Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Rachel Gordon, you are an Ironman!"

So, what now? I got to hear those famous words from Mr. Riley's voice as I crossed the finish line of a 6 month journey. Now let me tell you about that little journey, and why, 3 weeks later, I still stand by my statement.

I'm never doing that again.

For six months of my life, I wasn't me...I was all about me. I was Rachel in training. My primary thoughts each night were: How'd I feel today? What's up for tomorrow? What do I need to pack? How many calories do I need for this workout? What time am I waking up, again? Me, me, me.

And I lost track of more important things in life. I didn't speak to my family often enough. I didn't speak with anyone, really. My email updates to my college roommates were infrequent. It took a toll on Kyle and I. I had no energy to waste, and I was in a constant state of Ironman. I didn't even have the time or energy to do basic tasks. Laundry, dishes, cooking.

Whoa, that got dark. But during winter training, that's what happens. It's dark. You find yourself training alone because everyone else can be fair weather fans, but you have to fit it all in. Thankfully, I wasn't alone often. I do have great (crazy) friends who were up for anything. And for them, I am thankful.

I am most thankful for Brian, my coach. Another shot out to this man, who did most of the thinking for me. All I had to do was wake up. His coaching practice, Triathlon Lifestyle Coaching was a great fit. He did understand my life, and eased up when life really got in the way. I can't imagine doing it any differently. I never would've made it to the start line injury free, or that prepared. I followed his plan to the best of my abilities, to almost a T. And I showed up at St. George ready for a long day. Ready for 13 hours. His prediction. And just like San Dieguito half marathon, I beat him to his prediction.

I do not regret my decision to sign up, train, race. It wasn't that dark. In fact, I loved the experience. I loved getting my body back to where I was after my freshman year training trip. I started to enjoy running. Okay, maybe not running, but the positive effects running has on my body. I loved proving myself wrong so many times on the limits I once previously set for myself. I love that now, most everything will seem easier.

So why am I never doing it again? Why not do an "easier" course to prove how hard SGIM was? Because I don't think I could. I trained my butt off for this race. I followed that plan. And I showed up as ready as I could be. These are my thoughts:

If I do an easier one, I'll slack. I'll tell myself, "Oh it's easier, you don't have to do all those hill repeats. Oh, it's easier, you can slack this workout." Then, because it's easier, I'd have a faster time goal. And although I may beat my St. George time, I know I wouldn't be satisfied, because I let myself down in training.

So. Check. Done. Off the list. I got my tattoo, and forever I will be an Ironman.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ironman St. George: Run, Salt at any cost, RUN!

Well, I'm almost there. 4 more laps. Up then down on each lap. That's 4 more ups. You CAN do this. I take a physical once-over. Hamstring, uh a little tight, not bad. Hip, mmm doing alright, stride feels equal. HR, 170s out of T2, but falling. Good. Temperature, you are hot. Get some water. I look up and see Brian and my roommate Katrina at the turn onto Diagonal Rd.

"Oh, Hi Brian! I'm doing alright. I threw up on the bike, I got a drafting penalty, my chain dropped, my wheel wasn't on, and oh oh! I peed on my bike. I feel like I'm forgetting something, but I feel great!"

As I run past, he gives me this look best described like this: wtf are you talking about? ok, uh, keep running. uh, are you okay? um, wow, information overload. - All that in 1 look. I think he managed to actually say, "you look Great!" which was much appreciated. If I looked great and felt great, then I must be doing alright. Now I must keep my head in the game.

And before I knew it I was at the first aid station. wet. cold. sponges. y.e.s. I have a problem with overheating on the run and I'm constantly pouring water over myself to stay cool. At Ironman, the run aid stations are about every mile...and are WELL stocked. This isn't called the "catered marathon" for nothing. I grab two sponges and put them in my straps. Ahh the coolness against my skin is refreshing. Thank you.

