Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ironman Wisconsin Race Report: 26.2 Friends

Before I get to any race report I have to give myself a huge fashion high five ( HFHF) for putting together a functional yet cool outfit in a chilly morning race. Thanks to Angela for the socks. Everyone now run to Target and get a pair of your own. Ok on to the race.

It's no surprise this Ironman was a bit different than last year. For obvious reasons i struggled this year. The physical struggle of basically dropping out of racing in early june to rest and fix a hamstring tendonopathy was a huge decision, the right one, but very tough for me. I wish i could have St. Croix 70.3 back ( without the rain but with lance!) and with a healthy body. So putting all my eggs in one basket was tough. The IM basket. I was right on pace with riding and swimming all summer. Running took another hit ( literally) when after Firehouse 50 i played Humpty Dumpty and fell over at the finish. 
Oh i needed to clip out? I had booties on so i couldnt get out of my shoes likei normally do in a tri. wopsy. That led to reactive tendonitis in my hip and i ran both my long runs ( yes , just 2) with excruciating pain off my greater trochanter ( your hip bone). Eventually we did an xray, no need to break a hip. It was clear ( THANKGOD) but the inflammation in that area was not going away with massage/celebrex/ice. We decided 10 days out to inject it. There are too many turn arounds at Wisconsin and one of the things that really hurt was turning left on my left leg to turn around 180 deg. Like every 2 miles you do that in Madison.

I got 2 lidocaine shots and 2 coritsone shots to the deep hip rotators ( those are deeep!) ouch. I was in alot of pain labor day weekend and just kept faith it was the insult of the shots. It was. I was fine a few days later, but that was close. i had not a hint of hip pain race day. Cortisone isnt for everyday use but it sure does work if the biomechanics are right and you arent re-irritating it daily. I HOPED that it would work since it was the fall on my hip that started it. Ok. So you see that i had a great MD: Patient relationship this year. I am so lucky my MD is here for me. I love her:) too much maybe!

Obviously come August we also knew that Rich was getting worse. He was in a lot of pain and stopped working pretty abruptly. I tried many times to "get out of IM," but he wouldnt let me and i really wanted to see it thru. His riding buddies took up the slack and helped me do some of the longer rides. I got stronger riding alone ( mentally) bc I had to. I never run with anyone so that wasnt a big deal. I cried the first ride ( long ride) i did withuot Rich. Because i knew I would not ride with him again. I had a very hard time taking the emotion out of the bike because it is what he loves and it is what we have loved doing together. 

So here is my race report: 

Swim: I was crying before I even got in the water. Not the best to be feeling vulnerable before you get into the lake with a bunch of aggressive males. I realized it was possibly my last race with Rich there. I put on my "I am going to kick your A$$" hat and climbed in with all the green caps.

 Best IM swim ever. I didnt get touched. I now know where to start, and i swam faster so it all worked out. I had perfect control of the water and my male green capped bashers were under my spell. Nobody touched me but i still got a good draft. The back side was tough, some chop, which is fine. I like the one loop, way better. 

T1: Helix run is always crazy with fans. Fun to see everyone! I got into the Terrace and got my fashion on and off i went. 

Bike: Or the lows. My Joule read 350 Watts heading out onto teh course. Yah not quite. So why all the sudden i was riding like Jens Voight i dontknow. That was worthless for 112 miles and made my ride a bit tough, i know how to ride by feel but with wind and hills ireally was planinng on Power. No use crying over it but i was bummed.
Aunt Flow showed up so i knew i had to stop and use a real porta potty, Plus i didnt want to ruin my new Soas shorts. That plus the headwind plus some pouty low moments made my ride drag on FOR-EVER. I still think riding 112 miles is TOO. FAR!!! I got in all my nutrition, peed twice, did what i was told and tried to now pout too much.
To be honest every girl that passed me, whether i knew them or not, offered encouragement. And for the most part i acted like Kristin Wiig in BridesMaids..."blahblahblah Helen, arent you great..." and some snotty look. In my defense we watched Bridesmaids sunday after the race and I realized my attitude was a bit like her's. Not the entire ride but surely some of it.
I did feel like my heart hurts every minute of everyday so i just at times didnt want to hurt. There I said it.

