Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm a Half Ironman Finisher!

Where do I begin...

After my last open water swim, carbo loading festivities kick off. Dinner with Greg, my room mate Amy and her boyfriend Bill. We enjoyed a pasta filled dinner at Edo's Squid with lots of...water?! Yes, as much as pinot noir would normally come to mind here, I drank down as much water I possibly could.

All day at work I was anxious. Focus was just out the window. I felt the need to clean and re-organize something! Anything! Finally time to slide off the dinosaur and head home. I laid everything out in order as I would need it. Checklist a few times. Time to make more wheat pasta. After dinner Greg came over to lube up my chain and make sure I have my nutrition all calculated. He showed up and earned the boyfriend of the year award - my own "The Stick" and flowers. But not jsut flowers - thought out flowers. Sunflowers for happy positive thoughts and trigirl pink gerbera daisies! Well everythign is ready to go and the alarm clock is set. Time for bed. Princess disagreed and felt the ned to be up ALL night! crunch crunch on some food, splish splash of the water, arf arf I hear something outside.

Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz. It's 4:00am.
Put everything in the car and eat my breakfast. Becky comes over to follow us to the race.
After some minor parking lot confusion - no light, no signs, no volunteers yet...we found it though.
I picked up my packet, got bodymarked, and set up transition. I was the first person to my rack so I got to pick my location - perfect. The end with a litte more room. I am all set up as more of my girls start arriving. Kate O comes with earrings in Fave style for the girls to wear in my honor! I walk around transition talking to the girls getting helpful hints and calming my nerves. As I am talking to Susie Q I look up and what do I see. Is? that? my? brother?!?!?!?!?! I run out of transition and up behind him with a big hug! What an amazing surprise! Granted his first words were callign me out for unnecessarily using calories i need to save for the race - what a brother! He drove up 5 1/2 hours from Charlotte the night ebfore, stayed in a rinky dink motel for the night. "I wanted to see if she [me] would really do it and brought a camera to get it on film".

The swim:
catsuit on. wade into the water with my fellow pink caps.
I start out slow knowing I need to find my rhythm. Focus on the first buoy. I think about the helfpul hints Karen Holloway has taught me in masters class. Catch up. Slow is fast. Don't rotate too much. Recovery. I continue to pass the buoys. I know I am ebing passed by some of the swimmers from the wave behind me and am okay with that. I even pass a few from the wave ahead of me. As I make the last turn to start coming back in. I know I am almsot there and feeling good. The line of swim caps in front of me seem to disappear. I sto a few times to look around and I see head everywhere. No buoys to go towards. Where am I going?! None of the volunteers can hear me. I fianlly can hear the cheering and go towards it. Then I see people and just go there. Then I hear a "hey tirgirl" in teh water behind me - it's Kate O. We swim in together both completely lost on where we were supposed to be going. I get on the beach and see Greg, my brother, and my pile of pink! Love those girls.
Swim goal: 0:45:00
Swim time: 0:49:46 14/15
Kate and I run/walk the 1.2 mile to transition. It's rocky and difficult. As we turn onto the grass I hear my RTC friends - Deb, Joy, Emmie!
T1 time: 7:04 14/15

Hop on the bike and I'm off. I keep it a steady spin knowing about 15-20 miles in the hills begin. I know I ned to drink my entire aerobottle before mile 15ish where the first bottle hand off is. I eat my bar and drink my gatorade - but yick! we added extra powder to the bottles for more calories and thatjsut is not good. makes my stomach turn. I am passed my tons of people as if I am standing still thinking man we have some cyclists on our team. Those girls rock the bike! I keep my steady pace. This seemed a lot harder after swimming than I thought it would. I am definitely going slower than ideal, but its okay. I climb my hills, eat my food...oh drat! i left my shot blocks in transition. no need worry about them. I will just eat my bars slwoer than planned to make them last, but man I am huuuungry. well I said this race was going to be my learning experience and here is lesson two. Finally in the last 20 miles I pass 4 people. It felt good to know I didn't kill it too hard and am able to grind it out passed a few. 58 miles later I am at the dismount line.
Bike goal: 3:30:00
Bike time: 3:39:36 14/15

Legs? Where are you?
Change of shoes and hat and go on my merry way.
T2 time: 0:01:57 4/15