I think I got passed by a man with one leg around this point. WOW, that guy is awesome. (His other leg was amputated above the knee, and he had a prosthesis running lower leg). I got passed, but I was also passing. This wasn't going to be a typical race where I don't pass anyone. Especially if I play this smart. Your race, your legs, keep checking in.

wow, nice lean!
Chatting with Kyle about the bike "issues"

Most of the race is a blur. I just kept chugging along. I saw my mom, sister, Kyle and grandma somewhere around the 3rd aid station for the first time during the race. It was a huge help having my Ironcheersquad out there all day. Kyle ran along side me barefoot as I again went through the play by play of the bike. He ran with me for a bit, and I let him go as I kept on up the hill.
As I was checking in, I noticed my quads were getting a little tight, on the inside, near my knee. I looked at my salt reserves, and they were low. Did I miscalculate, and not pack enough? Okay, time to ration, I guess. Here is my run nutrition execution. Not really close to the plan, but good enough. I began my aid station ritual.

-Sponges, throw out old, get new
-First water available (usually 1st volunteer after sponges)


The sponges ended after the first half, because the clouds started rolling in and it wasn't quite as hot. Coke is something that I hate. I can't stand the taste of any cola, actually. But I knew I needed the caffeine and sugar and not surprisingly, I worked. Unfortunately it wasn't flat, so I'd take 3 good sips, dump the cup and then hopefully get 3 good burps out soon after. Yes, the coke is what got me through. I started to look forward to every other aid station for that sweet taste. Crap, I was addicted.

The salt from the pretzels seemed to be working. I'd put a bunch of pretzels in my mouth, suck the salt off, and then spit out the rest of the dry pretzel and drink some of my water. Suffice to say, there were a lot of mushy pretzel clumps on the road. I swear I wasn't throwing up.

I was carrying my usual water bottle and carrier that held 2 gu's, motivator, salt and ibuprofen. The "pills" came at random times. I maybe took 2 motivators the entire run, and 3 ibuprofens. As for the salt, I'd treat myself to one, only when absolutely necessary. (i.e. quads are going to seize, you must take one!) I filled my bottle a couple times through aid stations, and it was surprisingly easy to do while running. I also had a couple random Gu's/Powerbar Gels during the race. They kept giving me yucky ones (espresso, and a fruit cream one) so instead of suffering through, I'd just toss it, uneaten. Oh well, I'll get one at the next aid station.

Total calories ended up being around 500. I had trained all my long runs with 200/hr, so I was running on half of that for the entire run. And was actually okay with that.

Alright, back to the race.

I think Caleb passed me near the top and he looked good. I saw Brian at the end of the first big downhill near the stoplight. He was cutting the course to see me up there, and down at the turn around. He asked me how I was feeling, (Great), he said I looked great, and I was on my way.

I got through the park and to the turn around and started back up. Saw Brian again, this time he said, "Only 3 more left, you can do it. You look great!"Yeah, only 3 more of those left. This one proved to be the hardest. I made it up the hill and started back down. I got in a rut and was running pretty slow on the downs. I saw the fam and Kyle again. My stomach wasn't very happy. I told him I needed tums. He ran to the gas station, and then ran me down on the course and handed them over. I instantly felt better. It was an odd sensation. My abs were sore and hurt from holding them so tight through the entire bike because my stomach was upset, and from the throwing up. I suppose I should be disqualified for outside help. And I guess I don't really care if I am. I would've made it through without the tums. I was just very grateful for them.

#2 done, and I made the turn at mile 13.1, where you can hear and see the finish line. Evil. Didn't have a special needs bag. And if I did, the only thing I would've had in there is tums. Okay, back out, starting #3. Check in...good. 2:30 first half, you can do this. You may be able to finish before dark. (8:23 was sunset, which would be 13:23 race time, I had 3 hours to get back there). HR is good. Right around 150 average and 155 on the hills.

Feeling better than #2. I'm running. I think I should stop and use the toilet. Okay, go at the next open one. Luckily that was at the end of the aid station I was at. Jump in, oh yeah, this is a good time to take the inhaler. Bathroom break wasn't as great as I expected, and took 1:14. It did feel good to sit and rest, but I told myself that I could do plenty of that after the race.

Back running. See family. Tell them I love them and I'll see them at the finish line. Kyle is rocking my world with his encouragement. I could see he was proud. I make it up the hill, continuing on with the aid station eating plan. I hadn't walked an aid station yet. I couldn't. I'd tell myself that I'll walk the next one, but then I'd get there, feel okay, and I knew if I stopped, it'd be hard to start again.
I found some feet. A tall boy, 28, from LA. He had a good stride and cadence. I latched on. We were flying by people. By this point there weren't a lot of "runners" left, and most of the field was walking. I saw Brian, as I was hiding behind this boy. We were trucking along, and I'd keep encouraging him. Got to the park section and he started to walk. I encouraged him to keep going, and come with me. He did, we made it through the park. I learned it was his first as well, and before we knew it we were at the turn around. Only 1 more left.

