Monday, February 15, 2016

Ironman Arizona Race Report: Chapter 4: The Aftermath

Okay, this one will be short. I promise.  

Crosses fingers behind back.

Mostly, I felt like my run report was so long, it was getting ridiculous (did anyone actually make it to the end?), so I figured I’d deal with what happened after I crossed the finish line in a separate post.

So there I was….my Dad had caught me at the finish line.

But that wasn’t all! My friends were there too. My friend LK (who finished in an incredibly speedy time), Lifesaver Barry, and my dear friends from Missouri – Paula and Karen.

My awesome Missouri cheering section - Paula and Karen
In fact, now we have a similar picture from when Paula crossed the finish line last year, and when I did it this year. When Karen comes to IMAZ to get revenge, I am going to try my darnedest to be there for her too. Would love, love, love to put a trilogy of pictures (even if they aren’t the best pictures thanks to the darkness) on my wall.
Paula's finish in 2014

After saying hi and thanks to my friends, I let my Dad and the kind (and incredibly tall) volunteer that was my ‘official’ catcher help me to the photo section. The volunteer grabbed my finisher’s shirt and cap, and was more than happy to hold my stuff while I got my picture taken, and then got one with my Dad for good measure. Priceless.

Almost standing up straight!
Me and my Dad. He's still holding me up!
Thank you awesome volunteer!

I made it through to the athletes’ recovery section of the finish, where they had food tents set up. I caught up with a bunch of friends there, probably because most of us finished within an hour or so of each other.
On the somewhat funny side, not long after I finished, the clouds opened up and rain came pouring down one more time. All I could do was feel for the poor folks still out there on the course now getting another downpour. Thankfully, it didn’t last forever.
Some of the Toronto contingent - LK, Erin, Carole and I
The rest of my friends who raced decided to wait for the midnight finishers…but I couldn’t handle standing up for one more moment. While stopping had helped my back a million percent, what I really wanted was my bottle of Advil back in the hotel room.

To put it in perspective, I didn’t even want a beer! I had been dreaming of beer all day – and now I had no desire to have one.

So, I bid all my friends goodnight, and my dad and I headed out. Paula and Karen waited for me – and when I made a comment about needing to get my bike and gear bags, I found out they’d already taken care of everything for me.

These women are the most wonderful friends you could have. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated them that night – and all through the race week. All this because I met Paula at my first LPC Florida Triathlon Camp in 2013. I still remember her taking a picture of my first tip-over in clipless pedals. I still have that bloody knee picture! Can’t wait to ride with all my Missouri friends at camp again in a few weeks.

Back at the hotel, I don’t remember much – except getting back to my hotel room and seeing a handwritten sign my friend Paula had stuck up on the hotel room door to welcome me back.

I think I teared up. Yes, I still have the sign. It's stuck to my wall by where I hang my medals (nothing fancy, just some nails in my wall).

I got into the room and savoured my very long hot shower. I can’t believe how much dirt and mud I collected over the course of the day. Ick.

When I got out, I took the two most highly-anticipated Advil of my life.

The next day

I’d like to say I had a good night sleep…but really, like that was going to happen after being on my feet (and having a bunch of caffeinated Gus) all day. But I did nod off for a few hours very intermittently. Every time I moved, something ached.

But would you believe when I woke up the next morning at 6am (so we could get in line for Finisher’s Gear), my back didn’t hurt a bit?

Of course it didn’t. I was achy and sore pretty much everywhere BUT my back. Really, it’s quite hilarious in hindsight.

All in all, I actually felt a lot better than after running my first marathon (and even my second). I ached in more places and I had to move in stiff, aching steps, but my legs didn’t feel like jello or like they’d collapse at any minute. I was pleased about that.

All of the Toronto gang made it to the lineup for the Finishers’ Gear – probably because 6 of 8 of us were first time Ironman finishers. I think we all looked pretty good, considering!
You are an Ironman. And You. And You. And You. And You. And You.
Also...I think it was warmer in Toronto that day than in Tempe.
After spending a fortune (no comment) in the store…my Dad and I stopped at Denny’s where I ate my weight in food.
I'll take that...and that, oh and some of that.
I was incredibly tired looking, but at least I was sitting up straight! In fact, despite how I looked, I was feeling pretty awesome.
Okay, I just had to stick this one in here. Too perfect not to.
After heading back to the hotel, packing up, and saying goodbye to Paula and Karen, my Dad and I headed off into the sunset…

A re-enactment of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Or more accurately – we headed off to Tombstone! Because while my Ironman Arizona journey was complete, there was still a lot more of the Epic Road Trip to go.

There will be more on that in a future post.

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