The Ironman race morning began early as I didn't sleep well as usual, however this time it was different I wasn't worried about my own race, but instead I was worried about everyone finishing. I know all that goes into the journey to become an IM, so I didn't want anyone to experience the empty feeling of not reaching the white line in the road mile 140.6. I was having crazy dreams all night which some I won't share, however one of them was so real it almost happen which involved the always humorous Kim Dotson and her awesome pink cowboy hat she wore at the finish. I dreamed Kim was running down the finish line with cowboy hat blinking and rope in hand ready to dance and celebrate in style which is almost exactly what she did as they said, "Kim Dotson #654 YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!"
This picture above represents the beginning of one of the most memorable days of my life when I felt proud of who I was and ability to inspire others to make their dream a reality!
As we rode the 2nd loop we traded positions at different times, although I was trying not to ride too close to them as they needed to ride their pace. It was fun as Kim blazed past other tired riders on the downhills with me in toe I would yell , "on your left" as I was worried someone would wreck into her. When we reached mile 90 I tried to encourage all of them as in my mind I thought the bike cut off was 5pm when it was really 5:30p. So, rode the last 20 miles fast as I wanted to make sure I made the bike cut off. My total bike time was 8 hr14 min (actually ride time of 6:05 which isn't bad for 6.5 weeks of training) and now I waited hoping they would all make the cut off.
After my 30 min. T2 pit stop Norma and I headed out on the run. The sun was shining and I was excited to finish this journey. I knew Norma was really fit and we could probably run 10:45 pace. We actually did run 10:45 pace, however like any IM sometimes things are out your control and unfortunately Norma experienced serious GI issues. She was absolutely as tough as nails out there as I'll save everyone the details other than to say she went to the Honey Bucket at least 15X.
Many people would have quit, however Norma kept pressing on until about mile 21 when we discussed the fact we had 2hrs to go 5 miles so lets just walk.
We were actually walking at 15 min. pace, although I have a new respect for those after dark finisher as it got cold!!
Norma and I finishing at 16:01! She recieved an award for 4th in her age group! It was a tough day for the older athletes as 12 women in her age group started and only 6 finished. What an amazing journey we've had together over the last 5 yrs! She's a model of consistency in training and has reaped the benefits by qualifying for the Boston Marathon, 70.3 World Championship and now she's an Ironman! She's an amazing person, athlete and friend. She once again taught me that through consistent training, belief in yourself and perserverance to keep going even in through VERY difficult circumstances with severe GI & stomach issues you CAN finish the jounrey. I'm so proud Norma and all the athletes that I get the opportunity to coach.