Unfortunately, he couldn't hang and I lost him on the up. I felt like I was in a different world. A world of walkers, and I wasn't going to let their infectious disease infect me. I was going to keep running.

I saw Brian at the usual spot, for one last time before the finish. He told me Caleb was walking and I'd probably catch him. I told him I feel great, but in the middle of that hill I'm going to walk. Less than 1 min, but I'm doing it. Then I'm running home. He told me again, I looked great, and that I can do it.

So I listened to myself. I power walked in the middle of the hill, and told myself if I got to that cone in 40+ seconds, I'd start running. It was 41 seconds, so I began running. I got to the top of the hill and I was elated. At that moment, it was over for me. The rest was down hill. I took some coke, and a gel. With 4 miles left. That runners high hit me, and I was almost floating. If that makes sense at the end of an Ironman. If that makes sense at all, since I've never really felt it.

I went through the motivational mile while No Doubt's, I'm just a girl, played. I sang a couple lyrics, and I looked up at Kyle's message. And I think I had 1 tear. I told myself I couldn't waste energy on emotion now, I needed every sap of reserves, so no being sappy. Kyle's message was "#122, Cwaziest cwazier. GO!" (We sometimes don't like to use the letter R)

I got out of that horrible golf course section, and I was back on Diagonal Rd. And guess who I saw. Caleb. I said come on, run with me. It didn't take much convincing, and he was running. We were chatty and he had said he'd been walking since mile 14. We talked about the rest of our races and were both coming to the realization that it was almost over. We were pushing the pace... and I kept asking myself, "How am I doing this? How am I still running?"

We past the last two aid stations on Diagonal and it was getting real. We could hear Mike Riley. It was almost our turn.

I don't really remember much after that last turn. My legs started sprinting. I almost missed the "this way to finish" cone, rather than the turn around...oh hell no, I'm on the 2nd lap. My heart rate was up to 180 and after being around 152 the entire run, I felt awake again.

Then I heard him, talking to me.

"You're happy. You did it. You deserve it. 27 year old Rachel Gordon, first time Ironman, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!" - Mike RileyAnd that was it. I was moving for most of the entire 12 hours, 53 minutes, and 31 seconds.
Now I didn't want to move ever again.

4:58.19 Run.

2:27 2nd half. Yeah I negative split the Ironman marathon on the hilliest North American course. In my first time running a marathon. In my first time running over 3 hours.I'd like to say I ran the entire run. Well, almost. I walked the super steep but short section by the golf course. I took a potty break. I walked a small cone to cone section on the last up. My average walk break was less than 45 seconds. And only 4:00 min of total cumulative walk/potty time in the entire race. Not bad for a first time Ironman.

I'll have one more update. my post-race thoughts. Preview: I'm not doing another one.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ironman St. George: Bike, Unpleasantries, Sin Bin

I instantly feel like crap. Legs feel amazing, I'm comfortable on my bike, but my stomach is not riding the same train. This is not good. I did swallow more water than I'm used to. It was a lake swim. I can't help myself. I'm used to working hard at keeping the nasty salt water, bird crap, cove nastiness out, that when I get to something that is delicious, I guess I drink it up. I get passed as the photographer is taking the sweet side shot. Thanks for ruining my picture buddy. I come up to the first big hill, and my stomach is NOT happy. It forces me out of my aerobars, which is NOT my style. I spin up hills, aero, and ride smooth. This was not so smooth, and very uncomfortable. Julie passes me. Whitney passes me and offers me Bonk Breakers, gu, anything, but I say no thanks, I cannot eat any more, I just need some Immodium. Guess who didn't pack it. I keep hoping that Beth will catch me. I think she said she packed some.

The only thing that runs through my head is, "This will pass, settle in, watch your HR." Over and over. It isn't getting better.

Yuck, I just puked on my arm. Relief? "No, wtf, you puked! You should feel better now. This isn't funny anymore. You are already 2 hours into the bike. Feel BETTER!" Two hours, turns into three.

