The day was finally approaching. The day that I had trained over a year for. I am always early and I had to continue the tradition. I drove to Louisville late Wednesday. I got there early enough to drive the course. I had driven it two prior times, had cycled it twice, but I felt like the more I knew the course the easier it would be on race day. I attended the athlete briefing and check in Thursday. There was a question about the swim due to toxic green algae. Well, the results came back early Friday and the toxic levels was too high and the swim was officially cancelled. I was very disappointed. I had been working on my swim. I DNF’ed ( do not finish) my last race and ended up in the medical tent. My swim time was over the allowed amount of time but I continued on, and ended up overheating on the run. So, although the swim was current assisted, I put in extra time on the swim. I swam in the lake when it was cold. I swam when it was choppy. I grew more and more comfortable being uncomfortable. I swam over 4600 yards just to feel comfortable at that distance. I was ready, but the show must go on swim or no swim.
On Saturday I had made my final checks. I had all my bags packed. I completed my last workout with my team- bike and run. My best friend had arrived, as well as the rest of my triathlete team.
I woke up at 5:30 am. I surprisingly was able to get a good night sleep. I took all my vitamins. I took my morning dump and then I had one Imodium. I had used Imodium in training with the goal of preventing a bowel movement during the race. I had two more bowel movements so I decided to go with two Imodium pills. I also took two Excedrin headache pills. I had been having headaches all week from caffeine withdrawal. I stopped caffeine so it would be more effective on race day. I prepared my morning smoothie of Vega protein powder, fruit, and peanut butter. I always have a nervous stomach so I never have a solid breakfast race day.
I put on my cycling jersey, and cycling shorts after applying all of my chamois cream. I also applied some lidocaine ointment. I had some saddle sores that were treated but were still present. I had to make sure they would not give me any problems. I packed my pockets with my nutrition for the day. I sprayed on sun screen, and rubbed sunblock cream on my back. I also placed my spring gels in my sports bra. I put on a hoodie and sweats. I got dropped off at transition at 7:30 A.M. I pumped up my tires. I filled my speed fill with my electrolyte drink and front hydration system with water. It was almost time. Since the swim was cancelled it was a time trail start. The order was determined by the bib numbers. It was about 39 degrees. I wore a cycling jersey due to pockets. My triathlete kits do not have enough pocket space. My plan was not to have to stop at special needs so I had to have enough room for all of my nutrition. I choose to wear my Major Taylor kit. I am thankful to Major Taylor Cycling club for helping make me a confident cyclist. I figured also wearing it would inspire me to ride like Major Taylor. If I did that I knew I would be okay. I wore sleeves as I knew I would eventually warm up. I also had a trash bag next to my skin. I put in under my sports bra to keep me warm.
The swim of course was cancelled but this was my goal time
Goal Time: 1:45 minutes although with current figured I would be closer to 1:30.
Transition 1—no T1 as no swim
Goal Time– 7 minutes
Time Trail Start
I was chilly waiting for the race to start and the lovely volunteers were rubbing my arms to help me stay warm at we walked to the mount line. I was so nervous and so happy that the day had finally come. I almost started to cry. The camera man asked me to smile as I was waiting to mount. He said it was for the video. So I showed all my teeth, and made the official video ( see below).
The course was flat initially but the roads were a little rough. We had a tailwind and I was loving life. My coach told me to not go out too fast. I was to not go over 17.5. My power meter was not working. The battery died at the worse time. Note to myself — I will change the battery in my power meter when I change my wheels, inner tubes, and get my race tune. Unless it recently (last 2 months) had been changed. As I was riding, I got up to 22 mph. I did not feel winded nor was my heart rate significantly elevated so I figured I would be fine. Mile 10 had the first hill and I was ready. I love hills, I am crazy like that. Of course my speed slowed down and I had to be mindful not to ride too hard as I had not made it to the first loop yet. I saw two of my teammates and that told me I was going to0 hard so I slowed the pace. They had started before me. I also felt my heart racing a little. I again did not have my power meter to monitor. I made to the turn that starts the first loop. Then I knew there were 8 miles of hills. These were the worse hills of the course. The descents were heavenly. I sign when I climb, and my favorite climbing noise to make is “Hootie Hoo” I enjoyed the bike, people were laughing at me. I talked to random people as I passed. I thanked everyone who called out as they passed me. I always said on your left when I pass. Also we I got to a point where I would passed someone climbing and they passed me again on the descent. I always seemed to strike up a conversation. My point is I love cycling and I enjoyed those 112 or most of them. I got to the end of the 393- the hills and see my Infinity team cheering, and my personal cheer squad.
I kick it into high gear as I turned. The next 10 to 15 miles was flat until we got to the section off of Baylor School Road. So I took full advantage. I made it to the turn onto Baylor School Road, and remembered there were some short but steep hills with a killer bump. I had lost a bottle and top of my speedfull on this bump. I slowed down before the bump, but the problem was there is a hill right after the bump. So I said my “Hootie Hoo” and spinned away to get up that hill. I continued on the loop. I made it back to 42 there are only a few hills and there was the ability to get some speed until the turn for the second loop.
