The mosaics tiles of my Ironman journey 2015 got set into a distinguishable pattern. IMLOU-2015 was – easy.
As much as one can call swimming, biking and running through a combined distance of 2.4 miles swim, 112 miles bike and 26 miles run – easy: yes, it was – easy. It was the first time I felt, at once, – that strong, sure, free, happy, calm, mindful through all the 14 hours of my 3d Ironman event. It was the reflection of my first year of learning and growth, guided by knowledge of my coach Haley.
– Be purposeful, – that was Haley’s advice regarding some points at the race. I take it to the next level: all my Ironman Louisville race was purposeful. As in – filling in or matching the purpose set for the race in advance. A year ago, after IMCHOO and IMFL I wanted to take my next Ironman event to the next level of Quality.
So it was – my 2015 year with
- Destin 50 miler
- 12.5 miles swim around Key West
- with travels around the Globe
- with Lake Logan Half and Olympic distance triathlons in one weekend
- then IMLOU
it was a good year of purposeful development towards my goal of getting to be the better version of myself triathlon-wise – better swimmer, being better on bike. So it was a really good race. I finished the race still “with full tank”, ready to keep on going on, recovered fast and eager to get going for 2016 plans already carefully scaled for the next year starting with right now.
I had my share of beating myself up for not going faster on the run and not “giving it all out”. But made my peace with it after talking with more experienced triathlete friends giving me different perspectives. Summing it up I’d say – if my health is great,, if I am feeling very positive and eager to keep on having fun swimming, biking and running, and my professional and personal lives are right where I want them to be regardless Ironman – I’d say it was a good year of training and it was a good race!
Back to the race:
having a useful purpose.“purposeful activities”
Pre-race Day -2 Friday Oct 9th
I drove to Louisville from Atlanta on Thursday 8th October, started early am, arrived bit tired, checked in to the Guesthouse On Story, walked to the Ironman village. The vibe of the place fired up that swarm of butterflies. Got my bib etc, got to see everybody I wanted to see (including the group of some amazing Ironwilled ladies!) or meet for first time at the Ironman Village – score! Then went back to the guesthouse. Food – brought avocados, leafy greens and some vegan bars from Atlanta, so I didn’t have to worry about a place to eat at.
Pre-race Day-1 – Saturday Oct 10th
Packed my gear/ special needs bags, headed out to pick up the amazing Dynamo girl – Stacy. Have you seen the girl in an orange wig cheering for the triathletes? She is that outstanding special person! Inspiring triathletes by her cheering, an awesome Ironman athlete.
After 30 minutes of circling around some exit with endless loop of “DETOUR” (why is Louisville under construction for a year already?) we get to ride the part of the course with some wild life watching on the way!
Then SKYPE with my parents from the Ohio Riverside and Downtown Louisville. Welcome to the future – when you can have direct video streaming from another side of the globe to your family while walking outdoors!
Then I set my bags in transition, set my bike in and drop my special needs bag as well: I have no intention to get back to transition early am. My hotel is a mile of walk from the transition – I am taking the risk of troubles with my bike tires for the sake of good night sleep and no rush in the morning.
I grab coffee (my vegan version of the bulletproof ) , walking to the swim start and bodymarking at some 5am, take place in beginning of the line, sit on wrap myself into the REI Space-emergency-blanket set my earphones on to cut off the chatter of athletes around and drift off to Nirvana for about an hour. Sipped UCAN a bit, munched on some bits of Vega bar. Until the line started moving and I understood that it’s time to run to the porta and get my suit on. Who knew there would be a line off the line here as well? I rush around now – purposefully! Thankful for the presence of fellow athletes from DYNAMO supporting us all like a family would! They helped so much by just being there.
A human connection, a touch with someone you know before your mind drifts of giving a way to the beast that would run the race.
Whenever they start the swim: I am more then ready! After swimming around the KeyWest – I just can’t wait to get to swim and can’t get enough of it! Maybe that’s why I drift off the crowd of athletes splashing like crasy towards the center of the river. My SUUNTO shows 5K 🙂
1 hour 22 min
photo credit – IMLOU forum… I forgot where this amazing picture came from, but whoever you are – THANK YOU!
(c) Jessica Grace
T1: placed lots of food in front pockets of my jacket, covered front by plastic bag under the wet kit, got shoe covers, felt warm through all the race, though it did take time in T1 – it was worth it. I do not do cold after IMFL-2014!
