"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Race Report: Ironman Coeur d'Alene - June 21, 2009

Alternative title #1: I was right, swimming sucks ass.
Alternative title #2: Two out of three ain't bad, well..., maybe it is.
Alternative title #3: Does 67% of an Ironman make me an alloy like ChromeMan? (Obligatory nerdy science title)

Let's get the unpleasantness out of the way first off, shall we?

Overall Time - DNF

For the record, I did not quit, the race quit me (someone very smart and very Iron told me that this weekend and I liked it) it sounds so much better than "I was too fat and slow to make the time cut offs, but too stubborn to leave the course until they made me", which is exactly the tale of my first Ironman attempt.

I will tell you that I cannot begin to thank all of you for your encouragement and support. The tracking comments and posts made me laugh and feel so special. And then, when it all went to shit, the outpouring of concern and kind words helped me see the positive side of a pretty fucking emotionally tough day.

Here is the story of Project Ironman, Take 1...

Pre-race: The Epic Road trip.

Hubby and I decided to take Ms. Lucy with us to Coeur d'Alene so we drove the 1200 miles to get there. Now, it is actually only 990+ miles, but we had to go visit the in-laws first in Washington. I will leave it at, we went, we saw them, and that family obligation is done until next year. 'Nuff said.

Some shots from the road:

The fam fam on the Sundial Bridge in Redding, CA

Jimi Hendrix grave in Renton, WA. the spots on his face are lipstick marks from mourners kissing his grave stone. Eww, but I would guess still probably cleaner than kissing the actual Jimi Hendrix.

Lucy was not impressed. Personally, I don't see the big draw either.

The Crooked River Gorge Redmond, OR.

Tacky little diner in Weed, CA that had the BEST French dip sandwich I have EVER eaten. I am a HUGE fan of tacky diners. The tackier the better!

These two gorgeous creatures are mine, all mine. *smug grin*
Taken at Castle Crag State Park

Pre-Race: IM Check in

When we got to Coeur d'Alene it was time to get checked in. Packet pick up on Friday went pretty smooth and I was amazed at how calm I was. I chatted with a a beautiful, leggy Canadian girl in line. It was her first IM and she was excited that she did not have to feel the pressure of speed like when she is at Olympic races and she is trying to win her age group.

Yeah, me too. So nice to not have THAT pressure.

Setting up the gear bags

On Friday I was going to skip the pre-race dinner and just go to the meeting, but some of the gals that train with my coach talked me in to going and I am glad I did. During the dinner and meeting Izaac (Formulaic) and I were texting and we met up after dinner. It was so nice to get to see him and Kelly and meet their beautiful baby Kian before the race. I am so grateful to this internet/blog world for introducing me to great friends like them. From the time we met it was like we had been friends for years. We just 'get' each other.

Small aside: My friendship with Kelly is a testament to my HUGE growth as a woman. In a past life I would never be able to be friends with a woman that was so gorgeous, smart, funny and looks so freaking good a mere 3 weeks after giving birth that she could wear a bikini out to dinner. I am just saying...

On Saturday I met up with IronJane. She was there to volunteer in T1 and the Med tent. I do not think I could have had a better day-before-race than I did. We went to lunch, talked about Ironman, training, dogs, life, etc. I really think that it put me in a perfect pre-race mental space.

Day before Ironman CdA.
RBR and IronJane in front of a nice calm Lake Coeur d'Alene. Stupid fucking lake.

Race Day: The Ominous Morning

My dad and I got up early race morning and I sat on the deck of our rental house, drinking my coffee, and watching the white caps on the lake. I was currently facing my worst case scenario.


It was cold and windy, which I would not have minded so much had that not meant the water was going to be rough. For those of you that have followed my IM training you already know that a rough swim had the power to end my Ironman faster than anything else.

Oddly, I was pretty calm. I was resigned to the fact that I was here to do this regardless of the conditions. I knew that my odds of making the cut offs just dropped dramatically.

Not a happy camper

I had already decided that I would not leave the course until they made me. It was time to do this. About 10 minutes before the start I got in to get wet before the swim. I always do this so I don't have the shock of the cold water right in the beginning of the swim. It helps control my breathing so my asthma does not cause issues. The water temperature was about 65 which is very comfortable in a wetsuit and MUCH warmer than the ocean water I have been swimming in.

