This is my personal account of 2011 ChesapeakeMan Ultra Distance Triathlon in Cambridge Maryland on September 24, 2011. WARNING... Tissue might be needed due to as I was writing this I teared up big time!
Thanks mom for supporting me and loving me and helping me get through one of the biggest days of my life. This race is for you and me to share forever and ever. I missed you race day but couldn't thank you enough for answering my questions in such rocking fashion!
Pre Race was hard becuase as I was waiting for the start of the race, the race announcer was talking about different athletes and started telling my story of racing for purpose of my mom's memory all day. I was in tears listening to the bits and pieces of the story I had sent in. My two friends Melissa and Steve came right after they told my story and I was happy they were there so I could start getting my mind off of what I heard so I could start focusing on the race itself.
The 2.4 mile swim was rough. Even with less than 300 athletes in the water going off at the same time, it was more insane than an actual Ironman swim start. I couldn't find the buoys, instead I could only see hundreds of white swim caps bobbing up and down. It took me most of the first loop to find my rythm in the water. As I swimming toward the white buoy, my signal to do the second loop, I kindly asked mom for a less crazy second loop of swimming. Unfortunately it didn't work so well. The whole second loop was filled with trying to find the buoys again. As I reached the white buoy, which signaled to make my way out of the water this time, I kindly asked mom to make sure I got up the slippery ramp without falling. It worked as I got up safely and slowly and made my way to get my swim to bike gear bag to get ready for the bike.
Transition one was relaxing. I got my mindset on cycling, hydrating, and fueling smart for 112 miles on the saddle. As I rolled out of transistion of I got my final farewell from Steve and Melissa screaming well wishes as I clipped in.
The 112 mile bike went so amazingly well. I didn't have my bike computer on my bike, as it had been forgotten at home, so I had no concept of how far I went or how fast I was going. I seemed to just roll along with much pleasure from sitting in the saddle for such a long period of time. As I got done with the out and back before the first loop started I asked mom (a) if she could tell me when to eat and drink so there was no chance of dehydration and blacking out like there was at Ironman Lake Placid in 2010 and (b) if I were to have a flat tire on the course could she change it for me. It was great rolling through the high school for the start of the second loop to see Dad there cheering me on, taking pictures, and asking me how tough the bike had been. I told Dad the bike was no way near tough. As I rolled through the second loop of the bike and saw so many athletes on the side of the road with flats, I aked mom to not let me get a flat tire becuase I didn't want to spend time changing it. My question was answered as I rolled through the high school one final time, but to finish up the bike hydrated, fueled, and with no flat tires along the way. I wanted to hug mom at this point, she had made me realize I could once again get through the bike without any major setbacks, similar to my Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2008 bike experience.
Transition two was not nice to my body. I wanted to sit down as I switched from my bike to running shoes, but my body told me stand up becuase if I sat down, my race would be done.
The majority of the 26.2 mile run was sluggish and painful. At this point I asked mom to just let me finish the race and get through it in one piece. The first of three loops on the run course was just sluggish. I kept peeking at my Garmin to see my pace rise in dramatic fashion from the start all the way to mile 9. Even with water and Gu Chomps. there was nothing I could do, I would be doing the ChesapeakeMan Shuffle and exceling at that. As I rounded the parking lot of the high school I told dad I'd see him in about an hour and a half, not knowing what was to come. It was 2 miles into the second loop that the pain surged though my leg muscles. I wanted to walk, but it hurt so much I had to keep running, continuing to do the ChesapakeMan Shuffle. The Gu Chomps had not worked at all; no energy, no nothing, just pain and lots of it. At this point I was scared of what the third loop was about to bring and wanted to call it day, or at least that was what my mind told me to do. My body told me different as I rounded the parking lot again to see Dad cheering and taking more pictures of me. I asked mom at this point just to let the pain be relieved and have an unforgettable last loop and final 9 miles of my big day. It was at mile 22 my questions were answered when I got some Chocolate Chip Cookies, my new favorite instant energy, from the aid station. Those things were a lifesaver as far as the race played out. The last four miles hurt like no other but I flew by everyone around me and picked up the pace. I really thanked mom for what happened as I approached the finish line.
The finish was something I will never ever forget. Not just had I finished the race in one piece, I had taken almost 1 hour off my only other Ironman time. As I ran down the chute to see dad once again shooting pictures, I raised my arms in the air, smiled big, and thanked mom for helping push me through to the finish in such rocking fashion that even dad was suprised to see me come in so early at nite.