Bike 112 miles just below 7 hours – happy with the way it went, as per the plan. Horses? Saw them just once. The rest of the time was too many people on the course, the main target was to avoid crashing into them. After all the Gaps rides this was rather easy course! Pretty fall colors! Too much industrial areas on the course, coughed my lungs out couple of times – my usual reaction for industrial areas dust.
T2: long jog with bike, chat with volunteer, happy to get running finally!
Run (jog!) : 5hours:14 min. The first 3 miles were great, 9:30 pace after getting out of transition area, then the wheels came off, ran steadyover 11min miles through the rest of the race from aid station to aid station. Suunto battery died after 9.smth hours, didn’t know my pace. High fives and hugs with friends doing the same race. Lots of noise and distractions on a flat run course. Too much for me at some points. My best parts were at the times when there were no distractions.
The run started great! But then I had to stop and cheer myself on with something like
– Are you a runner or not a runner?
Or having a mental picture of a sign like
So I jogged from that point on. The “Plan B” was not to walk – and I didn’t, except for grabbing water at aid stations (purposeful). Maybe it’s the bike without Base salt, maybe it’s mental – I did my Lessons Learned session later on
I saw Stacy at the first loop, told her “Everything is ok”. Saw her at the 2nd loop , yelled at her:
– It worked!
It really did! All the plan and all the work done before set the stage for going through the IMLOU as I did. Fully present and utterly happy through all the way!
The finish line was horribly loud! And all I wanted was just to get the hell out of the crowd 🙂 Which I did – after looping back and seeing Paula after her finish. Clicked a pic, walked to the Convention Center to get my morning clothes bag. Saw Bo, an athlete I met before the race, he shared his personal story, so I asked him:
– Did you leave your daemons out there?
– Oh yes, I did
Dried up, got a bottle with aminoacids in, then some bars. Put the race T-Shirt on and went on back to cheer on the fellow athletes finishing the race. The energy around the finish line is incredible: seeing the emotions of athletes finishing their journey gives me one thousands times answer on why we all are doing this.
Everybody for their reasons, yet everybody getting to some different levels in their lives, living it up and forward on in this particular way they chosen to express it.
After 11pm I got to the Transition, got my bike and WALKED back to the Guesthouse couple of miles. A girl walking alone with the bike and 3 plastic bags in the middle of the night in industrial area of Louisville? I was so on high, I knew I will be ok!
I was back to the Guesthouse after midnight. Checked out texts on phone that I left in the hotel – I did not want to trust it to the morning gear bag which could be lost. Showered and went to sleep.
Just to wake up at 5:30 am
– Are you in the line for finishers gear? – got a message from a friend and thought to myself “Why not? Anyway I can’t sleep anymore” And head out to the Ironman Village one more time.
Just in right time to meet Shawna and Stacy. And get to socialize with a bunch of beaten up athletes shopping for the Finishers Gear at 6am! That’s – the REAL Finisher Line for an Ironman event!
Nutrition: NO issues with GI as at IMCHOO-2014 or IMFL-2014. I consider it a win of the race!
Nutrition on Bike: 2 bottles of UCAN, “Hornet Juice” aminoacids, “Salt sticks” with caffeine, 1 Vegabar, 2 Sunflower Butter + Chocolate Macrobars. Nutrition on run: UCAN from handheld, Hornet Juice mixed in paper cups at aid stations, “salt stick” capsules, 1 Vega bar.
Was in my happy Zen bubble through all of the race never had ups-n-downs whatsoever! Thankful for the low-carb approach and my training base given by my coach for that. This was the easiest Ironman so far!
This Ironman changed me, as any effort of that level would.
This year overall and the pre-IM weeks then post-IM weeks brought me to more creative, more amplified , more purposeful life.
“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner—continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you—is a fine art, in and of itself.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert,
Prior to the race, in tapering, after cheering for IMCHOO – I questioned – everything, I was seriously – lost, I wasn’t at my best, at points – I was a nervous wreck and drama. I forgot how much calm and in peace, focused, I actually can stay at any situation. This Ironman brought my focus back to Zen. And if IMCHOO was just a glance into that Limitless Peace – Ironman Louisville opened those gates wide open.
And I’m just making my first steps through that gate on my further journey