This is the part of the report I wish I could skip, the bike ended up being a little bit of a dark place for me, but I will keep it real that Ironman isn’t always 100% sunshine and roses.
I was feeling great leaving the swim, I had a great time for me but more importably I felt great and really enjoyed myself. As I made my way out of the water, up the sand and into T1 I was getting really cold and it was really painful to run on my freezing feet. Kind, amazing, wonderful volunteers helped me get my bag and out of my wetsuit. As I made my way into T1 I ran into a wall of bodies. The tent was FULL of bodies there was NO room, people were making full changes in the doorways and doing whatever the could to find room. I was planning on making a full change so that I could have dry clothes on the bike so I was hoping for a little volunteer help. Ladies you know how hard it can be to get a sports bra on when you are damp, couple that with barley working freezing hands and it is near impossible. I think there was a few issues with transition, partially it was just not a big enough space and partially people were taking longer to warm up so there were just more of us in there at one time. I finally found about a square foot to change (no volunteer, no chair) I got myself as dry as possible changed with the help of a fellow athlete who needed help as well. I got all my layers on, stuffed everything in my bag hoping I didn’t forget anything and moved to the exit trying really hard to not step on anyone. I waved at my family, tried to make sure everything was sitting right and took off.
I started out feeling happy but my legs felt stiff and slow. I hoped that I would warm up and start to feel more normal as we went. Unfortunately the course starts with a long, gradual downhill that wasn’t helping me warm up. I was chatting with other athletes and trying to settle in.
I felt pretty good through Truckee, saw Cory let him know I was feeling pretty good.
Then things started to get a little shaky. I started to feel a little nauseous on the first climb, that got worse on the second big climb. The one cool part of that loop was getting lapped by the pros on a climb it was awesome to see how great they were doing. I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t stomach eating anything so I pushed on hoping that some downhill would help me feel better. I wasn’t eating so I was getting a little bonky and slowing down. I was feeling pretty negative and stopped talking to people as much. There was a point that I felt like I was just done, I didn’t want to ride my bike anymore. On the second loop I told myself all I had to do was get to Cory then I could quit and not have to do the two big climbs again. I wasn’t able to eat anything so I thought my day was done. I got to Cory outside of Truckee pulled over and told him I thought I was done and couldn’t eat. He felt horrible for me but was supportive. He made the one comment that kept me going, he said “if you haven’t been eating there is no way you will be able to run a marathon”. It hit me then that I felt like I COULD run a marathon, I wasn’t broken physically, who quits 80 miles into an ironman bike, Not me I thought. I knew I might get pulled from the course but I wouldn’t quit as long as I could keep moving. So I told Cory I would do my best to get back up over the big hills and just see how it went, I wasn’t happy about it, I was hurting, but I was going to try.
After leaving Cory I did my best to put my head down and keep climbing. I got to the top of Brockway summit and thought I could make it back to Squaw Valley but I would have to push it. I did my best to focus push the last 20 miles. I had never really warmed up and it was starting to cool down again, especially in the valley.
I made it to T2, a little shocked that I had gotten there. I can’t really explain what went so wrong on the bike, I had trained for the hills and at elevation so I can only imagine that the cold had something to do with it. But I can’t explain why I got so sick and stayed sick from 30 miles into the ride on. Something to figure out for the future.
Up next the Run – promise it gets better!