This is my journey from couch to athlete.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The dream is achieved in overtime

Today, the strength came from inside!

Woke up at 5am and tried to have a cup of tea and a bagel but I just couldn't stomach anything. Forcer myself to eat half of the bagel and brought the other half later because I knew I was going to need the energy. Got there around 6:15am, racked our bikes and got body marked. Then we had over an hour to stand around and talk. The organization was amazing! There were no big line-ups for body marking, but the usual line ups for the washroom. I used the porta-pottie and decided that it's a cruel joke when they use the ones that don't have chemicals inside the bowl. I already had an upset stomach from the nerves and it took all my strength not to hurl.

The weather: 27c and not a cloud in the sky. Yay for no wind on the bike (that would have been killer) but it was damn hot and hydration was definitely a concern.

Got ready, went in the lake for a little dip and then waited for the start. It was really weird, with only a couple of minutes to go, suddenly a calm came over me and I just felt ok. The gun goes off and I slowly wade into the lake (letting all the speedsters fight for their position at the front). The water was nice and warm-so no shock to the system. A few hundred meters in, a girl beside me looks like she is in trouble so I stopped and asked if she was ok. She said she needed help. I offered to call over a boat but she wanted me to continue with my race. Sorry, but my race isn't worth someone getting hurt. She said she'd be ok, so I kept going. Had some stomach issues half way around the first loop and wondered if I could manage for another 1500m. A little while and a few belches later, and it was all better. About 300m from the beach I started to get lapped by the speedsters. That was really disheartening and here I was in my own space at the back with a couple of others and then suddenly there are people all around me. I finished the first loop and reminded myself that I always get a second wind in the pool. Headed off and felt ok. Nothing eventful on the second loop, but a lot of promises that if my shoulder held out, I would not swim again until it is all healed! Now I have to stick to that promise because it held out just fine. As I get out of the water, the announcer starts saying that there is only 1 person left in the water and he is the oldest person competing today! That actually made me laugh since he was the only I beat. Time 1:02

Got to transition. I was completely out of sorts. The strippers had to take off my entire wetsuit, including unzipping it. Then at my bike, one of the volunteers helped me get my shirt, and race number on and made sure I had everything I needed. Had a few words with a frined, then it was off on the bike. I was really out of breath and it was tough because you have to climb a hill as soon as you start. My legs felt ok though. I pedalled the best I could and tried hard to remember to eat and drink! There are two climbs on this course - right near the 50km turn around point. I stressed about those a bit, but just kept on going. It's awful flying downhill, knowing you have to come back and climb that sucker. Did the first climb and felt ok. But then I had this sinking feeling that maybe that wasn't it! You have never seen someone so relieved to see the turn around point and know that I was already done one. I felt strong at the turn around, and knew I was going to get this part done today. (pretty good for me - 53 weeks after my first try-a-tri). At 60km, I was concerned with my time. I knew I needed at least 3:20 to finish the run and it didn't look like I would finish in time for that. I felt good so I just gave it all I had and managed to pass 3 people between 60-75km. I was really relieved to see the 85km marker! I was getting some serious saddle sores and couldn't use my aerobars, and my feet were really sore. I came in to a lot of support!! Lots of friends and my husband cheering me on. I'm not sure about the time-it was about 3:50.

Second transition - totally out of sorts again! Volunteers again saved me by helping get my stuff. I was asked 3 times if I needed medical assistance so I must not have looked or sounder very good. My husband was there so I talked to him while I changed. Just about to leave transition when I realize I still have tri and bike shorts on! Whipped off my bike shorts and gave them to my husbad. He came with me for about the first km. We talked about the fact that I only had 3:10 to finish the half marathon and my best time it 2:54 on fresh legs. I walked quickly, but didn't feel up to running yet. We parted and I started to run. My quads were seizing so I just started drinking sports drink hping that would help. I kept walking and tried to run but I just had no strength in my legs. I walked as fast as I could. I ran into a friend and he told me that he had 4 flats on the bike! What a trooper - I would have quit. He was about 2km behind me. I saw the 5km marker and disheartened - it had already been over an hour. Guess I'm not much of a speedwalker. I knew I wasn't going to make it in time but I had decided beforhand that even if I missed the cut-off I was still going to finish this race. Trekked on and it felt like forever before I hit the turnaround. My friend had almost caught up to me by now. He did about 1km down the road. I told him I wasn't going to finish in time, and he said we could if we could run 1 and 1s. I tried but I just couldn't so I told him to go - he wasn't going to dnf because of me. On I went, on the verge of tears because I knew I couldn't make it. With about 7km to go, my husband shows up on a mountain bike. I was so happy to see him but burst into tears when I told him that I wasn't going to finish on time. He was so great! He just kept saying that those were their cutoff times, medal or no medal you are still a half ironman! He asked if I wanted him to go, but after 7 hours it was so nice to have someone to talk to so I asked him to stay with me. It was great, we joked and talked - it really kept my spirits up. With 4km to go, a volunteer pulls up on a golf cart and says that they have to shut everything down at 4. I said, that was fine I understood. She offered to give me a ride to some point. I refused, saying I was finishing the distance today and it's ok if the finish line is gone when I get there. She said she would go back and let them know. Off I walked again. It was real mixed feelings, being so close to finishing something I have thought about so much for the past year but knowing that I couldn't make the cutoff. I was really proud of myself though. I can honestly say that I didn't have anything else to give today! I put it all out there and did the best I possibly could. With 2km to go, some friends are standing there cheering for me (one of which also did the full race today). I tried to run a little but just had nothing. I walked with my husband, my son and a friend. With 100m to go, I turn the corner (the picture above) and see a group of about 15 of my friends all cheering like crazy. The finish line is still up and the announcer starts calling that the final runner is coming in! They actually kept it all open for me. I run as hard as I can through the finish line and into the arms of my friends. A volunteer comes over and hangs a medal around my neck! I just burst in to tears. It was so emotional, and so great. It was a dream come true and I got to share it with so many people. Lots of hugs and congratulations, and a strawberry daquiri to boot. Run/walk time was about 3:25.

A massive thanks goes out to my husband and son for supporting me, my training friends, and the maniacs for everything! I did this, but I know that I had a lot of support and encouragement along the way.

So, what about that tattoo!


  • At 4:12 PM, Blogger eastglen77 said…

    why to go kerry.......sounds like an amazing journey, now that you've conquered this, everything and anything else seems possible...


  • At 7:48 PM, Blogger Kerry said…

    Except doing it again - haha. I know I'll be back, I have some unfinished business with this distance - finishing within the cutoff times, but right now I'm so sore I can't even think about it. Thanks!!

  • At 9:43 PM, Blogger Running~Jordan said…

    Congratulations on an exceptional race - you showed so much determination and I am proud of you.

  • At 9:34 PM, Blogger Ron said…

    Damn good job, Kerry! Be proud, and keep a smile on as you have some time to let your body heal. Hopefully you were putting the energy I saved for you in the last 2k of my Run for Canada to good use! ;)

    Seriously tho, congrats! You've come a long way!

  • At 1:42 PM, Blogger Kerry said…

    Thanks a lot Ron! I'm glad you had a chance to read the unabridged version, so I don't have to type it all out again :0) How come you were saving energy for me? Didn't you need in all in TO?

  • At 5:44 PM, Blogger Ron said…

    Check out my post for the full story... but when I got to 8km and saw once and for all that I didn't have enough to get that PB, I decided to back off and essentially tempo-run it in, rather than continuing to try to race.


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