Where did I leave off....OH YES. I just got on my bike and my mom told me Matt was about 4 minutes ahead of me. So I was off to try and figure out where the heck he was. I started out at a pretty fast pace and remembered thinking how great I felt. I then had a discussion with myself about how if I kept going this pace I was sure to die halfway through the bike. This is what myself said to myself, "Self, oh well, lets just see what happens." So I kept the pace pretty strong.
It wasn't but about two or three miles in when I heard some dude behind me shout, "Hey 363!" My initial thought...oh God its only two miles in and already I am getting a penalty for something. Then I heard him finish with, "Your tattoos are on crooked!" I laughed out loud realizing it was Matt. I was so thankful to see him so quickly on the bike, but I couldn't figure out for the life of me how I passed him without seeing him. I thought well maybe he pulled off to the side and just waited for me, then pulled up behind me when he saw me. It wasn't until the run when he told me that he was farting around in transition because he didn't expect me so soon out of the swim. I ended up beating him out of transition and he was chasing me down. What's even funnier is that Colleen later told me that they were all laughing trying to picture Matt and I finding each other on the bike course because my mom had told me he was ahead of me and Colleen had told Matt I was ahead of him. So they all pictured me hammering to find Matt and Matt hammering to try and catch up to me and it just being one big chasing game. Too funny! It all worked out in the end though.
The beginning portion of the bike was the part that had the biggest change from the original course. Instead of going East on Cleveland Road we went West and then turned off on Route 250. Matt and I know this area really well, so it was no big deal. Overall the bike started off really comfortable. We were going at a good pace and I felt amazing. I lead for about the first 20 miles and was waiting for Matt to tell me to slow down, but he never said anything. I figured he was comfortable with the pace. I was, however, consciously awaiting that bonk period though, which thankfully never ended up happening.
Matt took over when we reached River Road where the buffaloes are. This road is where he tended to gain the most distance on me because he is stronger at the hills than I am. I kept calm though and didn't try to keep up with him. I just figured he would eventually look back and see that I wasn't there. For the most part we were able to maintain a comfortable distance between ourselves without one or the other getting too far ahead. Route 113 was next. This road was the biggest gamble with the wind as it was a 13 mile stretch. I don't think there was a headwind,but there definitely was not a tailwind to help us along. We were able to maintain a comfortable pace though with Matt leading for most of the way.
At the turnoff I took over once again which was awesome because this is my favorite part of the course. Its a short little jaunt down Route 60 (I think?), but every time we have ridden it, no matter which direction the wind is coming from we are able to maintain 20+ mph. It must have a slight decline or something, but it is always the fastest part of the course for me.
It was about this time when I realize I was getting a headache. Not from lack of nutrition, but from my aero helmet. We had only worn them once before on a short 30 min training ride. I remembered after that ride Matt was making fun of me because I had a huge red mark on my forehead. I didn't really think anything of it because I like my helmets to fit securely. My other helmet always leaves red marks too, but I don't get a headache from it. This one was just way too tight though. I tried to adjust it while I was riding, but to no avail. All I could do was push it forward once in awhile to let my forehead breathe. To give you an idea of just how tight it was, I ended up with a bruise right in the middle of my forehead the next day. Matt was calling me his Indian Princess. Lesson Learned! And no wonder I had trouble getting the thing on in transition!
Mason Road was next, which was another change to the course. Instead of only being on this chip and seal road for a mile we stayed on it until we got to Frailey. This was good and bad. Bad because we were in a headwind and the road sucked. Not only was it fresh chip and seal, but it also had tractor tire grooves in it which made it even more bumpy. There was one point where I got so frustrated I actually screamed out to myself, "COME ON!!!" The good part was that we cut off half of Frailey which was the hilly part, and ended up on the good portion of Frailey. Overall I can't complain. It was a good course change.
Mile 50 came up quickly which was where our special needs bags were. I was so happy to stop as I forgot to put my Chamois Butter on in transition. We pulled over and I lubed up. I also took the opportunity to pop some Ibuprofen as my knees were killing me. Usually they will start hurting on longer rides if we are stopping and starting alot (taking breaks and traffic lights, etc.). I'm not sure why they were hurting so bad this time, but it was nothing the Ibuprofen didn't fix. I only wished I took it a little earlier in the ride.
