Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ironman Cozumel...

 2 flights down, one to go!  Gonna make this snappy so when I land home I can officially start "holidays" and put the triathlete in me to rest for a moment.  And by to rest, I mean I will not be caught in any spandex, eating any gels, or watching swim splits till I've worn out kissing under mistletoe. (If you are looking for tri-blogs to read over holidays, ignore me for a few weeks, it will be non-tri)  Deep breath, baby!

I of course came into the race with some goals, for the most part the confidence was coming back too. Where it was in lack, I kept repeating that special letter from the sister, "...hope Mexico shows you how strong you are...".  The goals were simple, just what we've been doing in training. Makes total sense, right?

1.  Swim smart, keep focused on the feet, stay in it mentally
2.  Bike 22.2mph (Held plenty confidence here, this course that was a deal)
3. 3:15 marathon off the bike, that's what the legs do training

...and this is how the 140.6 mile day unfolded.

Swim, they changed our course thanks to some crazy weather (I didn't notice, but then again people from islands never panic in chop or waves).  Nobody was allowed to warm up, just get in and go.  After plenty of arm circles it was show time, I was struggling to get fired up.  Swim warm ups always give me that moment underwater to myself, to just get my head in the game.  400 yards in I was in a good position, then the annoying drafting I do to better swimmers served me right with a kick in the hand that had me aching in pain.  Needless to say, damn it.  Solo swim the rest of the way and 8th out of the water with work to do.

On the bike, I was already fired up when it usually takes me 20 miles or so.  By mile 5 I caught the chase pack of girls and made my way to the front.  The little train they had going had me scared for drafting calls so I made sure to be on the front and by this time it was near the headwind section on the windy side of the island.  Maybe it was tactically a bad move to fight the wind in front, but I know where I am strong on the bike and it is in the wind, I love it, its my favorite and it feels like home.  I broke away after the first loop and was trying to make up a little time on the 3 girls at the lead, but...I landed on the side of the road with my pedal out of the crank.  I watched all the girls I worked so hard to pass go by me.  Deep breath, heard my sister again, "...hope Mexico shows you how strong you are". I was still calm at this point, got the shoe off, pedal in the crank, shoe on, up and riding.  about 10 minutes later caught the chase girls again and out came the shoe.  Now I was frustrated.  All that hard work and I'm on the side of the road again.  Passed again.  Up and riding again and I beg the drafting marshall to please call the bike support and get me a wrench (thank God for the Spanglish I have).

Turns out, if I pedal with my foot out of the shoe, on top of it, then the pedal stays in the crank?!  So I rode bike for 8 miles with my right foot on top of the shoe mostly only using my left leg!  I catch and make my way to the front of the chase pack again, I feel so island style riding barefoot but thats all I can do until I get to the mechanics.  Little over half way through second loop I'm on the side of the road with mechanics again and seeing my 22.2 mph goal slip sliding away.  But I won't quit, I beg for help, crying on the side of the road again.  And they tell me to just ride one legged and will catch me with tools up the road.  So there I go, catching the girls again...

After the 4th stop I am good to go, the Mexican bike mechanics come to some great fix that I am not sure how I will ever get the crank and pedal out ever again, but at least I am riding.  The 3rd and final loop have no stops, just ride my ass off to catch the chase pack again.  Pass them and work towards Malika now between the groups, the windy section that I love!  I yell to her to lets go, lets finish this ride and make it count, last one of the year...

It was refreshing to see all the bike work we have done pay off, I was confident I could ride hard.  Inside, the temptation to be upset about my 4 stops on the side of the road was crushing me a little, that time it cost and the energy to have to keep catching back up.  But I knew there was still a marathon to run and I had to let the bike go...

7th girl to start the run.  Oh my, the little dream of a top 5 would literally take all my courage.  Within the first mile I was passed by 2 girls.  Scared, no.  Coach helped me believe that I could run the numbers we have been doing in training.  I just had to be patient, stick to the plan, and believe.  That's when the race began...moved to 8th, then 7th, then 6th, then 5th by the half way point.  And at this point I took a Mexican gel that had me hurling over inside and out.  At half way you are never safe so I kept going.  A woman on the side of the road yelled, "Bree, with every step think of your family cheering for you".  I don't know who she was but I loved her for that.

My brain was literally needing to focus like never before, mentally I was getting drained by mile 20.  1...2...3...1...2...3. And I still had to barf and poo.  So I threw up the Mexican gel but could not shake the poo (sorry for too much info, thats sport though).  I ran into the porta potty scared to death that I'd lose my 5th place, but I know me, if I hold it in I'll fall over in a side cramp.  Got out with 4 miles to go and they told me Ashley is about to catch you.

All I could think of was Mike riding bike next to me while I run the hard days, Kainoa telling me to do a good job at work, my sister telling me she hopes Mexico shows me how strong I am, and I just start hauling ass with whatever is left in me.  (That's the photo above from Mo,  "do you see her?")  I could not look back, the fear of being run down after working so hard for my top 5 was a horrible reality that has happened to me many races.  By now a mile to go, into the finish line I did look back, I had too.  I wanted to make sure I had time to enjoy the finish line, the crowd, and soak it up...

This Ironman was the best Ironman of my career to date.  Top 5 felt like a win.  After the hand smash in the swim, being on the side of the road during the bike, and almost pooping my pants half the run, it was so beautiful to feel all the hard work pay off.  As for the run, 3:19, damn it!  4 minutes of porta potty?? I am above the moon happy.  It was amazing to be out there with some of the best women in the sport of triathlon, living out a dream, and finding that in some special way, Mexico did show me what I forget to see sometimes...