The Swim: 2:16:48/T1 9:55

The canon went off with no warning and no pre-race pep talk. I waited while the fasties got in and started swimming and then meandered into the water staying to the far right. It must have worked because I did not get hit. Not once. I did not get kicked or swum over. It was actually one of the tamer swim starts I have had in a triathlon. I was waiting for the Ironman washing machine, but one never came. I just got in and started swimming.

The swell and current was disheartening, but I had taken Bonine (motion sickness medication) and held my own for the first loop. 58:20, a normal pace for me and pretty good considering I swam extremely wide for the first loop and was fighting swell and current.

Heading back out for another beating.

I got back in for the second loop and the conditions got significantly worse. I fought like hell just to get to the first turn buoy. The swell would pull me up and then drop me back on the water, smacking my face on the water like the bottom of a boat. Over and over A-fucking-GAIN. It was maddening. I had to swim at a diagonal to keep heading toward the buoys because the current was pulling me to the far right and every time I looked up to sight, I swallowed another gallon of lake water. I have never hydrated so well in my life as I did on that swim.

The far turn buoys were just terrifying for me. The swell loomed over you and then tossed you around like a rag doll. By time I reached the last turn buoy to head in I was so seasick. After another 50 yards I was retching and the first of several kayaks and surfboard guys came over to me and asked how I was. I told him I was sick. It was 8:43 am. He said, "don't worry you have plenty of time." I had about 900 yards to go and it would turn out to be the hardest 900 yards of my life. I would swim a few strokes and then have to look up and breathe. A surfboard guy named Jesse (yeah, at this point I am on a first name basis with the rescue crew) came up and starts cheering me on.

Here is where I hit the wall. I was clinging to his surfboard retching and crying (I know, so cool) I was shaking and wanted so badly to quit. I MUST get out of this fucking water.

Jesse: "Stacey, you can do this!"

Me thinks: Why don't you have a fucking jet ski? A surfboard would take FOREVER to get me out of here.

Jesse: "Come on, only four buoys to go."

Me thinks: If I flip Jesse off that thing, I can get in faster. Fuck him. He can swim.

Jesse: "You can't be seasick on land!"

Me thinks: How much lake water HAVE I drank?!

Jesse: " You are doing great. Only two buoys to go."

Me thinks: Your entire family and your best friends took their vacation time and spent A LOT of money to come up here and cheer you on, suck it up and JUST FUCKING SWIM!

And finally, mercifully, it was done. I staggered out of the water to a roar of cheering and applause. I was so sick I couldn't even see my family who were screaming their heads off. My mom had been crying and everyone was totally freaked out by the mass start and how long it took me on the second loop. This was their first triathlon. Maybe Ironman was not the best way to indoctrinate them.

Staggering out of the swim. You know you look MARVELOUS when not one, but two volunteers walk you up to transition.

I assumed that I had missed the cut off. I kept waiting for them to pull my chip. I hit the wetsuit strippers and they told me to sit down. I immediately fell over and I heard people gasp.

"I am fine. Just sick. Very sick." I kept repeating.

At that point IronJane came running up screaming her head off.

IronJane: "You did it! You did so great!!"

Me: I made the cut off?

IronJane: "Yes! You are so awesome!" (Jane seriously missed her calling. If this doctor thing doesn't work out she should consider professional cheerleading)

Jane and I heading into T1 tent. I am soooo grateful she was there.
I am not sure what is worse in this picture, the green, I-am-gonna-puke expression on my face or my GINORMOUS, wet spandex wrapped ass.

Then about 45 volunteers (I was last, so there was no one else for them to work on) descend upon me and start dressing me for the bike. I can not move I am so nauseous. It is all I can do to not throw up on them.

Me thinks: Holy shit, I am still in this thing

The Bike: 8:14:32 (unofficial)

I knew that with that bad of a swim time that my odds of making the bike cut offs were bad. Like im-fucking-possible bad, but my motto had become "you are not leaving this course until they make you," so I soldiered on.

It took a couple of miles before the seasickness wore off. I started sipping water and by mile 10 I was able to eat. When I passed my family at mile 15-ish I screamed I am feeling better! I pushed as hard as I could. My new goal was to make to 1:30 pm cut off at mile 56.

