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Beach 2 Battleship - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Wilmington, North Carolina
United States
Total Time = 12h 10m 28s
Overall Rank = 20/103
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 1/
Pre-race routine:

I really enjoyed meeting some great BT folks at this race. Thanks for shouting out my name during the run! I know this is way too long, so just read the run part if you don't want to read all of it. This race was all about the run.

Before doing this race, I had studied the Endurance Nation Four Keys to Ironman Race Strategy. It talks about staying within your own box during the race, and saving yourself for the line, which starts at mile 18 of the run. If anything happens during the race that interferes with saving yourself for the line, put that out of your box and let it go. I also read a friends blog who said the race starts at mile 80 of the bike, so pick up your bike pace there. So, this was my plan for the day.

I had a really bad cold leading up to this race. I planned to take Sinus meds to help me feel better. It really did help me feel better, but it messed with my heart rate, so I was not planning on looking at my HR data...just going to race by feel! I was not going to let a cold change my plan to shoot for a 12 hour goal. No excuses!

The day before the race, my stomach started feeling queasy. I bought some Rolaids, which helped with that. I stuck those in my bike jersey when setting up my gear, in case I had issues during the race. Very glad I did that!

Got up at 4:30 am. Ate a banana, some bread leftover from last night's dinner with peanut butter on it. Yum. Gathered all my stuff and headed down to the hotel lobby. They had a STarbucks there, so I bought a large skinny latte. Woot!

Got on one of the busses headed toward the T1 area. Checked in my Run transition bag, put my nutrition on my bike, checked that my tires were still firmly inflated, double checked my T1 bag. It was very cold, so I put my neoprene cap on my head. I probably looked like a total dork, but I was warm and I was acclimating myself to the annoying chin strap.

Then I got on one of the trolley's down to the beach swim start. There were a bunch of people hanging out on a ledge putting on their wetsuits. Talked with them a little bit while I waited for a spot to clear up. When a couple people were done putting on their suits, they sat down on the wall! So, I asked if I could squeeze in. Put on my suit, booties, body glide, Pam spray, all that stuff. I drank about 60 ounces of water because I was worried about going for a whole hour in the swim without a drink. I also took a Tylenol Sinus medicine.

Event warmup:

Peeing on the beach ;)
  • 1h 00m 27s
  • 3862 meters
  • 01m 34s / 100 meters

I got to the swim start just in time as they were playing the National Anthem and then played Eminem's One shot song. I started to pee while standing in the sand thinking they would play the whole song, but then they blew the horn. I was in the very back and everybody was just taking their time going in. So, I just finished peeing and relaxed and dove in when I was done.

I got bumped a little bit at first, but not bad for an Ironman mass start of 700 people! Maybe it was good to be in the back. I was wearing booties and a neoprene cap, so I was plenty warm. My Garmin 310 on my left wrist was interfering flexing my hand and thus my swim stroke. I stopped to try and move it up my arm a bit. Very annoying.

It was pretty easy to just follow the crowd. The channel was narrow enough that it didn't really matter too much where in it you swam. I experimented with breathe every 3 and breathe every 2 to the right. I seemed to swim straighting breathing every 2. I'd stop and tread every once in a while to make sure I was on target to the buoys.

About half way into the swim, the Sinus medicine kicked in and loosened the gunk in my lungs. I started to have to cough. That sucked. Had to stop quite a few times to cough.

Later on, a little bit of chop was hitting my face every time I breathed. I sucked down quite a bit of salt water. Ick. I was salted out by the time I was done.

The last 15 minutes I had to pee really badly. I started swimming harder, and kicking with my legs just to get done faster so I could pee. My calf started to feel cramped, so I figured kicking hard was a very bad idea. I made a plan to hang onto the peir when I got the end and pee before exiting. When I finally got there, I was like woohooo I can pee now. I grabbed onto the pier and had to really hold on tight so the current didn't drag me toward the ladder. Wow, strong current! It was 56 minutes when I got there. One of the volunteers came over and asked if I was okay. I explained I was just peeing. lol!

