3rd times a charm… Ironman Texas Race Report

Well, I went. I did. I conquered. Not exactly how I planned for it to go down but seriously, it’s an Ironman and you can’t predict your race no matter how hard you try so you go with it… and go with it is exactly what I did.

We arrived on Thursday after stopping on our way north to get my ride at Bicycle Speed Shop and picking my parents up at the airport. The Westin got us right in and it was awesome! We were in the mix of things and there was nothing to worry about. I checked in relatively quickly at Ironman Village and then headed back to the room to get my bags and bike set up. I ended up having a pasta dish at Grotto that evening and went back, hung out with the parents, and headed off to sleep for the night.

Friday morning, was swim practice. Brent, one of my friends, joined me for the swim. It was his first Ironman so it was cool seeing him and going through the motions with a newbie! It’s also fun when you randomly run into teammates that you haven’t met in person yet, yea, I’m talking about you Katie Waters! I headed out for the swim, I was content. I did a little more than what Coach Lesley told me to do but only by a couple hundred extra yards. I felt good. I was ready. Next up, big breakfast at Another Broken Egg… yes, please!

We went back, got the bikes racked, T bags dropped off and made a quick stop at HEB before heading back to relax.

Friday night, we had some team obligations to attend. This year, Moxie Multisport partnered up with More than Sport and CeramicSpeed for our annual happy hour fundraising event. It was held at Crush on the rooftop – it’s kind of awesome when your parents get a room that overlooks the event! This was of course sponsored by the great folks of Blue Nectar Tequila – next year, I plan on having more than one of those margaritas! (but more on that later) I left early so I could get in bed and ready for the next day because we had a little thing like Ironman Texas.

RACE DAY: The next morning started smooth. I only forgot a bike pump. No biggy, I can borrow someones. Got to the new T1 and made sure everything was in order. Dropped off special needs bags and it was time to see the family before the race. Dustin was volunteering as a medical peep at Swim Exit so I got to see him for a minute longer. I felt good all morning.

Swim: I typically cry before it begins and not this year… miracles do happen! Water was 81 degrees. I had to pee so bad and I tried at the turn around but it just didn’t happen! A fog rolled in as I was swimming back. That makes sighting a little difficult but I kept on going. My garmin said I swam over 4700 yards with a 2:22 pace, I’ll take it! Even if I seemed to be on track most of the swim, it seemed a little long, oh well.

swimstart2

T1: Went by fast, came out – grabbed my pretty ribboned bag and headed in. My handler was awesome! I told her no matter what I needed a Q-tip – I think she was shocked at the level of brown that came out of my ears! Arm coolers on, shoes on, helmet on, at my Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars (one in the tent, one on my way to my bike) and I was off feeling strong the whole way through! I was like yes! It’s gonna be a good day!

Bike: I started out feeling really good, maybe it was that fig power, I’m not quite sure. One the east side of the course, I almost got hit as a result of a gentleman not paying attention to the Officer directing traffic on that particular intersection – it’s cool, I yelled “COME ONNNNN” at the driver while the Officer directed a profanity at him which I appreciated and it was not nearly as loud as my come on but it did tell me he wasn’t happy with the driver! 🙂 I really didn’t mind the turns, and I didn’t think the traffic was terrible. Sure we had a spot with exhaust but we always do on this course so it was what it was. Before I hit special needs though, I started feeling my knee aching. I stood up there to get more sunscreen and get my PB&J and go – I thought, oh it’s not to bad, I can run it out. Finished up the bike still feeling pretty good but I knew I could have done better. It was a little over 6 hours but it was the fastest I have gone at that distance in a while.

Meanwhile, while I was out on the bike, Dustin and the Moxie gang was setting up Moxie Bridge! Short shorts, speedos, and bikinis – what more can athletes ask for?!moxie guys

T2: I thought I was quicker than that but I guess I wasn’t. My feet were on fire since I left my shoes on my bike and I couldn’t run fast enough. Got in, got the arm coolers off, socks on, shoes on, handler thank you card and I was out!
t2

Run: It’s always nice coming out of the change tent and going down a short way to see someone waiting for you… Dustin ran back, told me to slow down, and after I got through the bridge, I let him know my knee was hurting but I thought I could loosen it up. I was having a great run when it started lightening, and raining, and then you’d hear thunder… and then it started raining heavier… then I came to a complete stop. In trees. Not exactly my ideal place to be in a storm.

That gives you an idea… and then it hailed. I was trying to keep warm, pacing back and forth and I could feel the pain in the back of my knee increasing… uh oh.

After a 42’ish minute delay in the race, I started walking with one of my teammates, Mark. I walked probably a half a mile and then attempted to run again… the back of my knee HURT! I started run/walking… it wasn’t pretty but I knew I had to get through a couple more loops and I had a goal time in mind. Unfortunately, the longer I went, the tighter it got and after a loop and a half, I started to call it to be more walking and then ALL walking… not knowing what was going on, I decided to error on the side of caution. This may have been a tough decision but I really felt it was the right one.

moxie donna
On the first loop and seeing one of our friends, Jody! Glad he was able to capture the moment…

So I met Arthur and walked with him for a while on the end of the second to beginning of the 3rd loop. It was his first and his coach was his sherpa! He was awesome! Then with about 1/2 of a loop left, I met Dennis from California. We chatted and made it through together – seriously, not how I planned it but when the going gets tough and you find someone you can band together with, it works! Well, it at least helps make the time go by a little faster…

I finally got to the chute before 11:00pm – that’s cool, not planned but you know the saying, “Anything is Possible” and when you have a long distance like that, well, anything is possible! I ran just the chute and it hurt like hell… when I got there, I thought to myself, “Oh no, they’re already tearing everything down!” What I didn’t realize was how bad the finish line got destroyed in the storm.

finish pain
So much pain. I was focused on just hitting the line so I could hit my bed.