Before we knew it we were at the start of the second loop. This loop was relatively uneventful and went by pretty fast. The wind had shifted and made 113 a little better with some tailwind. Mason Road sucked again, but not really as bad as the first time. I attribute this to my mom. See, she is a very religious person, and when I was a kid and had trouble sleeping or was worried about something she always told me to just keep repeating the Lord's prayer in my head. Though I am not a super religous person, It always helped to clam me down and make me fall asleep. I don't know if it was just repeating something over and over or if it was some Godly intervention. But on Mason road when I started to struggle with the bike I decided to repeat the Lord's prayer in my head. I did this until I could no longer remember the words and at that point I figured I must just be getting delusional. So I laughed at myself and just kept trucking along. It seemed to make the time go by faster though.
My nutrition on the bike was pretty much spot on. I had Honey Stinger Gummies, 2 Honey Singer Waffles, 2 Honey stinger gels, 3 PB and J halves, and Infinite. I also had a granola bar and Rice Krispy treat which I didn't end up eating. Honestly the Honey Stinger gel went down the easiest, but the PB and J seemed to give me the most energy after eating them. I also took plenty of water and a little bit of Gatorade from the rest stops.
Finally, Matt and I turned the corner to the final four mile stretch. Matt let me take over the lead again and I hammered it home. It seemed like at this point everyone in front of us had slowed way down and were just lollygagging. So I took full advantage of this and was passing people left and right (well really only on the left). I was ready to be done with the bike and didn't want it to take any longer than it needed to. I think we averaged about 19-20 mph on this back stretch before Matt told me to gear down and start spinning out the legs. I looked at my watch when we got to transition and it said 6:30 something. We had crushed our goal on the bike and had plenty of time to spare on the run! I felt great!
Bike: 6:31:51 (17.15 mph pace)
Overall Female: 44/88
Unfortunately there were not enough bike catchers so Matt and I had to rack our own bikes, but that was fine as my rack was literally like two feet away from the Bike In. I saw my mom cheering for us and waved to her as I grabbed my transition bag and headed to the tent. It was amazing the rush of energy I gained just from seeing my mom, Colleen, Annie, and the rest of the crew cheering for us! I knew it was a super long day for them too, but am truly thankful that they were there to support us!
I told Matt I had to pee and that afterwards I would start walking because I knew he would take longer changing his shorts and putting his socks on. I didn't want to stand around and cramp up. He is so high maintenance that one. I figured he would catch up soon enough. The only problem with this plan was that coming out of transition with the huge crowds of people cheering I didn't want to walk. I felt like I was letting everyone down by walking at the very beginning of the run. So, I started jogging. I kept stopping and turning around though to see if I could spot Matt. I made it to mile one and saw our friend Natalie finishing up her HIM. She was shocked to see that Matt was not with me, but when I explained he had to change she laughed and shook her head....typical Matt, we all know him so well!. I'm glad I saw her though because she is the reason Matt eventually found me.
I could tell he was a bit peeved when he finally reached me. I tried to play it off like I was walking the whole thing, but he knew better. Oh well, we had found each other and that was all that mattered. We quickly got into our run/walk groove and things were going ok for the first few miles. I could feel a cramp coming on in my stomach so I opted to take two salt tabs at one of the rest stops. This would prove to be one of the worst decisions of the race as I had never used a salt tab before. Instead of preventing the cramps it gave me major stomach bloat which turned into a gassy crampy mess. Lesson learned.
We ended up walking the entire mile from 6 to 7 and then were able to pick up with our run walk again. I had taken orange slices with me as I knew they would not have any on the course and this is what really helped me get through Muncie 70.3 earlier in the year. They didn't seem to be hitting the spot though. Pretty much at this point I knew I was done with any type of solid food and was only took in ice chips and a very little bit of cola. Ice chips were by far the best!