When I was finally done peeing, I went over to the ladder and climbed out. My watch said 58 minutes, so it took me two full minutes to empty my bladder. Wow. I figured I saved time not having to wait at the porta potties, tho, so that was a good call. Wish I didn't have to pee so much, tho.

When I got to the wetsuit strippers, a guy helped me unzip. I said be careful of my Garmin. He yanked hard on my sleeves and the Garmin strap broke off. Crap, that totally sucked. I didn't trust the guy after that to help me get my legs off so I just ran off. It was a long run on cement to the T1 area. I had my booties and cap still on, so I was not at all cold.
What would you do differently?:

Not wear the Garmin during the swim. Take the Sinus medicine a couple hours before the race so I could get the coughing done with before the swim. Or, even better, just not be freaking sick for an Ironman!
Transition 1
  • 00m

T1 times got lost so are included with the bike. My Garmin shows 11:37.

I got to the Transition area, and sat in the grass to strip the legs of my wetsuit off. It came off real fast and easy, yay! Then I grabbed my T1 bag and went into the changing tent. It was hot in there and standing room only! I saw my main competitor in their already, and she was almost done. I will call her Irongirl, because she is super at the iron distance.

I squeezed in near the center table and dumped out my bag. Wow, so much stuff to have to deal with. I dried off, put on my bike jersey, bike shorts, socks, shoes, newspaper stuffed into my jersey, put Aquaphor on my butt, put on my arm warmers which were really hard to get up. Put my helmet on. Then I realized I forgot to put my Zensah calf sleeve on my left leg, so had to take my shoe off, put that on, then shoe back on. I really need that even on the bike, because my left leg swells :-( I stuffed everything back into my T1 bag. I was too hot to put on my windbreaker or gloves, so I just grabbed them and was off to my bike spot.
What would you do differently?:

Simplify what I bring along! I decided to do a full change each transition because of the cold. But I was not cold at all, so I could have just worn my tri suit all day. Ginger told me to do that, but I am a cold wuss, so I decided to go for warmth. Hindsight is 20/20.
  • 6h 16m 30s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.85 mile/hr

Includes T1 time.

As I ran to my bike, I was still feeling warm. So, I stuck the gloves in my back pocket, and tied the windbreaker around my waist. My rear mount water bottle holders would keep the jacket from tangling in my tire, so I wasn't worried about that.

I saw Irongirl at the mount line and passed her. Yay! I am usually a better biker than her so was glad to already be ahead. I was excited and started riding a good solid pace. But my legs felt achey and my butt immediately hurt. Not like I was going hard, but just a weird acheyness, especially in the groins. I wondered if my lymph nodes were swollen due to my cold. I decided to ignore my legs and just go by my breathing and overall feel of my body.

After about 8 miles, I thought maybe I was going too hard and I eased up my pace. At mile 10, Irongirl passed me. She was going FAST! I picked up my pace to match hers. But I felt like it was too fast, so I let her go and put her outside of my box to race my own race. I thought man, she's really got bike legs this year. I hoped that she blew up later and maybe I could pass her back.

A little bit later I passed a guy with 41 on his leg. As often happens when I pass a guy, he couldn't take a chick hit, so he passed me back then slowed down to his prior pace. We played leapfrog for a while. Usually, I will pass a guy like this and hammer for a while to get rid of him. But I didn't want to do any hammering during an Ironman. So I was thinking of what to do to get rid of this guy as he passed me, and I forgot to drop back 3 bike lengths. Just then a motorcycle official rode by writing something down on his clipboard. CRAP, I just got a penalty for drafting. That pissed me off and I struggled mentally with that for a while. I had to put that outside of my box too.

