My first Triathlon
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Ironman Louisville - Triathlon
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I had the best summer training for my 4th Ironman. My bike times improved dramatically over the past few years with a new bike and more time in the saddle than ever. I felt extremely prepared and poised for a PR, and so excited to have Linda alongside me for the 4th time around.
We left Kansas Thursday morning and got to Louisville without incident. We had a great condo just a few blocks from 4th Street Live. Ate dinner at Hard Rock Cafe.
Friday we checked in, ran, ate, watched the Royals game at a bar, and I even had a few cider beers. Skipped the athlete dinner, made a grocery run and ate at the condo. I was so relaxed and had zero nerves.
Saturday we skipped the swim
(nervous about the algae
), had coffee with some BT peeps, and I picked up my parents at the airport. Checked in bikes, dropped off transition bags, then headed to and early
) dinner. Still no nerves. In bed early and actually slept more than I anticipated. I was calm and ready to race.
Got up at 4 a.m., ate breakfast and bundled up
). Dave drove us to the great lawn and we checked our bikes and dropped off special needs bags. Started the mile-long walk to the swim start and this was when I finally had a few nerves. TMI but I hadn't pooped in the morning so was planning on hitting the porta potties after we got in the swim line. But the swim line was different than it was in 2011, they didn't "snake" anyone around, it was a single file line from the starting docks. Probably another 3/4 mile of walking to find the end - and NO PORTA POTTIES after just beyond the starting area. We found this to be utterly ridiculous as we didn't think walking another 3/4 mile to the potty, 3/4 mile back before such a long day was in our best interests.
Because I still hadn't pooped I got really nervous about how that would play out and it dominated my pre-race thoughts. That, and the ridiculous number of spectators and family in line with the athletes when that was clearly against the rules. And the guys behind us did not shut up for more than 2 seconds at a time - it was hard not to get annoyed. Deep breaths! Get into the wetsuit! Body Glide All The Things! Eat Honey Stingers! And such.
We heard the cannon go off and finally they told spectators to get out of the line and we started moving. Linda and I decided we would duck into the potties when the line reached them and thank goodness we only had to wait a few minutes. Inside
) I had a massive massive poop and thank goodness I brought a bag full of wet wipes as the TP was long gone.
OK now that I am 5 pounds lighter
(both physically and mentally!
) I was SO FREAKING EXCITED TO RACE!!! Linda and I bee-bopped down to the river and I saw my parents and ran to give them hugs. I think that was the best part of my entire day. I high fived all of the volunteers on the way to the water. I was utterly giddy.
Once on the docks we chose the farther entrance and hippity hopped into the Ohio River for the start of a very long day.
1h 21m 42s
01m 57s / 100 yards
I jumped into the Ohio River and the water temperature was significantly warmer than the air temperature so it felt good. My arms were a little cold but I knew as soon as I started moving they would be fine. My feet were chilly the entire time, but it wasn't horrible.
For some reason I was WAY to the left side of the course, and not long after the start a lifeguard yelled at me to move right. I didn't do this soon enough and actually swam smack into a tree jutting out of the water. I popped up and laughed out lout - only me. My goggles fogged excessively, so I had to stop 7 or 8 times to manually de-fog them - I just couldn't see a thing 90% of the swim. One time after de-fogging, I accidentally scissor kicked to get myself back horizontal, and hit a guy square in the goggles. I felt so bad because he yelled like a drama queen so I stopped and profusely apologized. Moving on.
The rest of the swim was fairly uneventful except for de-fogging every 10 minutes or so. After the turn at the end of the island you can see the first bridge as a landmark and it takes so long to get there - I forget that you are more than halfway done by that time. Under the first bridge I heard a lot of verbal commotion and thought maybe I was off course again, so I popped up - to see a swimmer frantically yelling for help. The kayak next to me bolted over there and I hope that person was OK.
