Monday, November 24, 2008

Ironman Arizona..SHERPA "Shout Out's" -Race Report Part ONE

"Somewhere behind the athlete you've become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back... play for her. "- Mia Hamm

My friend Mary sent a group of us this quote days before we all embarked on our trip out here to Arizona. It was fitting for me because throughout my day I had feelings of excitement, worry, happiness, nervousness and I found myself in need of inspiration at several points and I would think back to this quote.

I race on a lot of emotion (obviously =0), I think of anything that makes me go faster, whether it was the email from my dad, *all* of my amazing supporters who were there for me on race day, my friends cheering on Ironmanlive from afar, songs that motivate me and quotes. You have to realize when you're out on the course, you really have a conversation with yourself...the entire race--you don't really talk to anyone for all of those hours, so you have to grasp to anything that keeps you going!

Going into Ironman Arizona, I had a bittersweet feeling. It is my last Ironman for, well, quite a while possibly and going into it, I had a lot of hopes and many of of them came true. I can finally say that my first and foremost goal was to break 11 hours....which I second goal was to go sub 4 in the marathon--that didn't happen, but I was ok with that since my swim and bike were faster than I anticipated. You learn something every race, I *love* get faster, you hit bumps, it's the way it goes, it's why people sign up for Ironman again and again, they keep hoping to "perfect" a race......I feel like I came pretty darn close!

I need to thank some people first before I get to my race report...without these people, I would have been one sad, unmotivated, feeling unloved athlete =0 hehe..

My sister Trinette who was the most perfect Sherpa ever--it was truly a special moment for me to have her there--there are a lot of moments in life where you just want your sister there--and she was, getting me water, holding all my crap, motivating me, getting excited for me, cheering me on----she teared up for me when I was hurting on the run and I just couldn't wait to give her a hug at the finish--seeing her cheering me on, gave me some motivation to push hard at the end. Trinette--I remember you driving home from college---my big sister takin' out some time from the partying----just to see me play soccer-and this weekend was so awesome because it was a reminder that you're always in my corner, no matter where we're at in life--you got my back =0. --thank you for running your own ass off to cheer me on and your enthusiasm is what pushed me in the end and I could see it in your face how badly you wanted me to finish well---and I sprinted hard in the end right after I saw you and you gave me that look that said " can do it," so......I did...

My luck also increased because Amanda also flew out to support me and ran her own butt off for me all weekend. Including eating some not-so-great pizza with me, grabbing me out of a long line for bike maintenance and getting me in quickly to get my wheels set up with one of her supporters(I nixed the disc wheel since there were reports of wind).....she cut up her own water bottle and stuffed all my repair stuff in it and made sure I was all set to go! She got me warmed up on Saturday morning and she and Michael came over for dinner...and then Sunday, she spent the whole day running around with my family cheering me on and literally helping me get through some pain on the run--Amanda, thank you for supporting me in absolutely everything in this sport, mentally and physically--your wisdom, reasoning and enthusiasm---this has been such a journey, one I *know* I could not have done with anyone else as my coach. I am incredibly lucky to have someone who "gets" me as an athlete and as a friend.

Michael gets a "Sherpa" shout out as well--he offered many tidbits of advice and he rode the run course with me and Amanda--and since I couldn't hear with the wind, he would stop every mile or so--to point out things on the course for me--very observant that I couldn't hear well, he stopped to make sure I could read his lips..and he snagged Dave a VIP pass so that Dave could go everywhere with me---and so that Dave could put my medal on my neck! Just in general his cheering me on and generosity--huge shout out to Michael as well!

Obviously not last--Dave...I know we were both so thankful you were able to con the hospital into giving you Saturday *and* Sunday off and that you literally ran about six miles yesterday tracking me and giving me updates and texting all my friends and family to keep them updated....and for just letting me---be me.....and doing my thing....I have literally spent countless hours away from home and sometimes we'd pass by and not have as much time together, but your answer to all of that was to remind me that "it'll be worth it, I promise." And you were right-----it was.

My friends Jackie and Erin who drove out from San Diego---you guys were AWESOME with your signs and running/popping up all over!!! Just amazing....Jackie you're going to rock IMNew Zealand as your 2nd Ironman =0, and Erin----I can't wait to watch your own journey to IMAZ next year! Let's go!!

Dave's parents and family----you guys stood out there for hours for me and opened your home to everyone---it was truly special and everyone commented on what an awesome second family I have....and they're right!! Thank you so much!

And to all my friends who may not completely understand why I do Ironman or triathlon in general, but love to see me smiling and happy--thank you for your messages and enthusiasm......I genuinely *did* think of all of these messages individually during my race and they helped keep me moving!!!

I couldn't write a race report with all of my "thanks" and report in, this one is for now-and i'll write the actual race details in a little bit. It was very important to me to write out all of my thanks because seriously people, if you haven't ever sat through a sporting even when you know someone is racing----it's LONG and you worry that they're not finishing, or they're hurt or "where are they?".......and it can be a long day, so I think all of my supporters deserve their own super thanks!!!!

Stay tuned, promise more details very soon!!!!


Lauren said...

I am so glad you feel so good about your race! You did it, Mer. Like there was any doubt. Everyone was there in body and spirit because they wanted to be. We love you!

Kir said...

We support you because we love you!! I just feel bad Dave sent messages to my work phone BUT I got them today!!! He's so great! I'm so proud of you!!!

Trigirlpink said...

I just love stories like this! So awesome. You are speeeeedy! Congraulations! What a super way to cap off the IM stuff (for now anyway) you'll be baaaaaack and even faster after having an kido. Cheers!!! Elaine

GoBigGreen said...

I have been following your blog and wanted to say congrats! You bring alot of passion to the sport and it shows in your blog entries:) I hope to someday do a Full IM and your progress is very inspiring.
Rest well and enjoy the holidays!

BreeWee said...

This is incredible! What a way to wrap up the season and start the holidays with the entire family supporting your dreams!

You are incredible!!! Nice race Mer!

D said...

Fantastic job! That is one solid race to end on before family time. CONGRATS! :D

Eileen Swanson said...

Love the new pic on the top!! ;-)

Mer! said...

Hi guys!! Thank you so much for all your comments and support!! And for new people for leaving comments, great to hear from you!!