Sunday, November 11, 2012

IRONMAN Florida 2012 - Sharon Trepiccione

1. Pre race prep. The trip up was uneventful. We got up to PCB and got right down to business.  Got all registered.  Also went through the Expo just to see what's there.  On the way up I noticed a deep slit in my front tire that I hadn't noticed before.  I didn't pack a spare tire cause I did check over the bike before we left.  How I missed that I'll never know.  Lucky for me the Zipp tent had one tire left so I grabbed it. 
The next day was busy with a pre-race swim.  The water was calm and clear.  I thought, "oh yeah, if this is it then I'm feeling much better about that part of the race".  I felt strong in the water and very loose.  Yep.  I thought to myself that tomorrow was going to be a great day.
Once we got done with the swim we brought our gear over to the race start.  First thing was pictures of our bikes.  Guess that was for insurance or something.  But hey, P was all dressed up and shiny for the detailed wax job I gave him the day before so P was hamming it up.  I was pretty happy with my rack position.  Right up front and on the end on the main aisle side.  Oh yeah, how cool is that?  Again, I'm thinking tomorrow I'm gonna rock!
Then it was off to drop off the bike and run bags.  Nothing special.  Bike bag: helmet, glasses, headsweat, mirror, gloves, jersey, shorts, shoes, biofreeze, deodorant, bodygluide, bagel, 2 crustables, 6 endurlytes, butt butter. Endurolytes were also in my bike support bag as a "just in case".
Run bag had shoes, socks, calf sleeves, shorts, compression top, run jersey, visor, bagel, crustable, biofreeze, deordorant, bodygluide.
So with the chores done it was off to grab some lunch and make up the last minute prep (like the special needs bags) eat dinner and get some sleep.
We all went to sleep early.  I did sleep maybe a total of 3-4 hours.  I was awake at midnight and was awake for a while then fell back to sleep shortly before the alarm went off.  Once awake, I jumped right up, got dressed and made some breakfast.  Breakfast for me was a protein shake and a PB&J bagel, and some water.  I was ready to go when it was time. 
2. Race Morning.  At about 0430 we grabbed our transition bags and headed to the race start.  The walk was a good warm up and I was ready to rock.  We got there and completed all of the final preparations.  Things went smooth except for we didn't plan the extra time it took to walk to the special needs area then back to transition to the bikes, then the bags etc. Then it was the walk back to the condo.  That delayed us returning to the condo for the wetsuits. I should have set the schedule to leave earlier or leave earlier to walk over to Walmart and catch the shuttle. 
We got back to the condo, stuffed into our wetsuits.  I grabbed my two gels and a bottle of water and we headed down the beach to the start.
We were not at the start very long prior to the race start.  Heck the pro men were off and the pro women started and we just about got through the start chute.  Just enough time for some last minute pictures.  That's when I took my gel and drank all of my water. 
The water was rough.  What happened?  In less than 24 hours, the water was completely different.  What the heck?  But even with all of that, I wasn't nervous.  We walked as far to the right as we were comfortable and then "boom" the gun went off.
3.Swim. As you can see from the picture that Susan posted the water was a lot rougher than the day before. What was up with that? We started on the right side to compensate for the current. I took a while for me to get into a groove with all of the people but I got into the groove about half way up the first leg.  I tried to keep Susan in my sights but after 50 yards that was impossible.  She was fast and there were too many people. Jennifer stayed on my left until the first turn bouy on lap 1.  The swells were large enough that I really struggled to see the buoys.  But I wasn't too far off.  Before I got to the first turn buoy I was in my groove,  I lost Jennifer and figured she had already passed me.  I made the second turn and yes I was warmed up and thinking aobut how I was going to come out of the water, get my gel and drink some water.  I practiced in my head my entry and exit and visualized how well that was going to go.  I got to the beach and swam in til my hands touched.  Good.  Then I got up and started the high knee shuffle.  Just as I hit the end of the water, "bam" somebody sliced the back of my left leg with a knife!  I looked at my Garmin, 41 min.  Wow.  Not back for a nurse shark. I took my gel, got up the beach, got my water and back to the high knee entrance.  Ouch.  There is was again.  I almost turned to see who was slicing the crap out of me.  I told myself no big deal, this is the swim and it was just a one off thing.  I felt really good on the second loop.  It felt like the buoys were coming faster this time around than before.  I got closer to the swim exit I mentally practiced my exit.  I decided this time to swim in further as to save my legs.  I did.  I got so shallow I could only get to my hands and knees.  The backs of my legs were totally seized up.  I thought to myself, "get up....don't make a fool of yourself in fron of all of these people!".  I got up and started towards wet suit peeling.  1:27 something was on the Garmin.  Man!  That was a great time for me.  I was pumped.....until my legs seized up again that i almost tripped and fell....would have face planted it.  Not sure how I didn't.  Look at the swim exit picture and you can see that in the one that I'm almosted doubled over.  Yeah, that hurt.  Got to wetsuit peeling and wondered how I was going to get up and down with my legs in this shape.  Luckily my wetsuit came right off (thank goodness for suit juice...I gobbed that stuff on before the race).  I got up and followed the crowd to the showers.  There was a line and no one was moving.  I thought to myself, Hey this is a race not a healthspa.  But we all moved through efficiently.  The swim was the best part of my day, except for the finishing chute.
4. T1. Transition was  pretty straightforward. I did get some help from a volunteer. That is definitely not something I'm used to. I ran out of transition and heading down the pathway to loop around to my bike.  AS I was approaching I could see P all shiny and calling my name.  C'mon Sharon, we got a ride to do!  Lets go.  Pick me up and I'll carry you.  I unracked P and was pulling him back when I volunteer came running over apologizing for not having my bike unracked.  I told him it wasn't a big deal but he grabbed P from me and pulled him out to the aisle.  OK, no problem.  went around the rack and grabbed P and off we went to the mount point.  At the mount point I knocked off one of my bottles.  Guess my legs weren't in good shape still.