I'm still trying to eat at a semi regular rate because I know I lost calories. 1 sip of Carbopro every 30ish minutes. I had a gu and some powerbar gummies in there somewhere. Keeping on with the water, but watching my belly for bloating. Salt tabs, Ibuprofen, and a Motivator. I'm doing what I have done on every long ride. What went wrong? What is going wrong? I keep blaming it on the swallowed water. Puke, again. Get it together, now. I'm at the top of the hill and about to start the decent. I pass my special needs bag.

The downhill is refreshing. And it always ends too quickly. Before I knew it, I was turning back up for the 2nd loop. Which was much of the same as the first. Dropped my chain and of course it gets stuck between my frame and the small ring. I feel like crap, puke, wish that would've made me feel better. I decide I should try to use the bathroom, so I stopped at the aid station on the backside. No line (yes!) and I had a nice volunteer who held my bike. I took this time to take a puff from the inhaler. Left, not really feeling any better, but at least I didn't pee on Kermit.
I get to the final big hill. At this moment, I'm at a low point. It's 6 hours into the bike. My stomach has not turned around. I'm seriously concerned that this issue is going to affect my run. I'm getting passed.

And then..."#122, drafting. Stop at the next penalty tent." WTF?! I was pissed. I said my choice of words to the lady on the back of the motorcycle. She insisted that I wasn't dropping back quick enough. I was so frustrated. I was getting passed, so I'd drop back. But then the next person behind me would see me slowing and pass me. So I'd slow again. I was pretty sick of slowing, and in a rut, and puking, there was NO WAY I was drafting. I pointed to the group of 3 that just passed me as I'm having this conversation, who were drafting, and she shakes them off. Screw you lady. I know you are a volunteer, but learn the rules.So, knowing that I'd get a rest at some point, I begin to hammer. Suddenly, my stomach isn't so upset. I am flying down the hills covering that section of the course faster than the previous loop. I make the final turn and see the "Sin Bin" (what my dad calls the penalty box in hockey) waiting for me on the other side of the road. Finish the crazy loop-de-loops on this bike path and make my way up the hill only to sit and wait.

4 minutes. I get off my bike and stretch. The volunteers warn me that I'm not allowed to pee. Ugh, fine. But I really have to go. Why is my rear wheel making all that noise? "Um your rear skewer is WIDE OPEN, and the nut is a 1/2 turn from falling off. You are lucky you aren't dead." WTF! No wonder my bike wasn't shifting! No wonder it was making a crazy rattling noise. Holy crap, I could've died. I spend the rest of my 4 minutes freaking out about the bike, and trying to figure out how it could have opened.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...And I'm off. Finishing the 3 miles back into the town to transition. Check in with my body. Hmm, I have to pee. So you've done it in practice, do it now! So I pee. All over Kermit. Past the many people lining the streets of Diagonal Rd. Mmm, yummy. Squirt the remainder of the water to rinse off and head into T2.

6:53:47 Bike. Including the time spent in the Sin Bin. Interestingly enough, this was my longest ride ever (I think 102 miles was the furthest distance prior) but it wasn't the longest time I've spent on my bike. 112 miles. Done.

People are yelling my number and I see the volunteer struggling to find my bag. "It's the one with the green lei!" He still doesn't get it. I make it there, grab it, and a volunteer grabs me. "I'll follow you. Go in the doors, and to the left. Find a seat."

More of the same from my 2 amazing helpers. Me barking orders: Shorts off, those are gross, sorry. Turn the Garmin on. New shorts on. New socks. Bike Jersey off. Help me with the tri top, it's really hard to get on. Race belt, put that back on me. Shoes, I got those. Visor. Body Glide, I need that now. Okay, where's the sunscreen?

I run out of transition and find the kids with the sunscreen. They pour it all over my back and the back of my legs and I feel 5 sets of gloved hands rubbing it in. Wow, that feels nice. Thanks guys!

I'm out of T2. Four minutes and nine seconds. I look down at my pace. 8:30. NOT OKAY> Slow down. Turn the corner while hearing Mike Riley and head on out and up. Let's go conquer some more hills.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ironman St. George: Bags, Swim, T1

Ironman is an interesting beast. It's not just about swimbikerun. There is way too much to pack, remember, practice, test, and organize. You have 6 months to figure it out, yet it seems like there are still way too many last minute decisions and freakouts. What special need item did you really want on that one long ride? What was that perfect breakfast you ate before that amazing ride? Wet shorts, dry shorts? You can't predict the weather. What if you didn't try this certain specific clothing combination? Are you f'd because of the "nothing new on race day" LAW that every triathlete tries very hard to follow?

