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Ironman Arizona - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
Ironman North America
65F / 18C
Total Time = 15h 10m 15s
Overall Rank = 1883/2771
Age Group = W35-39
Age Group Rank = 92/100
Pre-race routine:

On Saturday night, I had Maddie (8-yr old niece) write the names of those who donated in honor of someone in their fsmily touched by cancer. She asked me to write the names on a sheet of paper so she could se how long the name were. When I handed over the red Sharpie, she took special care to write each name clearly, knowing tha they had a special meaning. I hope one day she will look back on that and realize the significance it had.

Woke up race morning and marked my arms with "4 Dad" as this race would be dedicated to his battle with cancer and "suck it" on my other arm...a constant reminder to suck it up when the race got difficult.

Did my usual routine, banana with peanut butter, played online for a bit and took a shower. It's nice going into an enduance race clean knowing how gross I will get during the day.
Event warmup:

Got to transition and was happy that race morning was warmer compared to '09. Filled up my water bottles and got in line for the porta-pottie. I stood in line with 2 men who were both racing their first Ironamn. ONce of them was very nervous, I told him to relax, "once the gun goes off, your nerves will fade." He said, "you are so calm about all of this!" I explained that the this was my 6th Ironman and that the more you race the more you realize that race day can through so much at you, so you just need to be prepared to adjust to what the day brings.

  • 1h 34m 45s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 14s / 100 yards

Went through the starting arch and looked up and saw Mike and Maddie on the bridge! Loved seeing my brother and niece up there, blew them a few kisses and jumped into the water. Knowing I would have family there meant so much to me.

Since I had been feeling sick since Monday leading up to race day, jumping in the lake that morning was the first time I had felt the water temp since last year's race. It was cold, but not as chilly as last year. I moved into a spot, kinda in the middle of the pack. I floated on my back and looked up at all of the spectators on the bridge to watch one of the most shocking mass of flailing arms and legs....the Ironman Mass Swim Start!

I smiled and thought of my dad and all of those whose names I would carry on my body that day...those touched by cancer. I said a silent prayer to myself in the hopes that my race would go well so I would not disappoint anyone who donated to my fund-raising efforts and that I would successfully carry these names across the finish line. My emotions started to take hold of me and I quickly brought my mind back into the moment of starting my race and the canon went journey to complete my 3rd Ironman in 1 season had started!

Within the first few hundred yards it was the typical washing machine. I was kicked and punched a bit, but held me own. I felt my watch loosen and noticed the buckle had come undone, so I turned onto my back and kicked while I fixed way could I race IM without a watch! Immediately I got a karate-chop to the head, ouch...I saw stars. Flipped back over and continued to swim. The sun started to rise and I wanted to stop and enjoy it, if only for a moment, but I couldn't risk getting hit again.

I didn't see the buoy line, blinded by the sun, so I followed whatever feet were in front of me and hoped for the best. Realized I was close to the course markers when I guy in a kayak started to yell, "move right!" Whoopps! I felt like I had been swimming a while and was hoping the turn around would come soon and shortly after I saw it, yay! Hit the turn at about 45 minutes, typical for me....oh well, maybe 2011 I wil get faster in the water.

Started the way back to the swim exit. I started to get a headache from the gas fumes from the rescue boats, lovely. There also seemed to be some chop on the way back. Kept swimming, tried to sing some songs to myself, but I was just so bored! I don't mind the 2.4 mile swim, I just hate that it takes me so long out of sheer boredom!

Finally got to the buoy and made my final turn, I could see and hear the crowd cheering! I got so excited to be free of the swim! There was a volunteer standing on the steps to help and headed right for him. I did a quick wipe of my nose under water to make sure I didn't have snot on my face.

Ran out and picked a wetsuit stripper, as I pulled my arms out of my wetsuit. I ran to him and he yelled, "sit on your butt!" He had a partner and the 2 of the them had m wetsuit off in a flash. They grabbed my hands to help me up and launched me about 4 feet into the air, I guess they were used to stripping the men, lol.