I was passed by the first pro about 4 miles in (yeah, he was over 50 MILES ahead of me. Whatever. This is his job) A girl on the side of the road yelled to me, "Come on! You can catch him!" That cracked me up. This set the tone for my ride. I was the happy, smiling girl that was last. I remained that girl for the entire ride (well, there was a brief bitchy snit fit, but I will get to that). I must have said 'thank you' 10,000 times to spectators, volunteers, and race officials. Everyone was SUPER nice. I may have been last, but I was damn happy and damn proud to be there.

There was a group of drunk bikers that were tailgating, spectating and cheering for riders with a megaphone. They were very amused by me. They went ape shit every time I went by. It was kind of cool.

The downside of remaining the last rider is that I became the Ironman Grim Reaper of the bike course. If I passed you, you were done. It may not be immediately, but eventually everyone I passed dropped and SAG'd in. So let the record reflect that I did actually pass some people!

As I headed out to Hayden Lake and the hills I was on a mission. The hills were steep but short and I rode up every one of them without stopping or walking. Both loops. Now, I am in no way sitting "high atop my seat of judgment" for those that had to stop or walk up them. I just have to take my "Boo yah's" and "Go me's" where I can get them. I trained hard for these goddamn hills and I am proud that I rode up every mother fucking one of them. And there were plenty of them. Believe me.

Pros were passing me left and right at this point and several of them cheered me on by name. For the record, Justin Henkel, Annette Kamenz, and Jeff Kimball are extremely nice people.

The really shitty part of this bike course is that you do not get much of a reward after climbing the hills. The downhills are short and most of them end in a hairpin turn that you have to brake on before climbing up yet another fucking hill. Therefore, you do not get to use your momentum to help get up the next hill, nor do you get a long down hill to help raise your average speed. I call it the "lose/lose" of the CdA bike course.

I started to get passed by the WAY hardcore age group riders and several of them were so nice cheering me on. One guy even said, "Good stretch Stacey, Find your rhythm. You are looking great!" I wish I could remember his name.

I hit the first timing mat at 35 miles (I don't remember the time) and I knew it was going to be a stretch to get to 56 miles by 1:30 pm. Push, push, push. Finally back I got back in town. My Garmin was off by about 2 miles (trouble finding a satellite in bum fuck Idaho) and my bike computer was about 3 miles ahead since I forgot to clear it from my 'check to see if the bike is ok' ride. I wasn't sure exactly when 56 was. I assumed there would be a timing mat.

Where is the fucking 56 mile mat?

No mat. Nice.

I kept going and assumed I made the cut off. I later found out that I made the cut off by less than 2 minutes.

I got to special needs and knew I could not stop. I had no wiggle room. I yelled out that I wanted my coke, sandwich, and chips and the gracious volunteers humored me as I am sure they were thinking "Really, we are going all 'Tour du France' style and you are dead fucking last?"

I immediately dropped the sandwich, but I somehow got the coke open and ate some chips while riding. The coke was a LIFE SAVER. It lit a fire under my ass and I was ready to tackle Hayden Lake again. I passed a girl about this time and she asked,

Dead Girl Riding: Did you see a 56 mile mat?

Grim Reaper (Me): No, but they didn't stop me, so I assumed I made the cut off and I was behind you so I think we are fine.

Dead Girl Riding: I am not going back out to Hayden Lake If I am not getting credit. I am going to flag down an official.

That was the last time I saw her. I did not have time for all of that. I am not leaving until they make me, so it does not matter.

A little while later, a motorcycle pulls up next to me and asks me how I am doing. I tell him I am great. He says, "Well, we are going to keep an eye on you because you are the last rider." I would hear that about 47,000 times over the next 47 miles.

I hit the Hayden Lake hills again and I swear they were easier this time around. I was feeling really good. I was joking with the volunteers and spectators and even with my grumpy motorcycle escort. I passed several people that were waiting on the side of the road for SAG or walking up a hill. Other riders heading back into town looked shocked that someone was still heading out. But I smiled and cheered them on and they cheered me on.

As I descended to the mile 90 turn around I saw them flip the orange timing mat into the truck.


When I got there they stopped me.

Me: Do I turn around here?

Timing Mat Flipper: Yes, but I have to take your chip. You are not going to make it.

Me: What?

Timing Mat Flipper: You are at the farthest point of the course. You won't make the cut off. I have to take your chip. Sorry.

Me thinks: They should have sent a bigger dude to take my chip. You could get hurt this way, sport.

