Let me first start out by saying how much I looked forward to completing this race. Seriously. I was pumped, excited, exuberant blah, blah, blah.....you get the picture. I ate right, I was well rested. I felt ready. Other than my ongoing hip issues and of course this nagging cough I haven't kicked yet I felt ready.
I started the swim and it took me awhile to get into a comfortable rhythm but after a few coughs I was well on my way. Little did I know that one of the buoys had apparently broke free and had meandered a couple hundred feet. All of the ladies in my wave, including me swam to buoy tacking on that distance and time to our swim course. Actual distance swam - 1.4.
Oblivious to the extra energy spent during the swim, I swiftly move through T1 to the bike. I spent little time in T1 and actually was rather impressed with my cat like reflexes. (I wish) On the bike - I was feeling rather good about my pace until we got out onto the main drag and was hit full on by a strong head wind. CRAP! Oh well - this too shall pass....I passed people and was passed by others stronger than myself. On the way back in of course we had the wind at our back which was extremely nice. This however was a two loop bike course....so I got to experience that wind for a 2nd time. Nice. I sooo missed the opportunity to race in windy conditions. NOT. As time wore on the bike I noticed the nagging pain in my left hip begin at mile 35. How bad could it get though? At some point I felt a pop in my right hip followed by extreme discomfort. Nah - couldn't be. Shake it off.
T2 - still quick with cat like reflexes however I was sort of ticked off at how much pain I was experiencing in my left hip. (the ongoing Labral tear story) Normally I don't put my gear away in transition, however I so pissed and my gear bag happened to be open just enough that I tossed in my shoes, I jammed in my helmet for good measure. Then running shoes on, number belt, fuel belt, visor - I'm off like a prom dress. Only thing is - this hip thing is still nagging, and beginning to nag a little more. I walked the first mile 1/2. I focused then on running 5 minutes on - 1 minute off, walking the aide stations. For a brief couple of miles I really thought the pain was going to go away. 1/2 point - complete flare up. Tears, anxiety, thoughts of IMLP gone.....I walked, ran, walked more and more, ran a little - more tears. Thanking the volunteers through complete tears - th-an-k yo-u f-for vol -shniph-unt-eering....there was a medic on the course on a bike. At mile 8 he began hovering. To tell you the truth I thought several times about throwing in the towel. At this point even walking was excruciating. Now it's two minutes of running by two minutes of walking. Mile 11....Mile 12....and at mile 12 1/2 I saw Mark w/ his camera. Tears in full force - I knew the finish line was close. I kept thinking - this was somehow not the day I envisioned. This bites ass! I'll take it though because I didn't quit. But did I mention that this REALLY SUCKED?!?
Positives I took away from this day - It was a mental victory for sure. Perseverance is key. Friends and loved ones who greet you at the finish line with smiles, kind words and even better hugs when you are salty, grimy and stinky are worth more than money.
Bring on the recovery week - bring on the last few weeks of Ironman training. Mentally - I'm tough enough. Now if I can only get my body to cooperate.....
Here's to mental toughness -