For nutrition I eat every 30min. I used a combination of Spring gels, Honey stinger chews, potatoes, Split, almond butter. I also had a bag of hot peanuts for a half way snack. I had a drink every 5 to 10 minutes from my speed fill and my front hydration systems. I had a bottle of water on my back cage for refill. I grabbed water bottles at certain aid stop. I made my electoytle drink concentrated and only filled it with water. I had 22 oz of liquid per hour. During the whole ride I only stopped for 1-2 minutes if that much to put extra water in my Speedfill. I have not quite figured out how to fill it and cycle safety since I purchased the new no spill top. I am able to fill my front system which is just water while cycling.
So I made it to the second loop, and the 8 miles of hills again. I was happy and I felt that I could push it since it was my last loop. I saw my Infinity team again. I decided to pass special needs. I had put extra nutrition in my pockets. I had enough if I went over my goal time. I had enough if I lost a few for whatever reason. I made it to Baylor School Road again, and that bump. I finally started to get hot. I pulled my sleeves down, and discarded my trash bag. In the process of throwing away the trash bag I lost two gels. I was glad I had the extra. My stomach felt somewhat full, but I continued my nutrition as I had problems with crashing in the past. I also keep Tums in my pockets and took before and during the race. I popped a few to keep my stomach at bay. I kept rolling the worse of the hills were over. The last part of the loop had some though. I got the worse cramp on the last two major climbs before getting back to 42. I literally screamed. I was so glad no one was around. I could not stop or I would have fell off my bike. I just kept my legs moving and the cramps went away until I got to the next hill. I screamed again and keep spinning. I made it to 42 again and it was the home stretch. I was at mile 80. I thought yes I’ve got this. I praised God I had no mechanicals, no flats. Cramps, no power, and the loss two gels– I thought that was no big deal. I kept rolling. I seaw one of my team mates. He was rolling. I passed the turn spot on 393 and thought thank God that I am going straight this time. This part was flat so I could pick up some speed. There was two hills around mile 90. My legs were no longer cramping when I was climbing. I made the last turn on River road and that is when the massive headwinds hit. I thought here it is. I had listened to so many podcast about the course and my coach and I knew it was coming. I just stayed in aero and tried not to get too mad that my speed had slowed tremendously. The road were awful. Bumpy roads in aero, and winds were not fun. I only had ten miles to go. I thought that this was nothing and I could do it. Towards the end I was hurting in places I had never before. My arm was hurting from being in aero. My side were hurting when I breathed. It was the weirdest thing. I was so close. I saw people running and the transition area. I knew I was going to make it. I then saw my coach and my Infinity crew and the most beautiful mount line. All the pain went away I had made it to the mount line
Goal Time: 6:45
Actual time: 7:14
I was a little disappointed that I did not make my goal time. It was better than my training rides.I thought I could have killed the whole ride and made it. The wind on the way back really slowed me down, and I needed to have something left for the marathon. This was the first time that I road without stopping for anything except the 4 min to fill my speedfill. My virgin bike pee experience.
I called myself practicing transitions prior to the race. I do think it helped, but I need some work. I started to unzip my jersey. I unstrapped my helmet and took it off. I lost my visor and had to pick it up. It costed too much. Later when I got home I realized I cracked it. I could have left it. I then dropped my head covering, then my bike. Last, but not least I fell. I finally get to the volunteers and handed them my bike. I then ran to the bag area . I yelled my number over and over again. I also put Philadelphia Eagles tape on my bag. I listened to a webinar that mentioned putting unique tape on bags to help volunteers quickly identify timed. I yelled out Eagles green tape. By the time I got there they had my bag ready. I ran in the changing tent and finished taking off jersey. I dropped my cycling shorts. I grabbed my top, skort, dry socks, shoes, and my hand held water bottle. I threw on my top, skort, socks and shoes. My pockets in my skort were already filled with my nutrition. I grabbed my go-bag. One of the volunteers gathered all my stuff and put in my bag for me. The go-bag was God send. Thanks Von Miller for the suggestion. In my go-bag was my visor, race bib, belt, pills, and lip gloss. I started walking. As I walked I put on my belt, bib/belt, visor and sun glasses. I put my pills, and lip gloss in my pocket.
Goal Time: 10 minutes
Actual Time– 7:39 minutes
Even though I dropped everything and fell.
I walked the first few minutes out of transition. I took two more Excedrin headache pills to prevent a headache. I had the worse one two weeks prior and I did not want that feeling. I made a rookie mistake I would learn later, and I knew better. My pace was good, although I had some foot pain on side of my feet from cycling. The foot pain went away. My nutrition plan was to eat honey stinger gel every 30 minutes alternated with ginger chews. I also had ultima packs to add to may water. Well I thought I had packets. They ended up being in my special needs bag.