The finish line was beautiful, like I always dream a good Ironman would look like.  I was in tears, jumping up and down, laughing, waving, kissing people, it was the perfect way to end the season.  When you give it your all for 140.6 miles it truly is such a humbling, satisfying feeling that I already know will carry me through the holidays.  Thank you so much to the great family, friends, and sponsors that have helped make the moment so unbelievable.  Bike Works, Splish, Zoot, Breakthrough Nutrition, Ceepo, Rolf Prima, Kona Aqutics, Junko, Odin, Coach Cotter, THANK YOU!!!  Masuda and the boys, of all the places this season has taken me, 5 different (and beautiful) countries, there is no place more pretty than home with you guys. The farts, the stinky dog, all of our egg breakfasts while you wait for me to finish Sunday runs, our surf sessions, the laundry piles, netflix nights, homework, singing in the car on dump runs, Costco trips and eating all the samples, I am the happiest woman in the world to know life with you!  It is my favorite moment in life...thank you. 

...and so, it is holiday time, fruitcake eating time, no more geeky tall socks time.

Coach said something like this, "Bike only to get smoothies or coffee, never in spandex and not long enough to ever need fuel.  No run, but you can walk your dog and hike.  As for swim, in the ocean a little, but better to surf and paddle, snorkel, swim with dolphins, enjoy".  It has been a very good season, so many lessons and so much to smile about looking forward to next season.  Till then, a kickball tourney is on the horizon, Christmas tree shopping, Jingle Bell jog (only to dress up in a red tutu), and plenty of time to bake.

Thanks again for reading, I have appreciated all the cheers over the season and along the course Sunday.  And Masuda baby, Thank you for believing in me all season long, especially when I was forgetting to believe.  Home sweet home...



Blogger Unknown said...

Your best blog Bree. Way to tough it out.

December 3, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Blogger Emily Hosmer said...

Your amazing Bree i love reading your blogs :-)

December 3, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Blogger Kailin Acheson said...

Wow fantastic! Way to tough it out, race hard, and finish strong!

December 3, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Blogger marian said...

mexico DID show how strong you are, bree! what a race!
now enjoy the holidays and your time with our great boys.

December 3, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Blogger miles99999 said...

Best blog ever! Congrats on over coming some epic problems and still getting top five. Have a great off-season and try to make it to the Northeast US some time soon.

December 3, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Blogger Laura Matsen Ko said...

I love it! Wonderful work. It's been great watching your season. Good job staying strong. You're an inspiration.

December 3, 2013 at 3:08 PM

OpenID bre said...

Congrats on a great race and finish to 2013! so very happy for you!

December 3, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Blogger gelmertri said...

Freaking awesome! So happy for you and your family! Happy Holidays!

December 3, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Blogger Whitney Sutherland said...

Congrats Bree! Enjoy your recovery is well deserved.

December 3, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Blogger rosario808 said...

I love reading your blog,is a great way to remind myself to dance in the rain when the storm comes.
thanks for keeping this blog alive.

December 3, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Blogger Brigit said...

Congrats! You are such an inspiration. I check your blog often to help keep me going =)

December 3, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Blogger Marshflower said...

You're quite the example Bree, love your energy for life, your realness and your ability to continue to take on the challenges with such a positive outlook. Amazing. Happy holidays to you, Mike and the little guy. xo

December 3, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Blogger Ordinarylife said...

Hi Bree, what a great race, what a great race report.

I am so glad you finished this year off on a high. You deserve it after all the hard work you have put in.

I hope you have a very merry Christmas and enjoy the time with your friends and family.


December 3, 2013 at 9:01 PM

Blogger Jennifer Nottage said...

Has me all choked up! "and on the low lows never go too low and make what corrections you can, and on the high highs, control, control, control...," and after reading this blog it's clear this is what you did! True IM racing Bree; keeping the emotions out of the inevitable hills and valleys (and you had some real tests out there) and endured! So Proud of you and get why you are so happy! You did well! Congratulations!!

December 4, 2013 at 4:57 AM

Blogger Jennifer Nottage said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 4, 2013 at 4:57 AM

Blogger Kiet said...

To think, I used to train with your wooty. You would drop me now. Just realized the other day that I first came across your blog in 2009, met you in 2010, and it's been FOUR years. Yikes! Time is flying. Proud of ya chica.

December 4, 2013 at 7:39 AM

Blogger Dawn said...

Congrats, Bree!! So happy for you! Way to crush it and stay strong through all those crazy obstacles... truly *inspiring* and why I love reading your blog. Happy Holidays to you and your family... and Happy Recovering! :)

December 4, 2013 at 7:40 AM

Blogger Lucy Francis said...

We are all so proud of you Bree, Ironman races are never without hicups and you dealt with those very well. I would have stopped at the portaloo as well. Better out :-) enjoy the christmas holidays with your family and I for one will be reading your non tri posts. Congratulations on a job well done

December 4, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Blogger Craig said...

Wow what a race. Watching the splits on line you would never have known you had mechanical issues. You were strong and those girls in 1,2,3, 4 should look over their sholder the next race they come up against you. You had a great race Bree! Congrats.

December 5, 2013 at 3:44 AM

Blogger bart said...

WOW! is all I can think of...

December 5, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Blogger Chrissy Steigerwald said...

Great job Bree! Love your blog. Enjoy the holidays and family time. Hard work pays off!

December 6, 2013 at 6:31 AM

Blogger Steph said...

Congratulations! Amazing race...and I guess your sister's words came true. You certainly didn't have a walk in the park for a race. You were challenged the entire time in so many ways and still made it all happen! Amazing and inspiring - thanks for sharing your stories!

December 6, 2013 at 8:46 AM


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