Babysitter? What? The funny thing about it was that Ryan was working his tail off at work, so I had to arrange for my mom to come out to watch the kids. Ryan was going back and forth trying to figure out if he would be able to come. Eventually I told him not to worry about it because we needed two cars (my mom's and mine) to avoid having everyone at the race at the same time. This is why I went by myself in 2011. I had hoped my mom could just watch the kids in KY, because she initially asked me where she should watch them. Then it turned out of the two weeks out of the year that she was working in her retirement, Muncie was the day after her final day. That meant she wouldn't be able to watch the kids in KY because I wanted to leave around noon to get there with plenty of time to find everyone check everything out, eat, get into the hotel room, ect. When I went out the first year, I arrived in the evening, and I didn't get the right Ironman bag. I couldn't let that happen again! Plus, my mom wasn't arriving until late, and I knew everything would take longer with the kids in tow. There is a children's museum connected to the convention center that I also thought would be fun to do with the kids. Since this was my third trip to Muncie, and it might be the last (really, how many times do I need to do this race???), I wanted to make it feel like a vacation for the kids. Ryan's work was crazy busy, so aside from our trips to MI and OH to see friends and family, we really hadn't had an official vacation.
I was getting really excited for this race in the days leading up. I was glad, because it showed me how much I wanted it. It felt great to feel a fire again. Last summer when I was down with pneumonia, I just had this passion and this feeling of loss for everyday I didn't train. I didn't quite feel that this summer, mostly because the crash was scary, and I got what I wanted out of last year. I was going to have quite the crew out there, and too. Again, another social event. I was really looking forward to seeing Cristina and Kari again. Plus, Mindy and Eric signed up. My neighbor, Chris, was going with one of his pros from Maverick Multisport and trying for a Vegas slot for himself. BDD would be there, tons of Landsharks including my friend Sonja, Mike from Aquaphor, and several other people that I had met through the Ironman last year. It was the place I wanted to be, and I was just so thankful that after everything that had happened this year, that I was going to start. Mindy and I would be racked near each other too, just like in 2011. I really felt a good vibe going into this race. AND, the water temps were looking wetsuit legal. WHAT??? After water temps being in the 80s the past two years, being wetsuit legal was just craziness, but I was going to be taking my wetsuit for sure!
I felt like such a mom this weekend though. I have written about my Chick Fil A addiction many times, and it just so happened that Friday before Muncie was Cow Appreciation day. This means that if you dress like a cow, you get your food for free. I was trying to figure out how to work this into our plans. I really wanted to go to "our" CFA, and not find one on the road. 1. The people at mine know me. 2. I didn't want to have my usual CFA lunch as my lunch the day before the race, and I didn't think I had the willpower to turn it down. The kids were all excited about it, though. Thankfully for them, they woke up at the crack of dawn as usual, so I put them to work making their cow costumes. Valerie had given me the idea last year when we missed it and I saw her pics. We made our costumes out of construction paper and wore white shirts with spots. And, we just happen to have plenty of cowbells here...I had a neighbor ask me where they came from- Boston and Ironman. She was amazed that I just had a collection of cowbells. That is an endurance athlete for you! We had our free breakfast (I got a bagel and OJ, very safe), and then got packed up and on the road.
We got into Muncie around 2:30 or so, and packet pick up went smoothly. I amazingly did not get any weird looks from the volunteers with the kids in the athlete only area. They were a lot more friendly than IMKY last year. Perhaps because it was more obvious that I didn't have anyone else with me to watch the kids. Soren did have a melt down about walking, and the SRAM folks gave him a light up yo-yo. So far, I was the first one my crew to arrive. I decided to take the kids to the museum, even though we could only stay for about 2 hours. It was $6/person, so it wasn't going to break the bank, and it wasn't terribly big. I don't think I would have wanted to spend much more than that there anyway with them, and it was a way to support the local economy. There were a few other racers with families there, but I was the only mom racing. Eric and Mindy met up with me at the museum, but didn't officially go in. I was really happy to see them and it was great to hang out for a little bit. They had another hotel far from the race site, so they wouldn't be able to join me for dinner. As you can tell from the pictures before, we did NOT wear out cow costumes on the trip.