What would you do differently?:

Tape my watch band, so I don't have to worry about losing it in the bottom of the lake and risk getting a karate-chop to the head.

More swim training, I'll never be fast but if I can drop some time from being bored in the water, that would be sweet!
Transition 1
  • 05m 38s

Ran down the chute into transition and loved seeing so many people cheering! I grabbed my bag and the T1 was PACKED! Since I had my tri kit on I didn't need to use the changing tent and a volunteer came over and asked if I needed help. I said, "just hold open my ghetto arm-warmers (tube-socks with the toes cut off) and I can do the rest." I dried myself off a bit and got all of my stuff on, then headed through the changing tent to get to my bike.

What a sight the tent was packed! I must have passed a bunch of women just buy getting out of T1! Grabbed Sparty and headed out for my 112 miles of "fun"

What would you do differently?:

This was a good transition, would have been better if I could have gotten there swimming faster!
  • 6h 40m 52s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.76 mile/hr

Wow, what a ride this turned out to be, and I don't mean that in a good way!

I got out of transition and was just so thankful to be on my bike and out of the water. I looked for Maddie and Mike, but there were so many people lining the way out of transition I couldn't find them, but hoped they saw me headed out. Hearing so many people and feeling their energy is amazing! I passed quite a few people on the way out of town, but kept reminding myself to "ride your race."

I was feeling pretty hungry after my swim and downed a few Clif Blocks, yum. Within a few blocks of leaving town there is not much crowd support and I looked over to the ASU football stadium and reminded myself there are 3 loops to this course, riding loops is not exactly my favorite thing.

Felt some wind, but not horrible. I made a deal with myself to be back in 2 hours on the first loop. Little did I know what conditions would be waiting for me. At some point I started to feel some head-wind and I just hoped it would not pick up during my much for hoping! I watched as the pros came by on the other side and I saw Chrissy Wellington kicking ass...just awesome!

I made it out to the Beeline and really started to feel the wind. I made it to the turn-around in an hour...sweet, maybe I can hit my goal of making it back in an hour! Suddenly I realized the wind was not going to be my friend. Head-wind...uggg! Not now, not this early in the race!

I pushed myself but tried to a keep a decent pace, wound up making it back in a little over an hour. I saw Mike and Maddie cheering on the side of the road, the green "ABBIE" sign stood out in the crowd. Seeing them lifted my spirits. Out for the second loop.....

On my way out the wind seemed to shift and pick up, not a good sign. I passed a man peddling with one leg and thought he was stretching his right leg over his I passed I noticed he only had one leg! I thought of my computrainer classes and how I hate the single-legged peddling drills we do for a few minutes. No way could I imagine doing that for 112 miles, I hate doing it for a 2 minutes! I'm still in awe of the amazing people that Ironman attracts, I feel so honored to be in their company along the course.

Along the way I stopped at a random porta-potty, no one was in line waiting for it, score! There were a few spectators near it and one guy held my bike and complimented me on my GURU, said he owned one as well. He wished me "good luck" and off I went. The wind was really picking up now, lots of head-wind no matter which direction I turned. Heading on the Beeline....uggg it was ruthless! There was a girl riding near me, clueles as to how to ride! She was going down the middle of the road and as pros are passing by they are yelling at her to move over! I almost told her that she needed to ride right and only pass on the left, but I was just concentrating on moving forward.

The wind was like a prize fighter, never giving up! I felt demoralized looking at my pace on the flats, a whole 12 MPH! Ugggg! A guy passes me and says, "this sucks, I' m doing 15 on the flat!" I yelled, "I'd be thrilled to be you, I'm doing 12!"

Around this point a pull close to woman and I must have ducked my head in exhaustion. She says, "pick your head up. The wind is only trying to mess with your mind, don't let it. You are looking very strong." I said, "how many Ironman races have you done?" She replied, "this is my first. how about you?" I said, "number 6" and she replied, "well this is all old hat to you, you know how to finish." I felt slightly motivated, yet secretly prayed for the wind to die down, my ears were starting to hurt from the wind.

