me. Race belt back on and off I went.
What would you do differently?:

Try my race belt on before the race to make sure it's sized right for me. One of the benefits of getting smaller :)
  • 5h 50m 11s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 13m 22s  min/mile

I started the run and my legs were feeling good, I realized I pushed on the bike but did not blow up. Within the first few miles, my stomach cramped and I could feel blisters on my feet...uggg not again! I was torn about what to do with nutrition, because I knew I needed to eat, but I didn't want my stomach getting worse. I ate a few TUMS and that helped some, but I kept feeling like I was on the verge of puking.

The entire first loop I kept thinking to myself, I have to do this 2 more times! seemed so daunting. As I finished my first loop, my blisters are really killing me, I feel broken. I want to run, but each foot-fall gets more painful. I curse my feet out of frustration and I'm ready to breakdown emotionally. Suddenly a girl runs up to me and says, "I need someone to talk. Run with me." We jog slowly and she asks my name. I say "Abbie and I have to thank you. You came along right before I was about to cry." She said, "I'm Lara, I cried 2 miles ago and I know I have at least 2 more ahead of me." We both laugh and run right through the massive crowd by transition. I see Jon but know I can't go grab a hug or else I will break-down.

I run with her for a bit until I need to stop at the porta-potty. I run when I can and try to keep my walking to a minimum, but so many times the blister pain was just too much, so I shuffle. I see Joe (FreeSwimmingFish) and we walk/chat for a while. We kept re-passing eachother. At one point he is ahead of me and I run up and slap his azz and say, "come on let's run". The guy next to him says, "geez I didn't get an azz slap!" I offered up a mooning, but then said, "well I could get DQed for that!"

ON my second loop I am running over the bridge and someone yells "move it Abbie" It was enough to get me running again. Eventually Rudy passes me, he looks great! For a brief moment I envy him for not having feet because mine are in so much pain. Yes, I KNOW HOW friggin pathetic that is! But Ironman threw so many mind games at me, it got me running again. I see mile marker 23 and curse it because it's a dreadful reminder that I still have 1 more loop to go, uggg. Todd and Andrew from my tri-club pass me and I know they are both on their 3rd loop. I also see Kelly (kaburns1214) and give her a hug along the way.

Once again I pass through the massive crowd for the last time on my way to the 3rd loop, yay! I see Jon and run over. He says, "what's wrong? you are doing great!" I say, "I just needed a hug." A few people around him laugh :) ON the third loop everything is hurting.

A woman walks up to me and she tells me she can't eat because her stomach is killing her. I offer up my TUMS and she says, "wow, you are prepared!" I walk with her longer than I had planned, because I could tell she was at her low-point and needed some company. We come up to an aid station where they are giving out massages! I ask for some Advil, knowing that I they wont have it. But they have some type of Ben-Gay and 2 women ask if I want some of that on my legs. I say sure and they both drop to their knees, each taking a leg and start rubbing/massaging this stuff on me. One woman says, "wow, you have the smoothest legs!" She and other woman start talking about my smooth legs while rubbing me down, where is a camera when you need one!?

I feel a bit better and off I go. I know I will PR and that it will be under 14 hours. I'm happy but in my mind I want to go 13:30 and I'm not sure it's possible this time around. I run as much as I can, hoping it might be enough. I think of everyone cheering me along the course and online. I can hear the finish line and I just want to get there! I pass a finisher and he says "your hair still looks great! By the way, free margaritas at the finish line!" I say, "liar" and we both laugh.

Finally I make the next to last turn, Shaun and Jon are cheering and I'm smiling from ear to ear as I know I only have about 200 yards to go. I make my final turn and the rows of people are amazing! I slap hands running down the chute, I pass an older man and give him a pat on the back as I run by. And then I hear Mike yell out my name and those 4 sweet words...."YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!" I take a quick pause before the finish and then cross to claim my PR!

What would you do differently?:

I've been battling foot issues for months, which killed my run training. I need to figure out something with my blisters. I have tried tons of socks and different sneakers, but still have not found a winning combination.

I have a 44 minute PR, I can't complain :)
Post race
Warm down:

The finish line was busy, I guess that's what happens when you finish earlier :) I had some french fries and then got my all of my gear. Headed over to medical to have my mega-blister lanced. The nurse said, "geez, when did you feel this?" I said "around mile 3 or 4". He said, "ouch and you kept going?" Then he saw the look in my eyes and said "ah, nevermind."

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Blisters and lack of run training.

Event comments:

Thank you to Jon for being there all day, it was great having a familiar face in the crowd.

This is my third Ironman and for the first time I feel like I finally "raced Ironman". I will get my 13:30 time or better, but it was not meant to be at IMAZ 09. 140.6 is a distance that continues to suck me in. The personal challenge of setting a goal and seeing it through. Completing 2 Ironman races this year has been an amazing challenge and personal accomplishment. Thank you for following my training this year!!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-11-26 12:00 AM
01:29:51 | 4224 yards | 02m 08s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/119
Overall: 0/2516
Performance: Good
Suit: Full
Course: Rectangle
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 67F / 19C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 05:51
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
06:15:41 | 112 miles | 17.89 mile/hr
Age Group: 51/119
Overall: 1476/2516
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind
Course: 3 loops of wind changing direction
Road: Smooth  Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:38
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
05:50:11 | 26.2 miles | 13m 22s  min/mile
Age Group: 89/119
Overall: 1933/2516
Performance: Average
Course: 3 mind-numbing loops
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4