Over the last year I have been training to race in the 2012 Penticton Ironman and on August 26th that goal was finally realized.
The morning of the race I anticipated being extremely nervous, however, as the day approached I realized that I had truly worked too hard and thought about this moment for too long to ruin it with my nerves. So I slapped on my brave face and went in with confidence. Getting to the race start was part of the process- my best girlfriend and sister drove Troy and I in, and we blasted my theme song of the day to really get us going- Callie and Char were both in tears by the time we got out, but I felt pumped! Of course it didn’t hurt to have my coach/boyfriend guiding me through the morning. Prior to the race before walking down to the water he gave me some final words of encouragement: stay focused, use your head, and enjoy the day… Now let’s do this.
The race started with the 3.9km swim and by some miracle I was the most comfortable I have EVER been in an event. Normally I am gasping for breath and sighting out a canoe to come and rescue me, but this time just felt different. The morning was bright and sunny, the lake was clear and I just became another body in the mass of people dodging and weaving their way along the course. I had gone over this swim in my head probably 200 times before, so part of me couldn’t believe when it was over… I popped out of the water and was proficiently ripped out of my wetsuit by two amazing volunteers. I was so proud of myself, and we were only an hour and a bit in!
Heading to the tent to get into my bike gear was seamless as there were tons of people helping out, laying out my shoes, lathering me up in sunscreen and generally just being there. I quickly put my sunglasses on to hide the goggle imprints lining my face and just as I was pushing off on my bike, heard Troy’s name being announced meaning that he was out of the water. I beat Troy- another point for me on that swim! Sorry Troy… now I just had to hold him off on the bike.
Again, things could not have gone better on this 180km ride. My legs felt amazing and I was still flying high from my swim, not to mention the amazing support crew I caught a glimpse of as I rode past (My family, Troy’s family, and our friends). I was full of energy and rode that way. About 130km in, Troy and I were lucky enough to bump into each other and so rode the last 50km together. Riding back into Penticton after 6 plus hours on the bike felt incredible! I was actually looking forward to stretching out my legs, busting out this marathon, and pushing myself through the final leg of my day.
Troy and I started off together, but since he was averaging 12km/hour and my pace is 10, I hung back and did my own thing. Over the course of the run, which is an out and back to Okanagan Falls, I basically planned the next five years of my life, held back some (but not all) tears, passed a lot of walkers, sang to myself, or sometimes just coached myself under my breath… It can get pretty lonely out there. On the other hand, I was also blown away by the support along that course- shouts of “Good job Kate, nice pace, looking strong etc” rang consistently throughout, and seeing my family along the way was one of the most special feelings. There was a lot of love on the side of that road. Just bearing witness to that was a big part of my day and my motivation to keep going no matter how tired, how sore, or how anything, I was.
I ran those 42km in 4 hours and 8 minutes, but it was probably the last 5km that were the hardest both mentally and physically. When I actually got back to the city center where hundreds of people were standing on either side of the street cheering for ME I knew that I had done it. I could see the finish line, I could see my family, and I knew that Troy would be there waiting for me to cross… Really we had put in so many hours training together, and having him at the end was extremely emotional. I balled my eyes out immediately (Seriously, if you ever want to deepen your relationship, go ahead and train for an Ironman together- there is pretty much no ground you don’t cover after the 100th run together… I’m just sayin’)
But really, the day couldn’t have gone any better and I really am proud of what I was able to achieve out there… 12:35 minutes. Only 20 minutes behind my Veteran boyfriend. I mean, I am 9 years younger, but who’s askin’?
I will definitely do Ironman again… already thinking about next year in Coeur D’Alene.
Coming in on the bike... Troy let me go first so I could really soak up all the cheers... Doug is in the background getting everyone's attention. I know from experience what a thrill it is to see your "person" come through.
Tim, Mon, Greg and Ricci... IronFANS!
I adore this photo. Looking fresh Late!
Troy you are looking HOT!
Making my way back into the city!
Feeling on top of the world here. So emotional!
Our Family and biggest supporters. Thanks for coming guys- We love you!