Swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles, Run 26.2 miles, and brag for the rest of your life. I had seen the commercial long before I ever dreamed of doing an Ironman. Just three years ago when I started experimenting with sprint triathlons, I hadn’t ever dreamed of what it would take to prepare myself for such a test. Triathlon was a way to stay in shape during the summer by mixing up my training. Well, the days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, and I was out of college. Suddenly I realized triathlon was not just a hobby but a way of life. I now dream of being one of the best triathletes, a bold goal but my hope is that my stubbornness over the next 10 years of training can lead to great things.
When I look at the best triathletes in the world, it is easy to see they are not in their twenties but instead their thirties. So now here I am trying to make my mark, get my start and see what I am made of. I decided back in January that I wanted to complete at least one full ironman soon. Not trying to say I want to pick the full ironman as my distance, but instead I want to see who I am. An ironman is more than just a race, it is a test. It is said that the toughest test a human can put his body through is a full ironman. Sounds good to me, I enjoy pain, I enjoy a challenge, I enjoy showing people just how crazy I am. So once I moved back to Colorado I began my training at elevation and training for the Vineman Ironman: 60 days at elevation, 28 miles of swimming, just over 1,000 miles of cycling, and 386 miles of running.
The day of reckoning is here, and I have now finished my first ironman. To be completely honest, I am very bummed with how slow my time was. At just 10 miles into the bike section of the race, I was going through an aid station when a man dropped a water bottle right in front of me causing me to hit it and lose control. I swerved to the left and unclipped but just enough to twist my ankle a bit, then turned the bike right where I fully lost balance and fell around just 18 mph. I sacrificed my knee and right side of my body to protect the bike to ensure I could finish the race. With the help of another man I was able to get up but took about 10 minutes to get going again because I was bleeding/bruised/and had managed to crush my boys into the bike. I keep thinking back to how I crashed during the bike race, and how much it took out of me.
Finishing an Ironman is a huge deal, and that in itself is enough to make me smile. What really makes me smile are a few things: my mom came all the way out to California, and at one point when I had started to walk, I saw my mom and she walked with me till I could run again; next was the older gentlemen who stopped when I wrecked, picked my bike off of me, and waited around till I was able to get my wind back; after that, I watched another guy wreck, and I waited for him and we finished the bike and much of the run together bleeding and just talking; and the final thing was God. They say to make sure you are following God and not the other way around. Well, today I saw him all over the course, and at one point I was quoting scripture aloud to kind of stay sane. 12+ hours is a long time to be alone with one’s thoughts. After my finish, I collapsed and they immediately took me away on a stretcher to look after my wounds and to rehydrate me. Once again my mom was there, and I was so truly blessed to have her along. This race did not go according to plan, it went much longer. However, I now can say I am an Ironman, and I had to go through the toughest day of my life to accomplish it. 58 days of training in Colorado, 30 miles of swimming, over 1000 miles on the bike, and 385 miles of running for just one race. I can’t wait to sleep!