ok people. this is going to be a long one. but here is the recap of the day! but before i begin i want to thank mom, grandma, and grandpa for making the trip out and being an amazing support crew, corey's family for allowing me to tag along and supporting me, and everyone else who supported me at the race, and Corey Nygaard for literally helping me through everything. no joke i may not have put my shoes on the correct feet without you. thank you so much.
okay so the weekend started out as an emotional rollercoaster. we kept getting emails saying the water is 62° and most likely will be wetsuit mandatory if its under 63°. Then the next one said plan on it being mandatory. then at the check in i went to the meeting and they said the storms and flooding brought it down to 55°. and the rules are under 53° we don't swim. 53-57° we swim 750 meters. 57-63° we swim all 2,200yds but its mandatory to wear the wetsuit.
i was freaking out and there was a chance of storms so i didn't know if we were going to swim. The meeting the next day said it was at 57.3° and rising fast. i was excited and pumped to get to do the whole thing. all the sudden there was a chance of storms that night. then there wasn't an hour later. but then there was a couple hours later... then it changed to be a north wind. worst case SCENARIO we could've asked for. i had to go into my hotel room and really talk myself out of this mood i was in since it was such a disappointment that i wasn't going to do the whole thing, i looked at it differently and realized that this put me in the best situation possible for qualifying as the bike and run i know i can thrive in. I got into the mindset of Whatever is going to happen will happen.
i show up on race day at 5am, go into the porta-potty (i spend pretty much 50% of my race morning there) and from there i hear that the water dropped 10 degrees and swim is cancelled. no other readings will be taken and its cancelled. I was pissed along with around 600 other people. the rest of the 1500 were overjoyed and cheering.
WE ARE INFORMED THE BIKE WILL START IN A STAGGERED TIME TRIAL START AND WILL BEGIN AT 7:20 WITH THE PROS, AND 7:40 WITH THE AGE GROUPERS. SO WE ALL SIT AROUND AND PISS AND MOAN AND TWIDDLE OUR THUMBS (PROBABLY SHOULD'VE WARMED UP) WAITING FOR 7:20 TILL THE PROS LEAVE ON THEIR TIME TRIAL DEPARTURE THEN TAKE TURNS GOING 2 AT A TIME IN A TIME TRIAL START. ALL 1300 OF US. I MAKE A PLAN DURING THIS TIME TO GET AS CLOSE TO 23MPH AS POSSIBLE (THAT'S ABOUT AS FAST AS I THINK IM CAPABLE OF GOING FOR THE 56 MILE BIKE) AND THEN JUST SUFFER THROUGH THE RUN AND HOPE MY RUNNING ABILITY SHINES THROUGH. SINCE COREY IS RANKED NUMBER 1 IN THE USA AND NUMBER 6 IN THE WORLD IN OUR AGE GROUP., HE GETS TO GO ALMOST RIGHT AWAY AT 7:44. I SIT THERE AND WAIT, AND WAIT, AND SHIVER, AND WAIT. UNTIL FINALLY AROUND 8:05 WE GET TO LEAVE. I TEAR OUT OF THERE LIKE A BAT OUT OF HELL AND AVERAGE 25.5 MPH FOR THE FIRST 5 MILES.... Oops.....LIIIIIIITTLE QUICK SO I SLOWED HER DOWN. AT 15 I WAS STILL WELL ABOVE 24 MPH SO I TRIED TO HOLD IT BACK AGAIN. I WAS FEELING GOOD SO FINALLY I DECIDED WHY NOT AND LET ER RIP. I KEPT TEARING APART THE COURSE AND UNTIL MILE 42. I WAS DOING BETTER THAN EXPECTED DESPITE THE TERRIBLE ROADS (LITERALLY 30 TIRES BLOWN THAT I SAW, PARTS OF BIKeS FALLING OFF, WORST ROADS IVE EVER BEEN ON). MILE 42 I HIT A SMALL WALL AND DECIDED TO COOL MY JETS AND REALLY PREPARE FOR THE RUN. CAME OFF THE BIKE WITH AN AVERAGE OF 23.7MPH WHICH WAS WAY OVER WHAT I THOUGHT I COULD EVEN DO SO I WAS A LITTLE TERRIFIED OF WHAT WAS GOing to HAPPEN. FIRST LAP OF THE RUN I HAD TO PEE SOOOOO BAD SO AT THE TURN AROUND I USED THE PORTA POTTY AND NEVER FELT SO GREAT, CAME OUT OF THERE AND RAN 5:35 FOR THE NEXT 3 MILES.
THE SECOND LAP WAS.... TERRIBLE. I REALIZED I HADN'T TAKEN AN ELECTROLYTE DRINK ANY OF THE 9 MILES AND I HIT A WALL. I WALKED EVERY AID STATION FROM THERE OUT SO I COULD TAKE IN GATORADE AND WATER. SLOWER BUT I FELT HORRIBLE. KEPT MAKING MY WAY THROUGH THE SECOND LOOP UNTIL I SAW THE FINISH LINE RIGHT AS SOME KID THAT LOOKED LIKE MY AGE WENT BY AND I FREAKED OUT, RAN 5:20/ MILE IN RACING HIM TO THE FINISH ONLY TO REALIZE HE WAS 26 ....I WAS OVERCOME WITH EMOTION AS I REALIZED I HAD COMPLETED SOMETHING PRETTY COOL AND COREY CAME OVER TO SHARE THE CELEBRATION. HE THREW THE FINISHERS HAT ON MY HEAD AND WE TALKED BRIEFLY ABOUT THE RACE (HE TALKED I WAS DYING HUNCHED OVER). AFTER A QUICK CHAT I WALKED OVER TO SEE MY MOM AND GRANDPARENTS, AND COREY'S FAMILY ALL WAITING AT THE FINISH SHOOT FOR ME. TOOK A FEW PICTURES AND THEN SOMEONE HANDED ME A PHONE, I LOOKED AT IT AND IT SAID I WAS IN FIRST PLACE. I SAID THERE'S NO WAY, AND THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE THAT STARTED BEHIND ME THAT HAVE TIE TO BEAT ME (THE WORST PART ABOUT A STAGGERED START). I THOUGHT I HAD SUCH A HORRIBLE HALF MARATHON THAT THERE WAS NO WAY I PULLED IT OFF. BUT AN HOUR LATER AFTER WE TRIPLE CHECKED, THERE I SAT ATOP THE LEADER BOARD AT 3:51. 2:21 FOR THE 56 MILE BIKE AND 1:27:56 FOR THE HALF MARATHON. CLINCHING THE TRIP TO SOUTH AFRICA!
SHORTLY BEFORE AWARDS I GOT THE CHANCE TO REALIZE WHY I LOVE THIS SPORT MORE THAN ANYTHING. ITS BECAUSE OF THE AMAZING PEOPLE. AFTER ASKING STARKY FOR A PICTURE HE SAT AND TALKED WITH COREY AND I FOR WELL OVER A HALF HOUR AND THIS IS SOMETHING YOU DONT SEE FROM OTHER SPORTS, A PRO JUST CASUALLY TALKING AFTER A COMPETITION LIKE A REGULAR GUY. HE GAVE SOME AWESOME ADVICE, AND WE ALL SHARED STORIES. AWARDS BEGAN SHORTLY AFTER AND GARRETT (A FELLOW 18-24 AGE GROUPER), COREY, AND I WAITED FOR AWARDS. THE WHOLE DAY OF EXPERIENCES WAS AMAZING AND I LEARNED SO MUCH. CHATTANOOGA IS NEXT ON THE IRONMAN
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