T2: I didnt have any interest in running but i talked myself off the bike and decided to just go to T2. Really I was ready to just hang out. I figured i could just run a few miles then decide. Kristin Wiig was still around in T2, getting pissed at Helen for passing her on the bike. 

Run: But wouldnt you know it? i felt great, I had legs I ran fast ( oops) to begin with. And then i started to have fun. I decided on the bike that IF I WAS GOING TO RUN I was going to do it under my terms. After about mile 8 i never looked at my Garmin. I also decided that EACH mile was going to be dedicated to one of you, or my family, or someone that had helped me get to the start. You all know who you are, those of you that wrote the lovely notes/cards/essays to me and Rich, my thank you to you, was to run a mile for YOU! Now I do admit that I may have doubled up once or twice on the Rachel Ross /Beth Walsh/Charisa Wernick miles when i needed some speed and I also admit after about mile 13 I may or may not have run a 1/2 mile or 2 miles for you because mid mile I would forget who that current mile was for. I didnt exclude you if you were a slower runner bc determination and courage also got points as much as your pace per mile. I even ran a mile for our Oncologist, even tho she has not been successful in treating /curing my husband's cancer. She has a thankless job and she deserved a mile.  
Honestly that is what i was thinking along the run. My ITBand got pissed off, it still is but it wasnt until mile 20 that it really hurt. I never had any energy lows, i ran all the hills, I didnt stop nor did i even think about stopping. I think i could have gone faster, but with my ITB wanting in on the party I decided it wasnt worth it. I ran thru that finish and didnt lie down in the grass and get sick. I was ok. Woozy, but OK. There was the regular post race Gel tummy, with many bathroom stops but ididnt feel nauseated or sick. I took in alot of water on the course, and i think my body was just getting things out.

My sister took this of me in my chocolate milk mylar blanket...super cozy!

 Post IM: "Yes I really feel like stopping for a photo. not." And turn off that light.

The Aftermath:
I was wicked sore. I still am. Mostly quads. MY wrist got beat up too, garmin impact from the bike and i cant say for sure what it is but i think i must have had the death grip on my bike at times wth the wind. For me, that was a windy ride. I need some implants to weigh down my front end if its going to be windy.

Rich, my super sister, and I headed home monday. No awards, no rolldown. I was tempted but its back to my reality now. Sunday was my day off, Its been tough, no lies that things are not going well here and since i could barely walk monday and tuesday it was rough. I wasnt a very good wife to Rich but i tried:)

I am proud i finished. I didnt have the joy i did last year out there. I have waited all year to get ths done. But i am so lucky to have so many friends out there and family that supported me, and mostly Rich, who never once made me feel bad or selfish for finishing off this goal. I stopped on the run to give him a hug and kiss, it was worth every second lost.

So what is next? Cupcakes, some wine and some rest.


Beth said...

I am so, so proud of you Julia. I can't even begin to fathom how hard of a day it must have been. I'm sure it lifted Rich's heart incredibly to see you do your thing on Sunday.

Praying so much for you guys. You are amazing people and I know God will see you both through every step of the way.

EZnJ said...

What a report, Julia! I'm usually pretty good at compartmentalizing emotions when I need to, but just typing this has taken me about ten minutes. Can't type when I can't see.
Love to you both,

Anonymous said...

Lots of prayers coming at you all from Vermont. You guys are in my thoughts. -Danielle

Nicole Hopkins said...

Good for you, keeping you both in my thoughts and prayers.

helen said...

Julia, so wish Steve and I could have been there to cheer you on in person. Such an emotional day (week/month/year?) for you. Thanks for sharing your day with us. I hope you and Rich get some needed rest time and you both start to feel a little bit better.
Thanking of both of you.

elizabeth said...

I know from what you've told me how difficult it's been and I am SURE that is only 5% (maybe) of what you two are going through. My heart is with you and I am SO happy you were able to get from start to finish on Sunday!! I love your Kristen Wig comments :) TOO FUNNY! I think she was with me on that course in 2010, I was not a happy camper on that bike ride either. Go drink some more wine, eat some more cupcakes and spend time with Rich!! xoxox

LittleRachet said...

Great HONEST report Julia! My heart goes out to you. You, Rich and your entire family are in my thoughts.

cheryl said...

This is one of my favorite quotes, for some reason I thought of it when I was reading this. I know how tough the year has been.

