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Ford Ironman World Championship - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Kona, Hawaii
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
Total Time = 14h 00m 16s
Overall Rank = 1606/1926
Age Group = W55-59
Age Group Rank = 25/33
Pre-race routine:

This was my first full ironman-distance race ever. My longest before this were two half ironman races (Eagleman). All of my other races were mostly sprints. To get here was unbelievable. I've raced triathlons since 1981 and had always dreamed of coming to Kona. I never thought I'd get here! (I am self coached.)

Let me also preface this by saying that two days before the race, I bruised the ball of my right foot. I think it happened while running around the pier barefoot with my camera. Either way, my big toe got numb a lot and was painful to walk on at times. I was worried sick about the race, whether I could do it or not.

Got up at 3:50 a.m. Ate my usual breakfast of oatmeal with Craisins and walnuts. Caught the Endurance Sports Travel shuttle to the start at 4:40.

It was so exciting upon arrival at the pier. Hard-bodied athletes looking so serious. We had to drop off our special needs bags behind the hotel, then proceed to body marking. They wiped your arm and then used stamps for the numbers. They tidied them up with a marker. We were told not to sunscreen till after the swim. Then we headed over to the pier. Everything was a production and very organized. No family members beyond a certain point. My family did not come down to the pier with me. Although I felt alone at first (especially when a guy in the shuttle asked where my family was), I soon realized that they couldn't wait with me anyway.
Event warmup:

After bodymarking, I found a folding chair and sat on it. I didn't feel like sitting on the grass. When I'd go to the bathroom (several times), I'd hide the chair so it would be there when I came back. I ate a Power Bar and drank two bottles of water.

I had a great view. I saw all of the athletes parading by. Michelle Jones walked by just like everyone else. I was sitting next to three really good looking guys. This was the first time I really took note of a metrosexual. This guy was so well groomed and his eyebrows were so neat. He obviously waxed them.

I did some more worrying because half of my foot was numb by now. I told myself that I can swim with a numb foot.

The film crews were in the transition area interviewing the pros. It was so exciting. I wished I had my camera but realized that I'd have nowhere to put it.

Finally, we all moved toward the pier. It was just a sea of athletes and I sat down on the carpet. I wished I had some Body Glide because I forgot to put it on. And then, like magic, a Body Glide sample dropped to the ground. No one picked it up so I used it. Then the girl behind me used it, too.

  • 1h 18m 32s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 52s / 100 yards

I had a good starting position--towards the left, away from center buoys and towards the back. I was afraid of people swimming over me and wanted to avoid that. There was no countdown, just the cannon going off. I hit the stop watch and started. It was a madhouse. A sea of legs and arms, kicking in your face, clawing at your legs, hitting your arms as you tried to stroke. It truly was nuts and stayed that way the entire swim. I found a good guy to draft off of. It said "Lehrieder" on his butt in white letters so it was very easy to follow him. At first I thought he was too slow for me, then I realized that if I tried to pass, I just ended up going slower on my own so I got back behind him. I followed him till just past the turnaround at the boat. It got really crazy there and I lost him. I was able to find another guy that was going pretty much the same pace and I stayed with him. It was still very rough, though, as far as the people went. There was one really aggressive guy in a white outfit that I soon found out to stay away from. He was just punching the water and everyone in his way. You could hear Mike Reilly about an 1/8 of a mile from the pier and that made it pretty exciting. I was a little off balance coming up the steps out of the pier. I fell twice and the volunteers helped me up.

On a good note, my foot numbness went away.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. It was my best segment of the day and I knew it would be.
Transition 1
  • 06m 24s

Made eye contact right away with a volunteer and she led me to a chair. It was very crowded in the tent when I was there and it was hard to find a chair. I had a her put my biking jersey on me. It's hard to get dressed when you are wet. I kept yelling out things that I wanted the volunteer to do. That was helpful and made things go more smoothly. I asked a her to open my bars but she couldn't do it. She must never eat them Power Bars.