After the first bridge, I just told myself to make it to the second bridge then you're just about done. It was fun swimming into the exit and being pulled out of the river. I had resisted looking at my watch the whole time as I didn't want to be prematurely disappointed in my pace
(of course I felt super slow the whole time and was mentally preparing for a 1:30:xx
) and was THRILLED to see 1:21:xx on my Garmin. SO HAPPY and ecstatic about a great start to what would surely be an epic day.
What would you do differently?:
Figure out goggle fogging.
Got my cap and goggles off, wetsuit stripped, and RAN to the transition bag area. So many people walking here, I swear I cut off at least a minute just by running! Got my bag and ran into the change tent to find utter chaos! Which I expected. No chairs, so I started unpacking my bag on the muddy ground. Saw a chair open up behind me and snagged it super fast.
Did everything I needed to in here - bike jersey, arm warmers, gloves, etc. Headed out and got sunscreen applied to my legs before finding my bike. Running out of the racks I saw Linda and we ran together out of T1 - how awesome!!!
What would you do differently?:
Starting the bike I felt amazing. I knew the temperature and wind speeds were going to mean perfect racing conditions - I was comfortable and confident. I passed Linda a few miles into River Road and yelled out "Justin Bieber!" since we had both used her hilarious Justin Beiber duct tape for various reasons leading up to the race, lol. Up the first steep hill my pace slowed a bit but was super happy and making small jokes with people who were passing me.
I get to the "finger" out and back section
) and mentally prepared for the steepest uphills and downhills of the day. I've done this race before so know what to expect, but hadn't trained on many hills this summer so just wanted to get it over with. Linda passed me at the start of this section and asked how I was doing - I said I had just popped 2 ibuprofen and was feeling great - or would feel great shortly ha!
At mile 19ish, I must have taken my eyes off the road for a second too long because suddenly my bike was riding off of the road - and unfortunately there was no shoulder and the asphalt dropped sharply maybe 5-6 inches. I lost control in the grass and crashed left, bouncing back on to the road. I heard my head hit the pavement but don't really remember how I landed - but I heard people yelling behind me. I remember that a male athlete was right there when I got up asking if I was ok. He had his arms up in the air waving so others could see from a distance. Athletes were yelling "BIKER DOWN! BIKER DOWN!" and I just kept thinking get back on the bike! And this guy kept asking if I was OK and I kept saying "I don't know." I finally looked at him and asked if I was bleeding - am I bleeding? I can't tell. He didn't see any blood. Good sign? I can ride, yes? I looked at him and asked if my bike was OK - is my bike OK? He pointed out that my back wheel was off of the skewer - I said OK I will get it back on but when I went to take a step my left leg was malfunctioning. I'm sure I can still ride, I just need to shake it off. I told him please go and race, I am not hurt. After I told him multiple times, he reluctantly left but said he would tell the next aid station I was here. OK but I can still ride! I just have to get my wheel on, and my chain back on, and my leg to stop hurting. I will lose some time but I can still ride.
It took me multiple attempts to get my back wheel secured. My brain was in a weird place. It also took me multiple attempts to get my chain on, but when I did I was like ALL RIGHT! Time to ride!! Even though I could tell my left leg was iffy. I waited for a huge break in the line of athletes to get on the bike - OK I am riding! I can finish! And once I finish the bike I will re-assess my leg. Yes that is a good plan! I am so smart.
Except I could not for the life of me clip my left pedal in. Any ounce of pressure on my left leg was surprisingly painful and I couldn't figure out why. I tried 10 or 12 times while soft pedaling with my right leg, and finally came to the realization that my left ankle was very hurt. Like so hurt that I couldn't put enough pressure on it to clip into my pedal. And if I can't clip in, I can't ride. And if I can't ride, I can't run. Or walk. Or continue at all. Is this real life? Am I DNFing?