'when its dark enough, you can see the stars'
Ralph Waldo Emerson

You were strong, courageous, and never gave up. And that's how you live life, not just how you race. Thinking of you and Rich.

Jennifer Harrison said...

I am glad we talked this AM so that I could read this RR with one eye closed.

IF everyone knew the year you have We pray for Rich and you...xoxoo

CONGRATS on your amazing finish under super tough circumstances!

Jennifer said...

No words right now, just a huge hug for you and Rich. What a day, in so many ways.

Angela and David said...

I am so, so proud of you and so honored to call you a friend. Such a rough year (and a hip injury on top of everything else?!?!) and you and Rich have been amazingly strong through it all. You both exemplify the best of the human spirit.

Ange said...

You are amazing Julia. I am sure Rich is so proud of you.

Rural Girl said...

Surely a tough race with all you've been through. You are strong and amazing. May thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband.

April Morgan said...

Julia...thank you so much for the authenticity....i feel humbled and am incredibly happy u were able to have this moment. sending strength to you and Rich... U are the true spirit of Ironman.

Anonymous said...

Julia, thank you for sharing with us. We are with you and rich every step of every day.

Steve said...

Julia, I only know you from your words. I have been with you a long while. :) I was getting a feeling Rich had a bad prognosis. My first taste was that news with my step mom in the early 90's.

Your race is what IM is all about. You were living life in your own way. Doing your own thing, and for one day you were able to throw life away, and do something special for you. :)

Take care. :) I like you. :)

Shevaun said...

Amazing race, considering all you are going through in your personal life. I must have been racing right near you up until the run. I've been struggling with some upper hamstring/glute injury that really acted up on the run. My coach, Michelle Simmons, suggested I touch base with re: your rehab. If you don't mind, just shoot me a quick email.shevaunf at cmcousa dot com

Eclectchick said...

Already such a terrific effort, but when all of the health challenges to Rich and to you are factored in on top ... this was a downright superheroic achievement.

My heart truly goes out to you, Julia. - Marjie

Charisa said...

Congrats - you are so tough! It's OK to be sad and angry and all that. I got divorced last yr and I'm still SAD, MAD, ANGRY all the time. And I feel like I shouldn't be. Nice work out there, hang in there and be good to yourself!! xo

Libby said...

this race report made me cry. I am so proud of you for a great finish when all the world seemed to be going against you. you are an amazingly strong woman!! glad the cortisone was the right call ;) thoughts and prayers for you guys daily.

rr said...

You are amazing - what a wonderfully written story of all that goes on in a day out there. I'm so glad I helped, or at least distracted you, for a mile or two of the run. Congratulations! Time to enjoy some r&r with your hub. xo

mtanner said...

Excellent recap. Live every day like its your last. Sending healing thoughts from California. You've def touched me here.

sallyaston said...

Congrats! After all you & your family have been through, I am so happy you got to do this race! Well done!

Anonymous said...

Julia- your words are amazing....,your strength is amazing, thanks for sharing your day.
You are truly an inspiration.
I'll be praying for you and Rich and your families.

Molly said...

Awww. What a day. You got through it in the face of everything else you had going on ...just amazing. Sending all my good thoughts for both of you as the days go on. I'm sure it felt good for Rich to see you succeed out there!

Caroline said...

Julia and Rich - I'm thinking about you two alot. Julia - amazing race after such a tough year, I'm glad you two got to enjoy this day together. And on a completely unrelated note - I love that you used the word "wicked." Can we pepper our conversations with that word at camp next year? Living in Virginia has basically beaten it out of me, that and the fact that Mark makes fun of me whenever I say it. OK - enjoy the cupcakes and wine, you deserve it!

Damie said...

Sending you a message. I love you!!!

Anonymous said...

J & R your personal streingth and courage are inspirational. I think of you often and send my energy and love, Susan T.

Marit C-L said...

You and Rich have touched so many people - my heart hurts, too. Amazing race - I don't usually check in on IM live anymore... but I was tracking you all day - I am so proud of you - incredible! Absolutely time for wine an cupcakes and spending time together - love you both!

(And maybe some more and Nate's favorite movie of all time).


Michelle Andres said...

Congratulations on your finisher Julia. Thoughts and prayers to you and your husband.
Take care,
Michelle Andres

Pharmie said...

Congrats on a great race under extraordinary circumstances. I will continue to keep you guys in my prayers.