My advice to everyone is to take your time here. I was about two miles out on the bike and realized that I never sunscreened my legs or arms. The volunteer had done my face, chest, shoulders and back. I knew that I couldn't be out in the blazing sun for 7+ hours without it so I ended up stopping at the first aid station and begging some from the volunteers. A Hawaiian guy gave me some 100 SPF with zinc oxide. It was good stuff. I had a hard time putting it on wet legs, though.
What would you do differently?:

First of all, open all of my nutrition before I put it in my zippered jersey for the gear dropoff. I forgot to do that and the volunteer wasn't experienced in opening Power Bars. I was very happy the jersey had a big zippered pocket in the back because it kept my nutrition from falling all over the place when she dumped out the bag.

Take more time and concentrate.
  • 7h 20m 37s
  • 112 miles
  • 15.25 mile/hr

After coming out of the T1 tent, we had a really long run through the transition area in biking shoes. That was hard on my sore feet. I was so happy to finally get on my bike and get started.

The first ten miles were through town on the Kuakini Highway and there were tons of people cheering. That was quite exciting. I saw my family and waved. I screamed "I'm in the Ironman," but I don't think anyone heard me because of the roar of the crowd. Then we headed up the hill on Palini and made a left onto the Queen K Highway. While I was coming up Palini, someone screamed "Go 409," and I immediately burst into tears. It was such an emotional experience.

I told myself to take it easy and treat it as a long training ride. I feel that the race is mostly mental so this is how I dealt with distance. I stopped at the first aid station, got off my bike and applied the sunscreen. They had aid stations every seven miles. They were so frequent that you really didn't have to pay attention to finishing bottles before you got there. As a result, I have no idea how much I drank. I would grab both water and Ironman Perform at each aid station. I would dump water on the back of my shirt to help with cooling me off. That worked great.

The bike course was brutal. It felt like a headwind up to the turnoff of Route 19, the Queen K. But I knew it wasn't by my speed. If I went over 16 mph, then it was a tailwind. It just never felt like it though.

Once we made the turn toward Hawi, the crosswinds acted up. They were fierce. You couldn't eat or drink for about 20 miles or so. Every time I'd come to some rocks blocking the sides of the road, I'd quickly grab a drink. It got very scary. I saw one guy on the side of the road on the opposite side. He looked hurt and I think he had gotten blown over.

I was anxiously awaiting my special needs bag up at Hawi. I was going to drink my chicken broth and put the sports beans in my pocket. I thought they be a great treat. I was so disappointed to find out that they lost my bag. It just wasn't there. Nothing could be done about it. Lesson learned: do not count on it. Carry enough food to be self sufficient. And I did have enough food, so it wasn't the end of the world. I had put an extra PB&J in the bag, too, but wasn't going to eat that anyway.

The ride downhill from Hawi was really fun. I looked at the poor people on the other side coming up and thought, no wonder I felt so tired. They look like they are really struggling. But soon the jubilation turned into fear again as we hit the crosswinds. But I felt more experienced this time so I had more confidence. I was really happy to get back on the Queen K because I felt like I was almost back (only another 40 miles or so).

I had done the ride back from Hapuna Beach on Monday. It was tough that day and I thought I went so slow. But on this day, I felt pathetic. I was going 8 mph for awhile at one point and it wasn't on an uphill. There were quite a few older people passing me. You could tell by their race numbers. I kept telling myself that they had a lot of experience and I was just a newbie. But it does play with your head when really old people pass you.

I stopped at porta potties at least four times on the bike. I do that in training and was treating this like a training ride. I didn't mind taking the time. My feet were killing me anyway. I was taking them out of the pedals and shaking them a lot.

Once you hit the Energy Lab, you get to see the runners. I couldn't believe the number of runners on the course. And no one was walking. I couldn't believe they were all running in the blazing sun.

I asked a guy named Peter how it was running after this particular bike ride. He said, oh it's easy. The first part is in the shade and you just go. He said when it gets dark, it feels cool and you can run really fast. I had my doubts but I thought, oh maybe I can run after this ride.

