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!!