Since I had gotten behind Irongirl AND gotten a penalty, I considered trying to slightly under-hydrate so as to not have to waste time peeing. But decided that would probably be stupid esp since I was sick and taking Sinus meds all day long. So, I stuck with my plan to sip water mixed with NUUN from my aero drink bottle alot, as I felt the need.

I ate my PB&J uncrustable sandwich, and very soon after got stomach queasiness. Blah! I took a Rolaids. That helped. I decided to skip solid food from that point on and stick with my liquid nutrtion. My Garmin was beeping from my back pocket every 15 minutes. That was my reminder to take in nutrition.

At mile 30, I had to pee really badly. I toughed it out for as long as I could, trying to wait until the half way point. But at mile 47, I was just way too uncomfortable, so I stopped and peed in the woods. I took a long time, emptying my bladder fully.

I was averaging about 19.5 mph and - except for occasional stomach queasiness and the achy legs - I was feeling good. I was worried I was going too hard, so occasinally I'd pull my Garmin out of my back pocket to look at the HR. It was high 130's, which is Zone 1. yay!

I was very careful to drop back 3 bike lengths any time some passed me. One time a guy passed me, then he immediately slowed way way down while he fumbled with his water bottle to drink. I passed him back and yelled at him to not pass someone and then slow way down. He yelled back "Gimme a break, I was drinking water!". Jerk. I didn't say that, of course, but I thought it.

There was a long stretch from 50-60 miles where nobody was in front of me, nobody passed me, and I started to worry that I missed a turn. I kept looking back and there were some people behind me. I figured nothing else to do but trudge along and hope we were all on track.

At mile 60 I had to pee again really badly. Crap! I knew I couldn't wait until the end, so I had waited to pee around mile 70. I figured I could hold it from 70 to the end. I really need to figure out how to either pee on the bike or drink less!

At around mile 80, I turned onto 421 heading south. In training, that stretch of road was a nice tailwind the whole way, and I was really looking forward to picking it up and flying. BUT, today, it felt hard! I was hoping it felt hard due to a headwind, but I was worried that I was fading because of being sick, or maybe I pushed to hard all day. Nothing to do but hope it was a headwind, and hunker down into as small a shape as possible. My speed was 16-17 mph here. It felt hard. I did not pick up my effort level here, I just hung steady inside my box thinking about saving it for the line.

This was a very difficult part of the course and I was struggling and wondering how I would feel on the run. My stomach still felt lousy, so I stuck my Rolaids into my bra, so I would have them for the run, in case I felt icky there too.

When I got to the two bad ass hills at the very end, I was thrilled. I enjoyed standing up to hammer a bit on them, just to stretch my legs out. Riding into the Battleship parking, I was confused which lane to ride in. There were runners and cars and there didn't seem to be a place for the bikers, and there was no biker in front of me. I finally got to the dismount line and was soooo glad to get off my bike. A volunteer grabbed it from me and I was off to T2!
What would you do differently?:

Figure out hydration. Not be sick with a bad cold.
Transition 2
  • 13m 26s

I ran into T2 and first thing I did was hit the porta potty. Again with having to Pee! I probably wasted a total of 9 minutes peeing altogether. I wonder what the average is?!

I grabbed my T2 bag and ran into the changing tent. There was Irongirl, almost done getting dressed. At least I wasn't too far behind her.

I took a long time again in the changing tent. I had to completely change clothes again, and I had to put Aquaphor and bandaid on a blister I had on my heel. Plus sunscreen, compression socks, fill up my palm holder water bottle, take some more sinus meds, and just way too much stuff. Really need to simplify!

I had a bunch of stuff in a ziploc bag. Advil, rolaids, stuff like that. I had planned on stuffing all that into my bra. I stuffed my Garmin into the zip loc bag too, and started running and figured I'd deal with what to do with all the stuff later. It wasn't bad holding the ziploc bag, so I just held it the whole time.