All during the later part of the ride, I kept wondering if I was going to be able to run. My thoughts went from "no way can I run," to "maybe I can do this. Maybe I can run a 9 min. pace after this." I soon discovered reality.

Nutrition wise: I took 3 Endurolytes every hour till I started with the chicken soup midway on the run. On the bike, I had 2 Power Bars, 1 pkg. Clif Bloks, 2 GUs and a PB&J on pita.
What would you do differently?:

Definitely train more (an do lots of hills) on the bike. The second thing I'd do is buy a new bike. I think I had the oldest bike in the transition area, although they say it isn't the bike, it's the rider. So maybe just training more will do the trick.

Nutrition was perfect.

Noteworthy: I got so sick of the lemon lime IM Perform on the bike. I'd put something different to drink in special needs next time (if I decide to use it). I tried the coke once. It was horrible.
Transition 2
  • 11m 26s

They took my bike from me as soon as I dismounted. I slowly trudged the long way to the gear bag pickup (stopping at the porta pottie) and then to the women's tent. My feet were killing me so it was very hard to walk and walk I did. I didn't even rush to take my helmet off.

There was hardly anyone in the tent at this point and the ground was soaking wet. I had two volunteers and they immediately started rushing. I told them I was in no rush at all. They slowed down. They sunscreened me everywhere I asked them to. Then I headed out. No running at all.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I took my time--no rush.
  • 5h 03m 17s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 35s  min/mile

Finally, I was on the run course. I actually started running. Wow, I could run...or so I thought. I saw my family and stopped. My son, Mike, took a video clip and told me to get going. I slapped hands, chatted, said hello to Stacey on the Carrie's cellphone. I was in no rush. I started running again and soon realized that I didn't have any energy. I thought things would improve. They never did. I decided to run two cones and then walk one cone. That seemed to work out and gave me a goal. I was amazed at the number of times I had to stop at the porta potties. I stopped three times before I arrived back toward the pier by the 9 or 10 miles mark.

There was this old guy (70+) named Ron Ottaway. He was just jogging along. I kept passing him and then he'd pass me. We finally started talking. He said he was on track for an 11 min. pace. I was excited about that. I was horrified every time I'd look at my watch. I didn't think I could go that slow in a race. There wasn't much I could do though. Ed Buck had said that the first 10 miles would go quick. On what planet?

I just couldn't believe that I couldn't run. I kept thinking that I would feel better. I can't say that I ever did.

I was surprised to see Mike when I was coming back from the first run turnaround on Ali'i Drive. He ran next to me and video'd me. That was really fun. He was asking me questions. He was so excited. He finally stopped when he got back to Bob, Carrie, Fred and Kimi.

Then it was up the Palini hill (how cruel) and onto the Queen K.

The situation on the Queen K was so different than when I biked in. There weren't as many people. The porta potties got really rank, too. People apparently had diarrhea and weren't neat about it. Then they handed out the glow sticks. At first I thought, "I don't need this" and then, sadly, I realized that I did need it. I hung it on my race belt. That worked good. I also took my visor off and hung it on my belt. Find a place for my sunglasses was a bit trickier. I tried them hanging off the back of my shorts but they kept flopping. Then I tucked them in my sports bra. I put the one side in the top and the other side up from the bottom. They were so snug there.

The chicken soup starting midway was awesome. Ed had told me about that.

The Energy Lab was awesome. They had the motivational board out there. Someone could leave a message for you. You ran over a mat which brought up your number and your saying came up on the board. They ran about four or five messages on there at once and kept them for a bit. Mike wrote mine. It said something like "409 Linda Collins--You Go--#@!& Pain." I liked it. The other thing neat about the Energy Lab was that you could see the mountainside with all of the lights from the houses.

