I signed up for my first ironman in February. I didn’t own a bike and I hadn’t been on one since I was about 10. I started swimming in January and biking in March, although I did’t take my bike outside until April. I completed my first ever triathlon in April, a sprint. In June I did an olympic and half ironman distance and I just finished my first full ironman in October. I don’t recommend this kind of training plan. There’s only one reason I made it through all of these races… My sweet Savior.🙏 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness. My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor 12:9-10
“Your weakness is an opportunity to grow strong in awareness of My almighty presence. When your energy fails you, do not look inward, look to Me and My sufficiency; rejoice in My radiant riches that are abundantly available to help you.“
We got to Louisville around 1AM Friday morning. We stayed at the Galt House, it was walking distance to everything ironman, although they didn’t have a tub, fridge, or microwave. We went to the expo and athlete check in on Friday morning. We got there around 9:30ish and the check in line was pretty long. I would say 95% of the people in line were wearing ironman gear, it was just a little intimidating. Once we got our bibs and bags we went to the expo and spent way too much money. We had been saving for awhile because we knew we would be out of control in that tent. Haha!!
On Saturday we drove the bike course to know what we were in for. We also walked down to the swim start which was a mile away from transition. This wasn’t necessary but I wanted to see it since I was freaking out about the jump. We also checked in our bikes and bags. I had a very nice volunteer walk me around the transition area and showed me where my gear bags would be and how to get them on Sunday. This was very helpful because everything was so crazy on Sunday. We just relaxed the rest of Saturday and watched football.
We woke up at 2:40ish, not that I was really sleeping anyways. We got our Tri Tats on and ate. I had all this food that I was planning on eating but all I managed to eat was one pop tart. This was the start of terrible nutrition for me all day. Me, my dad, and Dash left the hotel around 3:45 to head to the swim start line. Ben stayed behind so he could check on our bikes and air up the tires.
When we got to the line, there were like 5 people ahead of me. Which tuned into 10 people because they were holding spots for their friends, but that didn’t bug me since I was doing it too. I knew I would need as much time on the bike as I could get, so that is why I got in line so early. It was freezing while waiting in line. I had on sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and my dads vest. Dash was waiting with me keeping me somewhat warm. I managed to eat 3 twizzlers while waiting in line. They had port o potties by the line and I’m so glad they did. I used them about 15 times (nevous bladder) Ben found me in line and we were ready to get in the water. We gave our morning bags to my dad and said bye to them and off we went.
Walking down to the water like I had so many fears with the swim leg. With having to jump in the water (thought people would jump on top of me) to swimming under the bridges and everything in between. The water was warm and felt good. I wore my “Never give up, the Lord will strengthen you” bracelet and it started to come off when I started swimming. So I had to stop twice to tighten it… I have terrible sighting skills and sure enough not even 10 mins into the swim and I was almost running into the trees on the island. Yikes. So I turned my body the other way and started swimming back to the pack. This happened a lot…. I was trying not to look around too much while I was in the water for fear of what I would see.. I got hit in the face right away but it wasn’t very hard, so I was fine. I had serval people passing me, some hitting me as they went by. I got in the face twice and the last time it knocked my goggles off. I was able to get them back on but they got water in them and it made it really hard to see. Although not being able to see everything in the Ohio river prob wasn’t the worst thing Sometimes I felt like I was the only one around and I swear every time I thought that, someone would come barreling by me. I was trying really hard not to swallow any water, but no such luck. I’m not sure how much I swallowed but it was enough to mess with my stomach the whole day 🙁 Once I passed the second bridge I knew it was only .40 left, but it felt like forever!! I got out of the water in 1:35. Slow but I was just glad I finished and I didn’t have any freak outs. “If something doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” –Craig Groeschel
T1- I swam in my bathing suit because I didn’t want to be cold on the bike. So when the wetsuit helpers took mine off, all I had on was my 2 piece and I was freezing. It was a pretty long walk to transition but I got my bag with no problems. I changed in the tent, took my tums, went to the bathroom. I thought I was doing good on time but it turns out I took 15:43 minutes in T1. Oops.
