29 December 2009

that girl.

I've been thinking a lot in the offseason [dangerous, I know]. When you hang out on triathlon message boards and read triathlon blogs and talk triathlon every day with triathletes ... you tend to forget that it's a very (very very very) small group of people who do what we do.

Sometimes I feel like everyone I know has done a marathon and an Ironman and has qualified for Boston/ Kona/ podiums/ wins. It's what happens when a lot of your friends do what you do. and while we shouldn't rest on our laurels and our past races and our past PRs - it is, of course, our goals and ambitions that drive us to the bigger and better - we should remind ourselves that what we do is pretty damn cool. and pretty damn impressive.

you might be dissapointed with a crappy half marathon, but to someone who has never run a mile - you are a rockstar. you may never qualify for Kona, but you are among a very small group of people who can say I AM AN IRONMAN.

Just "tri-ing" is a big step. It's one of the reasons I just became a mentor on
beginner triathlete. it's so exciting to see my mentees take on their first sprint triathlon, their first half marathon, their first half ironman. I will never be elite. I will never run a sub 3 hour marathon or a sub 4:30 HIM. But: I can encourage and support and pass on what I've learned to others. I'm very much looking foward to encouraging my mentees and see their progress and successes.

As 2009 comes to close I urge you all to step back from your 2010 goals, from your 2010 races and predicted race times to look back over the past year, the past few years, and congratulate yourself. you are a rockstar. just for getting out there and doing it. just for leaving it all on the course. just for signing up and showing up.

[from bikesportmichigan.com]

That Guy. You know him. He can also be That Girl, and often is.

It is that guy (or girl) who you see at every race. He's at every one. Everywhere in the country.

He is always more tan than you are. He is usually a good bit thinner too. His calves have those mysterious vertical striations that define each individual muscle; as if to say, "I have spent hours training each individual muscle in each calf- each individual muscle fiber in fact."

He/she has triathlon clothing that is super cool that you've never seen before. You have no idea where it came from. If you were to ask him- if you mustered up the courage to approach him- you would get some vague answer like, "Ahh, well, I know Dave McGillicutty at Sweetass Trisports and he got these samples, prototypes really, that he….. blah, blah, blah…." And you just wanted to know where you could buy a pair of those cool trishorts he has. Maybe they would make your ass look like Michalangelo chiseled it too. Prolly not though.

So this guy (or girl): His bike is clean. It is also weird. It has parts you think you may have seen in a magazine and, is that what carbon fiber looks like? Half the stuff he has, no, all of it, is stuff you've either only seen in magazines or never even heard of.

He's wearing sunglasses. But he didn't buy them. They just kind of "got there". He drives a special car just for doing what he's doing now: Getting ready for a ride, a run, a swim workout or the triathlon you're at now. He has stickers all over it.

You know when he talks about "Hawaii" he isn't talking about the state as a vacation destination, but rather, an event that you've only seen on TV. He is either talking about getting into it, having already gotten in, or why his last race there wasn't as good as it should have been. It had something to do with some chemical in his body you've never heard of. "Too much polychondrotineospandoplasm in my maldochondriacts during the last ten miles of the run. I should have know better." Yeah, an obvious mistake for someone like that guy (girl). Another thing that guy knows that you don't. Polywhat in his maldowho?

So you get to the race and there is that guy. Setting up all his stuff in the transition area like he's done probably a thousand times before, or so it seems.

And that guy is the reason why so many people are afraid to give this sport (and many others) a try. Because you know you are not That Guy (or girl) and they will look at you and think "Oh, another novice athlete…." And maybe you are embarrassed by that. I know I have been.

That guy is experienced, dedicated, accomplished, fit, knowledgeable, well versed and respected in the sport. You are a beginner. So you are at the bottom of the food chain here. You may be the big woman or man at work and at home. But here you feel like the first day of kindergarten and you don't even know where the bathroom is but you have to go. It's been a long time since you felt like that.

And you'll feel embarrassed in front of that guy.

Consider this though: You are that guy. You are that girl. Don't understand? Let me explain.

On the hypothetical morning we're describing you got up early, loaded up whatever bike you have (the old mountain bike you've had since you were 16, that old ten speed from college, whatever), put the gear you scrapped together in your car and went to the race. You stood there in your sweats and registered, set up your transition area as best you could.