When the museum closed at 5, I headed out to the prerace meeting with Cristina and Kari. I was glad I went to this. They bike course was changed from the 2011 (and 2012) course. It was an out and back, with a section of narrow road of no passing each direction, and a good chunk wasn't the smooth as glass Muncie road I had loved before. Also, they said that an announcement for the wetsuits would be made in the am.
I took the kids and headed to my usual prerace dinner spot of Noodles and Co. They even had a coupon available at the expo! Then off to the hotel to unpack the entire car, and then repack it for the morning. My mom wouldn't be arriving until around 9pm, and it was a lot harder to do this on my own than I thought. Thankfully I was able to park right by the door to the hotel, and we were fairly close to an entrance. The kids were very good in the hotel room while I brought in all of their things, including their booster seats. Then I divided up my stuff between what I needed for the hotel and what could go back in the car. It was really quite the process. I put my bike back together and repacked the car with it entirely assembled. I got the kids ready for bed, and then got myself ready for bed, and then my mom arrived. Whew. What a day. Thankfully the kids went to bed better than usual for a hotel. I think it helped that I shared with Soren and my mom shared with Keira, so the kids weren't able to touch each other or bother each other. Here's my cap, number, and sticker sheet for tomorrow!
At 3:15am I awoke to a thud and a whimper. It was Soren falling out of bed. I scooped him up quickly and he fell back asleep. I didn't. Oh well. I think I was up at least this early before Muncie in 2011. I was able to get ready and navigate myself to the race easily because I have left the dark ages and I have a smart phone now, and we have a Garmin GPS for the car. I got my stuff set up and then set out to find people. Probably the craziest thing was the I ran into an old friend from OSU who I hadn't seen since 2000ish, Fred. He had seen from my fb that I would be here, and tagged me on twitter so I would know, but since I don't have a clue how to use twitter, I was super surprised. It was awesome though! It was great to see him. He was a former swimmer, so he thought my projected swim time was hysterical- because it is so slow!!! I found Mike, Sonja, Cristina, Kari, BDD, and Mindy all before the race very easily. I also met Ryan's coworker Joanie. She is amazing, and is 51, and has been to Kona and Worlds several times in recent years. I can't believe it took so long to finally meet her! I also saw Mark from TIA/Alekos and lots of familiar Landsharks. Mindy and I both signed up late and are the same age, so we were racked with only one number between us, which meant we were essentially next to each other since the bikes alternated directions with each number. It was just like 2011, except wetsuit legal. My bike and Mindy's below
Me and Joanie, Ryan's coworker from Ford
BDD! He thought if he closed his eyes, no one would recognize him. I wished I would have checked this picture and retaken it.
Mindy and I
This time around I had both Mindy and Cristina in my swim wave. Kari was the odd woman out this year. Right as I was getting ready to get into the water, Jennifer spotted me and wished me luck. I was so happy I was able to see her before the race start. She was on superfan duty. I never did get to see any of her pictures though. She took one of Me, Mindy, and Cristina before getting in the water. And then it was time to start.
Swim- The swim went great. I made sure I didn't have any wrinkles in my kit this time around to bother me under my wetsuit. I had a little trouble staying on course, but nothing terrible. It felt long, but I never felt stressed or uneasy. It was my fastest swim ever, thanks to no not freaking out and having a wetsuit. I passed several people running up that super long carpet to transition. I saw several people I knew though. Great crowd support as always for an IM race.
T1- Bring on the strippers! Wetsuit strippers that is. They got my wetsuit off in a matter of seconds. Amazing. No lost time this time around due to being stuck! My bike was pretty close to the swim in, so I had a little ways to run with it. I passed a few people in transition since everyone passed me in the swim.
Bike- I felt like I went out really strong. Things felt great. My arm was sore. It was no longer an open wound, so I didn't bandage it for this race. It went great until we got to the first no passing zone. I got stuck behind a couple people behind a really slow rider, and we had a few people pass us illegally. That was frustrating. However, it was not as frustrating as one it was over and the road condition got worse. For about the middle third of the ride, it was just not good road! It was chip n seal or very similar. I hated it. I just couldn't wait to be to the halfway point and counting down the miles until the road was nice again. I felt slightly nauseous with all the vibrations, and it just made my arm ache like crazy. I felt like I couldn't go very fast as all. The second time I hit the no passing zone, it wasn't so bad. I had managed to pass more people so there were fewer people that were going slower than me but still ahead of me. On the way back, I looked at it like a forced recovery period. As soon as I hit the smooth road with 1/3 of the race to go, I hammered on. I was able to end up with 17mph average. Not quite as good as 2011, but I hadn't crashed then either.