I don’t know what happened to my watch but it only showed me distance and cadence. I have no idea where my speed went. So I never knew what speed I was going all day. I ate an applesauce and my fun sized snickers right away on the bike. I’m so glad I did because my stomach started to hurt 5 minutes in. My stomach ache felt like period cramps. It was awful. I thought about getting off within the first 15 miles but the Lord keep me strong. I took my throw away jacket off at the first aid station, might off been a mistake as I was cold for most of the first loop. If anyone has looked at the map for this course, it is all hills. The first and last 8ish miles are flat and then the rest is rolling hills the whole time. I was able to eat one package of chews and a snack size bag of my cheese it mix during the bike leg. There were a lot of bike crashes this race. One person had to be life flighted. Another broke their neck and another their face. People were flying on this course, even in the dangerous parts. This was upsetting me because I’m not a good cyclist and people were getting way too close to me. I had 3 people pass me on the right, what the heck?!? And two of them didn’t even say anything, not cool people. I got off my bike about 3 times. The first one was by accident, I almost fell off my bike. I hit a steep hill and my bike would not shift into my little ring, I could feel that I was falling and thank the Lord I was able to unclip before I hit the ground. I had to walk up that hill and get back on at the top, only to get right back off. My chain was messed up and I started to freak out because I don’t know the first thing about fixing bike chains. Once again the Lord was watching over me because the first thing I tried worked. All I did was shift again and push my pedals like I was on them and my chain got back on. 🙂 Ben said he saw a lot of people dropping their chains, Honestly I don’t even know what that means, haha! I got off the bike at mile 60 for my special needs bag, I was trying to hurry but I spent about 10 minutes here. I had a volunteer get my bag and help me with it. I ate my tums and I dumped some of the food that I knew I was not going to eat from my bike bag. I got my other bag of cheese its while another volunteer put sunscreen on me. I forgot to put on sunscreen in T1. From mile 60 to 112 I was really struggling and didn’t know if I would make it. I hit the La Grange cheering station around mile 65ish and a lot of people had already left but someone called out my name and was cheering for me (and I did not have on my bib with my name on it). I could not tell who she was because I was too scared to turn around on my bike haha but If your out there, thank you so much!!! This really picked me up and gave me some good energy for the next few miles. This course is a lollypop course, with a down and then 1 loop that you do twice and then back up the stick to the finish. When I went into the neighborhood on the 2nd lap, I just had no energy and I was starting to get really nervous about my run. I stopped at the last aid station to go the bathroom and there was a line, I was shocked since there wasn’t a lot of people still on the course. When I got back on the bike, I puttered on home, very slowly. I have to give a shoutout to all of the volunteers, they were amazing. The aid stations were awesome, every port o potty I went into had TP!! This never happens and I know it was only because of the volunteers. I was nervous about the littering penalty but you could throw your trash down from the start of an aid station to the end, they had signs. I loved this but I also felt bad about throwing my trash and making the volunteers pick it up. Overall, the bike was by far the hardest part for me. My time was 8:31. A lot slower than I wanted. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness.” 2 Cor 12:19 🐢
T2- It was another long walk in cleats to the transition area. When we got there a volunteer took my bike and I found my gear bag. Another volunteer helped me with my bag. I changed my shoes and socks and ate another applesauce and tums. I took 9 minutes in this transition.
I started out by walking, I was eating the applesauce and I had to fix my hair. I also got tissues to blow my nose since it had been running all day, it was turning raw 🙁 I went to the bathroom at the first port o potty I saw. My plan for the run was walk the aid stations and run the rest. I did this for most of the race. My stomach was still not feeling right and all I ate was a handful of chips and cheese its. I tried to drink as much gatorade as I could but it was not going down well. I did drink water at every stop, they had ice in it and it was so good. I saw Ben at mile 6, he was on mile 8. It was good to see each other and to know that we had both made it that far. After I saw him I knew it wouldn’t be long before I caught him (running is not his thing) but I had to make an unexpected stop at the potties that lasted about 10 minutes…. Yeah, so I didn’t catch him until mile 14ish. One thing about this run course… it is very boring and most of it is not in the nicest parts of town. I was a little worried about my 2nd lap because I knew it would be dark and there prob would not be very many people around me. However, there was still a fair amount of people out there and cops on almost every street, so I always felt safe. When I passed mile 13 and had to see the finish line and all the people who were finishing, it was really discouraging. In fact I started walking and thought is it even worth it to go another 13 miles. I was in a lot of pain. But the Lord keep me going. When I passed Ben I could tell he was really struggling. I only ran about 5 more miles by myself until we meet up again. It was around mile 21 and I had to decide if I wanted to try to push it in to make it in 16 hours or if I wanted to stay with Ben and make sure he finished. I choose to stay with Ben, we were both struggling and hurting so it was better if we were together. Also, it was very cool to finish hand and hand with him. After we decided we weren’t going to make the 16 hours, I went to the bathroom (I had been holding it in for awhile) and we walked a lot of the last 3 miles. I finished the run in 5:39. “Be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7 ♡
Overall our time was 16:11. I’m bummed we didn’t finished in 16 hours but we still finished and I am so proud of that! “Anything is possible if a person believes.” Mark 9:23
If you’ve been following my training than you know this was not an easy journey for me. When I signed up for an ironman I couldn’t swim, I couldn’t even make it from one end of the pool to the other. To make it worst, I had a fear of the water, I could only swim if my head was above the water … I hadn’t been on a bike since I was about 10 years old, I didn’t even own a one. Then when I bought a bike, I fell at least 5 times. The ONLY thing I had down was the run. I started swimming and January and cycling in March (I don’t recommend this strategy) My first few swims and bike rides were awful and thought about quitting everyday. I thought there was no way I could do this. I had many freak outs in OWS and a lot of scares on my bike. But I stuck with the training and trusted God to protect me and strength me. I knew if I put in the hours, He would do the rest… and make no mistake… This was all Him!!! I felt God’s presence with me every step of the way… I can’t believe I’m an Ironman!! Thank you everyone for all of your support! “It may be impossible, nevertheless, God can do the impossible.” Luke 18:27
We would not of been able to do this without my dad. He watched Dash while we were racing and he picked up our bikes and bags. He also drove us home.. 10 hours in the car was not fun.
“Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.” Esther 4:14
And now for the next one…… to be continued…. 🙂 “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13