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Let the Journey Begin...

Posted Jun 10 2009 12:18am

1.2 miles Down, 69.1 miles to Go

Nearing the finish line :)

Well my journey to Ironman CDA in June 08 started yesterady. On Sunday I
I completed the Prairie Man Half Iron Triathlon in Grand Prairie, Texas.

You could say it all started Saturday night when I was packing and unpacking and then repacking my gear. I made sure I had all the essentials for the swim, bike, and run as well as several water bottles along with my nutrition and food for the race.

Sunday my alarm woke me up at about 3:30. I unpacked adn repacked the transition bag one more time, put my water bottles and food on my bike, pumped the tires with air, grabbed some breakfast, and off I went.

Arrived at the race site in Grand Prairie around 5:15, and it was dark as can be. Before entering transition I got body marked, race numbers being placed on my left arm and left leg while my age was put on my right calf. As I rolled my bike in about 25 people stopped to say hi, some fellow Fit2Trainers, some fellow Team USA members, the race director and several triahtlete friends I haven't seen since the beginning of the season. It took a while to get everything placed next to my bike the way I wanted. I checked my bike to make sure it was ok to race, then headed off to do a short warm up run. I then met my freind, Jane, one of my biggest fans and supporters. We chatted for a little bit before I headed back to transition to check everything one more time and get my swim cap and goggles so I could start getting ready for the race.

Pre race meeting was same old same old. Jack went though the course with much description making sure we knew which bouys to turn at and which ones not to turn at on the swim. He went through the bike course with much explanation as well as the run course, which was easy as "a true out and back course through the park and on the dam, then do it backwards". I was so nervous with so many butterflies in my stomach I started tuning out what he had to say.

The Swim 1.2 Miles
As I entered Joe Pool Lake, all I could think about was sighting the bouys and not turning at the wrong ones. I decided to get up toward the front of the pack and wished everyone good luck before the horn blew. As the horn blew and we were off, I got swam over by so many guys. I broke the swim up into three parts, the first diagonal, the long stretch, and the last diagonal into transition. The first diagonal was great. Though I swimming into the sun, which was rising at the time, I was able to swim fairly straight along the course and made good timimg to the first turn bouy which was yellow. As I turned and started the longest stretch of the swim, the wind must have picked up somewhat because the water started to get choppy and I had a harder time swimming that stretch. It was midway through that stretch the first guys from the wave 4 minutes after my wave started passing me. I got onto one guy from behind and drafted him for the last half of the long stretch so I could expend less energy. I was happy to see the last turn bouy, which meant I was headed toward the home stretch of the swim. As I approched the ramp and stood up in the waist high water I saw two lines of well wishers and heard them cheering, It was great do be done with the swim and to be headed into T1.

T1 Swim to Bike
Not a very fast one. Took a while to get my helmet, sunglasses, bike shoes, and race number on. Grabbed my bike and off I went.

The Bike 56 Miles
Unfortunately the bike was the worst part of the race, never getting into the groove. I warmed up and just spun in my small chain ring while heading out of the park. The winds weren't to strong they took a toll early on. As I got a few miles into the ride I glanced down at my odometer aka bike computer and saw a very slow bike avg for a gal like me. I then knew this was going to be a very long 56 miles, but I knew I could do it even it I didn't meet my goal time. There was one part of the 4 loop bike ride where I was cruising on the flats at about 27 mph but otherwise my legs never got going. As I rode by the entrance to the park I always heard Jane and coach Gerald screaming and cheering for me, which gave me a little more confidence and a little more speed in my legs. Lets just say I was never so happy to finish a bike portion. It felt so good to see transition again and hear the cheers of the crowd!

T2 Bike to Run Transition
Probably my slowest transition yet. Took a while to switch shoes and get my Fit2Train running hat on.

The Run 13.1 Miles
I must say the run was the most mentally challenging portion of the whole entire race. It was only 10:45 am but the sun was out and man was it hot. I ran out of transition with alot of confidence that this years run was going to be much better then last years, which it was. As I turned right to go for the loop in the park before heading out to the infamous dam, I high fived and was cheered on by my fellow Fit2Trianers, including one big one from Gerald. I had to stop to recollect my thoughts a few secongs there after but got going again. I was going to do this. The loop around the park was somewhat shaded so I was able to keep a good pace.

As I finished the loop I was then getting myself mentally ready to run the dam. I headed out on the road to the dam only to see Austrailian Pro Chris Leigh and Canadian Elite ???? Paulsen heading back to finsih the race, though I didn't let that bother me at all and what I was out there to accomplish for myself. As I got to the dam the heat started to bother me so I decided to walk up the incline to the dam, which was a good idea. I then thought about how I was going to handle the heat and the dam. I decided to run or jog as I did from water station to water station and walk the water station. At each water station I got two cups of water, two wet towels (one to go down the back of my tank and the other for the top of my hat), and a cup of gatorade at every other water station. It was great passing so many runners who were walking, but I always said something like "great job" or "keep it up" to encourage them to keep going. As I was going out I saw two of my fellow Team USA buddies, as well as my fellow age group competitor going back, yet again I didn't let it bother me and what I was going to accomplish that day. I was never so happy in my life to see the turn around signs and cones several long miles later.

After I turned around, Melissa, a fellow Fit2Trainer jogged by me. I was determined not to let her out of my site for the rest of the run. Then somewhere between mile 8 and 9 Gerald was out on the dam riding his mountain bike talking to several of us, giving us alot of encouragement. I finally cuaught up to him and we chatted for a while. We were talking about how this is what the Ironman run was gonna be like, passing one walker at a time. Several minutes later Gerlad headed down the dam and once again I was on my own on the dam. Only one runner passed me until the end of the dam, but I was passing the others left and right.

The clouds started building and by end of the dam I felt rain drops. I was so excited that the last three miles of this long run was going to be one with rain. I checked my watch and knew I had minutes to spare to reach the cut off time for qualifying for worlds next year in Holland, so I ran as fast as my little legs could carry me.

The Finish
Man was I ever so happy to see the finsih line. After I looped around that park for the second and last time, my friend Jane, joined me for a little sprint. She said that for once she was able to keep up with me. I told her to then head to finish line to be there for my great finish. Then it was past the lake and straight toward the finish line. It was awesome seeing the Fit2Train tent as well as Gerald and all the other Fit2Trainers cheering me in. I then gathered my finsiher shirt and mug, a bottle of water and called it a day.

Final Thoughts on Prairie Man 2007
By far this had to be hardest race I've ever raced these past four years as a triathlete. Though my overall time was slower then I wanted it to be, I learned alot about myself in six hours. Challenges arose all day with this race. In fact I learned that I was one of the very few runners running on that dam at the time of the day I was out there. How amazing is that? I know from this experience that I WILL and CAN conquer any challenges that my Ironman CDA training will bring me as well as Ironman CDA race day itself.

My official results were as followed:
Swim 37:08.5
T1 1:47.5
Bike 2:52:26.0
T2 2:16.0
Run 2:32:21.6
Final Time 6:06:00.0

What's next on my calendar you ask! The Dave Scott Texas Man Sprint Tri Sept 16 in Valley View! A 500 meter swim 18 mile bike, and 5k run will sure be easy compard to what I just did! I'll let ya'll know how it goes :)

More to come...

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