Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I am an IRONMAN!!!

Epic-that pretty much sums up how i feel about this entire journey. If I have spoken with you, I am sure I have let you know that I had a spectacular race and could not have possibly been more pleased with the outcome. I have so many thoughts running through my head and am not sure I can adequately sum them up in one post. So several may be to follow.

First, I want to say how amazing it was to spend the entire weekend with many of my closest friends and training partners. Laying, lounging, laughing, stressing, sleeping (sort of), and hugging all of you in such close quarters couldnt have been more perfect. I started this journey with you all and finished it with you all. So for those of you thinking about embarking on the Iron journey...this is the way to go. Who better to understand what you are feeling and going through than those you have trained with, laughed with, and yes, cried with over the past 6 months? I wouldnt have had it any other way. So...thank you Jamie, Allan, Kathy, Tony, Jason, Gretchen, and Scott for the journey of a lifetime. You, my sweet friends and encouragers,  made my weekend.

I guess i should start by saying how awesome the trip was from the moment we arrived in Louisville. I think i acted like a kid on Christmas. Check in was an incredible experience. From the moment they put the bracelet on our hands to the first siting of Mike Reiley to the crossing of the finish line, we were treated like Ironmen. One thing I noticed, as soon as you donned the blue bracelet, every other person wearing the bracelet felt the need to look you up from head to toe sizing up your potential race abilities. And admittedly, we did it too. Fun things throughout the weekend included Sully's (thanks bob and IAMTRI) and the underpants run. Where else is it perfectly acceptable to run a bit under 2 miles in your underwear? Only in Lou before the Ironman :) check out our pictures, they are phenomenal.

Race day-wow. One of the most moving moments for me was when the cannon went off for the pro's to enter the water. I had the privilege and joy of thanking and hugging all of my dear training partners and friends as they too got ready to race. My favorite picture I have seen thus far is of all of us jumping in the water at the same time. We started the journey together and we were going to finish it together. So yes, I would say it was off to a perfect start.

I had an incredible swim time for me. I made it successfully out of the water in an hour and twenty minutes and four seconds. I felt great the entire time. No cramps and little fatigue. Much faster than I originally hoped to swim. If my siting were a bit better, I think i could have swam even faster. None the less, I was thrilled. I even got to run into Allan in the water-just like warrior's, but minus the duck poop.  When I got out of the water, I was dizzy and had a left leg cramp. Took a few steps, but was able to run to T1. What I didnt expect was the overwhelming generosity and kindness of the race volunteers. They were beyond accommodating and helped me get through transitions smoothly. I am telling you, IM knows how to put on a good race and make sure you get what you pay for.

As most of you know, cycling is not my strong suite, especially with rollers. However, on raceday all the stars aligned for me and I rode well for me. Never once in the 112 miles did I unclip or leave the saddle (probably my proudest moment of the race). Beautiful weather. I also did well with hydration and nutrition. So by the time I was ready to run, I felt strong and ready. Dont get me wrong, I have never been so glad to get off the bike. But all in all, I would say it was a good ride.

Running is my favorite part. And rightfully so, I had a great run. Despite quads that were: shot to hell. It is said that in the marathon portion of IM you will run an hour slower than typical marathon. My marathon PR is 3:38 and IM marathon was 4:38. So, I would say that this is a dead on prediction. Although my legs hurt and I was exhasuted, there was never a moment where I thought I wouldnt or couldnt finish. I can truly say I enjoyed every single minute of it.

Coming into fourth street live with the lights and hundreds upon hundreds of people screaming and cheering for you was epic. I had the biggest smile on my face and had enough energy to scream..."Mike Reiley....LET ME HEAR IT!!!!" I am still in shock that yes, I am an Ironman. Although finishing was awesome, the best part still was hugging all my IRON friends and know that they too, met their goals. I am so proud of you guys. And yes, I firmly belief in the Ironman motto...anything is possible. As tired as I was, and exhausted, my first thoughts were "when do we do this again?" So, I think it safe to say, if anyone wants to embark on this journey again next year...count me in. I have a PR to beat!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

6 days out.