This is part I was dreading. With stitches in the foot and the bum knee I knew this would be difficult. My plan was to walk through each water stop. Immdiately my inner quad just above my bad right knee crams up. I am nto even a 1/4 mile in. I will get through this. Run and walk it out. Get to mile 1 and it fades. Sweet. Next goal - mile 2. As I am coming up to the water stop TG Molly runs up and we decide to push through the run together. I need to make a pit stop and she waits at teh water stop. I just can't bring myself to pee while running or time maybe. especially after that hot smelly port-o-jon. we continue on oue merry way, but my feet are killing me softly. I tell Molly to go on. I reach each mile with more walking than planned, but it's ok - I am not racing, I am learning. Fianlly at mile 4 I decide this blister on my toe needs a band-aid. I take off my shoe and can see the blood. Drat! I take off my sock to put on the band-aid. ewwwww. My heel and toe are just open and my middles toes and the ball of my foot are all cracked open...but those weren't bleeding at least. Sock and shoe back on - oh well. I reach mile 5 right at an hour. I figure I can keep up this run/walk and hit mile 10 at 2 hours and finish in 2 1/2 - my goal. I am right on time. Then it starts...aaaahhhhh!! (scream). calves cramping. Ok I can get through this too. I run until my calves seize up and then walk it out. I spent most of the run course liek this. Oddly enough, the run was my favorite part. Why?! It was hot, minimal shade, black asphalt. I mean when else can you stuff your sports bra with handfuls of ice?! the best part was the people. the fellow back of the packers. here is actually where I passed the most people. But not without words of inspiration, jokes, and smiles. As I was coming into mile 1 some guy must have seen some pain in my face as he gave me a high five and told me I want this and to go get it. This I saw in my head the whole time and passed those words as well as others to others. Badass TG LS ran passed me and waved the bling on her ears in my honor at me - team. (btw - she rocked it in first in her AG! woot! woot!) I ran/walked with one girl for about 2 minutes turns out her husband and my brother are friends from Charlotte waiting for both of us at the finish line together! Finally I was coming in and I heard it - the roar of pink. It's a blur - I ran as hard as my non-working legs would let me. Heard my name and the beep of the chip. I did it! I finished my first half ironman. Put my medal proudly around my neck and took pictures of that finish line.
Run goal: 2:30:00
Run time: 2:46:11 14/15
Finish goal: (1) to finish and (2) 7:00:00
Finish time: 7:24:33 15/15
Save the best for last baby!

Overall I learned about a long distance race.
But most importantly, I conquered a goal that a year ago I would never imagined even thinking about trying for.

Thank yous:
Grandison, Blake, Mark, Ed - for the training schedules, laughs and support.
John Pace and Karen Holloway - for kicking my butt in the pool.
TRIgirls - inspriation, support and friendship.
Friends and Family - I love you! my crankiness after a long workout, my absence from social gatherings, my annoyance on what I am going to eat! the words of support, encouragement, and faith from you was more t ome than you would ever know.

Next up - White Lake - bring it on baby!

and good luck to Greg on his first half ironman sunday at duke! you can do it!


Diane said...

Congratulations!!! You have had a lot of adversity/injury yet you stuck to your goal and you nailed it. I'm so proud and happy for you!!!

jones said...

you looked beautiful out there! we'll conquer white lake together!

carmen said...

congrats on a great first half!
that was fabulous that your brother
made the surprise appearance

and of course enquiring minds
need to know
lube up my chain
a metaphor?!?!?!

Melissa said...

hahahaha. carmen you crack me up. i guess you will never know :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!!!! You looked like the true champ you are out there.


triathlonmom said...

I'm so proud of you Melissa! Great Job. I love that you want it, go get it attitude!

TriGirl 40 said...

Whoo hoo - congrats on your first half IM! You did an incredible job - so excited for you! Loved your pictures - you look so happy!

Renae said...

So proud that you stuck it out!! From a sprint to half-ironman in 3 months. I think you are officially a badass!

Cyndi said...


I'm officially starting the Fave Fan Club!! You were AWESOME out there!!!! You should be so amazingly proud of yourself! And, I LOVE that your brother surprised you out there!! Congrats!!!


tryingtotri said...

You are my badass hero:)

Duane said...