It’s been one week since I crossed the finish line and became an Ironman. Thankfully, I’ve been feeling mostly great with very little pain – just some muscle fatigue. My blistered feet have healed beautifully and I made it to the gym a few times this week for some recovery workouts.
Being that this was only the 2nd triathlon I’ve ever completed, there were a few funny things that happened along the way that I thought I’d share to make you smile.
Apparently, I missed the IM Memo about the strippers on the course. After I exited Lake Michigan, and struggled for a 1/4 mile through the sand, I was pleasantly surprised to hear people calling out, “Wet suit strippers here. Do you want help?” Had absolutely no idea that there was such a thing as a wet suit stripper until that moment in time. I was overjoyed by this discovery because my full wetsuit is a beast to take off! So I ran down the lane toward the strippers. Came upon two young ladies who told me very emphatically, “Sit down.” I answered back, “On the ground?” They just looked at me like I was clueless – because I was! Looked around, and sure enough, everyone had their suits pulled down to their waist, then they plunked on the ground, and the strippers whipped the wet suit off. So I followed orders and thankfully, my wet suit was stripped without any struggle.
Then it was into T1 (transition 1) to prep for the bike. As a tri-newbie, I may have over prepared my transition space a bit. Had everything there but the kitchen sink. It was quite comical. Wish I had snapped a photo so I could have shared how my space looked compared to others. Had everything laid out and ready to go (or so I thought). Changed into my bike jersey, dried and wiped my feet (to get all the sand off), slathered on more sunscreen, packed my PB&J’s in my bike shirt pocket, took a few swigs of water, put on clean socks and my biking shoes, checked the time...it’s no wonder my first transition was over 7 minutes. LOL! (The pros took about 2 mins in transition.) Hopped on my bike and off I went for 56 miles. About 53 miles into the ride, I realized I never put on my biking gloves…so much for having everything laid out and organized.
Somewhere around the 45 mile mark on the bike, a friendly gentleman decked out in his fancy bike outfit, expensive sunglasses, racing helmet, and $5000 tri bike pulled up next to me and said, “You look like you’re having too much fun. This is a race you know.” His comment was driven by the fact that I had just sat up to stretch my back and neck, was looking around soaking in the sights of the countryside, and absorbing as much hot sun as possible while riding my trusty road bike. So, I looked like a total tri-newbie at this point. I answered him back with a big smile, “I may only do this race once in my lifetime, so I’m trying to soak it all in.” He thought that was great and he proceeded to up his speed to 20+ miles an hour and left me in the dust.
One other new, smooth move that I managed on the course was pulling over for my water stops. I pulled over, unscrewed the tops on my lovely insulated water bottles, dropped in my electrolyte tabs, refilled with more water, screwed the caps back on….I even pulled over to switch the bottles between cages when one bottle emptied. For all you hard core bikers out there, hope you are having a great laugh. Don’t think I saw one other person pull over to do this the entire race. Lesson for future: figure out the water bottle situation on the bike.
Then it was time for T2. Stripped off my biking jersey while eating another quarter of a PB&J sandwich which was really hot and sticky from being stuck in the back of my bike jersey for 3.5 hours. But, by this point in the race, I did not care (at least it was not moldie). Apparently, I had a lot to do during T2 because it took me 8 minutes! Like 7 minutes was not long enough! No idea what I did for 8 minutes in T2. But, it was at this point that I had removed my bike helmet and sun glasses to change into my running shirt. Grabbed my running hat and then my sun glasses to put them back on. It was then that I noticed a big, gold, oval sticker on the front of my sun glasses…a big sticker that said, “UV polarized protection.” I had run out to REI the night before the race to get a better pair of sunglasses for race day (yes, I know, nothing like waiting until the last minute). I managed to remove the price tag prior to the race, but not the UV sticker. Rode with it on all 56 miles and never noticed! I think back to the guy who pulled up next to me on his bike, I’m sure he didn’t miss the big gold sticker on my glasses….and I’m sure he was laughing all the way into T2.
Finally, it was on to the run.