Life kind of wrapped itself up on September 22nd. In Oklahoma City, in a red mud puddle. AKA ....
REDMAN TRIATHLON OKC
Training for a 1/2 Ironman was a big challenge this year. Lots of challenges to get through. Swim anxiety. Strained/slight torn left inner thing and hamstring, knee issues. Mainly a solo ring leader for the Kissinger 3 Ring Circus.
Discovering Heidi and Jeff, The Wichita Triathlon Team. That's a big fat righteous gift. I'd give up the next five Christmas's if I had to. Good stuff. The friends. Good stuff. Finding people that really get me. Good stuff.
Was reading a magazine. They say training for the long races changes you. In a big way. In so many positive ways, in different aspects of my life. You learn how to embrace all that you are, find a rhythm, find equilibrium and go. And keep going. Not so much just pushing and clawing your way through, but climbing up...because you still can climb, you still have more.
My dog got terminally sick right before the race. She's my bestie, my boxer girl for 8 years. It broke my heart. It was incredibly hard to get in the van to trip to OKC. Only thing that made it tolerable was the friends. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have went. Physically I went into the race really questioning my left leg. I had been to see Jon, my AWESOME A.R.T guy, to help unravel the left leg. Paula saw me twice before the race. It was strung tight. I was questioning the run in a big way. Because...
I had a goal. An hour faster than Kansas 70.3. I know you can't compare the two. Flat at OKC vs. SO WAY NOT FLAT. But... I wanted to do a 1/2 Ironman under 7 hours. My left leg was telling me, "well, you're not buying time on the run girlfriend!". So...
I wrote HONEY on the left forearm. BADGER on the right forearm.
I was going to do this race on my own terms despite everything. If you haven't ever employed the spirit of the honey badger and really don't know what that means...check out this video. Honey Badger
The tattoo party was awesome the night before the race. My age was 83. Coach J having put that tattoo on upside down.
To ensure nice steady breathing, I took a pre-race jog which was very nice and calming. The swim was wetsuit legal. So in the suit I went. Also part of my calm breathing routine was consuming some goo that had caffeine in it. Got some glide on, mostly around the neck and to race start I went with Jeff and Scott. I felt pretty calm. It was a real change of pace to get into the really MUDDY water. Most were doing warm up stuff in the water. ME...I was peeing. Though I got to asking myself...my wetsuit is so tight, why in the world did I walk out here to pee. You figure it out. So...ready to swim, got myself situated where I wanted to be. Mostly in the back of the pack. My routine is to start slow, get my breathing under control and then try and pick up the pace. Things were going really well. I felt in command of the swim when the next heat caught up to me. No biggie until someone hit the back of my head fairly hard and made my calves cramp up instantly.
That was hard to deal with. I had to stop, stretch out my leg, praying to the Saint of swimming that my calves wouldn't stay cramped. It went away. I started swimming again. It happened again, the bang on the head/calf thing. So after that I started to elbow/kick the swimmer that would run into me over and over. (Honey badger coming alive). I did decide to swim wide. And amazingly enough, I was swimming straight. So I finished up the swim totally crazy happy and proud of myself.
I zipped up to transition. Giggled a bit when I saw Jen's bike still there. :) That's terrible I know. Made me feel really good, I had worked so hard and it paid off. Plus the fact that she had been kicking my tail in all the practices. Then I worried just a sec for her but knew she'd be out here soon. Got on my bike. And away I went. And it was AWESOME. My new Cervelo. Treated me right. I had my banana and food and all was good. They had really hyped up that the road was rough. Yeah, you had to pay attention. When water bottles and even entire cages were on the road you knew it wasn't smooth but I didn't find the bike too bad. I knew that the running wasn't going to be my greatest event, so I worked hard on the bike. It was cool to see our team mates out there racing. I thought that by Redman I would figure out how to manage the darn banana on the bike. This time I had it loosely velcro-ed to the top of my aero bars. Some time during the race I looked down and saw stuff dripping down on my bike. YUCK. My banana was oozing. So, I go to eat it (or suck it out of the peel if I need to) hit a damn dump and just about take out the biker behind me with a banana.
HAHAHAHA. I wonder if that would have been a penalty or disqualify. Anyway...my nutrition was pretty good. Beans. Some perpetuem. Some cliff bars. Some chomps. And a bit of banana. I was missing ONE thing though. A big thing.
55 miles on the bike isn't the shortest ride. Whenever I started to get a little whiny, I'd look down at my arms. "Honey Badge takes what it wants." And I wanted it real bad. I was out there to prove to myself that I could stick. To whatever I wanted to stick to. No matter what. The ride for me was a good one. Nice average. Coming to the end of the ride... seeing Coach Jeff and the others out there cheering for me. It was a forkin' fabulous.
Transitioning to the run. I do this thing that WORKS WONDERS. I have extra big water containers that I literally wash out my hair and face. Works like a charm to cool down and reset. Off I go. By this time... it's hot. Just about 92 degrees if memory serves me. It was hot. Not shaded. And hot. And two loops of hot not shaded.
I wasn't doing too bad until about mile 2 and started to feel really bad. I'd drink more. And feel even worse. I'd try to eat and I'd feel even worse. OH NO. I was thinking to myself. 13 miles of this will kill me. I wasn't until I got to an aide station when a (very) concerned volunteer said..."you need to hydrate". And I'm thinking to myself as I stumble to a walking pace, "dude I am". Then it dawned on me that I hadn't taken ANY salt pills on the bike. AT ALL. Seriously, what a stupid (and harmful) mistake. More water was just making things worse. So I pop 4 pills right there. Well, actually it was one clump of mostly soggy pills from my fuel belt which thank goodness I didn't choke on. After that...about 1/2 mile down the ride. All was right as rain. I found my rhythm and pace and the miles started to dwindle at a nice pace. I continued with the 4 salt pills at each aide station for awhile and I felt good. The songs that got stuck in my head. Black and Yellow. Wild Ones. Over and over and over for 13 miles. I tried repeatedly to get to Emimen 'Till I Collapse but it was hot and my brain cells were dying off fast.
At the end, the last two miles finishing the race was emotionally real hard. I was running the race for my girl. Doing my best to honor her spirit. At the end thoughts of my dog would come into my mind. I just wanted to stop and cry. I would literally STUFF that (@)#$& back down and keep going. Crossing the finish line under 7 hours was...AWESOME!!! Let me tell you, to work so hard, for 6 months, and intensely for 7 hours. There's no feeling like it except child birth. (In my experience anyway). Side note: Heidi clued me in to...hey, smart girl, you started the race after everyone else. So my time was better than what I though. HAHAHA. Even better.
I was really grateful that Heidi was there at the end. She's a fabulous coach that gives her whole heart. I asked the lady at the end for an extra medal. She was hoe-humming around and honey badger was starting to get a bit irritated. With extra medal in hand, Heidi towing me to a quiet spot, I cried and let it all go. All the things I'd been working on, working through gone at that moment. Ready for more AWESOME with my new space.
Lets not forget to mention that my left hip was KILLING me. OMG can you say tight IT. Poor Jennifer had to lead me around like a lame horse. Love her.
The results: 6:39. Swim-55:05, Bike-3:05, Run-2:28. Not too bad for first season out. Finished thinking... 2014, lets get it under 6.
Check out this team. Each and everyone of them are FREAKIN' FABULOUS.
Liquid AWESOME is what runs in our veins.
...and of course the jump picture!
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