First and foremost, thank you all for the words of encouragement and hugs. So today, thanks to facebook, it is has fully hit me that this is happening. soon. For almost a year now, i have followed the official IRONMAN site on fb. I have watched as they have talked about other IM events. Today, the first post about Louisville appeared. Wow. Seriously, could the next six days slow down just a bit? Yesterday, I had a headache. That doesnt happen to me! Now is not the time for this to happen. Grr. On a lighter note, literally and figuratively speaking, I am trying to decide between racing my wheel set or the roval's (thanks steve p :) ) although, you will be missed and i still wish you were sharing this experience with us. I am torn between racing a wheel set I am comfortable with or a more aero set. I guess tonight will be the determining factor. Sigh. Breathe in, Breathe out.

I am going to offer up my sincerest apologies ahead of time for being distracted, tearful, and a bit moody over the next week. Do not take it personally. It is the single biggest thing I have ever done in my life and I want to do it well. So any advice, encouragement, or ice cream thrown my way is always greatly appreciated. More so than my words could ever express.

Big shout out to Piney Flats Bike and Fitness for taking care of my bike and helping me get stragihtened out. You guys rock. I still fell like one of the luckiest people in the world to be a part of the running and cycling community that I am. I couldn't ask for better training partners and friends.  I owe you all lots of hugs and trips to menchies.

I keep refering back to Adam Goucher's advice to Kara on the day she raced Boston- "Race confident, calm, and free." His blog about her racing experience rocked-as did her post race blog. Way to keep it classy Goucher's- you all are a true class act.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

10 days...and counting.

"It is not a successful climb unless you enjoy the journey." ~Dan Benson

I have enjoyed my journey to say the least. Tonight, I am thankful Jamie Williams whom rode with me and let me talk. Good advice, from a good friend. How I would have made this journey without her I do not know. Things I learned tonight: female brand of dez nuts is slightly uncomfortable. I did not enjoy the "warming/cooling" sensation. These things should come with a warning! Thankfully, I had the insight to try it tonight before IM. I could have seen that being a potentially dangerous 112 mile ride. Or uncomfortable at least. :) Oh...and Jill Kearns, we missed you! I am slightly jealous that you are going on a cruise, but cant wait to hear all about it! come home soon!

Taper mode is really quite discerning. We only had an hour ride to do today and I felt lazy.Worst part is, I still want to eat my arm off. Shouldnt I be wanting to eat less, not more? I am already stressing about this being over. Thankfully, I have three new goals 1. Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) 2. Train with Dustin Mohr @ Get Mohr Fit 3. And cycle cross! all of which I am very excited about :)

Lastly, big shout out to my bff Jamie Mains. Happy birthday buddy!!!! I had fun with you tonight and enjoyed our talk. You are special. Love you. Mean it.

6 am swim comes early. Thank you Glenn for being my constant alarm clock, even though I often hit snooze :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

T minus 11 days

Today called for a 45 min run + 15 i missed from last night. I had a nice comfortable run with Jamie Mains and Brinson in downtown Johnson City. Thanks again friends for running with me and sticking it out. You all rock. Shout out to Varinka, Rachel, and Brian (maybe?). Good to see you all and thanks for the words of encouragement. This whole process seems surreal. I cant believe it is almost here!!!

They say that you get depressed when this is all said and done. I can see it. It has consumed my life for almost 6 months. Thankfully, I have two big goals set for me in the upcoming next couple of months. On October 30, I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon and shooting for a new BQ time as well as running for No greater sacrifice in memory of my friend Ben White.  Today I also bought a new cross bike!!! Masi CXR with 105. woo hoo! I like new challenges. So bring on fall sports!!! Hopefully, I will try to get some decent sleep over the next few days.

Thanks again for the support!!! <3

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

12 days and counting

Tonight, my dear training partners Alan, Kathy, Jamie, Jason, Gretchen, Scott, and myself got a nice long swim in. We completed 2.3 miles. Shew. Exhausting. But...we swam great. I actually felt pretty comfortable. Don't get me wrong, I was tired at the end and ready to be out of the water. But all in all, felt good. Two things I learned tonight-i was hungry a mile into swim (will carry a gel in IM) and dizzy when getting out of the water. I think I will take my time in T1. Jason and I got a 3.5 mile run in after. Have I mentioned that this nice cool weather in the evenings makes me all giddy inside?????? I cant wait for fall.

