It’s one week to the day after I crossed the finish line of Ironman Arizona, and I think my thoughts are finally put together enough to blog about it. The entire race. The days leading up to the race. And most importantly, how I’m feeling after the race. This will be one of those blog posts where you already know the result, so I’m going to work with that as a starting point, then go back to the beginning. 15:24:52
I got home Monday night somewhat early, able to commute from the east coast on a United flight. T picked me up at the airport and I was officially on vacation ready to go! We ran a couple errands, visited Run Colorado for a last-minute hug/good luck, then got home and started to get packed for the trip. The car was going to be stuffed beyond stuffed with all the gear/bikes/bags we intended to bring, but it needed to be done. We double-checked our stuff the night before and kept our fingers crossed that we didn’t forget anything.
Awake at the ridiculous hour of 3:30 am, we hit the road. By 4, we were on the road, planning on a stop in Colorado Springs for coffee. I didn’t know this at the time, but a surprise was waiting for me. With 140.6 or Bust written in car paint on the back window, we were off!
After grabbing our coffee, we drove up a road, but I had no idea why. Turns out we were paying a visit to Norm, a friend of ours from Run Colorado who wanted to see me personally before we jetted out of town. With some pats on the back, some very blurry pictures, and well wishes, we got back on the road.
The drive is what it is. Boring. Dry. Long. We kept hydrated, fed, and amused.
Arriving into Tucson on Tuesday night, we stopped immediately at TriSports to drop our bikes off for a tune-up. This was our first snag of the trip. I had prearranged for TriSports to tune up our bikes, but the mechanic told us that because of a previous mechanic quitting, he wouldn’t have them done until Thursday. Obviously, this wasn’t part of our plan, and while we were ready to adapt and deal, I dropped the owners name, which I didn’t want to do but felt I needed to. Leaving our bikes, we skedaddled to find food. Not 10 minutes later, T got a call saying that the bikes would be done the following morning and ready to go. We both felt a bit guilty, but moved on. We did our ritual of Eegees and Lucky Wishbone for dinner, then found the hotel. Exhausted from the day, we crashed for the night.
Wednesday morning was a lazy morning for us. Our bikes would be ready at noon, so we lazed around the hotel room for a bit before heading to breakfast. After we ate, we hit Target and otherwise just killed time until our bikes were ready. Then we headed back to TriSports to pick up our bikes and last bike needs. We browed the store for nearly an hour, feeling in our element. Picking up our bikes and gear, we repacked the car and chatted with a triathlete who had just finished Kona. He wished us luck and told us we’d do fine. With the car packed, we headed up to Phoenix, where we’d stay with my aunt and uncle for the night.
After arriving at their place and getting settled, we changed clothes and headed down to Tempe for a short run. We didn’t have a lot on our workout plate this week (obviously) but we still needed to get some fitness in. Found parking on the opposite side of the lake where transition was located, and ironically was underneath the bridge where we volunteered with TriSports late in the race last year. We jaunted off for a 1.5 mile run, one that would take us up the most difficult hill on the run course. Hardly a hill so much as a gradual incline, we both determined it would be very little factor on loop 1, but a greater challenge on loop 2. Heading back to the car, we headed back to my aunt and uncles, where we enjoyed a good dinner and crashed for the night.
Thursday morning we woke up, ate breakfast, and headed down to the expo to check in. This was going to be the first real exposure to Ironman. We picked up our friend Mike, who was staying at a hotel not too far away and was volunteering/cheering us on. We parked not too far away, and headed into the park.
Check in was no different than it was for 70.3, except a bit busier. Pick up your waiver, your insurance info, etc. Then you get your wristband, backpack, etc. We picked up our swag and headed back to my aunt and uncles house, where we quicked packed up our stuff due to my parents coming in. They were going to be staying there, so we had to find a new place to stay. (it was arranged, so no big deal.) We visited with my parents for a little while, chatted, then headed to our hotel. It was a Holiday Inn Express near the ASU campus.
After this, we decided to go for a pre ride on the Beeline. Unfortunately, we could not find a place to park to ride, so we parked at a mall and just rode a few miles. It was a ridiculously fast ride, and gave us some great confidence for our upcoming race. We had Mike ride back to his hotel, where we’d pick him up for a dinner at my aunt and uncles.
