So I did it, I am an Ironman! It was a close call but I sneaked in under the wire with a time of 16:56:27. I always said I would be happy with anything under 16:59:59 but I sure cut it close and next time I hope the Universe does not take me quite so literally.
We drove up to Tremblant on Thursday and proceeded to Athlete Check in. It is a well-oiled machine and we quickly signed our waivers, got weighted and got our stuff. We went to the Expo to get our backpacks and each bought a top from the race. I wanted the tri top and Neale got the cycle jersey and I got IM stickers for the car (premature?, I hoped not).
Friday we went to the pro panel at noon and then a quick swim to get the feel of the water. The lake was cool without a wetsuit but I knew I would be fine with my sleeveless the next day. It was a cool cloudy day and I so wanted that weather to hold. Looking at the forecast for Sunday was nerve racking as it seemed to be getting hotter and windier each time we looked. I was really happy to meet Kristine from Red Deer who I had been talking too online for months. She and I have a lot in common and I enjoyed being on this Ironman journey with her. The highlight for me was meeting Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman. I have dreamed of him calling me an Ironman for years and there he was. He was so nice and took photos with us and said he would be waiting for us at the finish.
Later that day we went back for the Athletes dinner, it was so inspiring. They featured Lionel Saunders who went from drug addict to pro triathlete in a few years. They also featured Diane, a blind triathlete who was attempting her first Ironman. My friend Kory would be her handler for the day and I was excited to have her in my age group. It is hard to feel sorry for yourself when you see inspiring people like that accomplish so much. We went to the concert and fireworks and I ran into another Facebook friend Kate who was doing her second Ironman. I was feeling great, excited and not too nervous. I had my freak out a few weeks before and logically I knew there was nothing else I could do now and worrying was not going to help anything.
Saturday we did a quick bike and run and headed back to rack our bikes and drop off our transition bags. So when we checked in they gave us 5 bags, bike transition, bike special needs, run transition, run special needs and morning clothes bag. Let me tell you Ironman is as much a logistic exercise as a physical one. Trying to figure out what you might possible need in each bag is tough, would I want more food, a change of socks, a different top, would I be cold, hot, dehydrated, what would I need. I know I packed too much but I wanted to be covered. It was a hot day, a taste of what we would be getting for race day and I was not looking forward to the heat and humidity.
We had a nice dinner with my Mom and Roger, Anita and Andre and Stephen and an early ish night. Having my Mom there was important; she was at my first half marathon, first triathlon and started me swimming at a young age. I wanted Stephen to be there so he could see the result of all our hard work, we had been training most of his senior year of high school and I know a lot of cooking and cleaning fell onto him. It was important to me that he saw the day; he saw the other triathletes and all the hard work of the day. Anita and Andre have done a lot of training with us; Anita was always up to bike or run with me even though she was not training for an event. She just started Triathlons and is doing the half Ironman next June and I can’t wait to go to Tremblant to cheer for her this time.
We got up at 3:30 on Sunday morning and were out the door at 4:15, it was an early start and the nerves started a bit but I was focusing on what I needed to do. Body marking, adding a few last things to my transition bags, dropping off my special needs bags, pumping tires and stuff kept us busy and then we walked to the beach. I was dropping Neale’s day bag in the truck when I saw my friend Kory and I started to cry, I was doing so well up to that point and then I just lost it. She knew just what to say, this three time Ironman finisher, and I struggled into my wetsuit for my warm up swim. I saw Anita on my way into the corral and my parting word where, “I am terrified”, boy little did I know what the day was about to bring.