IM is a great way to end a season. There really is nothing like it.
Tom and I drove down to Phoenix at leisurely pace, taking in Cedar Breaks, the Grand Canyon and camping on Mogollon Rim with no one around for miles. I ran at over 10 000 feet, rode my bike a bit and rested. It was perfect.
Once in Phoenix we stayed with very good friends, Chris and Randy, who opened their home fully to us and provided a perfect base of operations. Thank you Universe for all my great friends who helped this happen. An athlete is never alone in their accomplishments.
My last workout before the race went really well. I felt better than I ever have the day before an IM... well there was the nip I got from a dog on my run but he barely broke the skin. Tom rode with me on his fixie, kept me out of the wind, reminded me to drink lots and was my pack mule the whole weekend. I love you Tom.
Race day was tough. The water was very cold and the swim very physical. I lost my nose plug right away and although I usually am very happy in the water, even I started to have a bit of a panic attack brought on by a lot of heavy physical contact with other swimmers. I had to slow down and breathe deeply to make it go away. Then I continued at a slower pace making my swim time about 5 to 8 min slower than what I had hoped.
My first transtion was slow, it was a long run through and my feet were completely numb. I found out later that other swimmers had to DNF due to hypothermia.
I fought hard the first lap to hold a 6 hour pace for the ride. Maybe too hard, it was windy and I couldn't feel my feet at all so I don't think my pedal stroke was efficient. The next 2 laps were slower as I began to realize that I was working too hard for such a long day.
The run was horrible for the first 5 miles. I usually feel bad for the first 3 but then things straighten out. My back was cramping and I had nothing in my legs. Then somehow things got miraculously better. I swear that what allows me to do well at these races is that I don't fall apart as quickly as other people do. It sure isn't because I'm fast. My last 5 miles on the marathon were the fastest of the whole run. The marathon at IMAZ was the funnest run I have ever done thanks to the great aid stations manned by pirates, Wizard of Oz characters and Cowboys.
In the end I finished in 12:11 and change. In my age group I was 18th in the swim, 36th on the bike and 33 on the run. Not bad for an age group of 119. I didn't get the 11:30 race I had hoped but I smiled most of the way and basked in the feeling of knowing how lucky I am to be able to race like this at all. There is no such thing as a bad Ironman day.