For those of you not familiar with the Ironman bag scenerio, here's the scoop. You get 5 bags.

1. Morning Clothes bag. I packed all the stuff I'd need for the swim; wetsuit, earplugs, swim cap, neoprene cap, silcone cap, 1 vanilla gu, green goggles, tinted goggles, HR monitor. I was wearing my sports bra and bikini bottoms. After putting most of that stuff on, opting for the tinted rather than green, I put my sweats, iPod and shoes in that bag and handed it to a volunteer before booking it towards the swim start.

2. Bike Bag (aka T1 bag). Included is everything you need for the bike. Mine included: Towel, bike shorts, bike jersey, vest, arm warmers, bike shoes, socks, aero helmet, 1 vanilla gu, garmin, sunglasses.

3. Bike Special Needs. They pass this to you around the midway point on the bike. I put an extra bottle of my 1200 calorie drink and some chamois cream. Neither of which I used.

4. Run Bag (aka T2 Bag). Run shoes, socks, body glide, another garmin, Splish tri top, tri shorts, visor, water bottle and hand holder, salt tabs, 1 gu, shotbloks.

5. Run Special Needs. Didn't drop it off, didn't use it. Didn't need anything I didn't pack.* (with a small exception)
Here is my Run Gear Bag, with a bright green lei. I was surprised at how many people didn't have a bag marker. It was an addition I though couldn't hurt. actually came in handy when I found my bag before the volunteer at T2.

I had a gmail chat conversation with Beth a couple days before the race while we were both contemplating the, what goes in which bag, issue. It ended with me typing in frustration, "Why is everything so complicated?! This sport is so messed up."

Fast forward to May 1, 2010. Race Morning:
3:00am wakeup to Dr. Dre on my iPhone alarm, alerting me that yes, it is finally here. I was awake much before the alarm.
3:15am Breakfast: Oatmeal, brown sugar. Banana? I can't remember.
4:00am Out of the house and to the bus
4:30am On school bus. Listening to iPod to drown out wind and cold water talks. Hold my breath through someone's horribly stinky butt. Triathletes sure are regular.
5:00am Arrive at transition
5:00-6:30am. Get ready. Porta-pottie twice. Pump tires. Sat alone on a rock by the swim start mentally rehearsing, jamming out. Ate half a powerbar smoothie. Quick jog. Wetsuit on, walk to swim start with socks on.6:40am Eat vanilla Gu. Wait in swim start corral for the pro's to start
6:45am First one to enter the water. Swim out, warm up, but really it was more of a cool off. Scoop out the buoy situation, find an ideal front row middle spot, chat with kayakers, freeze. Keep reminding myself that it's 58 degrees, you are wearing 3 caps, you are fine. (really it was somewhere around 54 according to the reports). Pee. Mmm. Warm again.
7:00am BOOM. (a very loud cannon)
What do we do? We swim, swim.
After the gun went off, I just started swimming. At a normal pace. No sprinting, no rush to get into anything. I didn't get hit once. I found some calm waters near the outside and just went with it. Found my stroke and went with it. During the first stretch I was settling in, looking for feet and doing my best to hold back. Some thoughts:

"wow, it's really here"
"Hmm, why didn't I get attacked?"
"Wow, this guy is wearing a sleeveless, crazy person"
"Hmm, hands are a bit frozen...kind of like blocks. Keep your form, they are still working"
"Find feet, find feet, sight"

Found some feet, and before I knew it, we were at the red buoy and making our first turn. Brace yourself.

"Oh wow, that man in TYR wetsuit was nice! He didn't cut me off, am I really racing? Did I fall asleep? Am I at the back of the pack where everyone is nice? WTF?! I thought this was the Ironman, the craziest swim, the no-holds bar, rip off goggles, run over, kick faces swim? Yet, everyone seems to be working together, minding their space. This is awesome!"

Turn two and we are on the long back stretch. Sticking with the same people. I didn't see any yellow caps (women) around. Looked behind me, orange drafters. Looked ahead, orange pullers. Okay, you are sitting pretty. Effort check? Again, I felt amazing and had to ask myself if I was going to get serious and race. Passed a pink cap (pro women). Hands are now really frozen. Try to open and close fingers really fast while recovering. Ouch!!!!!!!! Your tendons were frozen and that was not comfortable. Still too frozen to really realize what happened.