Kevin Brooks took these, and I'm pretty sure it was bike in, not out, based on the side of the street the houses are on, but I could be wrong.
T2- I learned from my mistakes at triceratops and it went more smoothly. I picked up as much stuff as I could and got it situated on the move. I was watching my race time and I was able to set off on the run with just 2 hours to go for the sub 6 that I had initially wanted. The good swim had been offset by my lackluster bike.
Run- I had 2 hours to go to go under 6. I set off on pace, and I could tell that it was going to be too fast to hold onto. It was sort of a repeat of 2011, where the first half went fabulous, and then the second half was cruddy. It was just hard. I walked more this time around on the second half, but finished with my run split only 2 minutes behind my run split from 2011, and my overall time was 2 minutes slower than 2011. The crazy thing is that I saw Mike on the run providing medical care to another racer. He was on the fence about coming to this race despite being signed up. I had sent him a message the day before saying that I didn't want to tell him what to do because I don't know him well, but I would feel a ton better knowing that I had a friend who was a Dr there. I had sent him all my crash photos earlier. I did tell him that Jennifer, an NP, would be there for me if I did need something, trying to not apply pressure. Turns out he saved his man's life! He was suffering from heat exhaustion/stroke and in bad shape. Muncie is so far away, it took 30mins for the ambulance to arrive. Mike was there for that reason I know.
My mom took some fabulous pictures at the finish. They were better than the professional pictures because I was looking right at her. This is my favorite:
I finished with a time of 6:08:53. I wasn't really disappointed with my race at all though. Yes, it would have been cool to PR, BUT, I was coming off a big crash, missed training, and was just thankful to be out there racing. I got to see a ton of my friends and a lot of them had awesome days. Mindy was 4th in her AG, and turned down a Vegas slot. Eric also rocked it out, finishing just ahead of her. Chris was 5th in his AG, and took a rolldown slot for Vegas. Kari finally got that 70.3 finish that she had been wanting. My mom held up ok with the kids, and they were great for her. They had their ups and down while she was watching them, but they made it through. It was great to have them there for me. I had secretly hoped Ryan would be freed up and surprise me at the finish, but he was stuck at work the entire day. I think I made it home to KY before he made it home from work that day. We hung out quite a bit before packing up and heading back. I don't know why I don't have a picture with me and Kari. She finished strong and earned that 70.3!
My Ironman 70.3 Support Crew:
Me, my mom and the kids
Me and Cristina! Finally doing Muncie 70.3 together!
Me, Jennifer and Chris. I think Chris looks very pro in his team polo.
Me and Jen
Mindy, Me, and Eric. They'd been done so long they were totally cleaned up when I saw them. Not really, but they had changed before I got done.
Sonja and I after. She will be doing Ironman Louisville as her first Ironman this year! Yay!
Since the reservoir is out in the middle of no where, we couldn't really get food as a group aside from what was provided. I packed up my car and drove to my mom's car to get the rest of our stuff, and we parted ways. We ate at the same subway we did last year, only I felt a lot better this time around since I wasn't on the verge of being bedridden with pneumonia. It was funny, I had felt almost disgusted with my Muncie experience last year because it was totally not what I wanted it to be. I wasn't really proud of my huge medal because it wasn't a half Ironman. It was such a huge medal but seemed so meaningless. It was almost hidden away on my rack. This year's medal was special, and it actually made me feel better about last year's race. Maybe I did need some redemption after all. It was fun to look at the three years of Muncie medals once I got home. Each unique and with different meaning. 2011 was so just amazing to be doing my first Ironman brand race. 2012 was short and just so miserable. 2013 was just a blessing to be a part of. I don't know. Maybe I will be back in 2014. Its pretty cool to have completed every year that Ironman has been a part of this race.