IMKY is has a unique swim in two ways. The first is the "time trial start" which I will get to later, the second is that the start is actually a mile away from the transition area. The result is that most athletes have to walk there on race morning from transition. We lucked out and Super Sherpa Ben, drove us there! First stop is body marking...
Kristen and Fede showing off their guns, er numbers!
From there it is to get in line for the swim start. This year supposedly it wasn't supposed to open until 5am, but by the time we got there at about 5:15am, there were already hundreds of people in line. So we weren't first, but we were close. This is something I debated about prior to the race for a few days. Even though it is a time trial start, it isn't assigned. So, it is first come first serve. Where you wait in line is where you start. There is a cut off for the swim, but it doesn't start until the last person enters the water, 2:20 (that is hours) is the cut off. I wasn't worried about the cut-off. The time I was aiming for was 1:20. So, to me, I didn't really care when I got in the water and the idea of waiting 2 hours before the start was, well, tiresome. But, 2 people in our group of 5 were worried about time issues, so they wanted to start as early as possible. So, ultimately I decided to go ahead and start with my friends, which actually worked out great in the end because 4 of the 5 of us finished within 15 minutes of each other!
Waiting in line at the swim start: Kristen, Kathy, Me, Rick, and Fede
It was a long wait, but actually went pretty fast, especially sitting there with friends. Eventually we all had to get up and they started to shuffle us into the starting gate area.
The docks we jump in off, you can see the entry area and lots of spectators behind!
Volunteers and our safety people out on the water, ready for the swim start!
Waiting patiently in line: Kristen, Fede, Kathy, Me, Rick
Found Mom, quick hug!
My kick ass swim outfit!
So the time trial start really just meant that we went in single file onto two docks and jumped in right after each other. And if you hesitated and didn't go quick enough, you would get pushed into the water!
That's me in yellow shirt and pink hat, getting close to the dock!
On the dock, getting ready to jump into the water!
I got up there, took a deep breath, and jumped in as far as I could so I wouldn't get hit by the person behind me and started swimming. Water was warm and kind of gross, but I tried not to think about it and just swam.
I did pretty good navigating the water and just tried to stay on course with the buoys for the first part of the swim. There is always some panic when you first start the swim, mostly because of all the people and suddenly you are in the midst of them just trying to not get hit and swam over. I actually felt pretty good with this one for the first 1/2 mile or so. Then, wham! All of the sudden, out of nowhere, I caught some guys fist in my mouth as I turned my head left to breath. Immediately bloody and split lip, ugh. I treaded water long enough to figure out what happened, the guy apologized and tried to help, but what could he do in the middle of the Ohio River. I told him to go on and then very carefully resumed swimming. The rest of the swim I alternated between carefully trying to swim around everyone and then thinking about the gigantic carp in the Ohio River that were probably swimming underneath me.
Me, heading out of transtion.
Me coming through Legrange
The second loop was a little harder. Wind picked up and it got hotter. I could feel both. The legs were starting to feel a little tired, and the hills, neverending. But once again, my faithful friends and family were still there in Legrange, cheering me on towards the finish! It was what I needed and I kept pushing. Towards the end my stomach felt a little crampy but overall didn't feel bad. I looked at my watch as I came into T2 and my befuddled brain figured out that I had a 7:50 on the bike (in reality it was a 7:22).
Me, happy, to be done with the bike!
T2: would have been pretty quick but the stomach cramping became a little worse. As I was getting ready to head to the bathroom, I saw my friend Kathy just getting into the change tent. Pretty cool because that meant we could start the run together. I told her where I was heading and we made plans to meet at the port o johns! No luck in the bathroom but a bunch of air, and no change in the bloating/cramping sensation that I was experiencing. Fortunately it didn't really slow me at all on the run at first, just felt uncomfortably full. Total T2 time = 13:50, definately longer than expected...
It was really cool to start out with Kathy on the run. I have never had this experience and it was good to be able to do it with a great friend. We stayed together for about the first mile and in time to see some of our crazy spectator friends!
The girls, patiently waiting for us: Maggie, Brenda, Teri, and Jeanne
Here we come, about to be mobbed by our friends! LOL!
