The Louisville Ironman Challenge

Well, it’s been a while since I last updated.  A lot has happened in between now and then.

My main event in October 2018 was Ironman Louisville.  This race was certainly a mixed bag.  Everyone was saying that it was a  terrible event to have been doing a first Ironman race and believe me I can understand why.  I would say that about 300 dropped out before the race even began and another 300 during the race.  It was raining hard, around 45 degrees and windy.  The Ohio River was so swollen that they cut the swim in half and we only did the down river portion.  It took about 2 hours waiting and freezing before our group was able to start the swim.  I got out of the water feeling pretty good – time was first in my age group.  Got to the transition and there again had the fastest time.  After that things got a bit dicey.  Like I said many athletes didn’t even start.  My age group there were only 5 of us with 1 no show.  I was excited to head out on the bike even though it was raining like crazy.  I was going along at my projected pace of around 15 mph and heading into mile 30 when it happened.  All of a sudden someone came up on me and clipped my rear wheel and we both went crashing.  Evidently he was one of the elite riders.  I’m not sure where these people came but all of a sudden he seemed like he was surrounded by people.  They had helped him up and someone called over to me to see if I was alright.  After I was on the ground I looked up and everything was blurry and running together.  So I said, not really.  The next thing is really odd because tri people are usually very supportive people and look out for one another.  No one came over to help me.  It took me  a few moments until I realized that no one was coming.  I worked myself up off the ground, picked up my bike and walked over to the side.  It didn’t take long and the other athlete was on his was.  I gathered myself together and didn’t noticed anything broken.  I did know I was going to have a huge bruise, hematoma on my right hip but there was no way I was not going to continue or at least try.  The rest of the ride was sort of like a blur.  My hands were so cold I could not feel my fingers when I tried to pick out my nutrition from my little bike pack.  I just had to scoop with my fingers and hope I picked something up.  People were dropping out left and right.  I stopped at one of the aid stations and while waiting in line to use the restroom the woman in front of me asked if I was still racing.  When I said yes she said to go ahead of her because she had dropped out.  For me that was not an option I was actually surprised to know people were doing that.  Evidently there were bus loads being returned to the start.

I kept peddling, peddling, peddling and finally made it to the transition area.  I was all by myself for most of the last portion.  Even though I had known that someone would be there to take my bike for me I just hung on to it for a few moments and they had to explain that they would take it from here and I should just go down to the transition area.  My mind was just not working up to speed.  My finish pace ended up being 13.60 mph.

After I handed over my bike I headed down to the transition tent.  It was like a muddy, sandy mess.  The volunteers were amazing though.  Someone came up to me immediately to help me out.  My hands were so cold I could hardly make them work to get any of the changes made.  That’s were the volunteer came in and practically did everything for me.  The tent was not really busy at all.  I finally got things done and headed out of the tent.  I was the only athlete around.  As I was heading out I spotted the supporting face of my hubby standing alongside of the fence.  I stopped and told him all that had happened on the bike.  I know you are not supposed to have outside help but they were not really enforcing some of those rules due to the weather.  They had allowed us to get into our special needs bag twice if needed on the bike.  Ted gave me a dry jacket to wear, we hugged and off I went.

Once on the run course I spotted a woman, Rhey, who was speed walking.  Since that is what my plan was I sped up to catch up to her and we hit it off and ended up walking together and supporting one another.  The time went by fast.  We kept asking the volunteers what the cut off times were but no one knew.  With the swim start different it made it very confusing as to what the cut off times were.  Rhey and I came around the first loop and headed directly past the finish line where everyone is roaring and cheering.  I think that Louisville has one of the best finishing chutes in the country.  We were so excited to be starting the second half of the marathon and be part of all the festivities.     Well, we rounded the corner to head back out for the last 13 miles only to be stopped by one of the officials who said that the course is closed and that we could not go any further.  We were in disbelief.  We begged him to let us at least try.  Like I said the cut off times were not clear at all.  They ended up taking our timing chips off and that was the end for us.  If we had not been pleading with him I think we could have said ok but kept on going.  I could see in the results that there were some that finished around the time we would have.

To make matters worse, the next morning I had an email saying that I owed about $90 because my timing chip had not been turned in…   It was all very anti-climatic.   But I do not regret competing – it was an experience and I feel learned from it.

One final note is that when I got home and ended up looking at my helmet we noticed that there were about 5 cracks all the way through the inside core.  Thank goodness for helmets!   I’ll just save it as a souvenir.

Now onto Ironman Santa Rosa in a week!