I am pretty at peace with this day. No it didn’t go as planned. Does it ever? I mean really, does it? I also think after the 3rd #imtx, it’s time to hang it up. I want to play at Moxie bridge and have a great time cheering people on at what I consider the hometown race. Maybe in time, I’ll change my mind but right now,  I’m breaking up with this course and looking for destinations where we can enjoy ourselves and see places we haven’t been before. I’m calling it with my Garmin at 15:24:28 and 123.77 miles. Sometimes you just have to overcome things you don’t think you can and do what you can to get to where you need to go…

Next up is Vineman 70.3 with the Moxie crew and I’m a little under 6 months out from Ironman Florida! Until then, I’ll be rehabbing this injury – back to pool running, etc. I think I’ll be okay to race Indian Creek in a couple weeks as a feeler and then we’ll take it from there. Thankfully the x-rays and ultrasound showed nothing major and best estimate is that it’s muscular. After crutches and a knee stabilizer for a week, I’m thankful to be on the mend!

 

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The 16th hour

Last night, I became an Ironman. Conditions were brutal from the sun, the heat, & the wind but we persevered. I have to say the most memorable part of my Ironman experience wasn’t working through the conditions or hearing ‘Donna Adams, YOU are an IRONMAN (although it was pretty great from what I can remember), but it was what refer to as HOUR 16 (although it was more 15-16).

I am beyond amazed at the bonding that occurred between those who had cramped, were dehydrated, had GI issues, or was plain out spent (like myself, I believe I may have pushed a little hard on the bike – I’ll tell you why later). I’ve never been so touched by so many people’s stories – their 140.6 journeys, injuries, support family & friends, & the tips they gave for the first time Ironman finisher… the support we had for each other was contagious!

Let’s step back to a little earlier in the day out on my bike for a minute, I was rockin’ the bike out before hitting a ton of wind 10-20 mph (great for a 112 mile ride) at around mile 66. It was 97 degrees according to the Garmin – heat index was in the 100s. Now I stopped to pee at the aid station, get a thing or two from special needs, & about 15 miles before that, I hit a bump causing me to stop because my front brakes were off / probably 15-20 minutes total lost time there. Then I was making good time when at about 75, I started noticing people dropping – laying on the side of the road, sitting there, stretching out cramps, vomiting, it was all going on. When I arrived at the aid station around 80, I felt as though I needed to let them know of the two separate road-layers I saw. They got in the car & headed out & I grabbed an extra bottle of water to cool myself or just in case… Well, it turned into a just in case bottle – about 6 miles down on the right was a man who stopped to help a woman – I ended up giving them the bottle of water & he asked me to let the next aid station know about her & that she was severely dehydrated… In the process, there were a couple more & I took mental note on my Garmin & about 8 miles later, I finally hit the next aid station where I was able to let them know in case the cop I told didn’t hear me when I passed by earlier. Yes, I probably lost another 15-20 minutes but, I’d rather make sure people are safe or getting the help they need & I would hope someone would do that for me.

My first run lap of 8 miles was good – then in an unexpected turn of events my feet started killing – I have 2 theories, 1) the new Newton’s backs are too thin making them cut into your foot (even though I’d done 3.5 hour runs in them earlier) or 2) fine dirt from a section of our run got into my shoes creating friction at critical seams in the from & back. They’re pretty bloody right now & need to be cleaned either way. Besides that & the weight I didn’t lose from my knee injury, that made for a long ass run on my feet (despite folks thinking I was bigger to begin with & losing weight – I’m a little burnt out on ‘you’re an inspiration’! Anyways, I walked, especially when my knee popped a couple times & went backwards a couple times – yep, my body was keeping it interesting!

Needless to say, I kept getting slower … And slower… And I’d pick it up just to get slower again… I felt like I was in hell… But then as I built friendships with those in similar situations or worse, I realized I was not alone… that we all had heart, & we were DETERMINED to either become a 1st time Ironman or repeaters. It was dark (really dark, scary, and creepy in a couple parts), getting cooler (not really but you know it was a mental thing when the sun went down), we were in our glow necklaces, and we were moving forward on our last lap – some faster than others, and some slower than others. We talked about friends and family, worries about the race, and anything that would help keep our minds off of whatever we may have been going through, mentally or physically. Then questions come up, are you a 140.6 vet or is this your first time? It was amazing to hear about other athlete’s finishes. I will never forget hearing from one (or two) athlete(s) I was walking with, “make sure you take it all in because I didn’t and I don’t remember hearing that I was an Ironman”… I did just that – I don’t really remember the voice of Ironman saying, ‘Donna Adams, YOU are an IRONMAN’ either – and he warned me that sometimes it’s said early so listen but I got caught up in the chute, the crowd, the high fives, the cheering because I AM an Ironman & I’m honored to have been out in the trenches till the end with those competitors who were just that, competitors! We fought hard, through pain, GI issues, or whatever may have placed us in the elite group of the 16th hour. We supported each other the only way we knew how – through positivity and continuing to place one foot in front of the other.

I am honored, privileged, & humbled to have been in this group through the day – remarkable athletes with remarkable hearts & I don’t think I truly understood what it takes to be an Ironman – finishing in the 16th hour, I know now… I dont think I can accurately describe it in words. And the respect I showed before, by not wearing the m dot logo, I will now do so proudly – just like so many others who battled the heat, wind, & sun in Texas, May 19, 2012… Because I am an Ironman!! And I’m glad I came in the 16th hour because standing on the other side, it just doesn’t do it justice! To those out there with me, WE did it!!