About 4 miles into the run I started having stomach pain. I felt full, and started to get nauseated. I stopped eating but continued to drink water. I was mixing Gatorade with water just to get some electrolytes. I have done this in the past for running races with no problems. I continued to run to each aid station. My stomach got worse though. I continued to drink but I could not eat. I worried about crashing so I started drinking coke do get some carbs, and the caffeine would give me some energy. I was overwhelmed. I was on my first loop and had so many miles left, and felt like crap. I thought about my mom. I was dedicating the race to her. I then started to cry. She had breast cancer. I thought of her pain as she went through treatment: chemotherapy and radiation. I thought she went through pain, so I can suck it up and run through the pain. I then quoted my favorite bible verses. I had written them on my arms the night Luke 1:37, and Philippians 4:13. I said them over and over again. I said to myself just run to the aid station one foot in front of the other. I stopped looking at my watch. My goal was to just kept moving. I made it through the first loop.
I saw the Infinity crew, my coach, and the Nashville crew, Black Triathlete Association (BTA ) crew. I kept moving, but my stomach got worse. I had churning similar to diarrhea. I ran to the porta-potty. The immodium didn’t work or maybe it did and it would have been worse without the immodium. I go quickly then get right back to running. Each aide station I stopped to get water, coke, and chicken broth at the ones that had broth. The urge to vomit got worse and worse. I stopped often but I would only burp and nothing came out. I then started back to running until the urge hit again or another aide station. I kept on going until the I made past the second loop. I thought wow I had made two loop and at the start I wondered if I could even finish one. I ran into my coach again. I asked him what my official time was and how long I had left. He told me I had three hours to run 8 miles. He said that I could run that backwards. I am glad I didn’t solely depend on my Garmin as I was behind 15 minutes. I told my coach I would not walk it all, I would continue to run as much as I could. I knew I did not have to kill myself with the time I had left. I knew I would not reach my run goal, and didn’t reach my bike goal so the need to kill myself was not there. My goal was to finish. I kept running from aid station to aid station. I stopped at another port potty, but it was a false alar. I thought I was about to have a bowel movement. My stomach was churning so much that it hurt to run.
While my stop was a false alarm my stomach was somewhat better after the stop as I could run. I stopped at special needs to get my headlight as the path was very dark in some spots. I also got a Band-Aid. I never did for the cut I got on my hand when I fell in transitions. I started to walk more and more. I walked the hills, then I was just walking. I would do a run sprint every few minutes. Well what I perceived as a sprint. I as going to make it. I was so happy. I just had to keep moving.
I had lesss than a mile left and my Garmin just reset to zero. I thought “what the fuc…” It then died. One of the spectators heard me fussing. He said you have three block, screw the Garmin and keep moving. I get to the corner of 4thstreet. I get myself together, and put on lip gloss. I never forget during my first IronMan 70.3. There was a spectator that was standing with us in line. He was keeping his friend company as we waited to star the swim. He said if you have time stop and get yourself together as the video is forever. So that is what I did. I started running, and then turned on 4th street. I saw the lights, I saw all the people. I smiled. I could not see my team or my best friend. I just high fives random people. I ran past the finish line and heard them say “ Ouida you are an Iron Man” I give the announcer two high fives and it was finished. I smiled and took my picture. I was a bit delirious I still did not see any of my crew. I then saw one of my teammates fiancée . She told me where everyone was and walks me to get my morning clothes bag. I then stopped by the medial tent to get some medicine for my stomach. The medical tent was beyond awesome then gave me some Zofran some nausea medicine, helped me change into some warmer clothes, and gave me a blanket. I then found my crew.
Goal time: 7:06
Actual time: 6:44
I enjoyed Louisville IronMan. I would do it again, but I don’t really like repeating races, especially tough races. I would like to experience the swim, so I may do it again but not next year. I might have been one and done as far as full IronMan races, but since the swim was cancelled I want to do another and experience the whole thing. I so loved the bike. I loved the climbing, I loved the tail wind at the start. I was not a fan of the headwinds at the end, and they really should try to fix River road. The bumps plus the headwind make the last few miles tortuous. I did not care for the run. Three loops was too much. There were also too many turns. Parts of the runs were very narrow, and dark after the sun set. The crowd support was awesome, and the volunteers were great. They made the aid stations so live. I recall running to aid station four and hearing one of my songs by “The Weekend” I thought yes this is my run on treadmill music. If gave me boost and something to hum and sing for a few miles. It was also nice to see so many people on the course that I knew, so many in the crowd that I knew. All of the little things helped when I was trying all that was in me to keep moving.
Goal time: 14:54
Actually time: 14:06
Although no swim- so difficult to compare.
The day after the race and I still could not eat I realized that my stomach was bothering me because of the aspirin that is in Excedrin headache. I had been taking it all week and I took before the run on basically a nervous and relatively empty stomach. I can’t take aleve or ibuprofen it tears up my stomach. So the Exedrin tore up my stomach and caused gastritis. It lasted for almost a week.