  • 4h 34m 7s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 28s  min/mile

I started out on the run and I was feeling pretty good! What a relief since I had really felt pretty crappy on the bike. And the bike is usually my strength.

I started running at a good solid pace. I wondered if I was going to hard. I looked at my Garmin and my HR was 155. Man, I better slow down, even tho I knew the Sinus meds and HR creep was a factor.

Part of the Four keys plan was to take the first five miles of the run easy, going from aid station to aid station taking care of nutrition and hydration. That is just what I did. I felt strong, I drank some water at each station, and I tried the orange slices. Oh, those oranges were oh soo good. I looked forward to each aid station so I could have another orange. I felt like I was running from orange to orange.

At mile 6, I saw Irongirl. She was on her way back from the first lap, meaning she was about 1.2 miles ahead of me. I turned around and watched her run, dang she looked strong.

At mile 7, it felt like there was a stone in my left shoe. I stopped to take my shoe off. I shook it out and did not see any stone. I felt my foot and there was a lump on my skin. It didn't seem like something that I could get rid of. Since I had compression socks on, I didn't take them off to inspect. It would have taken too much time. So, I just figured this was a Suffer Section and I would just have to get through it.

At mile 8 I saw my friend Ginger (Aquaphor Chick, gts on BT). I told her about my foot. She said I probably got a bone bruise running barefoot on cement to T1. I asked her if I could get a stress fracture by pushing thru the pain. She said that Ironman was supposed to be painful, so not to worry about it and keep going.

So, that's what I did. Just ran thru the pain and tried not to slow down from it. Each step was like a stabbing pain in the ball of my foot. I tried chanting quick feet quiet feet in my head. But that just made me think of my feet, which made me think of the pain. So, I started chanting quick arms. That worked for a long time. At one point, my hamstring started to hurt. I was actually glad for this new pain, because it momentarily helped me forget about my foot. Later, I was aware of a big bubbley blister on my big toe. Again, I thought yay, a new pain to help block out the old pain. These were just tempoary reliefs, and I kept waiting for the foot pain to subside. Usually, when I get pain in my runs, endorphins kick in or something, and the pain goes away. But this pain just kept growing and growing.

I was eating Gu Roctane about every 3 miles, in addition to the orange slices every aid station and taking a cup of water, drinking some and splashing some over my head. I was also drinking from my own water bottle every mile as my Garmin beeped. I filled that twice at aid stations, mixing it with NUUN. I thought I was doing great with nutrition and hydration.

As I got closer to the turnaround point, I debated whether or not to change shoes at the Run special needs. I had packed my racing flats in there. I went back and forth, but in the end, decided there was more padding the shoes I had on, so did not change. I saw Irongirl coming toward me as I was going over the bridge at about mile 12. She was still looking strong, and I was still in pain. But I was holding my own, and running my own race.

At run special needs, I grabbed my additional Gu's, and tied my jacket around my waste. I also took 2 Advil. I had been planning to take Advil at mile 18 to prepare me for the final stretch. But the pain was too much now, so I took it here even tho Advil interferes with hydration.

The advil really did not help with the pain at all. I kept wondering what was going to happen at mile 18 or 20 when alot of people fall apart. I had been feeling so bad for so long how was I going to do when I got to the line? I decided I would NOT fall apart at the line. I would keep pushing through this never ending Suffer Section. I wondered how my friend GoSonja would have pushed past this. What I really needed was an out of body experience, because my foot hurt so much. Then I thought of the idea to imagine Sonja running instead of me. So that's what I did. For the entire second lap of the run, I imagined Sonja was running and not me. I chanted "GoSonja, go go go go". over and over and over that is what was in my head. It didn't really make the pain go away, but it helped me keep going despite it.

As I got to the turnaround for the 2nd lap , it was dark, and they did not have enough lighting on the trail around the lake. I had to really strain my eyes to see the ground.

