The start cannon went off and the crush of bodies in the water began to swim. There was bumping and jostling and occasionally half a body on top of my legs but I felt good! I really don't mind the triathlon body contact any more and I knew I was getting pulled along with the masses for some extra speed. If I wanted, I could just pretend I was working the pole up the street at Babes or Skin, given how many times my ass was being groped by strangers.
Surprisingly, given that the water temperature was identical to the Splash & Dash I'd done the previous week, I was not really cold. Certainly not the bad shivering and shaking I'd done in 2009 in similar conditions. Maybe all those days of ending my showers with a blitz of cold water to the head had worked.
A wonderful volunteer grabbed my arm and hauled me out of the lake, I ran up the steps and across the mat, and that was one leg of this amazing race DONE!
2.4 mile swim: 1:57:26
Danni as my bike handler - great to see a familiar face as I headed out!
And then it was time to ride my bike, 3 loops around the course, for a total of 112 miles. I knew there was no "racing" that would be done here, simply spinning at the intended watts and fueling up for however many hours it would take (I guessed between 6:45 and 7:00) There was a little headwind on the way out of loop 1 but nothing like last time where I'd had to spin 11mph in my small ring to get my heart rate down and stay within my target watts. My legs were a little cold and slow to warm up but I felt good. After 15 minutes to let my stomach settle down from drinking half of TTL, I began to take in calories. The wind shifted after my first loop and loops 2 and 3 were characterized by tailwind on the way out to Shea and strong headwind on the return trip. Sometimes, it sucked. I might have stuck my finger down my throat and made gagging noises at Jeff on my way out for loop 3 to indicate my enthusiasm. But I knew if I kept at it and just focused on the plan, it would end eventually. And really it wasn't that bad, because I'd practiced riding in lots of wind in aero.
Mary would be very proud of me for that! And I rode this distance for the first time ever in tri shorts! I experienced some chafing but nothing any worse than usual for me - thankfully I ride an Adamo saddle (cutout in the middle) so the spot I chafe is more at the top of my inner thighs. (Side note: however, when you are chafed...and you pee...it burns a little!)
112 mile bike: 6:49:48
The first few steps were...a little rough and then I took off running to grab my bag and hit up the changing tent. Tossed my helmet off, grabbed my socks and shoes to put on, and asked the volunteer to shove my bundle of gels in my pocket while I got my shoes on. Her response? "I'll get it after you stand up. Don't worry, it's not even 4:00 yet and you have till midnight, you have plenty of time to finish." Hmmph. So...transition took a little longer than I would have liked. Volunteers are a wonderful thing to have so I'm not going to say anything negative but a little aid would have been appreciated.
Off to run and I knew I needed to dial back my pace right away. Make it feel painfully easy for the first 5 miles. I felt slow as could be, like I was trotting in place, while I ambled along passing people but it worked.
The magical moment of an Ironman finish chute arrived. Screaming crowd, bright lights, and Mike Reilly calling my name. The happiest place on earth, even happier the second time around.
I can see now how each Ironman finish is special in its own way. The first...well, there's never anything like your first and that voyage into the unknown. This one was the confirmation that I could do more than just finish, I could come back to the same course, having worked harder and smarter for the two years in between, and improve upon the past.
A 75 minute Ironman PR
Having reviewed this race with my coach and identified where I had problems and hearing her plans for me to achieve that next big breakthrough, I can say - though I questioned my sanity for signing up for Canada several times on race day - that I can't wait to tackle the next set of challenges. I'll be resting and doing my own thing for another 5 weeks but then...bring it!
Thank you to my husband for supporting me 100% through all the insanity of Ironman training, to my coach for getting me to the start line in the best shape of my life, to Recovery e21 for supporting all of my training and racing this year (I PRed at every distance this year using e21, those are results that speak for themselves!), and to Dr Brink and staff at Premiere Spine & Sport for keeping all my little aches and pains from becoming BIG aches and pains.