Saturday, October 17, 2015


Woweeee! #6 is done! What a ride it has been this year training for this one. From the major bike crash early in the year and being busted up the first four months, to working AND being full on mommy say this training for this one has been difficult would be an understatement. It's been great though. I have enjoyed the training. For the most part. It started to get stagnate at the end though. This would be my 5th time doing IMLOU and I am pretty sure they should give out a medal just for those who do cosectutive back to back to back Lou's ;)

So, my training ended up being a bit different this year. Oh, how I wish had the lux of free time to train nowadays. It's just not so. Rich being in the position he's in now requires so much work and time away that it leaves this mommy with any time that's left over to get in my sessions. It has been a struggle almost each and every day to get in my training. Starting this summer, most of my training began after a long day with a toddler and trying to work as well. Sometimes that mean starting at 6pm or after---once I was already exhausted. It certainly made things tougher this year. No excuses though, I got it done but it sure did wear me out! When the taper came, I couldn't have been more happy! For all the mommies who do Ironman who also have tiny little ones at know what I'm talking about. I think we earn a double ironman award ha!

Moving on....

We traveled down on Thur with a stop off in London Kentucky. Oh what fun road trips are with kids!
After a good (much needed) sleep we hit the road for the remainder of the trip on Friday. We made it Lou early Friday afternoon and the first thing I noticed were the temps. It was nice! Unlike years past where it was so hot you could barely catch your breath. The race date change to October was a good one! After getting all checked in, I met up with my training pal Erik and George and we got in a nice short ride, then I headed out for a quick run. I was feeling pretty good and getting excited.

Good friends and teammates Erik & George

Dinner with this crew on Friday night was fun. We hit Bluegrass Brewing Company and that was a really fun evening. Of course being with these folks is always a fun time!!
Saturday morning was really fun too. Abby raced her first IronKids event on the Great Lawn and it was so a blast! She was very excited and I was so proud of her. She has just turned 3 but is so brave. She ran the whole thing by herself and loved it! She hasn't taken her medal off yet. I am pretty certain that she will be an ironman athlete someday. It's in her blood. Hopefully she has her father's speedy genes and not mine ;)
The rest of Saturday afternoon was spent packing and repacking all of my gear bags. I have always known what to wear on race day but with this weather, I was finding it more tricky because of the cold morning temps and then the warmer afternoon temps. I get really cold so was trying to decide exactly what to take and wear on the first half of the bike. Finally I got it all together and headed off to rack my bike.
I was pretty tired on Saturday evening so we opted to dine in the hotel room. I felt exhausted just chasing Abby around all day!! I finally got to sleep around 11:15 and slept pretty good. 5 am alarm... not as early as in years past, but wasn't worried about where was in the line for the swim, so happy to take my time. Wish I had done that a bit differently, now though.

Layered up to stay warm and then headed off for transition. I got things ready and then Rich drove me to the swim start. I think I got there around 6:20 ish and the line, well it was longer than any other Lou that I have ever done and guess who was pretty much in the back of the line?? Yep...yours truly.

Saw a friend,Kathleen, in the swim line, so that was nice. Other than that, just a lot of waiting and waiting. The gun went off and we didn't really move and once we did start moving, it was a slow go. I think I finally entered the water around 8:10. This is when I knew I should have gotten there earlier. I couldn't make my way around slower swimmers until the tip of Towhead Island. It was very congested and this is why I loathe this swim start. I prefer a mass start to this kind of start any day. This is the only thing about Lou that I don't like and it really should be seeded moving forward.
The water was gross ( it always is in the Ohio.) It was really gross and I swallowed 5x during the 2.4 mile swim. YUCK! Once we tipped the island I was able to swim normally and was really happy to exit that water. 1:12 swim would be slow for me, but I'll take it given the congestion plus I despise swimming in a wetsuit! Agh!

Transition- I'm often teased about my Ironman transitions.  They are just a tad slow!! Rich says I must blow drying and styling my hair in there (Kayte you can appreciate that haha)

I promise I do NOT do this in T1, but it would be nice ;)
 I can assure you, that is not the case. When I came out of the swim and got my bags, I ran to the tent. Only the tent was full and there were women changing outside of the tent because it was so crowded inside the tent. Again, this is different than previous Lou's and probably due to the higher number of participants. Anyway, I wiggled my way in and finally started unpacking my bag. I was cold so wasn't sure exactly what to wear on the bike and that took the most of my time in T1. Finally opted for a bike jersey over a dry tri top and arm warmers. Off I went. Something else was different for this one. Normally we hopped on our bikes just outside of the transition, this year we had to run all the way to the road. Had I known that, I would have left my shoes on my bike. We all know how hard it is running in bike shoes!!!

So, onto the bike...I felt good. I was having a pretty good time out there and keeping it conservative. The road was really congested and I was passing people the best I could. So many people were blocking up the road, making it hard to sometimes make the pass. Anyway, it would be very tight like this for the first bit of the bike. The out and back was a nightmare and there was one really bad crash. Again, all of this making me wish I had gotten to the swim start line much earlier!! The first half of the bike was good apart from the crowd and the blocking.

