Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bittersweet and Sweet: Pigman 1/2 Iron Recap

Still reeling from having to euthanize Gorby on Monday night. Sad, crabby and eating every thing in sight. (I'm an emotional eater, in case you haven't figured that out...)

I did receive a curious call from the U last night. The doctor how had performed the initial necropsy yesterday called to ask if Gorby had been euthanized or if he had died on his own. She said the report didn't reflect what had happened.

I told her that we had to euthanize him and then asked her how extensive the tumors were in his midsection. She said they were multiple tumors all over his midsection and that the rate at which they reoccurred was "astonishing". She said that I made the right decision for him, which helps, but doesn't make the decision or the loss any less painful.


Sweet: Pigman 1/2 Iron Recap:

For those of you who like the "short version" .

Did I have fun? Yes

Was it hard? Parts of it

Will I do a 1/2 iron distance event again? You bet!
The stats:

Swim 1.2 miles: 49:18

T1: 5:02

Bike 56 miles: 3:45:51

T2: 4:28

Run 13.1 miles: 2:55:40

Total: 7:40:17

Long, drawn out version with PHOTOS!
I drove down to Cedar Rapids my good friends: Marcia and Marty L. Marcia has been training partner of mine and Nat's for many years and a veteran of many triathlons and marathons.

In fact, many of my running friends say ""MMMDI (Marcia Made Me Do It) because she gets us involved and excited about participating in lots of crazy events and activities. Marty is newer to this whole marathon thing, but has two under his belt: Marine Corp and Grandma's.

We met Natalie at the 'official' hotel, where many other triathletes were getting settled in to their rooms, getting their bikes check by Gear West, picking up their race packets and milling about.

The first thing Nat said to me was "We have the cheapest bikes here".

This is pretty much what all the other bikes looked like:

This is what our bikes looked like:
Actually, Nat has a very nice bike, complete with Aerobars. I have a great hybrid from Marin (the Fairfax). It is light weight, comfortable and gets me where I need to go. I'm just much slower getting there...

None the less, we felt woefully under equipped. And the race wasn't until the next day...

We wanted to check out the actual race area and get in to the lake for a test swim. This was a recommendation from our coach Greg. He also told us to check out the bike route, which turned out to be a very smart idea.

The start of the race is about 13 miles outside of Cedar Rapids -- Palo, Iowa. We got to the park and found a few other athletes checking out the lake and transition area.

Race officials were marking the swim route and the buoys look to be a L O N G way out, covering a L O T of the lake. More panic.

We got in the water and did a couple of quick laps, which helped relieve my anxiety quite a bit.

Once I got in to the rhythm of the swim, I thought: "Okay, I've spent a lot of time training this summer; I've put in the time and the effort. I just have to remember to put one foot in front of the other; take one stroke at a time and I'll be fine".

Driving the bike course was also helpful, because the map of the course was NOT very helpful. We got lost a couple of times, but made mental notes of the right turns; the location of hills and "rumbles" on the road.

Both Nat and I got very quiet during our course drive.

"Damn. Fifty-six miles IS a long way...."

We made our way back to the hotel, picked up Marcia (who had been volunteering at the check-in desk) and Marty and went to Olive Garden for dinner.

Marcia had prepared goodie bags for us filled with lots of fun treats, including Goldfish, sunblock, and funny glasses:

After dinner, it was time for bed.

The alarm went off early -- 4:15 am.

Nat and I got every all our stuff ready and caught a little bit of the Olympics. I think NBC was covering the popular sport of Four Square at 4:00 am....Here is a shot of Nat eating the first of many energy bars for the day watching the rousing game between Albania and Turks/Caicos...

Finally, we were ready to go, and I took this self portrait. Mostly "just in case" so that if I didn't survive, Hubby would have a photo of me:

We got to the event, set up our transition area and freaked out.

Marcia volunteered to do body marking:
And then it was time to start.

Nat and I signed up as Athena's, so we were in the 2nd wave. The Elites went in to the water at 7:30 am; we went in at 7:31 am.

The water was cool enough that we could wear wetsuits. That extra buoyancy really adds confidence! I felt really great in the water and did the ENTIRE swim without taking a break. That is a triathlon first for me. I was very surprised when I looked at my watch and it indicated that I took 49 minutes to cover 1.2 miles. I was very pleased.