Welcome to the show my friend. You are walking the walk.

You made that monumental leap off the couch and into the realm of That Guy. And now you, to millions and millions and millions of people- you are That Guy.

The next time you go to work when the conversation comes up about what you did Sunday morning you will say, "Oh, ahh, well I did this little triathlon, my first one, I'm not really any good, I was nearly last…."

But to the people at work, and your family, and your friends, and everyone else not there on Sunday morning (and some that were…) you are That Guy. The guy who does those endurance races. Who works out all the time (even if you don't). Who eats right (even though you don't).

Pretty soon it will get around work, what you did Sunday morning, and someone will ask you, "Hey, ahh, have you ever done that one in Hawaii?"

And then you answer, "Oh, Hawaii, no, I'm not that good. I've never done Hawaii…" And to you now it is just "Hawaii". You are That Guy. To someone out there you are That Guy.

Everyone has That Guy. He's better, faster, smarter, luckier. The interesting thing about That Guy is, to someone- you are that guy. No matter who you are, there will be That Guy. Don't let him bother you. Do what you do. Remember, to someone, you are that guy.

26 December 2009

100 runs | 100 days.

well it's the off season, otherwise known as the what-the-eff-am-I-supposed-to-do-with-myself season.

and then: yay ! a challenge !

email from ironman buddy:


The goal of this entire thing is to lay down a solid run base by doing volume through frequency in short bursts of running. It can be outdoors or on a treadmill, but it must be running (no water running, no elliptical trainer...). Walking does not count...there must be 2 feet off the ground at some point in every stride (the difference between race walking and running) and there must be forward motion.

You can take days off =
You can double, triple (or more) runs in a day
You can take rest days
You get no credit for going longer than 20 minutes, however it will help your distance/time totals
You can go as slow as you want provided both feet leave the ground on every stride
Listen to your body if you need to take a day off…don't get too sucked into what the other geeks on the 'standings' are doing (who am I kidding….talking to a bunch a type A tri geeks)
By all means, use the overall standing as a motivator to push you up a level, but don't put yourself in the injury/hurt locker in the middle of winter
Don't sprint out of the gate in the first 3 weeks....easiest way to get injured...if you make it through 10 weeks (70 days), pour it on in the final month when your body and mind can take it.

WHAT COUNTS AS A DOUBLE RUN? For a run to count as a double, it must be separated by at least 1 hour. I have to pick a duration to separate 2 runs and it can't be 1 minute or 5 minutes, and putting 1 hour in between means that I will allow you to count a run-swim-run, run-bike-run, run-wts-run, run-XC ski-run, run-McDonalds-run as 2 sessions as long as the thing in between lasts for at least 1 hour (be it 40K on the bike, or a session at the donut shop).

WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS LEVELS While some might go for 100 runs, the reality is that unless you are already running 4-6 hours per week, this is not a realistic goal.
For most a realistic goal is to start at Bronze "club pace" and then see how things go.
Platinum Club = 100 runs in 100 days (March 24th)
Gold Club = 90 runs in 100 runs in days
Silver Club = 80 runs in 100 runs in days
Bronze = 70 runs in 100 runs in days

It is great training for anyone doing a spring marathon or an early season triathlon, and you'll be shocked by how quickly you accumulate mileage, all without getting injured...because the focus is keeping them short and aerobic. By all means feel free to run longer than 20 minutes, but the main goal here is to get you out the door, 5-7 times per week, especially given that the weather is generally nasty for riding.


I am, of course, aiming for Platinum. right now I am at 9/ 12 but I hope to get in a few double runs with the furlough week coming up [yay government].

oh, for those of you who love audiobooks: I highly recommended The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It's a fantastic story the the narration is top notch.

hope everyone had a fantastic holiday !

19 December 2009

don't tell me that girl is running in this !

like the rest of the east coast we got snow today.

we got a lot of snow today.

at 9:20 am there was about 6 inches on the ground. every forecast predicted more snow and more wind so I tried to get out there early. well, early for a Saturday. well, early for a Saturday when I'm not Ironman training.

