The water was 74 degrees, so the swim was non-wetsuit for pros and was not the highlight of my day. I found feet, realized they were slow feet, passed them, chased the next group to no avail and ran into multiple large triangle buoys.
There is a line beneath the water that you can follow. Awesome - like swimming in a pool. Except on race day these big triangle buoys stuck way out from the line. So following the line I would get into a nice rhythm, then smack right into the buoy.
Seven Ironmans later and my illusive 1:06 swim barrier remains. If anything this motivates me to work harder on figuring out how to swim, so it might not be a bad thing in the end.
Seeing the clock for the first time - a little mad here.
Onto the bike and I wasn't giving up my sub-10 goal. I knew I would have to bike around a 5:25 and it would hurt, but I also believed I could do this. I came through the half right on schedule. And then I hit mile 80 and imploded. I'm not sure exactly what went wrong, I'd been eating every 20-30 minutes, drinking, etc. but all of a sudden I knew calories were not getting into my blood stream.
I switched from racing to crisis-management. Multiple girls I had passed re-passed me while I slammed about 5 gels and a banana in the course of an hour. At this point I watched sub-10 slip away and wasn't sure if I'd be walking the marathon. I was also worried that throwing down that many calories over an hour would make my stomach extremely unhappy on the run, but I figured it was the only way to possibly salvage my race.
I felt semi-recovered from my implosion by about mile 100 and got off the bike in 5:38. I may not have been fully recovered though, as I tried to hand off my bike to the TV video man at the dismount line.
The fans on course were awesome. I have to say a huge thank you to everyone who cheered for me by name or "go Zoot girl". There was not a lot of smiling going on during my run, but I heard and appreciated it all.
Climbing the steep little evil hill here. It took me until about mile 6 to figure out that I had recovered from my bike implosion and would be able to run hard. At the end of the day I would run myself from 10th into 7th.
The first time I saw Ian he had this bike escort. Probably one of my favorite moments of the race, I was beyond excited and it completely motivated me to push on.
The run hurt. But 3:22 is an Ironman run PR for me and coming into the finish I knew I left nothing on that course. My time of 10:13 put me in 7th place and is also a PR. I'm more proud of the fact that I raced hard and did not give up.
A huge thank you to Steven, Kevin, Catherine and Ian's mom for being the best support crew ever. And to MicroscopeWorld.com, Zoot, Profile Design, QR, TriSports.com, Sable WaterOptics, GU, Rudy Project, SCAPE, Zipp and Smack! Media. The support you provide has allowed me to chase my dreams. And finally coach Dirk, thank you for teaching me how to race hard, make it hurt, and chase my goals. I'm excited to tackle another one.