5. Bike. I was very concerned starting the bike with bad legs already. I did the rinse mouth out for the first mile or so. I was very happy that I did not give into temptation of kicking butt on the start of the bike. I started with my bagel to help absorb any saltwater that might have worked its way into my tummy. I then started on my first crustable. I did stop at the first bike water stop to pee. That worked out well since it was not crowded.
Jennifer passed me just before the bridge.  I was surprised cause I really thought I was the last one out of the water.  Great job Jennifer!
I continued to travel the course but I could not get any power or speed.  My HR was fine.  My legs, not so good.  The front of the legs started hurting and cramping too.  Oh boy.  I had gobbled up some endurolytes at the rest stop in hopes of salvaging the bike.  I thought, ok, I'll make forward progress and get myself back in centerline.
By mile 40 I knew something wasn't right. I couldn't hold my speed and it just felt bad. Everyone was passing me like I was standing still. I thought I will ride conservatively so that I can hit the run  with gusto.  I had already drank more than half of my perpetuem/endurolyte mix and more than half of my electrolyte bottle.  The crustable was gone and there wasn't much left of the bagel either.  So I thought I would try some perform and a banana.  Maybe it was the potassium I needed.  I drank some perform and had a banana section at the water stop.  Back into the aerobars I go.  About 2 miles later, here starts the burping. gets worse and deeper.  Luckily, I was near the edge and turned my head.  There goes the perform and the banana.  Nice. Well, I did feel alittle better.
I saw Susan coming back off of the bumpy road.  I say hey and hope she saw me.  She was at least 5 miles ahead of me.  Just seeing her gave me the energy to get down the road and to special needs.  Somehow I knew it would be ok. 
Special needs was nothing special.  I gobbled up the endurolytes and refreshed my bottles.  I had some crustibles and a bonk breaker.  The bonk breaker was a welcome sight cause its not sweet.  I started on that right away.  A quick pee and some chamois butter and I was in business.

So now we get back to SR 20 with the headwind and hills.  I love to climb but I stayed cool cause I was already in trouble and thought this is no time to play.  So I kept my head down and kept moving.  I was nearly done. By mile 70 something I still wasn't feeling good so I thought I would try something different.  I had a gel and some water at one of the stops.  It was one of the 3 that I had for the bike.  So a few miles down the road, here starts the burping again.  This time the incidient wasn't as bad as the first.  Nice.