Me says: I have an hour and half to the cut off.

Timing Mat Flipper: You won't make it. You can wait here for SAG to bring you in.

Me: Can I finish the course?

Timing Mat Flipper, as he removes my chip: Yes

And with that my Ironman was officially over.

As I rode away, I was so angry. Why the fuck would they not tell us there was another cut off at 4 pm at mile 90? (I got there at 4:03pm by the way) I caught up with another gal Susan that had just had her chip removed as well. She said, "Bummer, huh? Maybe I should just SAG in. It is getting really cold and now it is raining."

She was so much calmer than me, but not after I got done with her. By time we reached the next hill, she was as pissed as me. I am pretty sure she never swears as much as we did. But what she lacked in vulgar vocabulary she made up for in enthusiasm. I like to think she will blossom under my tutelage.

They were picking up the cones and pulling the directional arrows on the course so it made a little slower going getting back as we tried to figure out which way we were supposed to go. It was cold, windy and raining, and all of the spectators had moved on, but I was meeting my goal, I was not leaving the course until they made me.

When we got back closer to town my drunk bikers were still out there and as I approached they started screaming and cheering saying "There's our girl! You are first place in our book!" and then they held out beers like an aide station.

As we approached Coeur d'Alene, I got a new motorcycle escort, but this one was a total sweetheart. For 10 miles he stopped traffic for me and made sure that I was safe through the busy streets. We laughed and joked and he kept me pushing until the very end. I did not casually cruise back into town, or ride in dejected and beaten. I came in smiling and pushing hard.

I didn't even cry until I saw my dad. Then I sobbed. I knew I could run. I was pretty damn sure I could run a marathon, but it wasn't to be. It was not my day to be an Ironman, but don't count me out.

This story isn't done yet.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Quick Check in from CdA

The internet situation is a little sketchy up here, but I wanted to give a quick shout out to everyone to let them know that we did make the 1200+ drive to Coeur d'Alene. I forgot my camera cord AND my XD card reader (stupid olympus camera only takes XD cards) so I can not get any of my pictures off my camera until I get home. Damn.

Some random observations from the road:

1. Having a GPS does NOT mean you will not get lost. I knew this, but hubby insisted on yelling at Monsieur Garm-een (again, pronounced in an obnoxious french accent because it cracks me up) which, as we know, only makes it mad and more likely to drive you to the middle of fucking nowhere.

2. Visiting your hyper-critical inlaws on the way to your first ironman is not advisable. Upside, my yearly duty is satisfied and I don't have to listen to the unspoken (thankfully. It is not always unspoken) undercurrent of how fat I am "despite all that running" until next summer. So long bitches, see you on the next trip around the sun!

3. A smart phone is only as smart as the person using it. Therefore, it can be used to look up TONS of totally useless information that, for some reason, my husband and I MUST KNOW RIGHT NOW.

Useless information highlights from this trip:

a. It is 72 miles from Weed, CA to Klamath Falls, OR, it is 25 miles from Puyallup, WA to Renton, WA, and so on and so on. For EVERY tiny ass city we came to there was some sort of distance that we had to know.

b. Jimi Hendrix is buried in Renton, WA (Yes, we went to see the grave. Pictures to follow)

c. There is a place by the California/Oregon border that calls itself the
State of Jefferson, and purports to be the 51st state in the union. Get over it folks, you are NOT a state.

d. The
Sundial bridge in Redding, CA was built in 2004 (yes, we went there too. It was a regular, white trash pilgrimage of the northwest. Pictures to follow)

e. A rousing game of "Dead or Alive" resulted in the following information: Ernest Borgnine, Betty Ford, and Lena Horne are all still alive and kicking. Sadly, Ricardo Montalban, Jim Henson, and Nell Carter are not.

I'll stop. We did this for over 17 hours.

4. Northern Washington is patently uninteresting. Unless you are into hay. Lots and lots of hay.

I have officially checked in, and am wearing an Ironman wristband. It is much colder than expected and is raining, Everyone is scrambling to get appropriate clothing. It is starting to feel real.

Christ, what have I done?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

We all know I am a numbers girl...

In the spirit of tooting my own horn, which is a well established pattern here on Run Bitch Run, I decided to report some numbers I have racked up in the pursuit of Ironman.