I tried to pick my mood up with thoughts of those who names I proudly carried on my body, knowing I would finish but a personal record might not be within reach. Then I reminded myself that Mike and Maddie were waiting for me ad I tried to just focus on moving forward. I think around now is when I started to feel the rain, not sure, its a blur.....sometimes it's best to forget misery!

I got to the turn around and did not see my brother and niece, kinda disappointing. As I made my last turn to head back to the final loop I hoped conditions had changed for the better. I started to get a cramp in my back and could no longer go get in the aero-position on my bars, damn! I was forced to sit up for the entire last loop while continuously at the winds mercy. I wanted to cry from the frustration!

Just when I thought things could not get worse, the rains poured harder and then I was pelted by...hail! Are you kiddin me? Im in the middle of the friggin desert, surrounded by sand cactus and there's hail!? The wind picked up even more. At this point I leaned into the wind to avoid getting blown off of my bike. I also hoped that the bike would not get blown out from under me.

Two people approach me and the girl says, "this weather sucks, but at least there's a cool rainbow." I look at her ad say "wow, it's real! I thought I was just imagining it!" We both laughed at that one, a small respite from our reality.

Finally the last turn around and I reminded myself, "you are never racing this course again!" The wind was even stronger, my knuckles white from the death-grip I now had on my bars and the wind howling in my ears. I kept moving forward at what felt like a snails pace, my back cramped in pain. I reminded myself that I'm a 5x finisher and that I coud tough it out, but I felt like a fraud....I didn't want to race anymore, I wanted to be warm and dry, sheltered from the wind. Looking at my arm I knew I needed to suck it up and keep going, people where depending on me...I could not fail them, I could not fail myself.

I think the entire way back was into headwind, just a suck-fest. I finally got to transition and did not see Mike and Maddie, I just hoped they would be there to see me head out on the run.
What would you do differently?:

Practice riding in a wind-tunnel!

I rode this race to the best of my ability. Mentally I could have been stronger, but I tried to adjust as best I could in what the course threw at me.
Transition 2
  • 04m 44s

I grabbed my run bag and saw a volunteer with an ART shirt on. I ran over and asked if she could rub the knot out of my back. I stood there and she worked on me for a bit. Whatever time I lost in transition was well worth it as the pain had started to creep up into my neck.

After that I ran into the tent and a volunteer was there to greet me. She said "I heard all about the hail on the course, I hope it's not like this next year when I'm participating!" I smiled and assured her it probably could not get worse.

She dumped my bag and thought it was funny that I had a mini-deodorant in my bag. I said, "well around this point in the race you kinda get sick of your own stink." I put on an anti-blister band-aid and hoped it would help prevent any blister issues, but that was like waiting for a cold day in hell! lol
What would you do differently?:

Full-body massage!
  • 6h 44m 18s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 15m 26s  min/mile

I came out of the run and my quads were kinda tight, but I told myself to "run...this is Ironman, lots of people wil be watching when you get out of the tent!" Within 20-30 yards I saw Mike and Maddie! They were holding up signs and I ran over to kiss them, good thing I had thrown on some deodorant :)

I really had to go to the bathroom but of course the first few porta-potties I came upon were taken. One women, jumped in front of me with her kid to use a porta-pottie. Her kid was not little, he could have held it! I get that the day is long for spectatators, but come on, let someone who is racing jump in! Other people started yelling, "keep going there's another one not too far down." Off I went, although I was a bitter about the whole situation.

I used the next porta-pottie,relief! I was passed by a ton of poeple and I could tell they were not on their first dreaded loop. Somewhere my "friends" showed up....blisters on my pinky toes. Uggg not again! Every foot-fall was painful. I try not to think of the pain and just move forward, walking hurt more than running...err shuffling is more like it. I passed a woman who was a leg amputee, I was so inspired by her!! Later on I came to find out that she had lost her leg about a year ago from a bike crash. She had raced IM before, but this was her first Ironman as an amputee.

