the strength to remain steadfast, resilient and resolute.
The Ironman World Championship theme this year
to remain unwavering in your quest to triumph.
To remain resilient has been the theme to my year. Both athletically and personally, life has been throwing me some curve balls. Naturally, it carried over to this race. This course was absolutely humbling. Ironman is hard. But Kona was a different kind of hard.
Prior to race day, Coach T and Mark provided me with as much support, analysis, and course recommendations I could ask for. My dad made up my own '5 commandments ' to focus on. Clyde helped me stay calm and in the moment. I took in every word they said. I didn't realize what a learning experience Kona would really be. You do not understand the tough conditions people try to prepare you for unless you are experiencing them in person. I didn't realize how deep I was really going to have to dig on race day.
Checking in was unlike any other event I have been to. The atmosphere is absolutely electrifying and hard to put into words. Full of energy, fit athletes, and red carpet treatment. You get personally tattooed, weighed in, and off to transition.
Prior to the race start I tried to stay calm and focused. My cousin Ember sent me a text before I left for Kona... 'Take in every single moment. Make sure that, between the focus and any jitters you take 5 minutes to breath deep, let the beauty of Kona inspire you, and recognize how far you've come in just a few short years.' I had been doing this all week. The morning of the race, after my bike was racked and ready, I put my feet in the water and did as she had said 1 last time.
I was ready.
-make sure to keep drinking pre-race-
-use the bathrooms in the changing tents, no lines-
I decided to line up about 3 rows back. I was supposed to have lined up closer but I got nervous... salty sea water, kicking girls, back I went. Treading water in Kailua Bay took about 15 minutes before the canon went off unexpectedly: Game ON. Going out I felt awesome. I found a girl swimming my pace just to my left and we cruised to the turnaround feeling great. As soon as we looped the barge, the punching and kicking started. I could feel the swells at this point. Every time I would look up to site I would get a mouth full of salt water. That last half of the swim was hard. Coach T told me to mix in some fast strokes if I felt like I was getting 'stuck' in the water. I did that. Every time I'd feel someone tugging on my feet I'd kick as HARD as I could.
Seeing those exiting steps was amazeballs. No more gross water to swallow :) I did, what I thought was, I great job of washing all the salt off me, got my bike gear on, and out to my bike. The nice thing with being a slow swimmer is you can find your bike in transition easily! lol. I didn't let this effect me, It is a LONG day. Race your own race.
-Practice swimming with people-
-I should have got more sun screen on before heading out onto the bike -
-Took more time getting the salt off of me-
-Put the zipper string back on my wetsuit to take off easier-
The first 9 miles I was told to take it really easy. So I spun my legs, smiled, drank, and got my HR back down. With my power meter not working, the goal was to start at the low HR end and slowly build throughout the ride; finishing strong.
Heading out on the Queen K, I felt great. This section of Hawaii is not pretty. You think Hawaii and you think green and tropical... no. Think highway and desert Lava Fields. Perfect for those who can zone out and focus! :)
Climbing up to Hawi the cross winds were pretty dang scary. Add in the downpour towards the top and my hands were not leaving the bars. Descending back down after the turn around, the first few miles were wet, but the rain disappeared and sun came out in full force.
From the turnaround back home, I had a head wind. The entire way. Initially I was watching my HR, making sure it was staying in the correct zone and plugged away. The last 20 miles the wind was starting to get to me. Other than the run, this was one of the lowest points of the race. I was hot and when I would pour water over my body to cool down, the salt that I did not get all the way off had formed blisters and would STING as the water touched it. The back of my neck felt like it was on fire from the sun burn. Gatorade did not taste good. My two big toe nails were killing. And I was just so over the wind. I had to remind myself over and over to smile, you are in Kona, enjoy this!
-Get my toe nail issue figured out-
-I did make it a point to slow down at every Aid Station to grab water to pour over myself but I wasn't drinking enough gatorade-
-Make sure to take all of Salt Tabs (After the race I realized I did not take any of my salt tabs)-
-I did not have my normal Bike Computer which has an alert ever 15min. to drink. This is a must going forward-
The second I got off my bike I took my shoes off. My toes were aching so bad that I could not wait. The tent was crowded and difficult to find a empty spot to switch gear. Did my best to get in and get out of there as fast as I could.
As I started running, things just didn't feel right. It was a different feeling than just needing to get my legs warmed up. My stomach was not happy and leg turnover was not there. I saw Clyde immediately out of transition and tried to smile letting him know I felt great.. Trick the mind, right? :)
I quickly made it to aid station #1, took in some Gatorade and immediately threw it up. Eck! My game plan at this point was run to each aid station, walk through and try to get something down. Everything I tried, it would come back up. Ali drive I remember being filled with people, tons of energy, Teresa was there!( can not remember what we talked about), but other than that it was pretty much a blur.
