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Friday, September 14, 2012

Ironman Race Report

My last post I was having computer trouble so I didn't get to write much about the actual race.   To start off the day I woke up at 4:30am having slept very light all night.  My family from Ohio was kind enough to offer to have my girls sleep in their room.  So at 4:30 I turned on the hot water for my oatmeal and turned on Pandora station of Rhianna.  Luckily Adam was cool with being awake at this time too.  He was planning to wake the kids from Matt's room at 5:30 for the 6am shuttle. 

At one point he told me, "You are really jazzed up right now and it's a long day" I was just happy to have Rhianna's pump up music and the thought of becoming an Ironman by night. 

My sister and I got dropped off at the transition area at 6am by Dad.  I dropped off my last two special needs bags and then went to check on my bike.   I added by bottles, went to body marking, then found Cherie in the pitch dark.  The top of Manona Terrace was already packed with athletes.  I decided we should find a grassy spot by the water entry and hit up the Porto-potty before the lines.  

At about 6:45 I started in the mass of people to enter the start.  Once I was treading water I could not believe how many people were still coming in.  It was as far as your eyes could see and in the water.  The race start seems very wide.  

The cannon went off at 7am, there was about 9 people deep ahead of me and we went.  I have to say practicing polo swimming did help.   No one is the exact pace so it's alot of swimming between people to pass them.  I felt like once I got a stride going there was another set of people to go through.   At one point I got hit in the head, hit by my goggles which needed a quick wipe and best of all a hard swift kick to my left calf.  I just said, "forget will be fine".  I can see how people would want to hold onto a canoe at this point but no way not in a race for me.  

After I crossed the last buoy which felt like forever I got a Charlie Horse cramp in the same spot the person kicked me.  It went away after a 1min & then came back one more time.   At this time you could start to hear the music on the waters edge.   Then I surfaced and  I couldn't believe my time was 1:05.   Holy cow!   All those days of master swim and getting the long swims in paid off baby!

The volunteers are so wonderful in transition.  They pointed out my bag, cheered me on and lead me to the changing room.  All I needed to do was slip on was biking shoes, biking jersey and gloves.  The best part of coming out of transition was seeing my family and friends standing right at Bike Mount.  This got me so choked up and excited to have them all there. 

The bike course was beautiful...27 miles of newly paved roads too.  The best part was seeing my support crew at Oak Sauk and the hill after.   It really helped me get thru the 2nd loop again to see them and knowing it was time to head back into Madison.  I really tried to stay easy on my gears with the marathon in the back of my head.   My left calf was making it's appearance know the whole ride. 

Onto the run I went...right out of the shoot there's an incline, so I walked quick up it noticing I was at a limp at this point.  In my head I said, "No way, you have a whole marathon ahead of you.  Get back to normal"  Making myself jog at this point did help get into stride.   I told myself "Get to where the family is, you know where they are and stay focused."   I'm so happy they had a spot at the middle of the 2nd loop, which helped loads.   My sister and husband asked at points how I was feeling, there really isn't a happy answer to that one.  It was painful, very painful to the legs.   At one point I said to Betsy, "This is a lot of miles" She told me to keep up the good shuffle I had going.   At the start of the 2nd loop I was a little worried but at the same time I knew I just needed to focus on becoming an Ironman at the end of this day.   Again, what really kept me going was just to think about where I would see everyone next.   

In those last 2 miles I was saying to people, "Oh my gosh, we are going to be an Ironman" it was like I was in total shock.  I knew my family was at the finish line waiting so I just picked it up to a sprint.   A coach named Elizabeth poked her head out of the crowd and said, "Diana you have had a great day, you go!" thinking about this it meant the world to me. 

In the finish shoot it was pitch dark with the lights on The Capitol.  You then turn a corner to see a bright spot light on you as you come down.  (I have to thank people that caught that on-line, I hope I brought you entertainment and joy.)   After I finished two wonderful volunteers walked me to the finish picture but I couldn't not stop to start to thank my husband, parents, friends and kiddies.  Every time I hugged them there was tears of joy and me saying, "I can't believe I just did that"  It's like a shocking moment even though you wake up for a year every morning knowing you will do this.  

I have to say it was one of the coolest yet hardest things I've ever done.  I would recommend it to all my triathlete friends.  And when you do it I'll be by your side the whole way making sure you train and get it done! 

I have to also say God got me through this too.  We had a little conversation before the bike loop and during the run.  It was on course of me praying, "If you pull me thru this I'll be a great Sunday school teacher."  So now I have another new job on Sundays.  

PS   The volunteers are so awesome too, they take abuse all day from the great things they hand out at each station.   Ironman does a great job of run aid station and bike stations.    I am sure if I was conversational I would have said "Thank you" A million times over.   I tried to say it as much as possible.


  1. omg, your story brings tears to my eyes. I'm so, so proud of you, Diana. You are an inspiration.


  2. Great story! Congrats on your big achievement!