I strapped on my yak trax and heaaded out [James not remotely surprised]. The whole city was covered in a blanket of the fluffy white stuff. I hate the day after a snowstorm.. when the snow is dirty and gross ... but the day it's falling is lovely.

about a mile into the run I heard someone say to his friend "don't tell me that girl is running in this ! she's going to break her leg!" no worries, dude, I've got my yak trax.

Some of the snow was completly untouched and that was tough to run through -- like running in sand. Cold, wet, sand. I had to really pick my feet up. Great workout ! I went about 2 minutes/ mile slower than my normal pace, but the four miles I did in the snow was tougher than a normal 8-mile run.

14 December 2009

you take the good you take the bad you take them both

and then you have: post-ironman time.

the good:
> sleeping in
> late night tv time with my husband
> still talking about race !
> getting the email: "can you and James come over Saturday for lunch?" and responding "yes!" (no 6 hour bike ride)
> saving money (no: race fees, Infinit orders, body glide, GU, extra tubes + CO2 carts)
> no more drives to the Eastern Shore for 4-6 hour bike rides
> not being starving every 30 minutes
> staying up late !
> date nights with my husband that can end after 8:30 pm
> not saying "okay I'll go out, but I can't drink and we need to leave by 8:00"
> no more giant piles of cycling and running laundry
> time to learn to cook (I'm making honey lemon chicken breasts right now)
> time with friends and family (dinner with law school gf's tomorrow, dinner with mom and mother in law on thursday)
> house is clean
> cleaned out: the bathroom, kitchen.
> organized my closet and drawers, donated clothes to goodwill.
> no more foam rolling [for a while]

the bad [what I will miss]:
> the satisfaction that comes after a long run/ ride/ swim
> riding and commiserating with my girlfriends
> the countdown -- even when things were crappy there was always The Big Day coming up to cheer me up
> no set schedule. [I LOVE SCHEDULES]
> no anticipation
> all the little pink boxes on my BT calendar
> the BT graphs -- actual v. planned
> ginormous monthly totals
> stuffing my face with Checker's after riding the B&A trail
> buying new gear

12 December 2009

been there, done that.

[got the tattoo]

it was quite an experience.
at about 5 minutes into it I started feeling woozy. I asked for a break. then I felt really sick. the tattoo artist gave me a lollipop and said "eat this -- you'll feel better with the sugar." I bit into it - lollipop flew everywhere. I laid down on the table - right into the lollipop. Tattoo artist and husband picking lollipop out of my hair. I started to sweat and felt better immediately [this has happened to be before..okay. several times. everytime I get a shot this flight or fight reaction kicks in]. Tattoo artist put cold washcloth on my neck. Tattoo artist took a 5 minute smoke break while I regrouped. He came back upstairs and was happy to see color in my face and normal sized pupils. he finished the outline, colored it in, gave me my care instructions, and sent us on our way.


10 December 2009

mdot merchandise

what came in the mail to work today :

too much?

no such thing !

08 December 2009

is life different when you're made of iron ?

life is back to normal.

it's back and I'm not sure how I feel.

there is this elation, this feeling of I did that? the pride that comes with the mDot necklace, coffee mug, and keychain. the bragging [I tried to come up with a more polite word, but let's call it what it is] to everyone from defense attorneys to family members. there are the photos on facebook - the ones from my camera, my sister's. there are the professional photos that I paid $11 to download. there is the telling and re-telling of race day.

and then, there is this.. empty feeling. this feeling of loss and what now and what next? this feeling of if I'm not training what am I doing and if I'm not on the road to Ironman where am I? there is no more looking at my palm and seeing swim 3200M/ run 70 min for thursday. I don't just thrive on a schedule I need one to function. and then: no more anticipation. the countdown started at more than a year out. then we were 365 days from race day. then 6 months, 5, 3. then 60 days out. 45. 30! 3 weeks, 2 weeks, 12 days, 7 days, then: tomorrow. then: today. then: yesterday.

the race itself was amazing but the process is what got me to the start line. and if you can't get to the start line healthy - mentally and physically - and ready and excited then you can't get to the finish line. I really like this> to get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping [chinese proverb].

