I actually slept great and the alarm went off at 4:40am and we were out the door of the hotel (Hyatt) right around 5am. It's an easy walk down to the great lawn but when we got there, a line was wrapped around the block to get into transition which opened at 5:15. Maybe we got there a little early but the line moved quickly. Once in T1, I dropped off my sportz snax and pumped my tires. That was that.
Louisville's swim is first come first serve so obviously there was a line. Unlike 2012 they did not make us line up on that running path, instead we just lined up under the freeway underpasses. I liked this set-up better because it was less walking! Only bad part...zero porta potties in line!!! Luckily the construction site under the bridge had some bathrooms that we could use! Life saving right there! Once the cannon went off at 7:30, the line really started moving. Jason, Rachael and myself continued to put our wetsuits on as the line was moving. I guess we should have put them on a little sooner because at least I felt somewhat panicked as I tried putting my suit on in a moving line. At one point I was walking like a duck with my wetsuit around just around my knees :) My dad and Joe had also came down to the swim start with us. Was so nice to have to them there!
Before we knew it, we were walking on the docks and jumping in the water. I'd say we probably got in around 7:50ish. I jumped first out of the three of us and boom just like that I was back swimming in the Ohio River. I was so nervous when I did Louisville (my first) in 2012. Today though, I was calm and ready to see what I could do out on the course. Once swimming I felt pretty good. I think it's a super easy course to sight and you can't get lost. I pretty much had my own space most of the swim with little to no contact from others. I did get hit in the head though maybe 600 meters in, which knocked my goggles off a bit, so I had water in my right eye the rest of the swim and just went with it. One bridge, two bridges, and omg, there was Joe's Crap Shack and the swim exit! I literally can't believe how fast the swim went! I tired to keep a steady, strong pace and thought of all those mornings in the pool. This is a PR swim time for me, so supppperrr happy with it!!! All that band only swimming must have paid off. Still, I had a big hole to dig myself out of. I had no clue what place I was out of the water and it's pretty impossible to tell since it's a time trail start but I knew I had some work to do.
I somehow missed the wetsuit strippers out of the swim exit but got most of my wetsuit off while I was running to my bags. Once I got to my bags I ran into the changing tent. It was super crowded! I ran all the way to the end of it and just dumped out my bag. I wasn't changing but needed help getting on my arm warmers. The volunteer also stuffed my sportz snax in my pockets for me. It was in the high 40s when getting out of the swim so I decided to put on my ear band and full fingered gloves as well. OMG. putting gloves on wet hands. What a struggle!
The course is flat for the first 12 - 15 miles or so, then we hit two loops of rolling hills, then it's flat coming back into town. My legs felt like shit from the start. Hip flexors were killing me & my legs were just on fire. I was happy with my decision though of gloves, an ear band, toe covers and arm warmers. I was chilly maybe through at least mile 40 - 50. And I actually kept everything on almost the entire ride. I pushed my arm warmers down around maybe mile 80. I think my legs finally warmed up around mile 60ish after swearing at myself to keep moving and telling myself to ride smart (save some legs for the run). I felt like we had a head wind the entire ride! Like no matter what direction we were going...wind! How is that even possible? Ugh. My mind was also playing games with me and I just felt like I was struggling out there. I did play over the "thug life" cat video/songs in my head when I would pass people. lol. yep. cat videos helped get me through this ride :) I only made one stop on the bike at special needs & pretty much attempted to haul ass the last 30 miles after I realized hope was still alive to maybe be in the top of my AG since only a few girls in my AG had passed me that I counted. And omg, the road the last 12 miles. So many bumps! so cruel. Ouch. Was so excited to toss my bike to a volunteer.
The bike dismount line is pretty far from the bike in arch so it was lots of running with my cleats on. I tried to get in and out there as fast as I could. Put fresh socks on and used the porta potties and off I went.
This is the fun part of an ironman right? Yes, I know I have to be right :) But actually my run started off great!!! Stomach was good, legs were good, mental state was good. And the weather couldn't have been any more perfect. I had somehow missed seeing my family on the bike and didn't see them out of T2. I was bummed that I missed them and then omg there they were, a little less than a mile into the run. Joe yelled at me that I was in 7th off the bike and to go have a killer run! For whatever reason this really chocked me up and I felt like I couldn't breath as I held tears back from my eyes. After this I just settled into a strong but comfortable pace. My coach had told me to glance at my watch at mile 3 and that I should be able to hold that pace the entire run. I did just that and things were going great as I was holding around an 8:20 - 8:30ish pace though mile 11. Then whomp. My stomach started giving me some issues and I had to use the bathroom around mile 12. I think I should get a poop PR. LOL. Only 1 minute in the porta potties! I had already passed two girls in my AG on the run as I neared the end of the first loop. I also saw my mom and dad as I headed out for 13 more miles of fun and gave them a small wave and let them know I was hurting. I had seen my sista as I was finishing the first loop and caught up to her maybe a mile or so later. I was so happy to see her and know that she made it through the swim and bike and was going to finish her first ironman with no problems! She was feeling great when I saw her! For me though, I was not feeling great and my wheels started coming off maybe around mile 16ish. Legs, omg, my legs hurt so bad. But my legs don't have to feel good to run fast, at least that's what I was telling myself. My left hamstring was cramping despite taking base salt (maybe I was taking too much). And I could no longer look at my boom gels which I trained with all yr. Dry heaved those suckers and almost threw up all over myself so I just called it quits with the gel and any food the rest of the run. So after mile 16 it was just coke, Gatorade, and water. I was hungry but couldn't eat anything else. My pace slowed to the low 9s as I shuffled along. I was in a dark place mentally miles 16 - 21. I think I saw Jason around this point and he looked happy and I just grunted at him. I knew I was still in 5th place as no one had re -passed me but I knew I couldn't slow down if I wanted a podium spot. The last 5 miles seemed to take forever. I tried picturing myself starting one of my of so favorite swim - run brick workouts. Like if I could run an hr in the cold, rain, wind, heat, etc after swimming 4700, then these last few miles should feel like a piece of cake. The music at the redbull area seemed to lift my spirits some and I told myself just keep moving. Then, there is was! The finish line! I could finally stop moving!!!! I was so happy!
Total: 10:49:32 - 5th AG
Afterwards: I have never been in such bad shape at the finish line. I couldn't barely stand and was really out of it. My parents came with me and I basically b lined it to my hotel a half of block away. I threw up and my mom had to help me undress. After showering I was then freezing cold and just laid in bed under a pile of covers. I felt bad that I missed both Jason and Rachael go out for their second loop on the run. I wanted to see them. I wanted to cheer for them. I started feeling better with some coke and cheese-its in me and made it back down to the finish line. I am super proud of both Jason and my sister Rachael! Jason finished with a huge PR and my sister finished her first ironman!!!! I also loved the support of my parents and Joe, it was so nice seeing them out on the course and it really helped lift my spirits. I know Sherpa is not an easy job so it really means a lot to me that they are out there.
Overall: I couldn't be happier with how the day went! This is a big PR for me and the first time on the podium of an ironman!