11 people in all, and all were there with a vested interest in our race. My aunt and uncle, T’s parents, my parents, our friends Kris and Mark, plus Mike and ourselves. 11 people. Dinner was tasty and conversation flowed. It was great. We visited for awhile, then skedaddled for the night.
Friday morning was kind of lazy, kind of not. Woke up in the morning, ate hotel breakfast, then headed over to get massages. I wanted my shoulders, hammies, and calves really worked. After that, we headed down to the expo again for the athlete briefing. Normally I wouldn’t care about the athlete briefing, but since it was my first Ironman, I wanted to be there. I listened, hearing a few things that actually were relevant.
After the briefing, we grabbed lunch, then worked our way back to the park. I was meeting up with a pilot friend of mine who would also be racing IMAZ. He wanted to catch the pro panel, so we did that. Then we hung around for another athlete briefing and met up with some fellow MaccaXers. Caught a few photo ops, then skedaddled. We rested up a bit before the athlete dinner, which we didn't really want to go to, but I'm glad we did. We hung out with Aaron, my pilot friend, and listened to Mike Reilly for a bit. It was actually really fun and relaxed, and I'm very grateful we went. Then we walked back to the hotel, and retired for the night.
Saturday morning we woke up and headed over to the park, where we would get in our race pre-swim. It'd be our only chance to truly test out the water, so we wanted to do it. Given how cold it was supposedly to be, I had some nerves about it. Jumping into Tempe Town Lake, I experienced that initial shock when you hit the water, but got over it quickly. T and I both agreed the swim would be very short, nothing more. Simply getting used to the water and see how it felt. We stayed together for the most part and after the initial shock, I warmed up surprisingly quick. I felt the swim would be a non-issue and my confidence in myself was even higher.
There would be a tiny bit of drama leaving the water. After I pulled myself up and out, T did and promptly showed me a bloody toe. Apparently she cranked it off the bottom stair pulling herself out and cut it. She visited an ambulance nearby and got patched up. We both laughed about it and hoped it wouldn't affect her the next day.
We drove back to the Holiday Inn Express, where we checked out and got ready to head back to the course where we would check in our bikes and drop off our gear bags. Making our way to trans, we saw our friend Mike volunteering and laughed at him. I told him to do stuff for me and he told me no, do it myself. Kept us relaxed and laughing. We racked my bike on the end of the rack, where I was assigned. Then we walked to T's bike spot. She walked past her spot, walked backwards to get back to it, and tripped, falling right onto her front cog. Blood spurted from her ankle, and suddenly, our concern was no longer IMAZ. We had to get her better. We quick racked her bike and attempted to find her medical care. We were told to head over to the parking lot where we parked. No med care available, I decided we should head back to my aunt and uncles, where my mom and aunt could wash out the wound and bandage it. Once there, my mom took one look at it, washed it, and told us to get to Urgent Care. Suddenly it looked like one member of TBD would have their season derailed due to injury. And not an overuse injury either! I mean, c'mon, man!
At Urgent Care, we got her cleaned up and 5 stitches in her ankle. Thankfully, the cut was right on the bone, which would not destroy her. Our afternoon of rest would be that and more. The doc didn't want to green light her for IMAZ, but T basically said she was going to do it no matter what. I guess that's what 11 months of training will get you.
We checked into our new hotel, the Tempe Mission Palms, which was very close to the race start, and went out for some much needed sushi. After that, my parents met up with us for a bit. It'd be the last time they met up with us, and I'm very glad they did. They took care of T and iced her up, got her comfortable. The rest of the day we would kill sitting in our hotel, only venturing out for our standard breakfast dinner. Our friend Corie, who is another MaccaX member and friend who raced IMAZ last year came to our hotel room, as did Norm's friend Layla, who introduced herself by punching me! (Norm told her to) She had an awesome sign that we took some pictures with and she wished us good luck. We got our special needs together and otherwise just wound down for the night. The following morning would be big, and I think it warrants its own blog post to follow. :-)