At mile 18, I tripped and fell hard on my knee. Some very nice folks stopped to make sure I was okay. I said I was fine and they should keep going. They didn't, they waited till I stood up, shook out my knees and started running again. As I did this , I again said not to wait for me, that they should go. They were so nice. I gave them a big Thank You!

My knee did not hurt at all running. My hands hurt alot. I was actually grateful for the new pain. I was also glad that I was at mile 18 and was not falling apart. Lets see how mile 20 feels!

I just kept running and running and running, zoned out in my pain, with GoSonja as my virtual runner. Mile 20 ticked by and I felt the same. Pain pain pain, GoSonja go go go. At mile 21 I was in such great pain that I wanted to stop. But I knew if I stopped or slowed down, it would just extend my agony. So, I kept going. I looked at my watch. It was 6:15. I knew I was not going to make the 12 hour goal, but I knew I was close. I was feeling pretty good about being close to my goal, considering I was sick, in such pain, wasted so much time peeing and in transitions. I was a-ok with my day.

At times I would get choked up with emotions because I had done so well thus far. Of course, blubbering makes it hard to breathe so that's not good. Get control of yourself, Carol. Pain, Pain, GoSonja, go go go.

Mile 24 was over the highway bridges. I ran very slow and carefully across the metal grating this time. I did NOT want to trip on that. And with oncoming cars, headlights, and dark, it was very hard to see here. I briefly considered that if I jumped in front of one of these cars, then my pain would be over in a flash. Man, the things that go thru my mind are crazy sometimes.

Browndog passed me around this section, saying hi and that we can make the 12 hour mark. I said good luck to him, as i knew I could not go any faster than I was going at that moment in all my agony.

On the final highway bridge, there was just a narrow coned off lane. Two guys were walking, hogging the whole lane. At this point, I could not stop, for if I did, there would be no starting again. I yelled passing. They ignored me. I had to duck around them in the gutter, and as I did, I yelled at them they the should NOT be walking side by side here. I don't know if they responded, as I was so far gone at that point.

I honestly don't really remember anything after that until I approached the final stretch. I saw 12:02 on the clock. I was a-ok with that time. I ran and ran and ran. Some girls from a high school track team ran with me as pacers in the final stretch (that was provided to everyone). They were running slightly ahead of me, and giving me words of encouragement. It made choked up again. I saw my family near the finish chute too, and started crying even more. When I crossed the first mat, I completely broke down in tears, but still had a little more running to do to the final mat. When I finally was done, I just completely broke down crying, so glad to be done with that pain. The finish line volunteer asked me if I was okay. I said, yes, but that it just hurt so much. She asked if she could take my chip. I said yes. Someone else gave me a medal, a t-shirt, and another person wrapped me in one of those shiney blankets.

What would you do differently?:

Not get a foot pain! I guess that is what Ironman is. Conquiering those unexpected challenges that you face on race day.

Put a flashlight in run special needs bag for the dark part of the 2nd lap.
Post race
Warm down:

After crossing the finish, my family came and congratulated me. I felt weak, and went over to drink some Pepsi. Then I chatted with Skippy74 and Browndog, and maybe another BT'r for a bit. Then I got really dizzy. I found a place to sit, but was still really dizzy and weak, so I asked my husband to take me to the med tent. I spent 90 minutes in there being treated for dehydration. I kept wincing in pain, and the nurse kept asking me what is wrong. I just kept saying my feet hurt so badly and will you please just amputate them? Hahahaha, she kept saying no!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

cold. foot pain. darkness on the 2nd lap of the run.

Event comments:

Run course was not lit up well enough. Not enough coke on the run course.

Last updated: 2008-12-04 12:00 AM
01:00:27 | 3862 meters | 01m 34s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/103
Performance: Average
Suit: Xterra Vortex full
Course: With incoming tide, point to point.
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 65F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Below average Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 00:00
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:16:30 | 112 miles | 17.85 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/103
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 13:26
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:34:07 | 26.2 miles | 10m 28s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/103
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2009-11-10 10:47 AM

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Chapel Hill, NC
Subject: Beach 2 Battleship

2009-11-10 12:39 PM
in reply to: #2506720

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Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Well done, Iron-Carol! What a great race. Despite feeling lousy you really nailed it. Good RR too. I read every word.