I knew when I got to the landfill road that I wouldn't see Susan.  I knew by now she was 10 miles ahead of me and probably rocking it.  I thought about the last time we both were in the same spot and how she motivated me to keep going.  Instead of thinking, we go again....I'm such a weenie....I thought I am in the same spot but I'm going to do better.  I smiled to myself when I looked down at my Garmin and saw that in fact I was doing better than the first time.  Good for me. 
I knew the 4 miles back to Beachfront Road would be killer with the headwind.  Been there and already done that.  So I was prepard.  Turning down Beachfront was the tailwind.  Oh yeah baby....maybe this is my opportunity to show P and everyone else what I'm made of.  That lasted until right before I got up to the condo where Dale and Mary were waiting for a picture moment.  Then the nightmare started.  My left leg seized up so bad that I had to stop pedaling and grab hold of it.  I way go away, don't let me ride in front of them and they take a picture of me grabbing my crotch.  I prayed and the Lord stopped it just in time.  A picture moment and then the final stretch.  I asked the Lord for strength cause I wasn't sure I was going to be able to stand at the dismount point.  He answered my prayer, I got off and handed P off to a volunteer and silently apologized to him for not riding that well.  Off to the changing area I went.
6. T2. T2 was ok.  I had 2 young volunteers help me.  There were the best.  They wanted to get me out of there so fast so that I could have a good race time.  Loved it.  After I got all ready I sat there for a few minutes to collect my thoughts, say a prayer, and hope that my legs would let me stand up.  Then I got up and headed for the door.  I walked the entire transition because my upper legs were screaming and knotted up. 
7.  Run. I started to run after about 1/4 to 1/2 mile...something like that.  I asked God for the strength to make it to each water station.  The run wasn't pretty but I used my forward lean to help put one foot in front of the other.  I just kept telling myself run tall, lean from the ankes, and keep the feet moving.
I saw Jennifer on her way back on the first loop.  She told me Susan was at least 3 miles ahead of me.  She was right,  I saw Susan at mile 5 and her mile 8.  She grabbed me for a picture moment.  I didn't want to stop because I was afraid I wouldn't restart.  But I listened to her and grabbed as much energy from her as I could.
Sharon finishing strong!!
I made it to mile 7 before I had to stop to take care of a GI issue.  Once that was behind me all that was left was gas.  I took water, coke, perform, broth, pretzels, whatever I could get my hands on.  Nothing worked.  I really needed something.  I made it back to special needs.  I didn't want the crustible...yuk...sweet just wasn't what I wanted.  I was out of my perteuem and refilled by bottle at special needs.  I ate most of the crusible (Susan's voice was inside my head...."shut up and eat it....I don't care whether you want it or it!) I did and actually it helped alittle.
Susan passed me at the same spot we saw each other on the first loop.  It was good to see her again.  I grabbed more energy to get me to the turn around.  I told myself once I got to the turn around, I could do anything. I got a good second wind at mile 22. Thought about my 22 mile training run and that I felt better here than I did back then.
Mile 24 was hard I thought the road would never end. It was dark and lonely but I kept thinking about how much better the end will be. Even thought I heard Susan's name at the finish.
Finally, the finish chute.  It was what I was waiting patiently for during the last 13 hours. The finishing chute experience was worth all of the effort. The volunteers were great! They put up with me and they deserve a medal for that.


As I came down the chute I thought about all of the hard work that we put into this.  Even though it wasn't my day I was still going to finish.  I high fived everyone that had their hand out along the right side of the chute.  I raised my arms right before the finish in a victory salute but none of the cameras captured it.  Bummer.  I would love to have one of those pictures.  I stepped across the line and let out a big sigh of relief.  A volunteer asked to escort me back and I said ok.  Then I saw Susan coming up to me to put my finisher medal around my neck.  Wow.  Now that one small gester made all of the last 15 hours and 36 minutes of pain evaporate!!  That scene will forever be etched in my mind.

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