the race is long but the year[s] leading up to it are longer. True Ironmen are not made at the finisher's chute; it's easy to run, smile, soar when the music is blasting and people are cheering and there is a finish line in sight and someone is getting ready to call you an Ironman over a loud speaker. Ironmen are made at the 4000th meter of a 4500M swim, at mile 80 of a 100 mile bike ride, at mile 12 of an 18 mile run. Ironmen are made when no one is looking. They are made on trainers while watching Kona reruns and Thursday night comedies and Spinverals and DVR'd episodes of The Biggest Loser. They are made in hot humid days when saner folk are soaking in a/c. They are made in cold days - days where running requires gloves and three layers and maybe a face mask. They are made by what they don't do: stay out late, drink a lot, happy hour. They are made with friends because misery does love company and four hour trainer rides go by much faster with pre-made PBJ sammies, gatorade, and oreos, and a chick flick. They are
made on drives to the Eastern Shore to ride and swims in the chesapeake bay.

the glory is the finish line, but the hours in the water, in the running shoes, on the bike are what get you there. and while I will never forget the feelings of pure joy turning the corner and grinning like a fool, laughing, running toward the finish line, I'll also cherish the memories that got me there. the proverbial rose colored glasses are beautiful indeed: some days were rough and some were really rough. but it. was. all. worth. it.

it was all so worth it.

04 December 2009

Tricia Cecil - You ! Are ! An ! Ironman ! [IMCOZ 09 race report]

WEDNESDAY 25 through SATURDAY 28 - pre race

wednesday november 25

J and I woke up early to pack the car and get to BWI. dark, rainy, and cold in Bawlmor, hon.

We had the bike case, my giant red suitcase [weighed in at 67 lbs] and J's tiny suitcase. We were wheels up at 4:40. Got to the airport without a problem, parked in the long term lot, and headed to the terminal. $100 to check my bike? $50 more for an overweight bag? Last time I fly U.S. Airways. Yikes. We got to Charlotte without a problem and then boarded for our flight to Cancun.Landed in Cancun [to rain - boo!] and took a 35 minute drive to Playa del Carmen to catch the ferry. Then: a 30 minute ferry ride and we're finally in Cozumel.

next time? we fly directly to Cozumel.

a short taxi ride later and we're at our beautiful hotel. here is the view from our swim up pool to our patio/ room: [this is living!]

thursday november 26

The following morning J and I met Saltz for breakfast. Mmmmm... breakfast. I had french toast, yogurt with coconut shreds, pancakes, bacon. And then more. Hey, a girls gotta get her fuel to race, right? After that feast, Saltz and I headed over for the pre-race swim at chankanaab park.

The current was crazy ! I couldn't even make it to the first buoy for the turn around. Yikes. I turned to head back to the pier, and could not believe that it took me 30 minutes to get out ... and 5 minutes to get back. Should be interesting on race day, I thought.

next stop: packet pickup / expo. it was held at the convention center and to my dissapointment it was not the thrill of an IM expo I had heard of.... hell, it wasn't anything close to the expo at Providence 70.3. There wasn't a lot of IMCOZ merchandise, and almost none plain IM merchandise. Oh well. Here I am getting my race stuff. Oh, except "we don't have the gear bags, you have to come back tomorrow at 4:00 for them." ugh, pita.

later on Cathy and Debbie got into town and I saw them at the hotel. well, I saw Debbie's race shirt from Diamondman and thought, hey, I've done that race! and then noticed it was Debbie. yeah.

My parents and sister + BIL got in that day, so James and I met them at dinner. They surprised me with GO TRICIA! tshirts.so awesome ! everyone had one, except for my dad, who doesn't do tshirts, so his was a polo with my race number in the upper left hand corner and the graphic on the back.

look, a good luck ladybug on my arm !

friday november 27

woke up early to go to the second pre race swim, only to be told on the way down to the lobby that it was cancelled due to high winds and big waves. I started to panic - what if they cancelled the swim?? I didn't want to do the bike and the run and not be called an Ironman.

I paid a bike mechanic at the hotel to put Bella back together and me, Saltz, and Debbie rode to the park [3 mi from the hotel]. Headwinds were crazy and we were avg 12 mi/hr ! yikes ! still, the strong headwind meant a strong tailwind, and we easily hit low 20s on the way back.

after the ride debbie and saltz went for a swim in the ocean, and I took a nap. I couldn't get in enough naps ! later on we met to go to the expo for the bus tour of the bike course, the rest of packet pick up, and the athlete meeting. after waiting around the front of the convention center for a while, I asked someone about the bus course. "Oh, it was cancelled." Gee, thanks for letting us know. I really hope the logistical/ communication issues stem from this being an innaugural race. Ironman is a big brand and they should know how to put on a flawless race. Then we had about an hour to kill, so we wandered around town and got some food.

