Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ironman finish number 10 is in the books, another very hard fought finish and yet another bajillion lessons learned on the way to a giant serving of humble pie. Like studying for a Spelling test, I believed if I did all my homework I would pass the test, not a doubt in my mind that I would get my Ironman PR on Ironman #10. Yesterday’s Ironman was far from a failure but far from the PR…
There was not an excuse in the universe to not finish the race, believe me, I know how easy it is to chuck in the towel when things don’t go according to plan, but I had no excuse. I gave it my all for as long as I could, as strong as I could, doing all I could, but at mile 11 of the run my right calf was done. It gave out long before my head and heart were ready, and sadly, it was a long fight to the finish.
Summing up the 140.6 miles, the swim went off and I did my usual kick to keep up with the pack I wanted, slowed it down for the lovely, much appreciated free ride, (draft). Then it happened, kicking to keep up, even a little in the cold water, sent chills and Charlie horses into my legs. New plan, stop kicking. At this point I was still very calm, an Ironman is a long day and patience pays off. Just go with it, relax, and don’t fight the cold water, let my body warm up. Running from lap 1 to 2 in the sand I knew it was going to be a matter of “when, not if”, the legs would tighten to the point of not functioning without razor pains. Sure enough, lap 2 I looked like a manatee floating out in the Gulf of Mexico. They tightened so bad I couldn’t move, but I refused to stop, so I rolled over and swam backstroke two times for just a few yards each time till the flare up went away, yes that was me dragging my legs, fighting for the swim finish.
Running up the beach is always a happy moment to me after a swim race, yesterday was even more enjoyable after the swim. Then it happened, they announced I was first girl out of the water, literally in shock after what felt like a frustrating swim, pride set in…

Being first out of the water I wanted to be first on the bike! I skipped the gloves Caroline gave me, passed up the bike jacket Ben gave me, didn’t put on socks, and I left T1 in a soaking wet, freezing cold suit and arm sleeves. .
That was so dumb. It took 2hrs to feel my legs dethaw, I called it good and safe because it helped me not take the bike out too fast the first half. However, my right leg had a Charlie horse so bad that it was locked in place on my cranks, unable to move it from the bike without crying, it tore up my entire ankle and left my back wheel and crank a bloody mess. I was too cold to really notice the pain in the ankle until I warmed up and by then the calves were loose and warm, so I was counting it ALL GOOD. In fact, 2 hours later I was loving the bike, feeling strong, in the zone, and just truly enjoying the Ironman 112 miles. I’m talking, loving the race. A very good lesson learned, it was perhaps one of the most patient bike starts ever in my 10 Ironmans and left me with one of the most energy filled bike finishes ever felt off the bike. Patience at its finest happened for me on the bike yesterday…

Off the bike I could not tell if my ankle or calf muscle hurt worse to run, maybe my face! I was so happy to be first girl off the bike that I could not stop smiling, okay, without a doubt my face hurt worse. Within minutes I was into the run pace coach and I set in training, the one I did the homework for. And then I had a choice to make. #1 Run my goal pace despite the horrible pain and hope and pray it goes away, I worked so hard and came all the way to Florida and everything else was fine. # 2 Slow down the pace and hope it won’t aggravate my calf worse by running a little easier. If you know me at all, you know my choice. I am a girl who follows her heart and lives and breathes by chasing my dreams, goals, and every hope for my life. I went with choice #1 and ran my heart out for as long as I could, as best as I could, as strong as I could. My right calf ended up getting so tight that I was running goofy, (but aren’t we all at some point in an Ironman), it made my left leg get tight too, and from there I ran into a tree. It felt crippling, it looked like I had a stick up my butt, but I didn’t want to stop. From there it was just a matter of getting passed by girl after girl. One of whom I knew would run me down even if I ran my goal pace, Jess is just that incredible and it was an honor to have her fly by on her way to her second IM FL victory.
Making the most of the day, I was very happy to have finished my 10th Ironman, landing 6th girl, humbled that it wasn’t where I wanted to land. On the bright side, I learned a lot about myself, met some incredible people out there, (I could write a book on that marathon!!!), and made some friends too. In fact, the 3rd place lead girl biker I had with me for most the day, we became buds. Her name is Cari and without a doubt that run would not have been as tolerable without her. I don’t think we can really use the lead bikers for pacing, trust me you can’t pace a girl wobbling into trees and ditches. At my lowest point, I’m talking the point I was in tears and ready to fall over, she told me to name the top5 things I’m most thankful for at this point in the race. (Kind of like how doctors ask you how many fingers you are holding up). I said:

