Arriving in Spokane:
My mom, daughter and I flew into Spokane, WA picked up a rental car and drove the 40 minutes to CDA. It was POURING rain, and while I did manage to pack an umbrella I did not pack very many warm clothes or a rain jacket. Needless to say that by the time I finished registering and picking up my bike from Tribike, I was a muddy, soaked rat and I was not happy. I was tired, hungry and very grumpy, but once we got to our rental house my mood and temperature started to rise. The house was decorated in a southwestern theme and situated on a hill so that you could see the lake. It was perfect. Then I ended up getting a surprise visit from my “friend”…why do I always seem to get it at the most inopportune times!?). Aargh!
Friday and Saturday training before CDA
Friday morning, the weather was better and I met up with Lynne Fielder. She is an amazing triathlete and person. We swam for about 20 minutes in Lake Coeur d’Alene, which was a bit chilly and then we drove the bike course. On Saturday we rode our bikes on the run course. It was nice to see the area and get a feel for what to expect on Sunday.
SUNDAY! THE BIG DAY!
Woke up at 4:30am and had my 2 eggs scrambled, mash and coffee and vitamins. All of us (my sister, two nephews, mom, my daughter and I) piled in two cars and headed down to the race start. I was so excited and a bit nervous (as I forgot to put tampons in my race bags!). I met up with Lynne at the swim start and we got in the water for a warmup swim…then at 6am the cannon went off and the pros were in the water. Everyone else went off in a rolling start at 6:30am.
(note to coach Matt Dixon)
“I felt great on the swim. Got clocked on the second loop by a flailing crazy armed swimmer and had to adjust my goggles, but other than that I felt strong.”
It wasn’t too cold. I stayed to the right of the pack going out but then got sucked in to a tight turn around the first buoy. It was crazy. I felt like we were salmon swimming upstream, there was a lot of kicking and splashing and I was swimming over someone and someone was swimming over my legs. My sighting was dead on the first mile and I came out of the water feeling great… As I headed into my 2nd loop I actually felt like I was gliding through the water…I hit the first buoy without all the chaos of the first loop but when I went around the 2nd buoy, I looked up to sight the next buoy and a guy clocked me in the face….my goggles filled with water and I could hear Gerry Rodriguez saying, “no one intentionally wants to hit you, so don’t waste your energy”. I fixed my goggles, got my bearings and continued towards shore. The sun was now coming out through the clouds and when I would breathe I was looking directly into it, then when I sighted I would see the sun glare…it was a little disorienting but I did it…1:24:27 and as I ran out of the water I could see my dear friend Tara Wachter coming out of the water at the same time….we hugged and told each other how proud we were of each other. After 9 months of training we were going to be Ironmen!
(note to coach Matt)
“The uphills were a bitch, but the downhills rocked. Had to stop twice for my lovely friend but other than that felt strong.”
Feeling strong…that was my mantra… Matt told me to take it easy on the bike until I hit mile 80 and then I could crank it up. By the time I hit mile 80 the wind was picking up on Highway 95 and I was ready to be done with sitting on a bike seat! The uphills were long and slow going but I flew on the downhills! My average speed was 17.35mph and my max was 42.81. I finished 112 miles in 6:30:01 with a few pit stops.
(note to coach Matt)
“I started out great on the run. Had to stop at mile 3 to take off my compression sleeve on my left ankle as it was giving me a hot spot. Walked every aid station and walked jogged the hill on the first loop and walked the whole hill on the second loop. At mile 15 I started to feel the pain in my knees and feet… I would jog walk the last 6 miles which felt like the longest 6 miles EVER, but when I turned on to Sherman Road, WOW!! The crowd was amazing, the volunteers were out of this world, never experienced a race finish like that!”
I started off strong on the run as the course had us going through town and on both sides of the street people were cheering and holding signs. A girl was holding a sign that read, “I trained for 6 months to hold this sign!” I couldn’t help but laugh. There was another guy that I saw while I was on the bike course with a sign that said, “Go fast and I take off a piece of clothing”. He was fully clothed in a nice suit and then when I saw him on the run he was in speedos with the same sign. There were people having huge parties on their front lawns and they were handing out orange slices and cookies, they had music blasting and dancing and cheering on the runners. All of this helped pass the time and the pain away…for a while…until I hit mile 15 and I thought…OMG I have 11 miles to go! At mile 17 I asked the EMT guys standing on the side of the road if they had any extra knees or feet that they could spare. They responded, “how did they let people as tall as trees into this race?” We laughed and I loped along. At mile 20, the aid station had chicken stock and it’s true, that stuff just makes you feel better. I had 6.2 miles to go and it really did feel like an eternity but then I was jogging next to a young guy and we started talking and he said he just made the bike cutoff time as he had a flat and some other issues on the bike…and he was only on his first loop (which meant he had over 14 miles to go until he was finished. I started to pick up a little more speed hoping to get these last few miles over with quickly, but as soon as I hit even the slightest uphill my legs went into slow motion and I started walking again. Finally I made it onto Sherman Road and the finish line was clearly visible. I was so happy I was dancing toward the banner. There were people 4 and 5 deep cheering and screaming. I saw my whole family just before I crossed the finish line and I stopped to high five them. I had a smile from ear to ear. My time for the run was 4:48:16 and I crossed over the finish line at 12:59:09 just before the sun went down.
Volunteers wrapped me in an emergency blanket and placed the medal over my head. My family came and took pictures and congratulated me and I felt as if I could do anything…maybe not right at that moment, but anything I set me mind to…I could do it! What a powerful feeling!