Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My day in the sun Florida IM

left Onalaska WI at 1:30 am drove to Madison WI. This is where I was to catch my first flight to Texas. My plane ride was perfect. When I got to Texas I was walking around checking things out and a man said to me, “Are you going to do Ironman Florida?” I said, “Yes, how did you know?” He looked at my shirt and noticed that I had on an Ironman Kentucky shirt. I was introduced to his friend, Wally, and we sat and talked before we were to get on to our next flight to Florida. This would be Ken and Wally’s first Ironman and they were going to do awesome. They had a plan and they were going to race their plan. The plane ride was so beautiful! It was so cool flying to an event I love to do. Seeing the sights and the beauty of the land that God made for us! OK enough of that! However, we landed in Florida and I got an awesome greeting from Dorothy, Ron’s wife “Welcome to Florida!” with a box of Alligator gummy bears and “wowza, they were great”! It was an hour drive to Panama City. I was so tired I had to sleep instead of see the sites. However, that lasted 15 min. My phone kept going off it was my family did you make it, are you ok, Yada, Yada, Yada." In a nice Polite way" We got to the Ironman and we needed to register or check in. It wasn't’t too crazy but then again I wasn't’t driving."Thank God" We finally found a parking spot and walked to registration. I was so excited this was going to be my fourth Ironman: WHOOHOO!! and in the ocean with the Sharks, Jellyfish and whatever else is out there… After we were registered, we walked around. I saw so many people I knew, from past Ironmans this is going to be great!We went to the Condo and that was so cool! It was unbelievable! You looked out the back door and there was the ocean…so very, very cool! I have never seen anything like that with exception of TV.
We didn't have to much to do that first day so Taylor, Ron and I decided to go for a very, very, very VERY long drive. We were going to check out the bike course. Now, the key word there is (WERE). We got lost. "Great Job Ron and Taylor "Just Kidding :)" I kept falling asleep in the back seat. I tried to stay awake; however the beginning of the bike course was so flat it was boring. Ok and I didn't’t get a lot of sleep because again I was up at 1:00 am. But then we did stop at a gas station and we had to ask directions. We were 15 miles off course! Heheheeee! A man driver yeah, yeah! However, it was fun. We never did finish the bike course, but we did find the condo. Thank gosh because I was tired.