1. My family was all at the finish and Kainoa too.
2. My supporters
3. That I didn’t poop my pants (A LOT of athletes were yesterday)
4. That I wasn’t on my period, (I REALLY don’t like racing Ironmans with that thing)
5. And for someone special back home that said he is proud of me no matter what

She said at number 5 my face lit up huge, so we talked all about number 5 till I was wobbling into more grassy yards and limping around like a goofball, then I lost her and got a new biker as more girls started to outrun my wobble. The final miles of the run were the most painful, more painful than actually running fast miles! In those miles I had plenty of time to let all the emotions I was dealing with settle in my heart. I was sad, no way to pretend or fake that I was okay with just finishing. The race felt like it was going to be the day I had been dreaming of and it landed in such a way I could not gut it out any faster than the way I did. It was humbling to limp, to hold onto trees to keep me from falling over, and to even land on my knees twice in such a frustrating pain that I didn’t know how to shake out. Seeing the finish line was beautiful, there stood my family and Kainoa. By that time I was done sobbing over the heartbreak of not being able to run the way I was ready to run, but it still hurt to even walk. Today I’m not able to move my right leg at all either, but by the looks of all the athletes nobody is walking very well…that is Iron distance.
I’m incredibly thankful for the support I’ve been given in the way of family, friends, my coach, and sponsors. This day was not exactly as I had dreamed, but it was awesome having you to thank for it. In no particular order, Charlie and the team at REV3, it’s unreal having your unconditional support night and day. Coach Jimmy, the world is a much more entertaining place with you in it and you never stop believing in me, so thankful for that time you invest into my training/racing life. Coach Steve, today for teaching me to swim back stroke, it sure paid off yesterday!! Swift Carbon for the most amazing bike my okole has ever had the honor of riding, I just love how it loves to be ridden, KSwiss for the most functional, fun, and well fitting shoes and sport clothes, Blue Seventy for keeping a warm water girl “warmer” in the cold water with those wetsuits, Splish for the most motivating swimwear ever, and Bike Works for looking after my bike as if it were your own. Life and sport work so much better with you as a part of it!! Family, friends, you know who you are and how you help me…love you!
For now, that’s a wrap. Family time is taking over and Kainoa and I are loving these moments with the cousins...
Thank you so much for the continued support and taking the time to read this,


Blogger Whitney said...

Much love to you on making it through the highs and lows of the race yesterday. It is so great of you to share your journey with us and it was awesome to watch you rock the race. I know it wasn't the race you had hoped for but what a confidence boost to know that you didn't give up. Enjoy your family time and recovery!!!

November 6, 2011 at 4:25 PM

Blogger ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

Your sportsmanship yesterday when Jessica passed you almost brought a tear to my eye as I watched on IMLive..
You are a class act Ms. Wee...

November 6, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Blogger Dolphin Boy said...

Weeezer!!! So happy for you. You fought a tuff race! You finished and never gave up! You learned and now it's the "off season" so time to relax and move forward! Congrats on a fantastic race.

Like the "onehourironman" guy said above....You ARE a class act!
Now get home and lets be silly at the beach!!:)

November 6, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Blogger Jill Costantino said...

You are ALWAYS so INSPIRING! That little Dude got his medal at the end:))) So proud of you! You teach people so much more that I think you even realize. There is so much beauty in this sport and you have a way of exposing it. SUPER CONGRATS on a TERRIFIC day out there! Enjoy the family time! XoXoX

November 6, 2011 at 7:37 PM

Blogger Bruce Stewart (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

Thanks for sharing. I must admit that at around 2:30 am here when you were a few miles into the run, I was so tired I had to go to sleep, so I wasn't too aware of all that was happening. Anyway, I hope that you recover quickly and have no lasting ill effects. I remember trying to bike a few miles in Sweden last fall and it was really cold even with long pants.

November 7, 2011 at 2:10 AM

Blogger Chloe said...

It was awesome seeing you out on the course Saturday - it was a tough race, but you did awesome :) Cari is such an awesome friend and I'm so happy she was there for you!

November 7, 2011 at 2:53 AM

Blogger Jamie said...

