B2B 2013 - The Run

I reached T2 and crossed the Bike Finish mat in six hours and 34 minutes. I ditched Lucinda and ran through the interior of the Convention Center. I grabbed my bag off the rack and headed to the bathroom. I changed from toe to top (again): socks, shoes and shorts. I grabbed my race belt and threw all my bike gear in the bag. I almost closed it - but then I decided I might want my gloves. As I ran out of T2, I handed my transition bag to a volunteer, attached my race belt and hit the road.  

Anna and Ace Captured me On the Way Out of T2

I would like to take a moment to say that Ironman is NOT pretty. As cute as my outfit was and as coordinated as my shoes, headband and arm warmers were - none of it matched my swim beard, wetsuit hickey, snotty nose or bike chafe. In the photo above, you can see the wetsuit hickey on the right side of my neck. You might even make out the beard - caused by the sludge in Banks Channel that attached to every hair on my chinny chin chin. Fortunately, you can't see my underarm chafe - a side effect that I've never had before in this tri top but one that figured prominently as soon as I started running. 

Anna and Ace Found Me on the Riverwalk on the River Side of the Convention Center

One of the best decisions I made: changing out of bike shorts and into run shorts. I was comfortable and warm and thrilled to be off the bike. The run through downtown was fun. I passed the finish line and listened for Tim Bomba announce finishers for the half. 

Within the first mile I saw a dozen people I knew and it was a rush. People on the sidelines, friends finishing the half iron.  I was looking forward to the first aid station because I knew Jen would be there. I also knew that their theme: OVERCOMERS would be a huge lift. They featured life-sized posters of people who had overcome adversity through hard work and determination to become GREAT and achieve their dreams! At the end of the line of posters, there was a huge mirror and an arrow. YOU! ARE AN OVERCOMER! it proclaimed. It was awesome. 

 As soon as I turned the corner from Ann to Front Street, I could hear Jen yelling at me. Here comes my coach! She's going to be an ironman! Here comes my coach. Had I not been so happy to see her, I might have cried. Taryn and Gaia were there and Gaia came running over to hug me. Had I not been so happy, I might have cried. 

Had they not had Vasoline on a stick - I might have cried. I skipped the cola and chicken broth and slapped that Vasoline on my chafed underarms and was good to go. I picked up the pace and headed to my next reception - the Satellite. I knew a crowd was waiting and couldn't wait to see who it was. As I trotted up the hill I was greeted by Neal, Anna, Wendy, Ben, Leanne and a host of others drinking beer and cheering on runners. Further on up the road, I was greeted by Michelle, Jess, Hannah, Beth, Gary and Nicole. 

I headed into the park and felt uplifted by everyone I saw: Jane, Lauren, Kris, Lawrence - who was KILLING his first ironman - Shawn Spencer and Sam. I met - for the first time - my Facebook friend, David Connor.  He lives in Virginia, but he and I have intermittently messaged and posted and talked about this B2B for two years. We are both spin instructors and tri coaches and we've exchanged strategies on nutrition and reports on the tides and temperament of Banks Channel. He was a huge encourager throughout my training and I'd been looking for him throughout the day. At mile five-ish, on a bridge in the shade, we crossed paths, we high-fived and were on our way. 

I felt great and was holding a fairly steady pace. Mostly, I was enjoying the day. I began to craft my thank yous even then - it was like I was designing my own Oscar speech for everyone who had helped me get to where I was right now.

My favorite moment in that first lap came at about mile six. I came around a curve and with the ampitheater in sight, I saw Susan, Emery and Maris Best. Susan had said they would try to be out there, but I was almost an hour later than I expected and she had littles in tow. I hugged and kissed them all and walked a little bit.  Emery decided she wanted to run, so we took off. We must have run hand in hand for nearly half a mile to the turn-around. 

We talked about running and we talked about cheerleading (her big sister, Sloan is a Jr. Varsity cheerleader for Hoggard) and I asked her to do her favorite cheer: ONE! We are the Vikings! TWO! A little bit louder! THREE! I still can't hear you! FOUR AND MORE AND MORE AND MORE! We hit the turn around and headed back toward Sue and Maris and I kissed them all goodbye and headed on my way. I loved sharing that moment with them.

Levitation! Elevation!

As I hit the ampitheater again, I caught up with Renee and Johnny. They were cruising the park on their bikes and we chatted as I ran. They checked in on me and assured me: you look great! I joked about being a human metronome and I assured them: I felt great. I think Renee asked me if I'd do it again and my answer: ask me tomorrow.