My father and Clyde was at the top of the famous Palini hill. It was so nice to see their smiling faces. I told them I wasn't able to keep anything down and this marathon was going to take me a lot longer than I had planned. They gave me some encouraging words and told me all I had to do was to finish! It was off on the Queen K I went. As soon as I turned on the Queen K I spotted Meredith Kessler walking. WALKING. I was getting so upset with myself until I saw this. I had trained to RUN this marathon. Not walk it. Sure, there were others walking, but to see a Pro doing whatever she could do to get to that finish line gave me so much encouragement. Resilient!
After I made it down the first short hill on the Queen K, I HAD to walk. I walked that entire mile. At this point I told myself walking is going to take forever! Honestly, if I could have made my body at least jog I would have taken that. Walking for over 1/2 of the marathon just does not sound fun. Sometimes my heart rate was up as high as it is running, just walking. Legs felt like they were going to buckle. No energy and still throwing up. Just a hot mess at this point. I decided on running .25 and walking .10. That is what I did until the finishing 2 miles. I remember an aid station handing out the glow sticks to wear. Another humbling moment - never thought I'd need these. Prior in the week I had ran the Energy Lab with Mark and envisioned myself so focused and getting through that tough section of the course. Focused I was, running at my envisioned pace I was not. The sunburn on my neck and arms was making me shiver and the blisters on my quads if I even touched them stung so bad! It was dig deep time. At this point I was on auto pilot: Run .25, Walk .10, Get to the finish!
After the Energy Lab I stopped throwing up and was able to keep down water and chicken broth. That made things a little better at this point. The last climb before heading down to the finish line I spotted an Instagram friend. She was like a breath of fresh air, happy, and got me up that last hill. Down Palini I saw my dad and Clyde at the bottom. High-fived them and heard people say only a mile to go. Me and a girl I was running next to both made the comment 'a mile is still a freaking long way!'
As soon as I rounded the corner onto Ali Drive the tears started and did not stop until the finish line. You go through a lot of emotions when racing an Ironman, all of which are worth that finish line JOY. The KONA finish line was amazing. Lined with people. Encouragement. Love. Celebrating never quitting, being resilient in finishing, and never giving up believing.
Crossing the line of a huge accomplishment!
After I had finished, I had 2 nice volunteers walk with me to the area they give you your shirt, hat, and finishers medal. I was feeling very out of it. Dizzy and couldn't really think. Sat down in a chair and a lady came up to me. Until she told me, I did not realize it was Teresa's Mom! I don't know how but I ended up in the medical tent from here. They weighed me and from where I started at the first of the day, I was down down 14 lbs. yikes!
The medic said he was going to give me an IV with fluids. When he put the IV in, my hands went numb and I saw blood. With my state of mind at this point I got totally freaked out and I started to bawl! lol. After the first bag of fluids were put in my body I was feeling SO much better. They let me leave to go find my dad and Clyde. As soon as I found my family, gave them hugs, we decided to go home and call it a night.
|The next day :)|
I've now finished 3 Ironman's. The first 2 I was exhausted but never not functioning. This one was a different story. I literally left everything I had out on that course to make it to my Kona Finish! "Anything Is Possible"
Just getting to Kona is a journey! It is a process!
One that requires a lot of dedication with which comes sacrifice!
And although triathlon is an individual sport, it takes a village.
I would like to thank mine for allowing me and helping me to chase my dreams. My father and I were talking in Kona and he said you have come so far. I look at it as WE have come so far.
NO WAY would I be where I am today without my support team.
Words can not explain the love I have for my Coach Teresa. She has been there with me from the very start. She has my best interest at heart and I can fully trust her. She believes in my goals and helps me see the bigger processes to obtain them. She has been an angel in my life and I am SO lucky to have her.
Melissa and Monica...two ladies that have helped me tremendously this year. Thank you for helping me get to and continue down the path to a healthy Christie.
My cousin Ember does not and will not ever realize what a true blessing she is to me. She is the sister I never had. She brings me such strength and encouragement. She brings perspective and genuine support that I am so thankful for.
I am such a lucky girl to have amazing community support. From my local community, fellow Team Zooters, and Social Media friends... you all freaking ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love getting to represent Zoot Sports and am thankful for their support. They are an amazing company and lets be honest - hottest looking triathlon products on the market!
Clyde came into my life at just the right time and has helped me more than words can describe. It is nice to know you have someones unconditional love and support. He puts up with my crazy athlete brain, messes, training schedule, etc. etc. etc. Thankful to have him as my partner and believing in me. xo
Last but not least my father. I am so lucky to have such a special father, daughter relationship. Not many people have that. We have been through A LOT the past years. He is always cheering for me on the course and off. Thank you, thank you, thank you.. and love you dad.
WE WILL BE BACK FOR MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!