The full group: Jeanne, Teri, Maggie, Brenda, and Debbie
Kathy and I parted ways shortly after that. Her legs started to cramp so she needed to walk and I felt pretty good. I debated but she told me to go. And when you can fun during an Ironman, you do. My plan was a 4:1 run to walk ratio. I did pretty well with this for the first 6-8 miles. The hard part was that I vowed to stop at each water stop to make sure I was hydrating enough and it didn't always work out with my plan. My legs actually felt good for the first 6 miles or so. My stomach didn't. It still felt really full and bloated. My infinit tasted terrible and wasn't setting well. So, for the first few miles I really only did water, ice, and pretzels at the stops and sipped my infinit when I could. I also stopped at the bathroom a few times, thinking that was the problem. I didn't go at all when I stopped, so it wasn't the issue. Shortly after my first bathroom stop I passed the point where the first loop comes back and turns into the second loop. Low and behold, my friend Aaron is coming around. We run together for a little bit and his words of wisdom are "the second loop sucks." Thanks, especially since I am probably only about 4 miles into the first one. No worries though because at this point I am still just happy to be off the bike! He eventually moves on his way and to a PR finish!
So, back on my own again I plod along. One thing that I do like about the run course is that because it is an out and back with 2 loops, it gives you a chance to see other people, in my case, friends, running the race. It was great to be able to cheer everyone on and give some high fives along the course. It almost makes up for how boring it is. You go through some pretty interesting neighborhoods on the way out to Churchill Downs, where the first turn around point is on the course. By this time I have only drank 20 oz of my infinit and had water and a few pretzels. I am not really sure what the mileage is but I guessed it to be around 8-9 miles. I am starting to bonk. I can feel it in my legs. And I realize I need to change my plan quickly. I need calories and salt/electorlytes. I think about everything at the water stops: cookies, pretzels, oranges, bananas, grapes, coke, chicken broth, water, ice, gatorade, protein bars, and gus. None of the solid food sounds appetizing and my stomach still feels really full. So I decide to force coke and chicken soup at the next few stops. And the coke makes me burb, alot. And, I start to feel better. The stomach is actually less full and uncomfortable. So now I am starting to wonder if maybe there has just been too much air in my stomach since the bike? Is it the straw for the aerobar that did this? Or the fact that I had to drink differently because of my lip? Definately something I will need to figure out for future races...
About this time I come to the half way point and turn around to go back out on the second loop. It is a slap in the face. You literally run to within 1/2 block of the finish. You can hear Mike Riley saying "...and so and so, you are an Ironman!!" and you can see the finishers shoot. And then you hear a volunteer saying, "if you are just finishing your first loop, turn right here..." Ugh, it was all I could do to turn and make the loop. But right there on that stretch I can see my mom, aunt, and friends!
My friend Aimee, came around shortly before me.
Me, just turned onto the second loop and spotted Mom, Deb, and Jeanne.
Stopped to show mom my split lip. It is so much better now, but starting to scab, everytime I smile it starts bleeding again! Need some sympathy from Mom...On the other side is my crazy friends, I also stop over for a group hug, before I am on my way again.
Kathy, just a little behind me.
So, I start on the second loop. But I think Aaron is wrong. For me the second loop actually feels better. Not sure if it is because I saw everyone that I loved that was out there, the fact that I know I am over half way done with the run, or that I am actually feeling better. Still, it is a long way. And I plod along. By this point I have seen and run with all 20 of my friends that did the race except David Bush. Not sure how I missed him, but I never saw him. I also heard he had a great race and PR'd the course. The second half of the run is a little lonelier despite seeing my friends periodically. Alot of the athletes have finished and it is starting to get dark. The legs in general are sore and tired at this point. But, I keep pushing. The end is getting nearer. From about mile 23 on I periodically see friends that are spectating, which really helps. With about 1.5 miles left I catch up with Rick who is walking. He is doing alright, just really tired. I walk with him for a bit, but at this point I just want to be done. And I know he will finish too. So, I take off and finish my race. I am pretty sure my last mile is about the same time as my first. And this time when I come around to the turn around point, it is my time to go straight. It is awesome. My friends are all lined up along the shoot. Both spectators and fellow IM finishers. And right at the end I spot my Mom and Aunt!
Me coming down the final stretch, smiley faces on both knees and face!
And then it is also my turn to hear Mike Riley say "Ann Kurtenbach, you are an Ironman"
My predicted run time was 5:30 with an overall finish of 15 hours. My actual time was 5:58 with an overall time of 15:07. So, I was pleased with the swim and bike, but not the run. But, still happy to have completed my second Ironman.
Mom, right there at the end for a victory hug.
Tani and Aaron, also there to congratulate me!
After this I stayed in the finish area. Very cool because I then got to see Julie, Rick, Kathy, and Fede come in behind me!
Julie and I.
Fede, Me, and Jeremy
So, IMKY was a great experience because of all of my friends who did the race, all the people that watched and spectated for us at the race, and accomplishing a second IM. I wasn't really that pleased with my overall time, but it just gives me more incentive to train for a better race, maybe next year...