Back out on the Queen K--the moon was out and the stars were bright. The only negative was that you couldn't see where you were running. I ran into and almost tripped over a mile marker. You couldn't see what mile you were at either because it was so dark. Occasionally, people would bike by and say encouraging things. It was just so dark.

I just can't describe how it was running and walking along in the dark with the glowstick people. It's just like you see on TV. It was very comforting. You could see their glowsticks for quite a distance. People weren't as talkative because you couldn't see their faces. You also had to watch out for the people that didn't have glowsticks because you couldn't see them at all.

I started to feel better about three miles from the end. I started running a lot more. One guy said "Wow, where did you come from"? as I went by. When I ran, I felt like I ran a good pace. The problem was that I didn't do that much actual running.

I started passing quite a few people. It was a good feeling. Then I came upon someone in my age group and passed her. I still did some walking because there was another hill. After we made the right to head down toward Ali'i Drive, there was a big downhill. It was hard on my feet but I kept going. Once I got to the flat, I walked some more. Out of the darkness, I heard "Linda, is that you?" It was Ron (the old guy). I couldn't believe he was ahead of me till that point. I passed him for the final time.

The final run down Ali'i Drive was just exhilarating. I didn't get that floating feeling that I heard about, though, but it was awesome. The people screaming and cheering were deafening. I heard Mike Reilly call out "Linda Collins, you are an ironman." I think he also said my age and home town. A beautiful fresh lei was placed around my neck.

Once across the line, I felt so emotional that I wanted to cry. I started to cry but soon started hyperventilating. I couldn't breathe at all. I was gasping for air. Then I decided that crying was a really stupid thing to do at that point because I seriously could not breathe. The volunteers came over instantly with a medic. He walked backwards while I held onto him and he asked if I wanted to go to medical. I said yes.

I was in the medical tent for almost an hour. (I felt bad for my waiting family and friends.) Once you get in there, it's hard to get out. I had the most handsome doctor. I forget his name, but I don't forget his face. Plus, he was so nice.

They checked my vitals and recommended an IV. I figured, what the heck and got one. I got cold after that. They microwaves blankets and put them on me. I also requested an ice pack for my back and laid on that.

There was a 24-year-old Asian girl on the bed next to me. She had such a beautiful smile. She was throwing up. She hadn't drank anything at all on her seven hour run because she kept vomiting. But she was so happy!

When I was leaving the medical tent, Ron called out to me. I couldn't believe he was in there, too. He congratulated me. He knew it was my first one. I sure met some nice people!!!

Then it was off to grab my finishers medal (best medal ever), t-shirt and hat. It's not a technical tee but I will wear it proudly. I got my picture taken by the photographer and grabbed some pizza. They were generous with the pizza and gave some to my entire group even though it said athletes only. They gave out ice cream, too.

Nutrition wise: I had two or three GUs (I forget) and either Perform, water, and/or chicken soup. By the time I got to the Energy Lab, I was feeling slightly nauseous so I ate pretzels at several of the stops.

I never cramped and never vomited. Yay!!!!

What would you do differently?:

Figure out how to run the run course.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked back down Ali'i Drive to Uncle Billy's where Endurance Sports Travel had their van for the ride home. Their guys congratulated me.

Bob had already picked up my bike and gear. Mike got a really funny video of the bike procession out of transition. You see a slew of expensive tri bikes with Zipp wheels, then my bike, one of the few straight road bikes.

We stopped to see the huge sign they had chalked on the road. By the time I got to that, I wasn't even looking down. My eyes were searching for the finish line. But it was a really nice sign.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The fact that this was my first ironman. Also, the bruise on ball of my foot.

My left toenail is so sore now and it's been six days since the race. I don't know how to avoid toenail problems. I think my feet must've swelled in the heat. My lower lip is still extremely sore from the sun. I need to apply more sunscreen lip balm next time.

Event comments:

They had 5,000 volunteers and they were awesome! So encouraging and would do anything for you.

I am happy with my first ironman experience.