I'm proud of you no matter what too, Bree!

November 7, 2011 at 2:58 AM

Blogger run4daysbill said...

Inspiring, Bree. Thanks for sharing this in such an honest way.

November 7, 2011 at 4:33 AM

Blogger Iron Krista, "The Dog Mom" said...

You are amazing Bree. I would be honored to have even half of your positive attitude!

November 7, 2011 at 6:12 AM

Blogger Kim said...

Hey Bree, Sounds just like my day at the WC this year in Hawaii.. a hobbling girl who was hoping for a top ten went to hoping to finish. It's not easy to finish when your body doesn't want to work, but so proud of you for doing it anyway and believing that their is a lesson in this too.. because there is! God Bless and great things to be thankful for my friend! See you on the course next year. Looking forward to racing beside you. Kim S.

November 7, 2011 at 6:16 AM

Blogger Meaghan said...

You are such an inspiration Bree. Nice work out there, and way to tough it out. You made us all proud.

November 7, 2011 at 6:57 AM

Blogger Beth said...

Bree!! I'm sorry you didn't have your dream race. DARN IT! But I know in my heart that dream race is going to come true for you one day. It's what keeps us going. In the mean time you've inspired so many (myself included!) for keeping on keeping on. Hope those legs are working a little better today!

November 7, 2011 at 7:57 AM

Blogger Big Daddy Diesel said...

You are amazing to me, congrats on the race and pushing through the pain to get #10. You are inspiring to me

November 7, 2011 at 8:08 AM

Blogger Lucy Francis said...

oh Bree, it made me wince just to know that you did most of the race with a huge cramp on your leg. One thing is the normal pain from working hard, the pain from something not right or an injury it's something else altogether! i saw the results and you where in first for the swim and bike, no wonder you dropped a few places on the run. I doubt other Pros would keep up like you. Please get that leg double checked for any damage. Get a MRI if you can.

Still you finished top ten and that's something to be proud of. :-)

November 7, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Blogger teamjon said...

This is one of the best race reports from the heart that i have read , and I have read a lot of them. You are a class act, and your next Im will be a winner.

November 7, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Blogger Oscarjet said...

Muy bien Amiga ! Diez se dice rapido...! aloha!

November 7, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Blogger Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

What a race my friend. Congrats on being one seriously tough chica!

November 7, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Blogger miles99999 said...

Gutsy effort. I was tracking you on IM Live and of course had no idea of the events that were unfolding. I love that you finished despite the pain you were feeling. Truly inspirational.

On a side note, my wife and I just had out third child (third girl) and we named her Bree. Great name, right?

Keep up the hard work!!!

November 8, 2011 at 3:24 AM

Blogger Furacán said...

Well done Bree! I love your positive attitude. You're amazing. Congrats!

November 8, 2011 at 4:53 AM

Blogger Charisa said...

At Henley my bike escort made the run so much more enjoyable. We didn't speak a word for the first 3 laps, but in the 4th he turned around and said "YOU CAN DO THIS!" it was so awesome. Nice work on #10 - all heart, all the way it should be.

November 8, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Blogger Lily on the Road said...

You are #1 in my books Bree, well DONE!!

November 9, 2011 at 6:04 AM

Blogger Gigi Wong said...

What a Moment! i was praying for you from miles miles away in Taiwan, Hong Kong! You did a great job, brave girl! You are always as great as everyone thought and as always:)

November 9, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Blogger Tina Z said...

The bloody photo is too much! In a good way, though. I'm just a lurker but enjoy your race reports so much, your competitive drive is very inspiring.

November 10, 2011 at 6:22 AM

Blogger Kat Verduzco said...

Bree, I had missed the live report and that night checked into the results website as soon as I could to see how the day fared, and I knew something was up when I saw the 1/1/6 finish. You were in my mind, heart and spirit all day, and know that your fans are sooooo impressed with your resolve, determination, and strength in the face of the worst! You are my GIJane hero of today! Know that you have fans like me, showing my just-turned-7yr-daughter what being a strong woman going after goals no-matter-what is all about. I know a 1/1/1 =1 finish is in your future, but no matter what, know that you are winning at being an amazing example to legions of fans out here, especially women and daughters who see that life should be about no excuses…..You are first in my eyes!! ….seeing the winner you are, Kat

November 10, 2011 at 7:47 AM


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