They are nothing compared to LOTS of IM athletes out there, but they are a pretty darn amazing to me.

In my training for Ironman I have:

Run: 1,015.5 miles (Total lifetime: 1696 miles)
Biked: 2,839 miles (Total lifetime: 2947 miles)
Swam: 60.95 miles (Total lifetime: 64. 2 miles)

I have compared them to my lifetime numbers for extra WOW effect. I like WOW effect. It is a little known fact that I am a bit of a drama queen. Shhh, don't tell anyone.

And in relatively new statistics (translation: I avoided hills like the plague before learning CDA had LOTS 'o hills) I have also:

Climbed: 93,984 ft on foot and bicycle.

That is like going up Mt. Everest over 3 times. Ok, it was not at altitude, nor was there any snow, and I was never at risk of an avalanche or being eaten by my fellow climbers, but still, hauling my big ass up that many feet is impressive, no?

I will be the first to admit I was not perfect in my training, or in maintaining my life while training, but completing all this while

1. doing my job and not letting my students play second fiddle to training (as much as I bitch about them, their education is infinitely more important to me than Ironman. Well, that is true for most of them anyway ;o))

2. not ending up divorced,

3. trying to let my friends know that they are important to me and that it is NOT all about me and Ironman, and

4. still making time everyday to check in on, care for, and cuddle my animal family,

This makes me pretty damn proud of myself.

(that is the most ridiculously ugly, poorly constructed, run-on sentence I have ever written. Considering the piss poor grammar level of this blog normally, that is scary. I tried to make it a list to offset the horror. My apologies to my grammatically correct friends. I hope I have not scarred you for life. )

Must get off laurel-resting ass and go run...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ding, dong! The cherubs are gone!

Finally, I have finished my last work day for the 2008-2009 school year.


It has been a pretty good year, but I couldn't help but think "Goodbye cherubs, don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out" when that final bell rang.

Small Rant

If one more person gives me the 'Up-and down glance, YOU-are-doing-an-Ironman?' look after asking what I am doing this summer, they will be pulling their teeth out of their lower esophagus.

Yes, that includes the 155 year old Home Ec teacher. Sweet old lady, my ass.

The next person that looks at my hips as they say "Soooo, have you been, like, training a lot?", investigators will never find all the pieces of their body.

No, Sparky, I thought I would just wing it at Ironman. I am sure it will be fine.

Ok, I am done...

for now

In other news...

I got my Ironman number


Nope, I did not forget any digits. I am number 74.

What the hell? Doesn't that seem odd?

I keep hyperventilating when look at that number.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Deep Ironman thoughts with RBR...

Last night I attended an informational meeting about Ironman race strategies held by my coach. I was concerned that I would leave feeling more overwhelmed and under prepared, but I actually feel a little better.

The first point she made was about taper and how some people feel really hyper and perky and get super productive like some damn fool I know (*cough* Formulaic) and some people get really exhausted and moody (no cracks about "how can you tell RBR is taper madness moody vs. her regular moody-ass self?") I was really concerned that I was doing something wrong or that this was a sign that I was under trained. I felt MUCH better about that. She even recommended NAPS! I knew I loved her for a reason. I take back all the evil thoughts I had about her during intervals and tempo runs.... well, most of them anyway. ;o)

The Ironman "Ah ha!" Moment

She told us not to let our race day goal get in the way of our race. Meaning, keep the goal in mind and let it push you forward, but do not let it overwhelm you and cause you to panic. Race in the moment.

I think this is particularly important for those of us racing the time cut offs. There is really no fall back goal from "just fucking finish" maybe "don't die", but that is about it.

She went on to say that she thought that was a tough concept for new Ironman competitors to grasp and put into practice, but it made perfect sense to me.

When I got clean, the goal is to stay clean for the rest of your life. What I learned, is that you cannot stay clean for the rest of your life. You can stay clean right now, in this moment, and eventually, if you string together enough "right now's", when you reach your death bed, you will have been clean for the rest of your life. Cool accomplishment, but the real victory has been in all those moments of a life lived being able to fully feel and revel in the gift of life, both the really wonderful AND the really hard parts.

If I started that journey over 18 years ago by telling myself that I could never take another drug or drink FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, I would have never made it 18 years clean. When it got hard I would not have been able to foresee enduring that pain until I die. But I learned in recovery that I can draw strength from others like me that are going through or have gone through that pain and I CAN endure for 5 minutes, and then 5 minutes more, and then 5 minutes more, and so on.