Had dinner with my family and fell asleep pretty early. Oh, I should mention that my parents, sister, brother in law, and husband were very much enjoying the booze part of the all inclusive part of the resort. Drink orders for dinner: wine ! mojito ! cervasa ! dirty martini ! dos cervasas ! ... water.

saturday, november 28

to quote saltz: "we need to find something that eats up a lot of time but doesn't use any energy." I honestly don't remember what I did on Saturday, except for back my gear bags:

you need a lot of STUFF for an IM... especially if you did full changes, like I did:

oh, and then we had to drop off our bikes, bike gear, and run gear bags at the park. [location of the swim and T1]. fitting the bikes on shuttles was kind of hilarious. it made me kind of [okay very] nervous that we wouldn't have access to our gear bags on race morning. I was terrified I'd forgotten something major, like running shoes or my bike jersey.

the park was abuzz with activity. we first had to get checked in. then they took our photos [to ID the body later?] then it was to transition to rack our bikes. saltz and I had amazing spots! they were right outside of the change tents ! I kissed Bella and told her to get ready for the 112 miles tomorrow. then I got body marked by people with possibly the Best Handwriting Ever. I mean, it was calligraphy with a permanant marker on my legs and shoulder.We dropped off our run gear bags [to be transported downtown, where we would finish our bike] and hung our bike gear bags on racks:
cool sign at the park:

we headed back to the hotel and I got my Infinit ready... bottled water only !

the hotel provided a pasta buffet for dinner, and all of us in our bright orange athlete wristbands were happy to partake:

I headed to bed pretty early - around 8:30 - and fell asleep around 10. Oddly, I wasn't nervous.. just excited. and ready.



morning + swim [2.4 miles]

I slept very well... I actually didn't want to get up when my alarm(s) [James' phone, the wake up call, and the alarm clock] went off at 4:00 am. I ate breakfast -- 2 chocolate poptarts, one banana, and a gatorade:
We headed to the hotel lobby and got on the 5 am shuttle to the park. It was totally pitch dark outside... dawn didn't look to be breaking anytime soon. We got to transition at, oh, 5:10, and waited around until 5:30 when transition opened. There was a lot of nervous, excited energy in the air !

Oddly, I wasn't nervous. At all. I was just excited and so ready to start the day.

When transition opened we all swarmed inside. James went to get a good spot at the swim exit, and Saltz and I headed to transition to pump up are tires [and oil our chains.. performance. it's the name of the game].

an overview of the park with transition and the swim area:

James and I took our pre-race photo:

me, debbie, and cathy:

Thumbs up and let's go !
The pros went off at 6:45 and we were scheduled to go at 7. Close to that the race officials started yelling "let's go! everyone in the water! we need everyone in the water now!" people started running and jumping off of the pier. It was madness! ... I have no idea where I ended up in the start... I didn't even hear a gun shot or a cannon - but once everyone started swimming, I started too ! I'm somewhere in that group:
it's like a giant school of fish !
The swim was pretty uneventful. Unlike the practice swim I did not meet any jellyfish ! I did see a ton of starfish on the ocean floor, which was awesome. The water didn't look very deep - mayb 10 feet - but judging by the SCUBA divers standing on the bottom - and waving! - I think it was probably closer to 90 feet. I didn't come into contact with a lot of other swimmers, except around the buoys - see photo above! it was madness around them. madness !

I kept glancing at my watch and was shocked to see it say 1:10 ish when I was so close to the exit. I finished strong and ran up the steps to T1. 1:14 and I was out of the water. awesome start !