I would go through the aid stations and grab some bananas, grapes, maybe a cookie or some patato chips. Just listened to what my palate craved. I kept moving forward. ONe girl says to me, "wow I love your sneakers and how wel they coordinate with your tri top!" I said, "well if I'm going to be slow, I might as well be fashionble." She laughed and said, "I'm slow, just making sure I'm getting my money's worth on this race, because I'm NEVER doing Ironman again!" LOl, famous last words, I uttered that same sentiment during my first Ironman too!

I finished my first loop and had givem up lokking at my watch. I knew I was not going to PR this race, why tease myself with time....just finish. I was sad to know that PR was out of reach, so finishing would be my only reward.

I didn't see Mike and Maddie on my way through the second loop, but I did see a bunch of guys who were cheering at one of th aid stations. They kept yelling, "Go Abbie! Chug, chug, chug!!!" Of course they were there everytime I was drinking water or my favorite....."sex in a cup" a.k.a. chicken broth! YUM!

ON my second loop I stopped at the aid station that was also treating blisters. I decided just have her look at the one that hurt the most, my right pinky toe. When I took off my shoes and socks and she saw the size of the bister, she said, "have you has this before?" I said, "yep, a every Ironman, I get blisters." She said, "well what do you normally do for them?" I said, "I suck it up." She repled, "excuse me?" I said, "I suck it up and keep going." She wrapped it the best she could and on I went.

Having it wrapped made it about 1% less painful, oh joy. I seriously debated the pros and cons of having my pinky tes removed prior to my next Ironman. I looked across the lake and I could hear the finsih line! I hated my despised my feet at that moment as no matter how much I would push through, I was not any faster...just plodding along.

Going through my seocnd loop there was a girl who was crying. Two of her friends kept walking next to her and said, "you jut had a Baby Ruth, you are fine. Just relax." I said, "damn, I coukd go for a Baby Ruth riht about now!" I guess she had it in her special needs bag.

ON I went, the sun was down and it started to drizzle, uggg! There are some time when I hate Mother Nature, I cursed her plenty throughout the day. Finally made it to my 3rd loop! I began chatting with this guy next to me and said, "I was hoping that I would be finishing right about now." He said, "well I shold have been done 2 hours ago." We laughed and chatted for a bit. He was impressed by my "running" like glorified walk!

ON te 3rd lap the pain was geting worse, my knees started to hurt from my horrible form. I ate a lemon cookie with a potato ship at one the aid station and washed it down with chicken broth, it tatsed amazing! I think I just drive-heaved, thinking back on that! LOL. I pased my Inspiraion Mile, sory Mike and Maddie, I can't remember what ist said, but I know it made me smile :)

Finally the last mile or so. A spectator says, "great smile, you must be in the home stretch!" I thanked him and kept running. I wanted my medal, I wanted to see my family, I wanted to take my sneakers off! I passed a guy before the turn and he said, "the finsiher's line is all yours, I won't get in your way. Great race!" Finally I made the last turn to the finisher's chute and it was AWESOME! So many people chering and shouting! I see Maddie and Mike yelling and her "go Abbie!" I thought of all of those whose names I would carry across the fisnih lne. Right before I crossed, I stopped, took a quick bow and said a silent "thank you" to honor them.

I crossed and was welcomed by Chrissy Wellington, she said, "congrats on your finish!" I was so brain-dead it took a few second for it to register that it was her! LOL. I sweet volunteer drapped a mylar blanket over my shoulders and walked me over to get my finisher's gear. She said, "is this your first?" I said, "no it's my 6th!" She replied, "I dont know how you people can do this to yourself".

I smiled in silence in response to her comment. My season had come to an end, I was a 6x Ironman, 3 Ironman races in 1 were no words to describe my happiness at that moment.
What would you do differently?:

I have tried everything to preent these blisters and no luck! Is it crazy to debate the pros/cons of removing my pinky toes in the off season in the name of Ironman?! LOL

Post race
Warm down:

I took a few pics with Mike and Maddie and went to get something to eat. Ugg, pizza and french fries...are you kiddin me!? I had a few fries and went to get my clothes.