Last updated: 2010-10-10 12:00 AM
01:18:32 | 4224 yards | 01m 52s / 100yards
Age Group: 9/33
Overall: 1293/1926
Suit: Orca sports bra and Sugoi tri shorts
Course: Out to the boat and back
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 06:24
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:20:37 | 112 miles | 15.25 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/33
Overall: 0/1926
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 11:26
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:03:17 | 26.2 miles | 11m 35s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/33
Overall: 0/1926
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2010-10-15 12:58 PM

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Subject: Ford Ironman World Championship

2010-10-15 1:28 PM
in reply to: #3154607

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Fountain Hills, AZ
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
What a terrirfic report and great job, IRONMAN!
2010-10-15 1:35 PM
in reply to: #3154607

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Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
Awesome job!
2010-10-15 2:35 PM
in reply to: #3154607

Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
CONGRATULATIONS!!  I flew to Kona last minute to photograph a wedding on Sunday.  It was so sad to be there one day after ironman!  I was able to meet so many amazing athletes who were staying at the same resort and at the airport.  I am so inspired by all of you Ironmen!!
2010-10-15 2:52 PM
in reply to: #3154607

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Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
Congrats! Great job, Ironman!
2010-10-15 4:24 PM
in reply to: #3154607

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Dirt Road
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
Your amazing!

2010-10-15 5:25 PM
in reply to: #3154607

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Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
Congratulations, Ironman!!
What a great report!
2010-10-15 5:37 PM
in reply to: #3154607

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PEI, Canada
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
Fantastic report and fantastic race!  Very inspiring!
2010-10-15 8:15 PM
in reply to: #3154607

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Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
Congrats! awesome RR.
2010-10-15 9:48 PM
in reply to: #3154607

Iron Donkey
, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
Anybody that does Kona needs to get an AWESOME JOB!!
2010-10-16 2:04 PM
in reply to: #3154607

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Extreme Veteran
Austin, TX
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
Congratulations! Kona is an amazing place!

2010-10-16 5:03 PM
in reply to: #3154607

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Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
Linda, your race report showed up in the BT Twitter feed today (headlined- first IM at Kona), or I wouldn't have known about it. This is one of the best race reports I've read here! It must have been an amazing experience. It really is something that you did your first-ever IM at Kona. Congratulations, Ironman! Where do you go from here??
2010-10-17 1:15 AM
in reply to: #3154607

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Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
Wow, Linda, what an  inspiration

I almost cried when you described crossing the finish line.

Well done, Ironman!
2010-10-17 8:07 AM
in reply to: #3154607

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West Palm Beach
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
AWESOME!!!! Congratulations IRONMAN!!!! YEAH!!!! and Kona...WOW!!!!

Rest, Relax and start all over again soon...
2010-10-17 4:56 PM
in reply to: #3154607

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Extreme Veteran
Horsham, PA
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship

Fantastic report!  I really enjoyed reading it!  You are awesome, IRONMAN!  You inspire me.  Congratulations, Linda!

2010-10-18 8:12 AM
in reply to: #3154607

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
Linda, Awesome race report and awesome job!!!!  We did hear you scream "I'm in the Ironman," by the way ;-)  It tooks us a minute to figure out what you had said, but after a brief discussion we pulled it together :-)

I had a great time out there with you taking it all in and living vicariously through you. 

GOOD JOB!!!!!!  Another post had it right, 'rest up and do it over again'  :-)

2010-10-18 12:40 PM
in reply to: #3155931

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Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
Thanks Bob. Kona was a really awesome experience! It's hard to express the excitement I felt all week and the specialness of having completed it. Now I want to go back!!! I have to figure out a way.
2010-10-18 12:46 PM
in reply to: #3157503

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Subject: RE: Ford Ironman World Championship
Carrie, it was so great having you there. I don't think the excitement of this experience can ever be recaptured again. Thanks for all of your help...And that's what I forgot to put in my report. To thank everyone that came with me and the people at home that stayed up all night following me. I won't ever forget the surprise Kona party the weekend before I left either.
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