It took me a minute to find my gear bag [I have no idea why - they were in numerical order!] and stumbled into the women's changing tent. I heard "Trish! Trish" It was Saltzy! She, of the "I will be ecstatic if I get out of the water in 1h 30m" was out in 1:13. My volunteer helped me change into my bike clothes and sprayed me with sunblock. I headed out of the tent and then panicked - where are my sunglasses?! .. and then the volunteer found them under the rest of my stuff. I headed back out, grabbed Bella, heard some cheers of "GO TERPS!", saw my family, and headed out on the bike course for a little 112 mile ride.

swim stats
distance> 2.4 miles
time> 1:14:21
div.pos> [F25-29]: 35/55
rank> 1040/ 1928

bike [112 miles]

as soon as I got on my bike I knew something was off. I felt like my aerobars were too high when the bike mechanic put them back on, so I lowered them. and then apparently thought it was a good idea to not RIDE it with the newly lowered bars. smart. it started bugging me and I thought "if you don't fix this now, it's going to irritate you for the next 7 hours." I hopped off of my bike, got my park tool, and raised the aerobars. it took 6 minutes. whatevs.

the bike course was three loops (well, 2 and 3/4) around the island. I started out pushing a nice comfortable pace of 20 mi/hr. Then we turned... then my speedometer: 18, 16, 15, 13, 12... yikes. Headwinds and crosswinds were really slowing me down, but I was okay with it. My main goal was to enjoy the day. The east side of the island is almost totally undeveloped - it has no electricity. And it was absolutely stunning [photos later in the rr]. Huge waves crashed into sandy beaches for miles and miles. Breathtaking.I finished the first loop and came into town - amidst cheers of Vamanos! Vamanos! and a lot of other things in Spanish. I was having a fantastic time! I was Hola-ing! and Muchas Gracias-ing ! all over the town. People had moraccos and all sorts of noisemakers. The whole city was out .. it was fantastic. I was smiling and cheering.

The second loop was not quite as great - I knew I had to face the winds again, and I had the most pain ... in my FEET. My shoulders, back, and legs felt fine, but my FEET - OUCHIE. It felt like they were asleep, only with more pain.. like they were hot and wanted out of my shoes. I came to bike special needs wanting a tylonel... and no one could find my bag. Awesome. At least I didn't have anything in there I really needed.. and another athlete gave me an advil. Moral of the story? Use your SN as "it would be nice to get it here, but if I don't I'll be fine." Here I am coming into town at the second loop, getting off my bike to tell my mom how much my feet hurt:

By this time some of the fasties were finishing their bike, and I was heading out to do my third loop. Boo. By this time I just really, really wanted to be off of my bike. my feet were throbbing. the last stretch along the water felt like forever. I kept thinking I saw the turn off ... and then: more water, and more headwinds.

Finally - finally! - we came in to town. I was so happy to dismount my bike. So happy. I was surprised to see James take my bike, and I think I said "no, no, you can't touch it - that's outside assistance." James laughed and said "I'm volunteering now." He, my mom, and my sister ended up as bike catchers !

distance> 112 mi
time> 7:19:54
pace> 15.28 mph
rank> 1107/ 1928
div.pos> 31/ 55

run [26.2 miles]
I was so flipping happy to be off of the bike that I would have gladly ran 50 miles. And who did I see in the change tent? Saltzy ! I just passed her at the dismount area of the bike. I changed out of my smelly bike gear - and bike shoes, tg - and into my running gear. At this point I knew that I would definitely be an Ironman by the end of the day. I had 8 hours to finish and unlike the bike, I didn't have to worry about mechanical issues or flats. Running is what I do. I was so ready to do this.

The runcourse was three out and backs - each lap 8.7 miles, each "out" 4.35ish miles.

I underestimated how hard running would be after the swim and the bike. I started at a 9:45ish pace, and slowed down from there. I didn't care, though. I made some friends - met a guy who lives in Mexico City and was recently at an arbitration in Washington as a CPA, a woman with three teenage kids, a man from England.

Here I am coming in from the first loop. My mom "you're almost done!" Me "I am nowhere near done." Mom "you are a lot closer than you were at 7 am." Touche, ma, touche. I was so happy to see them, but not so happy to make the turn around right in front of the finisher's chute, where some of the super fasties were making their finish.
The second loop was hard. I knew I had two more laps and it was getting dark and humid. The mosquitoes were out in full force, and even with the buy spray I doused myself with I was still getting eaten. The aid stations left something to be desired: all they had was gatorade, water, and tangerine and green apple powerade gels. barf. I mentioned this to some guy who kindly gave me one of his strawberry-banana gels - so nice ! I really could have used some cookies or crackers/ pretzels. I hit the halfway marker and wasn't sure how to feel. Yay - I'm halfway done! or Oh god, another 13.1 miles. I trudged on. At this point I was doing a shuffle run/ walk thingie. I was also laughing at my plan to keep a 10:15 pace ! I hit run special needs just after the halfway marker and grabbed my GUs ... and about 12 little pieces of paper I had forgotten about until that moment. James told me he was putting notes in my run SN bag. I stuffed the notes in my shirt, re sprayed myself with bug spray [and left it on the table for anyone else who was a mosquitoes dinner], and headed back on.