Mike and Maddie joined me in trnsition to help. I took off my sneakers and socks. My sock had gotten stuck on tape for the blister and I ripped that off, ouch! Hopefuly I didn't curse too much in front of my 8-yr-old niece, lol. Then the left sock....a blood blister had taken residence where my pinky-toe used to be, lovely. Of course I took a pic of it and shoes it off to Maddie :)

Hobbled oer to medical for my usua blister lancing....oh joy. Got that taken care of and of to Denny's for some real food, lol! When I walked in about 4-5 table full of people started to appalud me, so sweet.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Blisters as usual. I think I can run througb the tight quads, but the blisters.....well they are a pain in the TOE! LOL

Event comments:

3 Ironman races in one's not crazy, but it put me over the edge mentally. Now onto my Oscar winning "thank yous"

A huge thank you to so many of you that follow my training and inspire me. Training this season did not go as planned, but its such a good parallel to does not follow a plan, so I treat it like Ironman...suck it up, adjust, smile and keep moving forward.

To Mike and Maddie, lots of hugs and kisses for coming to my race. Mike, even as kids you always encouraged me to compete. You are always in my corner, thank you for always being there for me...especially at the finish line this time around. I can't express how much it meant to me to see you welcome me "home". Maddie, thank you for the signs and cheering your heart out! I hope you understand that while I did not "win" the race, that finishing is just as special. Some day I hope you will remmeber writing the names on me and know how special that was. I love you guys!

For Dad, keep fighting! Each day is a gift. Mom, thank you for your call right before I started. I laughed when you asked "what part of the race is it now?" As if I would be talking on the phone while racing Ironman :)

To my coach Tim Flemming, thank you for not talking me out of my "adventurous idea" of racing 3 IMs this season, while it did not go exactly as planned, I'm glad I did it. To my eCycling instructors, Forrest and Mara, thank you for your coaching, support, great play-lists and for making 90 minutes of class so enjoyable!

And of course to those who chose to donate to my fund-raising, THANK YOU!!!! Hopefully we will kick Cancer's ass!

If anyone has read all of this, you deserve a finisher's medal of your own! I love Ironman! I will never be first, but I will alaways finish what I start. I will always survive :)

Last updated: 2010-05-20 12:00 AM
01:34:45 | 4224 yards | 02m 14s / 100yards
Age Group: 96/100
Overall: 1945/2771
Performance: Average
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 05:38
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:40:52 | 112 miles | 16.76 mile/hr
Age Group: 56/100
Overall: 1456/2771
Performance: Below average
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: 3 boring, windy, rainy, hail, loops!
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:44
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:44:18 | 26.2 miles | 15m 26s  min/mile
Age Group: 116/100
Overall: 2113/2771
Performance: Below average
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]

2010-12-07 12:07 AM

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Subject: Ironman Arizona

2010-12-07 6:56 AM
in reply to: #3239211

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Great race!!

A)have you ever tried Wright Socks??
B)...oh I saw a couple of peeps talking on their cell phones during the made me laugh..was just wondering what their conversations were about...
2010-12-07 8:35 AM
in reply to: #3239309

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
trirific10 - 2010-12-07 4:56 AM Great race!!

A)have you ever tried Wright Socks??
B)...oh I saw a couple of peeps talking on their cell phones during the made me laugh..was just wondering what their conversations were about...

Yep, I have tried ond of different socks, shoes, blister-shield, body-glide, vasoline.....and many others.

2010-12-07 8:48 AM
in reply to: #3239309

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Extreme Veteran
Centennial, CO
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
trirific10 - 2010-12-07 5:56 AM Great race!!

A)have you ever tried Wright Socks??
B)...oh I saw a couple of peeps talking on their cell phones during the made me laugh..was just wondering what their conversations were about...