Thursday November 1st -Practice swim starting at 7:00am. Ron, Dorothy and I met with Taylor and Cami and went to the Gatorade swim. We swam 1.2 miles. That went ok. Every time I saw a school of fish, I freaked and waited for someone to be by me. I didn't want to see a bigger fish if you know what I mean. Then I was so lucky to have taken in some of the salt water, and with all of those awesome little things floating in the it, "you know they looks like fish food flakes". That was yucky; yucky. I tried hard to blow the water as much as I could. I had a tummy ache the rest of the day! Then we went to the expo and just hung out the rest of the day. So very fun. - Got back to our condos and decided to go for a bike ride. It was so windy I kept drafting off Taylor and Ron but then there was a fast rider that went by us.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzmmmmmmmm I had to see if I could stay up with him so off I went! It was fun drafting off him yeah I know you shouldn't do that but to bad that's how it goes. I stayed with him until we were finished with the bike it was fun. However it was really, really flat yucky- I kept thinking that this race is going to be long very, very long. As some of you know, I love the hills. That night we went to the athlete banquet. That was amazing! It was so full of athletes, families and the big dogs of Ironman. FUN, FUN, FUN!
Friday November 2nd- Up and at ‘em again! We met at Taylor and Cami’s room. We had some awesome coffee and we were off to the swim. Went down to the water and started to swim. It went really, really good. I didn't’t have any trouble with the salt water today! Then we went back to the condos and got our bikes ready for check in, our bags and tried to stay off our feet as much as we could. Taylor and Cami came over for some pasta and that was that for the day! Ok…we did do some shopping!
Saturday November 3rd-Happy Anniversary to me! : )
This was my second year anniversary Cancer Free on this day! Whoooohooo!! I was so very excited I was up at 3:30 called my mom for good luck like I always do before a race and went to Ron and Dorothy’s room. Dorothy made pancakes for us, then off to the race site. We found a parking spot right away. Well, it was close to a fire hydrant so not too many people wanted to park next to it. We dropped off our bags, checked our bikes, stretched, and then put on that fun wet suit! We got in line for the swim start. “Here we go!” Down the beach! As we headed down, the song Thunder came on. This was the song that I heard before I dove into the Great OHIO River for Ironman Kentucky. As Ron and I were headed down the beach to the start of course right in the front… I was thinking we wouldn't’t see Taylor but then we looked and there he was right next to us. IT WAS AWESOME! We said a prayer together and then it was go time. The cannon went off. We ran into the water… it was disaster! Everyone was on you, you were on them, you were trying to get a breath, but you couldn't’t stop because you would be run over or hit yada yada yada. My first loop done! Thank God! As I passed the water station, I grabbed water, rinsed my mouth out, grabbed another and drank. Then, off to my second loop and wowza! I saw a huge, ok medium size, purple snot thing just floating there like nothing was going on. I swam so fast to get away from the jelly fish, but then I drank so much water I couldn't’t wait to get out. Finally done with the swim, off to transition, sat on the ground the volunteer took off my wet suit so fast it was in my hands almost instantly and I was off running! As I was running up the walkway my stomach was so full of water it was amazing: I could feel it sloshing! I’m going to be fine, I thought. I just needed to get on that bike and go. That’s my favorite thing.I kept telling myself… I knew I had to get something other then water in my tummy so I took a GU and oh man that didn’t sit well. Soon after I saw the 20 mile marker, I was off my bike puking…and I mean puking as much as I could get out. Back on the bike. Man oh man, I was not feeling well at all and I only had 92 miles to go to finish the bike and only 26.2 for the run. When I got to mile 49 I saw the special needs bag. I thought to myself, “That was quick!” But, in a way that stinks because were not even half way done with the bike! At the special needs bag they only had one potty! It was crazy! Thank gosh I hand put tp in my special needs bag, so me and some others were off to the woods (I know, like you needed to know that!). However when I got up my tummy wasn’t right I was puking again and this time very, very dizzy. I tried to jog to my bike and “wowza” that only lasted 4 steps. I got to my bike and the volunteer asked if I was ok and I smiled and said yes when I just wanted to say, “H*ll no!” but you all know me…I am a positive person and I had to keep that image. (and Sweet and Innocent to) Plus if you have one negative thought, you would be done. Off I went, trying to drink, and eat my Cliff Bar as much as I could. Mile 73 came. We went through the check point. Coming back from there, I saw Ron and he was looking good. I knew he was going to catch me for sure because I felt YUCKY and I hated it! But just when I thought I had been through it all, I got a bloody nose! So I’m trying to farmer blow (no one was behind me I must add). I put my head back and guess what?! It went into my tummy and off the bike I was again puking it up.. man oh man that sucked… I didn’t see Ron because I know he would have stopped for me. Back on my bike again and I am feeling like CRAP and that is an understatement! From that point on, I was singing that new Ozzy song, “Never going to stop over and over in my head.” Finally come in to the dismount area where yeah I was going a little fast but I wanted to get off that bike!!! I almost had a crash, but I think this was because I had sucky headache, tummy ache and I couldn’t look to far ahead because I would get dizzy. So, off the bike and on to the run. I was telling myself, “Almost there…” I kept telling myself that over and over. I came running out and I knew I couldn’t run because I had a sucky headache…the pounding was killing me. So, at each aid station I was trying to drink and eat just a little because I knew I was not doing so hot! At approximately mile 4 I was puking again. Not as bad as the bike, but yeah, I wasn’t able to keep anything in. Just then I started power walking. This girl looked at me and asked me if I wanted some company???? “What??” I was thinking to myself, “This is an Ironman! This is a long day to be by yourself and see what you can do!” So, I said, “Sunshine, this is how fast I have to go. I’m not doing that well at all,” and she said back to me, “My knees hurt and my IT bands do, too.” So we walked and I mean powered walked. We hit all the aid stations and all of the potty’s we could but then again at mile 16 or so I was yucky again. She waited for me. I COUILDN’T BELIEVE IT! Just then at about mile 23 I wasn’t feeling as bad. I started to pick up my walk. Jen (the girl I was walking with) said to me, “Go girl"! You can beat your PR time. You can run it in!” She then said her knees were hurting and her IT bands were on fire and she wasn’t sure if she could keep up that pace. I slowed it down looked at her and said, “Sunshine, we are in this together. We’re going to finish this darn thing together!” As most of you saw, we crossed the finish line together holding our hands up in the air and both thanking God it was done (in our heads of course)! "NOW THAT WAS A DAY"!

I have no intentions at this time of doing any Ironman with Salt water again! And in no way have a Margarita to drink!

However, it was an experience I will always remember.

Have a wonderful day everyone!