Lisbeth loved AZ:
“I don’t think I have enjoyed a race more than Sunday’s Ironman Arizona or experienced a better organized event. I went in pretty relaxed (for an Ironman, that is) expecting I would possibly have to walk the latter part of the marathon. Since I don’t have 27 IMs under my belt like the Vinunator I had no idea how my body would react to 2 IMs 6 weeks apart. I arrived Friday afternoon after snow delays en route and 9 hours on flights but just in time to register. Last minute is how I like it. My roommate Dede Griesbauer (10th place pro woman in Hawaii – only American woman to have gone top 10 past 2 years!!) was there to support her athletes and gave me more customized advice than anyone could dream of. Like a Kindergartner led by a college professor. In return I was able to talk a hole in her head starting at 4AM the morning after the race.
Saturday we headed for a test swim in Tempe Lake and I could handle barely 10 minutes in that chill before my head, hands and feet were frozen. We went to the expo and picked up insulated caps to wear under the swim cap for race day. Smart.
Early race morning Dede and I are sitting in bed watching TV while I try to stuff down calories when an 11 year old kid comes on who has leukemia and will die in a few weeks (we knew this as the TV coverage was shown after his death) – anyway, we both sit there red and teary eyed – the boy is asked what is the best thing about life, and he answers having one. Well, that certainly put things in perspective, and it was time to get it done and enjoy something simple as just life.
When Vinu says he didn’t know if he could race that morning he wasn’t kidding – he shows up to transition looking like he hasn’t slept in 2 weeks, all haggard. Way to pull it together! The two of us stand at the bank waiting till the last minute to jump into the freeze and waddle our way towards the front. Shockingly cold. Warmest part of the pre-start was when I peed in my wet suit. Cannon goes off and surprise of the day – not the violent start that 2600 people can produce; I had clear water from the get go and managed to stay close to the buoys without drifting too much to the left (they don’t call me GPS Kenyon for nothing in open water). After the turnaround I found myself looking for feet to draft but was alone more or less. What a difference from the complete and utter frenzy of Hawaii. My feet were freezing but that’s it – adrenaline working its wonders. Stomach was starting to churn, however. Swim 59 minutes. Sprinted to the porta-john. Slooooow transition.
Exited T1 with Vinu who had his own challenges finding his bike – what a rookie, and that’s the last I saw him until mile 8 of the run. Peter was too fast to even spot when he came zooming in the other direction. I caught up with Scott during 2nd lap and we exchanged some pleasantries – like stop smelling the roses, except he beat me to that line. I biked conservatively and stayed completely in my comfort zone first 2 laps which is not my usual strategy, and then got a little more aggressive last lap. I wasted some energy being irritated with the draft packs that came by. One guy who passed me tucked in one of those packs came out of the 4-minute penalty tent 20 miles later as I passed by; he was fresh as a daisy. A non-gusty head wind up to the turn-around and fast on the way back. Followed my nutrition plan until my stomach started cramping again – damn sensitive system I have, so I backed off on calories and concentrated on taking enough electrolytes. It was hot and dry by now and judging from people’s salt stained shorts I knew I was probably sweating more than I felt. Bike 5:16. Hopping off the bike in T2 I couldn’t even walk upright from my stomach cramps so I hobbled to another porta-john sitting. Slooow transition.
Run started out great – clocked off miles after miles at 7:40 pace like it was nothing until a wall suddenly appeared. Not sure it was lack of calories catching up or previous marathon syndrome, but my legs said stop so I slowed it to a 9 minute per mile shuffle and started enjoying the race and focusing on not overheating, stuffing ice sponges in my shirt and holding ice in my hands. Vinu energetically skipped by me at mile 8 and disappeared into the horizon – had I known he was having problems up the road I might have tried to mobilize… not. I had time to focus on what other people were going through – I saw some ugly sights and was happy to be upright and clear-headed. I never walked a single aid station other than 3 quick porta-john sessions. Porta-johns are my friend. And what an enjoyable finish it was, the crowds like the volunteers were unbelievable and treating you as if you were THE world champion coming in through the last 100 meters. Run 3:42.
Total 10:10:01. 1st age group, 3rd overall amateur woman, new age group course record which was really cool, Kona spot accepted. Congrats to Peter (9:29), Vinu (10:04) and Scott (10:13) with amazing finishes. Holy cow, Ironman is hard stuff.
And now Todd shall have some rest and recovery after 4 days of multi tasking – work, YMCA board meetings; yes several for some reason, 10 hours of testing people in the wind tunnel, taking and picking kids up from school, shuttling to swim practices, floor hockey, basketball game, etc., etc. Laundry was even done – yes that’s right – he’s mine!
And a huge thanks to FuelBelt for amazing support this season, along with my other sponsors TTBikeFit, Zoot, Vasa, Powerbar and Coach Al!