The second half the winds picked up causing a head wind. It has never been windy in this race, so this was another first. I started working harder trying to keep up speed. Unfortunately, I had to stop and wee twice and that brought down my speed. Sucks, but I simply refuse to do that on my bike. It's gross ...ew. Something different for this race too--they changed special needs pick up point. In years past you could roll through and grab your bag and keep rolling. This year, it was in a parking lot. You had to pull in and stop. I pulled in to get my bag and they couldn't find it. GREAT! I had my second half food in there and needed it. Luckily, they finally found my bag and I was off again. 3 stops on the bike...I knew Coach would be shaking his head ;)

Sometime on the second loop I started getting a splitting headache and then around mile 85, something strange happened. I looked down and my right arm was 3x bigger than normal. It was severely swollen from my elbow down. My hand and wrist were huge. Looked like the Michelin Man!! THAT freaked me out. I have never had that happen in a race and I have no idea why it happened. Would love to know. Assuming a salt issue but I didn't take any salt for this race, only relied on what was in the Gatorade. Absorption problem? Too much salt? I don't know, but it freaked me out! I took of my arm heart rate monitor and starting moving my wrist back and forth to see if I could get the swelling to go down.

The last 35 miles of the bike were headwind and I found it pretty dang tiring. Just not a lot of push in those last miles. I rolled into T2 and made the long way back down to the changing tent. This time I actually found room and sat down and took a little rest haha! Another long transition (hair styling ha) and looked down and my belly was super bloated. I looked like I had a bun in the oven! A really uncomfortable feeling and look!!  The bloat/swelling that I was having was insane. Really would like  to know why it happened this time!!

Onto the run...I set off and was feeling ok. The weather was good and I was thinking about how much better this felt than all the August Lou's I had done. I went through the first 7 miles feeling ok and then once I got to special needs, I started falling apart.

I tried to eat and drink and I simply could not. This is not something that I am unfamiliar with though. The ironman run has always haunted me with GI issues and I was hopeful that with the difference in temps for this race, that I would be given a pass. Not to be. I knew to just suck it up and keep going. I didn't want to hear those infamous words---'flowerman' from coach either
My vision during the last half of the saying "It's not FlowerMan ;) 
I won't bore with you the details of the remainder of the mind numbing run. I had trained to run this marathon so much faster, but it wasn't in the cards for me. For the last half of the run, I couldn't take in anything. With each step I took, I just got weaker and weaker.

My run that I trained so hard for, would end up being a trot at best. Once I saw the lights at the finish, my heart started racing. This is why I do it! That feeling. The feeling of crossing the finish line of something great. Something that you work for, sacrifice for, go through pain for....that finish! No matter where athletes finish on the day, once they cross that line...they are all Ironmen. This would be my fastest Ironman Lou by 16 minutes. So at least I made it to the line a little quicker than in years past. I was absolutely sobbing when I ran down the finishers chute. Sobbing with more emotions than I can ever even write. The feelings you have when crossing the Ironman finish line is something that most probably can't put into words. I can't. You have to do it to know it. That's all I can say.

 When I finished, I ran to Rich and pretty much collapsed. I just wanted to go to the room and lie down. I was sick on my stomach and feeling very weak. After a long talk with coach about my gut issues, I made the decision that I would not try another full Ironman until I can get my stomach issues figured out. It's a tough pill to swallow to train so hard, for so long and to not be able to put it all together on race day because of my stomach. Rich always had GI issues and said some people are unfortunate in that department and it seems as if I am one of the unlucky ones. Oh, how I wish I had guts of steel! So, the next 140.6 will be one in which I have my nutrition pegged. I plan to work with a nutritionist going forward to see what we can figure out.  I really would like to know what all the swelling was about too :(

I am happy to have completed another Ironman. Six Ironman finishes in 5 1/2 years of triathlon! Not to mention all the other races along the way. I am really happy with my achievements. In that span of time, I have also had a baby and a major bike crash that put me our for months. Four of those Ironmans were done after Abby was born---she has only just turned three!!!  I have been busy, but now it's it's time to give my body a much needed break from Ironman. Slogging out Ironman after Ironman just for race number sake is not my goal. My goal is to actually race well in Ironman and once my nutrition is nailed, I feel like I will be able to do that. Perhaps another for 2017.

Somewhere in the middle of those, I found time to have a baby too ;)  #earned
I am already looking forward to next year with racing though. Making some plans and I am getting excited just thinking about it. Since I have pretty much always been in training for 140.6,  I have never really trained properly for shorter distance races. I have only done them when thrown in the middle of the long stuff. I am looking forward to actually training for Oly's and 70.3's. I am really hoping to get in Hilton Head 70.3 but not sure yet. All depends on the date. We will be in Kona for World Champs for a couple weeks next October, so I am hopeful this race will be on the dates we will be here. It looks to be a great one! I will probably start the season with St. Anthony's again. It's a tradition! I don't have the stomach issues on the shorter races, so am hopeful with training properly for these distances, it will help me to have a great 2017. Plan to get back to some mountain biking and trail running as well. I'll be starting that with my first ultra next month in Charleston with my good pal Jess. What??? Yes, thanks for talking me into that Jessica....eeek!

I am really thankful to have the support of Rich and my family. The support from the inside is everything in the sport.  I have had some great support and sponsors and I am also thankful for that and grateful to them. Next year will is going to be awesome!




Very cool Tonya. (T) cool pics too. Glad to be able to be there and enjoy the weekend with everyone. I have some black n blue flowers growing out from under my toenails..... All 9 of them.

Tonya said...

haha! Ouch! That's no fun. Luckily my toenails are unscathed this time. Well done on your Ironman, John!! Was so great hanging with you guys in Lou! Have you signed up for another one yet?? ;)