Having 18 years clean is cool. Living the life I have had for the last 18 years is way cooler.

That is how I feel about Ironman.

I can not race for 17 hours thinking that none of it will have been worth it if I don't make the cut off.

Every training swim, ride, and run has been a victory

When I show up to the starting line it will be a victory

When I go through the IM washing machine at the swim start it will be a victory

When I reach the next buoy it will be a victory

When I make a time cut off it will be a victory

When I start the next event it will be a victory

Every time I move forward when I don't want to, it will be a victory

And ultimately, when I cross that finish line, in the dead of night, it will be a




Like I said, there is going to be a lot of this "rah, rah!", "Go me!" shit for the next 12 days. My apologies if it makes you slightly nauseous.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


This may not have been what my coach had in mind with a easy 4:30 ride today.

Elevation profile. 38 miles, 4664 ft of climb. Holy Shit.

I found a local century that was happening today and thought I would do the metric century (described as 68 hilly miles) and bail somewhere to make it about 50 miles.

Well, at about mile 26 I had reached the highest point (So, yeah, 4664 ft of climb in 26 miles) and had a choice to make, either finish the whole thing, with another 2000 feet of climb, or go back down, which would end up shy of 40 miles.

It was hard on my ego to turn around and ride past other riders that were finishing the ride, but I had already done way more than I probably should have 2 weeks out from IM.

Another Go me! moment (sorry, but there will be a lot of these as I try to pump myself up for Ironman)

Today I climbed one of the toughest climbs in our area, Redwood Gulch Road, and we have some crazy tough climbs in our area. My husband even uttered a "Whoa" when I told him I climbed it. He also told me was so impressed. He does NOT play fast and loose with the compliments so that is a big deal and definitely a Go me!

Bike etiquette tips with RBR: Don't tell a 65 year old man on a recumbent bike that he is a "total BEAST!" Even if they are. They do NOT take it as a compliment. My bad, dawg.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

On this day....

TWO shocking things happened:

Ten years today ago someone actually married my crazy ass. On June 6, 1999 I duped a guy, er....I mean, I lucked into marrying my perfect partner.

And then, in even MORE shocking news, I did a 2.5 mile swim in the ocean.

Maybe you didn't hear me,

I said, I swam two point five MILES in the O-fucking-CEAN.

Some on you may think, "Oh, you are so lucky! What a joy to swim with the dolphins! You are blessed with the beauty and tranquility of swimming in God's pool."

To which I say, bullshit.

It is one of those romantic notions that sound good, but suck ass in actual practice. Like, joining the Peace Corps or making homemade Christmas gifts.

The ocean has several things that make it suck:

1. Need I say it? SHARKS. Yes, that is number one.

I know, I know. The odds of being attacked by a shark are about 1,000 times LESS likely than being hit by a bus while walking on the sidewalk, but when faced with the option of being eaten alive (either partially or entirely) versus being squashed flat in front of the local Starbuck's, I will chose a fast moving transit bus ANY DAY. The chances of being attacked by a shark while walking on the sidewalk are ZERO, by the way.

2. Salt water.

It tastes disgusting and if you SUCK at swimming in more ways than one, and take on water like termite riddled canoe, it makes you puke when you swallow too much. Chafing is 500% worse in salt water versus fresh water.

3. Waves.

Not just when it is windy, just when the earth is rotating on its axis.

There are other reasons, but I think you get the point.

Anyhoo, I have been dreading this swim since I saw it on our training schedule and honestly, I am pretty proud of myself for doing it. Pretty proud, but also pretty stunned that I actually did it.

I am really grateful to the tri group for being very understanding and helpful to those of us that were scared shitless, ...er... I mean, apprehensive about the swim and the LARGE waves and thick kelp beds that we faced today.

I really have two women to give extra thanks to for this accomplishment today. GG along with her girlfriend, A, on a surfboard, stayed with me for the entire 1:57:20 swim (BTW, that DOES make the IM cut off. I know, I am as shocked as you are.)

These are the same kind souls that got me through the swim around the wharf last year. This duo has been there for, and are largely responsible for my success at, the two scariest and hardest swims of my triathlon career and I am eternally grateful for their help.

First full IM distance swim. Go me.