Gosh life has gotten busy and I can't believe I'm writing this so long after the fact... but better late than never right?
On May 23rd 2021, I became an IRONMAN. Let me tell you, it was a long journey. In a post on facebook two days after the race I shared this:
"I can’t describe the feelings and emotions right now. I guess I never thought it was actually going to happen. The last 3 years I’ve been dealing with nagging injuries and they’ve held me back. I even took an entire year off running to heal. .
Call it a comeback .
Last year I was supposed to do the race and it got postponed from the pandemic. I think it was a blessing in disguise for me because I was not fully healed. .
This year is my year. A bucket list item was to complete a full ironman race before I turned 40. I had no idea how incredibly difficult yet awesome this journey would be. .
I have a confession. When I started training in January, I wasn’t sure I could do it. It took me months and months until I really started to believe an ironman finish was even possible. I was good at hiding my fears to the rest of the world but I knew all too well that feeling of being sidelined. I stayed consistent. I listened to my body. I changed my mindset. .
That mindset is what carried me through. I stayed positive the entire race... and those smiles you see in the pictures... those are real. I was smiling from the moment I got out of the water to the moment I crossed the finish line... all 13 hours! Hearing the words, “you are an ironman” made all of those ridiculous long training rides, early morning swims and daunting runs worth it. " May 25th, 2021
The big question I get now is "Will you do another one?" and the answer is YES! I truly loved my training and the race itself. Yes it was difficult and time consuming, but it was AMAZING. I don't have plans for one this year (2022), but I do plan to race a half Ironman 70.3 in June. I am planning on racing IM Texas in 2023 in April. So training for that will start in October/November depending on how my off season goes. I do have a few marathons I plan to race later in the year so they will play a role in the timing of my training.
If you are interested in more race recap of IM Tulsa I've included my previous detailed FB posts below:
Race recap- Ironman Tulsa 2021 Part 1 The prep and the Swim
Let me preface this by saying that my hubby surprised me and invited my whole family down! I had so much support it was Amazing!!
My alarm went off at 3:15 am. I forced some food down and my sister took me to the start. The traffic was pretty bad so I hopped out with my bags and started a 1 mile walk to the shuttle and T2. The race had 2 different transitions. One at Keystone lake (where the race started 20 miles West of downtown Tulsa) and one at OSU Tulsa Campus. I dropped my bags hopped in a shuttle and 30 min later was at Transition 2 to check on my bike and start prepping for the longest lake swim of my life. They were calling out swim times and in my confusion I thought they were calling based on pace and not total time. When they got to 2:00 I thought they meant 2min/100 meters not 2HOURS!! So I hauled ass to the swim start (another mile away!) and fortunately I wasn’t the only one confused. I was thankful to run into some fellow TRIOKC buddies and we all started together! That seriously helped my nerves. The swim went much better than I thought it would. All of my practice lake swims I was having trouble with my wetsuit and some early panicking... but not today! Although I couldn’t see out where we were turning, I just kept swimming and managed to swim straight! It was cold but overall I wouldn’t change a thing. I felt really strong and comfortable in the water.
When I got out it was a long walk to the bike. I had to pee... but I was not about to wait in line for a porta potty so I just peed while walking in my wetsuit. (Believe me, I tried to go while swimming but I physically could not do it). It was raining so there was no point in drying off. I tried to spray myself with sunscreen but I’m not sure I got any on my skin. My transition was a bit slow, but I was in for a long bike and wanted to make sure I got some fuel. My race fuel consisted of boiled small potatoes, sandwich bites, pretzels, jelly beans, Skratch hydration, salt, Swedish fish, and bananas- no gels for me!! Perhaps that is what prevented me from all the GI issues I saw others having on the course?
IM Tulsa Race recap part 2
The walk to the bike was long and it was raining. I had left out my towel (oops) so it got soaked along with my bike shoes and socks. No use in drying off as I got rained on for the next 7 hours!!!! To say I’m sick of the rain is an understatement!!! I was covered in mud about 5 miles in. The first part of the race was hilly, and full of potholes so you had to really be careful where you rode and stay focused the entire time. I’ve never seen so many people have flat tires and lose bike parts. You could have built an entire bike along the course. We were rained on the entire time. There may have been a few minutes that it was dry, but as soon as I stopped and changed my socks halfway through, I got the new ones wet within 5 minutes. .
I had hoped to have a faster bike time, however I had to stop and pee 3 times (which I suppose is a good thing as I was very well hydrated and there were lines at all the stops. Also I spent some extra time at the halfway point with my special needs bag and made sure I ate plenty so I was ready to run the marathon. .
The bike course was very hilly. We had over 4700 feet of elevation gain on the course so it was tough. The last 12 miles were the hardest hills but surprisingly I felt amazing. I had a lot of positive self talk on the bike... yes I talked to myself.... 112 hilly rainy miles will do that to ya. I was thankful for very low wind though . .
My race supporters along the course were awesome! I saw all of my family members and my friends! Their signs are still talked about in the Facebook groups . Lots of people were looking for the “Naked Cheerleaders”
Tulsa Ironman Race recap
Part 3 The transition, Run and Finish.
So my bike to run transition was slow. I spent way too long, but after riding in the rain and mud for 7 hours I wanted dry, fresh clothes so I changed everything and it was worth it. I also changed the tape on my knee (although I don’t think it was necessary). I chugged my drink mix, ate part of a sandwich and off I went. My legs were pretty rough pulling my bike into transition, but once I started running, they felt good. .
My plan going into the run was to run 4 minutes and walk 1... no negations. I knew that if I walked more than that I would have trouble running again so I stuck to it. This plan SAVED ME! I also planned to change it to a 3 min run 2 min walk at the halfway point if I was really hurting... but I didn’t have to. I felt SO GOOD on the run, I couldn’t even believe it myself. All of my fueling on the bike paid off. No GI issues, no cramping... I was good. Anytime I thought about wether I should eat or drink I did. I walked through each aid station and drank some water, swished Gatorade(and spit it out). I also drank a little coke and the sodium and sugar helped. .
I smiled the ENTIRE run. I got so many comments about how strong I looked and boy did I feel strong. I felt better on this marathon than any other marathon I’ve done (5). .
At mile 20 I had a small side cramp but it went away after I started running again. There were about 3 miles there that I switched to a 3/2 run walk plan but as I got closer to the finish, I picked it up. The crowd and the support along the way were AMAZING. I laughed so much and felt so much love. The course was great! It was a two loop course along riverside, flat and mostly shaded. I wanted to finish before dark and I nearly made it! (8:33pm) .
I got a little emotional at mile 25. But I got myself together before I ran through the finish. Hearing the words “You are an Ironman” still give me chills. What a journey!! Would I do it again??? Maybe..... Finish time 13:44.