Turn 3. You can see the boat ramp. Another pink cap. You can see the exit. This is taking too long. Don't push too hard. Don't slow down! Get there. Engage legs. Flex feet, wow calves are really tight. Be prepared for cramps. Keep moving ankles. Get ready to stand. Stand. Walk. Don't walk, come on, you know you are up there. Don't look like a freak who wins the swim and walks through transition. Wow, this is steep.

7:53:14am Swim Finish (1st AG, 1st Female Ammeter, 22nd overall-including pros, although I had no idea where I was at or what my time was. I didn't see the clock) Pass wetsuit strippers. Stop at the last one, remove wetsuit. Get T1 bag. Run. Ouchies, they freaking run out of carpet on the way to the woman's change tent?! That's not right. Now get ready for chaotic organization. Dump bag. Conversation with 3 AMAZING volunteers. It pays to have a fast swim. Many ready and willing handlers to rock your world. Basically it's me barking orders:

"Towel. Shorts. Gu. Open it. Jersey. Put it on me. Socks. Help me. I am cold. The water was cold. You guys have your work cut out for you. There are going to be people way colder than me. Shoes, on please. Garmin on my left wrist. Helmet strap unbuckled. Is it warm? (They respond that it looks like a hot day) Okay, no arm warmers, no vest, back in bag. Make sure ear plugs are in swim cap and in this bag. Do not lose them. Wetsuit in bag."

I run out screaming "Thank you, thank you!!! You guys are the best!!" And I feel a bit guilty for barking at those ladies. They were so helpful. You were cold and conserving energy. Why does your hand hurt so bad?

Out of the tent, I see more volunteers, grabbing bikes. There he is, Kermit, waiting for me in the hands of a small lady. I grab him. I hop on. (it was more of a slow mounting) I head out the long chute with many cheers. I do not see anyone I know. Somehow that took 4:09. It's around 7:58am before I look at my watch.
I focus on lowering the HR, settling in and immediately begin eating. And more eating. Shove 1/2 a powerbar in (100 caories), 2 sips of carbopro (200 calories), salt tabs, and keep in mind I just had a gu (100 calories) in transition. I needed to get the calories in before the hills. Little did I know, all that food would ruin the better half of my day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

With a SMILE on my face...

That is how I finished my first Ironman. And that was the goal.

What was sandwiched in between the start of the cannon and 12 hours, 53 minutes, and 31 seconds later, is what's to come. There were obvious highs and lows throughout the day, and many situations that defined the race. I will do my best and try not to ramble...yeah right.

First off, some Thanks.

Thank you Brian (and Triathlon Lifestyle Coaching). For more than you know. For everything. I suppose I got myself across the finish line, but you are the one who got me there in that time, with that smile. Thank you for your guidance, your knowledge, your expertise, your experimentation, your motivation. Thank you for offering all of that to me. Thank you for taking that chance on me. I hope I made you proud.

Thank you Kyle. My IronSherpa. Thank you for being my extra set of legs, arms and back when I'm "too tired" to do anything. For the awesome motivational mile message. For the tums. Thank you for your support, and your love.

Thank you family. Mom, for surviving the 65mph wind gusts during your attempted landing in Vegas (and subsequent landing delay). For making the trip out to Utah. For your love and support. For your cheers. For your hugs. Megan, for driving alone from Arizona to support your only sister. For understanding when I couldn't make it to the first wedding dress appointment and for taking a chance on a Utah Bridal Shop (think conservative) and letting me be a part of you finding the one! For your cheers, for your love. G-ma and G-pa. For your patience. For waiting for me all day. For your hugs and proud faces at the finish.

Thank you friends. For the cheers, the support, the all day tracking. For the text messages, voicemails, facebook posts. You all rock and I'm so grateful. Thank you training partners, for saying yes when I needed you. For pushing me beyond what I thought imaginable. And for helping me through each and every mile of that race.

Thanks to the amazing volunteers at this race.
I'm working on the race report and it may come in sections. Ironman Utah isn't a place to be forgotten. This race tested every athlete's true ability, and that is what an Ironman is all about.

One more thing. Although I enjoyed the experience, and exceeded all expectations, I'm now three days out, and I still believe I won't do another Ironman.