I peed off in those woods at mile 47 as well! Again, well done. Now relax and enjoy your off season.
2009-11-10 1:32 PM
in reply to: #2506720

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Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship

Great race - I am inspired by your ability to stick out the pain!  I was biking behind you during that no man's land stretch around 50 - 60 miles!  It was made extra long by not knowing when special needs / potty break was going to come!!  I can't wait to see what you do next time!!! : )

2009-11-10 2:55 PM
in reply to: #2507187

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Woodstock, GA
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship

Great Race!  I really enjoyed reading the report.  It was nice meeting you before the race.  Too bad you did not make it to the dinner. 

2009-11-10 2:55 PM
in reply to: #2506720

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Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Great job Rock Star
2009-11-10 3:00 PM
in reply to: #2506720

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Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
nice finish! great effort put forth and i love the push thru pain story..

I was anxiously awaiting all tweets for the next episode to Becoming IronCarol.

Congrats to you!!!

2009-11-10 11:17 PM
in reply to: #2506720

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Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
congrats carol
2009-11-11 5:53 AM
in reply to: #2506720

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Roswell, GA
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship

Great Race!

You were one of the few people who were really pushing it at the end.  Way to push through it!

2009-11-11 12:06 PM
in reply to: #2506720

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Apex, NC
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Chills...awesome Carol.
2009-11-11 1:08 PM
in reply to: #2506720

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Charlotte, NC
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
WOW!  I am so proud of you!  You did great.  Everything was against you and you still finished well!
2009-11-11 2:47 PM
in reply to: #2506720

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Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship

Wow, big congrats (again) Carol!  Even healthy, your time would have been amazing.  My favorite sentence of the RR: "I was actually grateful for the new pain."  That pretty much sums up your run!

Edited by steveseer 2009-11-11 2:47 PM

2009-11-11 3:29 PM
in reply to: #2506720

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Apex, north carolina
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship

Way to go girl. You looked great out there. And don't beat yourself up about 9 minutes worth of peeing. It's an all day race - you gotta pee at some point. I'd be interested to know how much time during a normal day we spend peeing - ha ha ha.  You are  a great inspiration.

2009-11-11 6:28 PM
in reply to: #2506720

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San Diego, CA
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship

Amazing performance, Ironman Carol!

You demonstrated strong mind and body during all your training, but during this race - you demonstrated that superior inner athlete is residing in you! I am so happy for your accomplishment!

2009-11-11 7:28 PM
in reply to: #2506720

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Extreme Veteran
Raleigh, NC
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Great race report!  I am so happy you had a good race despite all of the pain!!!
2009-11-11 8:41 PM
in reply to: #2506720

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Good job! Way to push through the pain. You are very inspiring!
2009-11-11 9:40 PM
in reply to: #2506720

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Durham, CA
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship

Incredible race report!!!  I especially like the part about telling the medics to cut off your feet - that is good Ironman humor!!!!



2009-11-12 9:33 AM
in reply to: #2506720

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Whispering Pines, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Way to go! Sounds like you were in a ton of pain! You are strong...and IRON!
2009-11-12 10:08 AM
in reply to: #2506720

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Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
That was one detailed race report! I can barely remember half of a race when its over. Well done! Hope the foot pain is gone!
2009-11-14 4:21 PM
in reply to: #2510526

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Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship

I was the other one with Brown_dog!  You were awesome!  That is a stellar time, especially with the cold, the pee stops, the foot issue and the fall.  Holy cow, woman, you are tough.

2009-11-30 8:53 AM
in reply to: #2506720

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Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Great job Carol.  And way to become an Ironman! 
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