The first loop ended up being a suffer fest. It ended up being a really hot day (but I am not complaining....thank God for the sun and the beautiful race weather we had). There was very little shade on the run course. I was sweating so bad that it was burning my eyes. I really wish I had opted to wear my visor or had grabbed my little hand towel to run with. I really couldn't stop dripping (which I guess was a good thing). I felt dizzy at a few points, but was able to shake it off. Matt said my face was so red he though I was starting to have heat exhaustion, but I think that is just normal for me. We pushed through regardless and really ended up not caring about our run time. We went with how we felt. If we needed to walk we walked. If we needed to run we ran. It ended up working out well.
The second loop was much better because by that time the sun had started going down and it cooled off a bit. We were able to run alot more, until Matt got GI issues at about mile 15. From there on out we pretty much traded off GI issues. Our plan was that when one of us was using the facilities the other would walk to keep forward progress. Then the other would run to catch up. It worked out really well and by mile 20 both of our GI issues had seemed to settle down. At this point we were really feeling great. I'm not sure if it was because it had cooled off so much or if it was the thrill of almost being done! We killed those last six miles though and walked very little.
When it came down to the final stretch Matt and I planned out our victory shenanigans. We were going to leap frog each other to the finish line. However, when we got to where my mom, colleen, Jeff, and Annie were cheering we busted out a few dance moves. These dance moves made me feel like I was going to vomit. So we decided not to do the leap frog. The finish line was still amazing though! We each got to carry an American Flag and it was all smiles from there on out!
Run: 5:20:21 (12.14 min/mile)
Overall Female: 47/88
Some thoughts about the run: our number one priority is to figure out our run nutrition for next year. This is key for a successful run. I think we could have easily hit a 5 hour and maybe a sub 5 hour marathon if we didn't have the GI issues that we both had. Other than that I think this was the easiest marathon we have ever run. It really felt like it flew by. At no point did I feel like I wouldn't be able to finish. We were both pretty relaxed and had some great conversation along the way. We laughed and talked about the day, talked about our journey, talked about the good and bad parts of our training plan and what we wanted to change for next time, talked about what we wanted to do after the race. It really was wonderful. I never got tired of Matt talking and I never got mad at him or frustrated with the run. Which was also funny because everyone was placing bets at dinner on Friday as to what mile I would start yelling at Matt. Sorry everyone, but it never happened. This was honestly our best run together to date! At one point I complimented Matt and told him how impressed I was that he stayed with me the whole time on the bike. He said, yeah well, I made a deal with myself that I couldn't eat my Snickers bar unless I was with you....LOL! I can't say that I wasn't hurt that just riding with his lovely wife wasn't enough motivation to stay with me, but it was quite funny and I let it slide.
Post race I felt pretty good. My legs held up fine and I didn't get sick....right away. I couldn't really eat anything or drink anything. But I had my Mylar blanket to keep me warm and I was just sitting and chilling watching people come finish the race. It wasn't until we went home and I took a shower that shit hit the fan. The warm water must have shocked my body or something because from there on out I was puking for the rest of the night. Matt, bless his heart, wanted to go back to Cedar Point to watch the final finishers which was fine with me. I had my mom to keep me company, but he decided to go to the grocery store get me a can of chicken noodle soup and sit with me for the rest of the night (he also ate his greasy bacon cheeseburger sitting right next to me too....thanks!). Love him!
I can't say enough how much it meant to have my mom, Matt's parents, Colleen, Tom, Annie, Jeff, Colleen's parents and everyone else there cheering us on! What a rush of emotions! Thank you to everyone for your support and for believing in us that we could accomplish this goal. You all believed in us even when we had doubts. Your emails, kind words, advice, etc. really helped us out more than you can imagine.
Most of all I wanted to thank Matt. Without him I don't think I would have ever attempted this distance. Actually without him I wouldn't even be doing triathlons. And the fact that he wanted to do this and DID do this race side by side with me for 140.6 miles was absolutely amazing. I could not ask for a better husband and friend! I am definitely looking forward to our next adventure together!
Thanks for reading everyone!!!!