First, great race report, thanks

b) I was doing run sag during this race and actually had an athlete ask if he could borrow my phone to call his wife.  I let him of course, but she didn't answer. She called me back and I told her he was 6 miles out. Was kind of funny.
2010-12-07 9:32 AM
in reply to: #3239211

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Phoenix, AZ
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Loved the report. I should have taped my watch band as well. It got fully molested out there, and the band was half hanging off the whole swim. Also, the face is cracked and leaks now. Ugh.I need to learnt to transition like you. Wow.
You should try different shoes, Ab. I used to deal with pinky blisters with my Brooks. I found some Nikes that have a wider toe box, my pinkies aren't shoved against my 4th toe now. HOoray.

3 Ironman races in 1 season is very very impressive. One day, I'll meet you, and I'll buy you a drink. 
2010-12-07 11:24 AM
in reply to: #3239211

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Placitas, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
What an amazing day, Abbie. 

2010-12-07 12:22 PM
in reply to: #3239211

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Extreme Veteran
San Francisco CA
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
You continue to amaze me Abbie! Congrats on sucking it up and sticking through a tough race, and an even bigger congrats on your three Ironman season. You are an incredible athlete!
2010-12-07 4:01 PM
in reply to: #3239211

Parker, Colorado
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
great race...congratulations on an epic summer/fall. See ya around Aq Park.
2010-12-07 4:19 PM
in reply to: #3239211

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Freaking fantastic 3 IM's in one season!

Awesome job in less than desireable conditions!
2010-12-07 6:20 PM
in reply to: #3239211

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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

Great Job Abbie!!! Way to SUCK IT!!  I lost all the skin on my pinky toe at one IM.  I kept looking at my shoe and figured if I couldn't see any blood it was just skin and to suck it up.  Maybe different shoes?  Using Wright Socks have helped me a TON with blister problems. 

COngrats on the money you have raised for cancer research.  Its a big fight.  Cancer sucks.

Great race report I hope you had some fun this season.  The IM finish is a bit like crack tho..................

2010-12-07 6:38 PM
in reply to: #3239211

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Dallas, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Great job on the IM's! Congratulations!

Hail... UUUGGGGH! You held strong!

2010-12-08 5:42 AM
in reply to: #3239211

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Extreme Veteran
San Diego, California
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congrats!!!!  Way to stay strong during a tough race.  I am so happy for you.  I told you it is always important to have deodorant in transition bags.  :-
2010-12-08 9:25 AM
in reply to: #3239211

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Hingham, Ma
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

Congrats Abbie.  What an amazing achievement this year.  Sorry I didn't get to see you on the course, I was looking for the green bike and purple shoes.  I hope you take some well deserved rest.

2010-12-08 11:55 AM
in reply to: #3239211

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congrats Abbie!  Your report totally engrossed me!  Makes me wish I had gotten off my and donated....I lost someone to brain cancer.   What you did this year is amazing!  You continue to inspire me!
2010-12-09 8:55 PM
in reply to: #3239211

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Robbinsville NJ
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Awesome as always, you rock.
2010-12-12 3:34 PM
in reply to: #3239211

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Lafayette, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
What an epic journey!  You had a hail of a day!  Ha Ha....snort... Ok I thought it was funny.   I know a bunch of people who were out there and it was a very tough day.   Congrads on a great season and a great race. 


2010-12-12 9:24 PM
in reply to: #3239211

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East Side of the Bay
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
An amazing season from an amazing woman. Congrats!
2011-06-13 6:54 PM
in reply to: #3239211


Orange County, CA
Gold member
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Great race report.  I am thinking of doing IM Arizona as my first full IM but your RR is scaring me a little.  Maybe I will just have to learn to SUCK IT like you do.
2011-06-14 7:21 AM
in reply to: #3547249

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

Bradbiddle - 2011-06-12 7:54 PM Great race report.  I am thinking of doing IM Arizona as my first full IM but your RR is scaring me a little.  Maybe I will just have to learn to SUCK IT like you do.


sometimes I wish race reports were in CoJ.

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