I Will...
I will be rested~I will be strong~I will be excited~I will be confident as I hit the water~I will have smooth transitions~I will pace myself~I will eat~I will drink~I will sweat~I will not run out of fuel~I will stay loose and relaxed~I will take each hill one at a time~I will run a steady and consistent marathon~I will think of my family~I will remember all the hard work I have done to prepare for this day~I will not break down~I will look up and smile~I will not worry~I will not be alone~I will conquer the challenges I will face throughout the day~I will have courage~I will be proud of my accomplishments~I will encourage those around me~I will think positively~I will remember to take it one mile at a time~I will challenge myself~I will give it my all~I will enjoy the day~I will remember the day~I will finish 140.6 with a smile.~ I will be an IRONMAN

Ford Louisville Ironman August 28, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Almost time

It has officially been forever since I updated this. What can I say? Ironman training took over my life. Clearly, so much has happened since my last post. Countless hours in the pool and at Warriors swimming in the duck poo lake. Yes friends, duck poo. I have pedaled more miles than i ever dreamed possible. Jamie and I finally completed our first 100 mile ride! it was a great riding day for us. I think that might have been one of my favorite accomplishments to date! Thankfully, the past few weeks have been great running weather. I have found my love for running again with this approaching fall weather.

Rather than spend this blog talking about the ups and downs of the past few months of training, i want to start by thanking people, personally, whom have supported me along the way (in no particular order :) )-

Jamie Williams- My Ironman faithful training partner and friend. Wow, what a blessing to have met you and the friendship we have formed over the past 6 months. I cannot wait to hug you and cry with you when we are finished and holding our medals!!! I couldnt have done this without you. You are a wonderful friend and person. And my rock through these past few months.

Tony Williams-Thank you for sharing Jamie with me over the past few months. and the countless miles you rode with us. Had it not been for your words of wisdom and coaching, i would still be spinning without getting anywhere. I appreciate your help more than words can ever express.

Jason Lewis-You are ultimately responsible for me being here. Even though I know you dont have facebook and will only get wind of this from someone else telling you...Thank you for believing in me, supporting me, picking me up when i was down, and most of all being my best friend. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. When i found out that you too had broken your wrists, my heart was sad for you, but...I knew you, and knew it wouldnt stop you for a minute. So here is to qualifying for Kona. Go big or go home...broken wrists and all :)

Jamie Mains- I love you sweet friend. You have encouraged me every step along the way, when i thought i couldnt run anymore, you cheered me on. You are the ultimate running partner. and my partner in crime. Thanks for dragging me through many hot sweaty miles early in the am. and late at night. You believe in me even when i havent believed in myself. "that's what friends are for..." :) <3 u bestie

Jill Hayter (and David)- What a joy and blessing it has been training with you all over the past several months. I could go on and on about how much i love you and am glad to be a part of your life. Thank you for pedaling through the past 6 months with me. And ALWAYS being encouragers.  There is not a time I could feel down or unsure when you are around. that is a gift, and I appreciate you sharing it with me. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend and such a big fan. And to answer your question, should you choose to embarq on this journey...I will join u

To my foot Rx Running family (Allison, Steve, Chris, Terry, Sherry, Teresa, Debi,  Hannah, Ben, Tom, Linda, Jason S., Brinson, niki and everyone else) Thank you thank you thank you!!! Every mile i have ran over the past 6 months has been with one of you all or more by my side. Words of gratitude will never be enough. As the next few weeks come to a conclusion, I look forward to starting my next journey with you all...Fall marathon training. here is to long runs on the creeper followed by stops at the port a pottys and trips to wendy's. Hoo Rah!

My cycling friends (Melissa, Varinka, Spencer, Dave, Rachel, Kathy, Alan, Scott, and Gretchen)- as you all know, the bike has been my biggest obstacle to over come. Thank you all for pedaling through it with me. I am a runner, through and through. but...I have grown to love my bicycle equally as much. thanks to you all for sharing your passion and enthusiasm with me.

I am sure there are so many more of you I have forgotten to add on here. Considering it is nearly midnight, please forgive me. I will try and chronicle my thoughts/feelings over the next few days on here. and please please please follow myself, Jamie, Alan, Scott, Gretchen, and Jason at on raceday! let us hear it!