Transition 1 took a couple minutes longer than usual. The day was going to be very hot and sunny and I needed to make sure that I had some sunscreen protection.

Finally got out on the bike course and had to walk through a couple of early mental challenges. "Man, it is going to be a really long day out here."

"Geeze, I don't really want to do all these HILLS".

"I should quit!"

But, I didn't! I just kept pedalling. Up and down; Up and Down; UP and down: UP and down

Marcia and Marty were driving the course to find us at various spots to provide cheers, water, ice and comic relief. At one point, they both were wearing the glasses/nose combo, which was hysterical. It was great to see them out there.

As tough as the hills were, I really had good energy along the course and at the end. I ate fig newtons (from Target -- deelicous, by the by), some Clif Shots, and Gatorade Endurance Formula with some Carbo Pro mixed in.

I was very surprised and very pleased that I didn't bonk at all nutritiously out there on the course.

The bike portion took me 3:45:51. I was much slower than I thought I'd be, but I contribute that to the hills and the Barbie bike...

Run: Okay, so it is now 11:50 am on a cloudless, hot August day in Iowa, where there is lots of corn, hogs and soybeans, but not many Maples or Oaks...

No shade on the run course.

No kidding.

I knew that I'd finish the race. There was no doubt. I decided that I was going to really just "have a day" out there and not kill myself for time. I was so happy with my swim and so happy that I wasn't about to keel over from hunger that what ever time that 1/2 marathon was going to take was fine with me.

So I "ran". Meaning I ran some but walked a lot. In my defense, there were a ton of people walking the course. I think the sun wore out a lot of us.

The course was very well organized with a water stop at every mile. Each was stocked with adequate water, Powerade, pretzels, animal crackers, oranges, bananas and ICE.

Wonderful, fantastic, refreshing ice. Ahhhhh....

I was amazed at how fast the miles clicked by, even though I was really taking my time.

I finally saw Natalie again right after mile 4 for me; about mile 8 for her. She looked great. She was taking her sweet time out on the run course as well. We chatted for a moment and then moved on.

Marcia and Marty were again out on the course. By now, they were the "new best friends" of many of the athletes on the course, since so many of us saw them at so many places. There aren't many spectators out along the course so I think a lot of participants were very happy to see Marcia and Marty multiple times during the event.

The last three miles of the run are uphill as you go back in to the park. That was the only real tough, tough spot out on the course. I found Marcia one more time, with about a mile to go. She hung with me until I turned that final corner and then I took off for the finish.

Crossed the line and felt unbelievably happy, proud and accomplished.

I found Natalie, who was also just beaming. (A grimy, sweaty beam, but beaming nonetheless).

We all hung around the finish area for a while and then got ready to go back to the hotel.

Cathy Yndestad, a triathlete from Apple Valley, came in first for women at the event. She is an amazing athlete.

The win at Pigman was her 11th win out of 12 starts THIS YEAR.

She was leaving as we were leaving and I went over to introduce myself and to tell her congrats. She was very gracious to all of us and heartily congratulated Nat and I on our accomplishment.

The nicest thing she said to us was that it was a tough day and a tough course. That made Nat and I feel like we were champions, even if we did ride Barbie Bikes.

Marcia and Marty took lots of photos too. When I get copies, I'll post some, and promise to not write as much...


Marcia L said...

You two were sooooo inspirational on the half ironman. Congrats a hundred times over. Way to swim, bike & run. You're my hero!

I'm sooo sorry about Gorby. Hugs and kisses to you and Warren!

Steve Stenzel said...

So sad to hear about Gorby.

Congrats on the race!!! And I love all the photos!! (especially the 2 bike photos! HA!!!)


WADDLER26.2 said...

Way to go ----Woohoo! Great job and glad you enjoyed it.

Don said...

That is SO amazing. I could never do that.

So sorry about Gorby. We miss our Butthead too.

Dori said...

You and Nat are champions! What a great race report, Amy. You are amazing. I got a chuckle out of reading about Marcia and Marty becoming everyone's new BFF. Knowing how enthusiastic Marcia is, you can't help but notice her. You're my inspiration!

Michelle said...

Great race report! You rock!!!

I'm so sorry I was MIA when Gorby had to be euthanized. I'm so sorry the little furball is gone :(