For some reason I alway find that extra motivation (or extra time) to write while I’m at the airport. So here it is. I’M AN IRONMAN!!
It has taken me awhile to write about Ironman, it was one of the greatest days and I really wanted to be able to take it all in before I wrote it down. I feel like it was yesterday….but it has already been 5 weeks.
Pre-race: I was a wreck, YES A WRECK. I don’t normally get THIS nervous about races so I kind of freaked myself out even more seeing myself like this. After making sure my nutrition was set on my bike and my tire pressure was good we headed to the swim start with about an hour before the start. I found myself laying on the concrete (real comfy) with my hood up, eyes closed, and tears rolling down my face. I wasn’t doubting my training but I was just scared. Scared for the next 14 hours and scared of the dark moments that could possible come at some point. But I knew deep down I was physically and mentally ready to tackle 140.6. At this point, I gave myself a little pep talk, put on my cap, gave my parents a hug and was back to my peppy pre race self. I told myself out loud that “yes, you are going to be an Ironman at the end of the day.” And the gun went off….
Swim: I knew the swim was going to be crucial, the faster I swam- the more time I would get on the bike! We had been swimming really well over the last year leading up to Ironman so I knew I was capable of a sub 1:30 swim. We got in the water, the gun went off and I shot up the rive like a cannon, literally. As we came to the turn around to head down the river (yay current), I glimpsed at my watch and saw that I was a little a head of where I was expecting to me. PERFECT. I smiled, put my head down, and swam as hard as I could to the swim exit. Total swim time 1:24 && a very happy MK.
Bike: The longest part of my day. We worked so hard on the bike over the last 10 months that I knew I was so ready to ride this course. However, I knew I had to stay very consistent on the ride to be able to make the bike cut off. The Louisville course has rolling hills with a few larger climbs within the first 40 miles. I was climbing strong but on the way up I saw way too many crashes from people descending on the other side. After seeing how many people crashed out going down, I took those downhills a little more conservatively than I would have liked but by mile 60 I was right on target. I knew there was a possibility heading into special needs that I wouldn’t have time to take my bag, but doing the math (triple checking it too) I figured I would have time for no more than 7min in special needs. I knew if I didn’t stop my body would regret it and to be honest, my stomach was a little tired of eating GU for the last 5 hours. I stopped, had some apple sauce that I put in my bag (trust me, at the time it was the best thing EVER) and then off I went. Although I know I scared everyone who was tracking me because I slowed down due to my stop, it was the best decision ever! I got a second wind, waved to my parents around mile 70, and then kept cranking through the course. The course gets pretty quiet by 4pm since most riders are off their bikes by then, so I may or may not have started singing out loud to keep myself sane 🙂 I came into T2 at 6:08 (bike cut off is 6:30)- as I came into T2 I saw both my parents right at the entrance. I was a little loopy when I get off my bike, but I managed to change, eat, drink, and head out on the run in under 8 minutes.
Run– I headed out on the run saying, “it’s just a quick little marathon.” I guess I wasn’t kidding either- I found my arms by mile 2 and off I went. If you have seen me race, I smile A LOT, even when my body hurts so bad. All I know is I could not stop smiling during this marathon. I was moving much faster than we had predicted. I was anticipating I would hit “that wall” at some point, but I never did. I came across the finish line 13:54 later and hearing the words, “Mary Kate Callahan, you are an Ironman” made every single part of this journey worth it.
Post Race- Holy Cow, I’m not sure how I made it through the airport and back to Tucson on Monday night. My body was exhausted and I still did not have much of an appetite but somehow I landed in my bed later that night and I laid there for almost 24 hours. I avoided getting in my chair as much as possible but 2 days later, my body was feeling back to normal.
What’s next? Well I had a solid week after ironman of absolutely no physical activity. I’m not sure how I liked it? My body (REALLY) needed it but when we spend so many hours training and then eliminate it completely, the mind starts to want to go craaaaa! I was pretty excited to get back to some easy workouts and start brainstorming for 2016. I actually raced a half marathon last weekend, just for fun 🙂
I’m slowly figuring out what the 2016 season is going to look like. I really loved the 70.3 races but Ironman was an absolute blast. The only thing we officially have on the calendar at the moment is the Rock N’ Roll Phoenix Marathon in early January.
Don’t worry, it the midst of it all- I’m still at school! I’m figuring out graduation plans and whether or not I want to try to graduate early in December of 2016 or wait until Spring of 2017. Part of me has been exposed to so many aspects of the “real” world that I want to get there myself and have a little time “off” before I possibly head to law school. The other half of me knows the real world will always be around so there is no reason to rush it. That’ll be a decision I’ll make in the next month or so but for now I’m just enjoying it all.
“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.”
Until next time,