I opened one note every so often.. they were silly, touching, heartfelt notes from my parents, my sister, my BIL, and J. Some that stick out: "you'll never meet a judge as hard as this course!" [from dad] ; "don't worry about your hair!" [my mom, reference to me as a little one in an open top jeep, yelling about my hair getting messed up] ; "the longer you're out, the drunker we're getting" [james] ; "do it for the cats" ... they were so, so appreciated.

at the end of the second loop, I yelled to my family "see you at the finish line!!" and headed out for my very last loop. the third loop was definitely the easiest, mentally -- I knew that there would be no turn around .. just the glorious finish line. At mile 19ish I started chatting with this girl. We were telling stories about our days. I asked her for her name, and she said Janelle.. I said "RUNNERGIRL?!" .. she said "TRISHIE?!" It was my
bt.com friend! we had been exchanging inspires and chatting for several months, and to meet her on the run was a gift from the tri gods. we kept each other moving -- mostly running and only walking through the aid stations. When we got into town we started cheering and getting the crowd riled up.

distance> 26.2 mi.
time> 5:16:13
pace> 12:04/mile
rank> 956/ 1928
div.pos> 23/55

the finish - 140.6 miles
then: the finish line. the lights and the music and the screaming and cheering and yelling. I saw my family and James got this shot:

I was soaking it all in, enjoying the craziness and the thrill of the end of a 140.6 mile race.. although, really, it's the end of years of training, the culmination of 6am swims, of 100 mile bike rides on the eastern shore and 18 mile runs in the city, of countless orders of Infinit and packages from trisports.com, of exhuastion and 3 hour trainer rides and a little dream, the whisper that said I can do this.


and so I was. and I am.

OVERALL 14:12:29
RANK 956/ 1928
DIV.POS. 23/ 55

and here is my family - my ironsherpa, ironmom, irondad, ironsister, and ironbrotherinlaw.

Saltz finished next.

and then debbie.
and here I am. it's almost a week later and I ended up with a nasty stomach bug that I still have but nothing can shake the euphoria.
a big big thanks to my twinnie-a, Andi, for keeping everyone updated throughout the day with FB updates and emails, and for the generous gift certificate to a local spa - waiting for me in the mail when I got back to baltimore.
and to my awesome family, who supported me not only on race day, but throughout my training.
and to my racing girls, for the group rides and swims and sharing in the agony, exhuastion, and exhileration.
and, of course, to J: my ironsherpa and husband. much love and thanks - more than I can express. onward and upward to the next adventure !

home sweet.

we are back in baltimore.. after a 10 minute cab ride to the ferry, a 30 minute ferry ride from Cozy to Playa del Carmen, a 35 min cab ride from Playa del Carmen to Cancun, a 3.5 hour flight from Cancun to Charlotte, a 45 min layover in Charlotte, an hour flight to Baltimore, and a 20 minute drive home.


the awesome: I AM AN IRONMAN !
the not-so-awesome: I have a horrible stomach bug.

we got home wednesday night and I felt gross, but I chalked that up to the long day of travel. without getting into detail, I spent the night in the bathroom. felt a little better yesterday, tried to go to work today. was there for about an hour, then was told by everyone to go home and, well, here I am.

like most of my other Ironman bloggy buddies, I'm going to break my RR into pieces... pre race, race morning, swim, bike, run, finish, post race. I want to get it all done but I have a lot to reflect on and I should probably get more rest.

professional photos are up at http://tinyurl.com/imcozphotos [click on Tus Fotos en 2Digital - the best ones are under finish, swim, and extras]
and my photos are up at http://tinyurl.com/imcozpersonalphotos [you have to be a member of snapfish but it's free to register]