My alarm went off at 4am. I went to bed just before 10pm and slept the entire time. I am not sure if I woke up to use the bathroom. I brought my oatmeal and bought some milk the day before. I had 2-3 packets of sugar with my oatmeal. I also brewed some coffee. I don't remember having the entire pot, but a cup or two works. Bathroom breaks. You mean to tell me I have to use the bathroom again. I used the bathroom 4+ times before every race. I must get some kind of pre-race jitters? It gets annoying sometimes, but that's life.
Nicole and I left the hotel about 5:15am. I setup my bike and transition bags the day before so I didn't have much to setup. I pumped up my tires to 115psi, took off the plastic bags and made sure everything was ready.
I put on my wetsuit and was almost ready...wait a minute. I forgot to put on my bodyglide so I unpeeled the wetsuit halfway and applied the bodyglide to the necessary areas. I don't really need the bodyglide, but I put it on just in case.
Once I got the wetsuit on, it was time to line up for the swim. That came really fast and we started to head to the lake. I stayed out of the water before the swim. I wiped some water around my goggles to make sure they wouldn't fog up. Great plan!
Swim: 1:17:02 (2.4 miles)
The gun went off and so did the swimmers. YIKES. The swim was the craziest swim I ever imagined. It was like everyone trying to swim all at the same time in the same area. On the bright side of things, it forced me to hold back and pace myself. One of the turn-around buoys was packed with people. I heard people scream "lets go" and "come on now". We were at a doggy paddle because it was congested.
I didn't drink too much lake water. There were times I got a big gulp. I didn't get too beat up during the swim. I did get bonked and bonked others, but for the most part I was good.
Turn-Around point came and I was feeling good. I clocked my time at 37:35 for the first half. Not too bad!! Time to dig in deep and finish the swim. I really enjoyed the swim. The temperature on race day was 59.5 degrees. That made me happy to see that the lake was warming up.
T1: Swim-to-Bike 12:10
The time started once I got out of the water. I was running towards transition. I couldn't believe how many were walking. Helmet, socks...., shoes...., sunglasses, bib #, gloves...., sunscreen. All went well. The shoes and socks took longer than I anticipated. The change tent was packed with people. That was crazy!!!
I had to stop and use the restroom. I spent too long in the port-a-potty. Once out I ran to the bike. Uh oh.......Back to the port-a-potty I went. No wonder why my transition took so long.
Bike: 5:57:37 (112 miles)
What a great ride. I think I went out too fast. It was hard to pace myself because I felt great and I had tons of people to pass. I was talking to other riders as the day went. It was neat to hear from others and enjoy the experience.
Some of the views were breathtaking. Passing by the lake was a big highlight. Some parts were tough, but because I live in Colorado, the ride wasn't too hilly. I would pass many on the uphills and some would pass me back on the downhills.
I had to stop 3 times during the ride. I had to pee each time, but made it quick. A volunteer would hold my bike, while I went to the port-a-potty.
My nutrition was great. I had a GU gel every 30 minutes and drank 16oz of GU20 or gatorade every hour. I think I kept it pretty close to my plan. I tried eating a cliff bar, but I couldn't get it down. I think the cliff bar was giving me cramps for the run in prior long rides.
T2: Bike-to-Run 3:29
The volunteers took my bike and I went to change to my run gear. Shoes, Hat, water/nutrition pack and I was off. This was quick and easy. I did use the stall briefly just to be safe.
Run: 4:08:38 (26.2 miles)
The run is my strong point. Of course, it slows down a little during triathlons. My goal was to run 8:30 min per mile. I ran for one mile an walked for 30 seconds. This was great for the first half, then I walked a little more.
The first half marathon was great. I was feeling pretty good. No cramps, no stomach issues. I ate a gel every 30 min and had 3-4 water bottles worth of GU20 and gatorade. The crowd support was the best. There were so many people cheering us on. Some were doing the wave, some asked for kisses. What an amazing day.
The second half marathon went great too. I noticed that I did slow down, but that was expected. I stopped a took off my sock. I had some dirt/sand in my sock that needed out. That was much better. I saw Nicole, Duane and others cheering me on. Wonderful!!
The finish is one of the best parts of an Ironman. There were so many people cheering and the emotions were running wild. I would get chills watching others finish, but for me to finish was amazing. I was running as fast as I could towards the finish. I wanted a good photo finish, so I let one or two run past me. A volunteer at the end took care of me. He asked if I was alright and if I needed anything. I met Nicole and Duane at the finish. How special this day was!!
Total: 11:38:56 (140.6 miles)
After talking with Nicole and Duane for a little bit, I needed to sit down and stretch. I eventually got my bike and gear. I was walking, but it was tough. I was told later that there was free pizza and massages. I could have used both. Oh well.
I settled on some gatorade and my cliff bar for dinner. Nicole made a hot bath for me at the hotel and I plopped on the bed. I wanted to go back and cheer others on, but my legs were shot for the day. I slept pretty good that night and it took my legs a few days to recover.
Nicole and I went to another mall the next day. We also went to a TriBlogger's party at Momo's house. That was really fun. I drank some beer, but regret part of it because it made my immune system weak and I got a cold.
These memories will last me a lifetime and I am so thrilled. I am now an IRONMAN!!
What's next? I have another half-ironman race this year. I am thinking about trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but maybe next year. I was also thinking about a tattoo, but we'll see.
I want to thank Nicole for all the support. This year as been amazing and worth it! I also wanted to thank my friends, family, supporters of the Challenged Athletes Foundation and others who have followed my progress.