I decided to soft pedal to the next aid station to assess, like really assess. Maybe I can still figure something out. After a few minutes I spotted some people in an ATV and pulled over - are you medical? Yes. I told them what happened and they asked a series of questions and got me to admit that I couldn't bear any weight on that leg. When I said that out loud I knew what was happening. They said they couldn't tell me what to do, but said if I couldn't bear weight that I would need x-rays ASAP and then just waited for me to say something. They needed me to say I was dropping out of the race or continuing. I said if I can't walk, I certainly can't finish. I need to call it a day here. My eyes welled up pretty bad and my breath caught and stuttered and I felt like a little kid gulping for air between sobs. They asked if I was certain and I just nodded my head, trying so hard to be brave, not cry, and get out of this situation with some grace.
While they were radioing my race number in, I asked to use a cell phone. Surely my parents had seen my athlete tracker stopped and were probably concerned. My dad answered his cell and I put on my brave voice to tell him what happened and that I was going to be transported to the hospital. They were on the shuttle bus to La Grange and that is where they were taking me. As they were getting read to load me into the ATV, they got word that there was a very bad wreck down the road, possible trauma, so I told them to tend to those racers if they promised they would come back for me. I had to wait for about an hour but they did, and they took me to pick up another injured athlete, then to an ambulance for transport to La Grange.
In the ambulance I tried to be upbeat. I was riding with Nicholas from California and he was in a 4-person wreck. His helmet was severely cracked, he was going to have brain scans. Got to the hospital and my parents were there - again I am putting on my brave face and trying so hard to be positive. I am okay. It's just my ankle. I feel horrible for ending my race so early after they flew across the country to support me.
I was at the hospital for 2.5 hours, got x-rayed, confirmed a broken ankle, got some pain meds, a splint and crutches then was released. Dave had driven the car out to La Grange so we all piled in and drove back to town.
I won't lie. While I put on a good face and tried to lift everyone up - my family, the other injured athletes at the hospital, myself - I'm really disappointed. The HOURS and DAYS and WEEKS and MONTHS I put into training, the progress I made over the past year, the money I spent, the time my parents took to come to Louisville, the anticipation of a PR and dancing down the finish chute - gone in an instant, and a long road ahead to even be able to walk, let alone run or enjoy running for who knows how long. It's a hard pill to swallow all the way around.
What would you do differently?:
I couldn't stand the thought of wallowing in the condo while Linda was still out there and the race was still going on, so I announced to my parents that I would like to hobble over to 3rd street
(just a block from our front door
) and cheer people on. My mom got out the cowbell and glow necklaces and said OK! Let's go!
We sat on 3rd Street and cow-belled people on while watching for Linda. We saw her finish her 1st loop, then start her 2nd loop - then realized we were really hungry and thirsty. Got Dave and my Dad and we decided to head down toward 4th Street and find a close place to eat. Except there was nothing close until you actually get to 4th Street Live - so I hobbled on new crutches for WAY farther than I should have. My hands and sides were so sore and swollen from the crutch walking but I didn't really care. I wasn't going to be an Ironman today so nothing really matters. I just wanted to eat and see Linda finish.
We got a table at TGIFs right at the finish line, ate a great dinner and I had a huge cider beer. That helped. After we left the restaurant we found a place in the finish chute and note 5 minutes later, here comes Linda! She absolutely smashed her PR and her goal time and I am so proud of her! Dave ran to meet her and we hobbled after. It was so crowded and not fun on crutches but we made it to Linda and exchanged stories. I felt bad because Linda had to retrieve her own bags, Dave got our bikes, and I just walked to a corner to wait for him to pick me up in the car. I was really hurting though.
After getting back to the condo and chatting, I was so tired and sore. I laid down around midnight and slept pretty hard, despite being pretty uncomfortable. We got up and were out of the condo by 9:30 a.m. and in KC by 8 p.m. Stayed there with my Mom and then she drove me the rest of the way home Tuesday morning.
What a crazy weekend.
IMLOU is a great race. This year I crashed at mile 19 on the out-and-back finger section, so I can't comment on much.
Last updated: 2014-10-24 12:00 AM
01:21:42 | 4200 yards | 01m 57s / 100yards
71F / 22C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
01:03:00 | 19.54 miles | 18.61 mile/hr
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:00:00 | 26.2 miles | min/mile
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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