That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done! My 6th Ironman was the hardest and the slowest, but I raised the most money ever for Team Orphans-$20,100- so it was worth it!!!! And I got the coolest finisher t shirt and medal. : )
The swim was half great and half brutal. Half the time I had a nice wide open space to enjoy swimming. The other half, I got kicked, hit in the head a couple times, took in a couple gulps of lake water, and for the first time ever- got my goggles knocked off my face. Thankfully, I got them back and put them back on to finish. I felt a little beat up after the swim, but I had my second fastest time ever. I’m not sure I want to do another race with a mass start. I like the “one at a time” swim starts much better!
The bike was combination of beautiful scenery, huge hills, and really bumpy roads. I had some of the best downhills ever- I got up to 47 mph once which was wonderful but terrifying! The roads weren’t in good shape at all, so over 112 miles I just got bumped and beat to death. I’m very thankful that I wasn’t one of the MANY people who were stopped with a flat tire. And I heard later that there were several bike crashes. Thank you to everyone who was praying for my safety! My real adventures started about mile 20. My stomach was starting to cramp and I had a hard time eating my protein cookies because of the pain. On the second or third nice downhill, a wasp flew down my shirt and stung my chest. It swelled up to golf ball size within a few minutes!! Oh the pain! I had been going pretty fast up to that point, but then I had to stop at every aid station the rest of the bike to replace the huge ice pack that I had down my shirt. So my bike average was really slow. Oh well. The swelling went down and the pain subsided over the next four or five hours.
I was very thankful to get off the bumpy bike, and start the run, but my body felt like I had been beat up all day! The bottoms of my feet were really sore from the bumpy roads. My first couple miles on the run were pretty fast and I was feeling good. But by mile 4 or 5 I starting getting short dizzy spells. I knew I had missed 3 protein cookies on the bike (900 calories) because of the stomach cramps, and I didn’t have enough calories in my body to keep running all night. I can’t eat solid food while I run, only Gu gels. I tried that for the first 10 miles, but it wasn’t enough calories. I was still getting dizzy and running out of Gu. So I stopped about mile 11 and ate- chocolate chip cookies, pretzels, grapes,oranges, and Coke to drink- knowing that I’d have to walk about 40 minutes until it was digested. At this point in the race, I decided to just try to finish before the midnight cutoff and find some nice walkers to talk to. My wasp sting was starting to burn again, but my ankle wasn’t hurting very much all day- big answer to prayer!!! I had already raised over $20,000- another big answer to prayer!!! And Storm was with Tom and my parents, so every time I saw them, I stopped for a nice 5 minutes of dog therapy and snuggles. There’s nothing like my big, fluffy dog to cheer me up.
So, I met some nice people along the run which was mostly a walk for me. : ) I had some great conversations. I enjoyed puppy snuggles. I finished a little after 10 pm and got my awesome cow shirt. I’m a little less sore today because I walked a lot of the marathon. I don’t have to travel home today, so I can sleep. I raised a record amount of money for Team Orphans. All in all, it was a hard day, but good day. I’m thankful that this is my ministry and I don’t have to be fast. Some days are just plain HARD! I normally don’t struggle with wanting to quit, but this was my first time I REALLY wanted to quit, but didn’t. I’m still as strong-willed as ever. Thank you everyone who donated, prayed, and encouraged me across the finish line. Next year- Ironman Chattanooga the end of September……..