Tuesday, September 14, 2010


WOW! Just got back into town from Andy and I's first "vacation" since we got married 3 years ago. If you know us, we don't take your typical vacations. Usually the vacation is initiated by a triathlon. This time was no exception. Also, this is a really busy time for my job, so I was working as much as I could fit in as possible. So for me, it was a working vacation. I know oxymoron ;-)

We headed to Madison, WI for Andy's 6th Ironman. On the way we stopped in Peoria, IL; then onto Aurora, IL. While visiting Andy's family in Peoria, his Aunts (Anita and Teresa) and Cara threw us a baby shower. It was so great! There was awesome food, games, and visiting. I hadn't seen some of them in over a year so it was great to catch up. People brought the most thoughtful gifts. I am starting to realize our little one is not going to go naked...that is for sure. I know it is SO hard to resist the cutest little dresses. Consequently, baby Sweet has a better wardrobe than I do -- not THAT hard to do ;-) I think my favorite gift was the knitted poncho from Andy's Aunt Cat. It is SO cute!!! I want to learn how to crochet so I can make more. We also got a poopy sprayer for cloth diapers from Cara, and a baby monitor from Elaine. There were SO many great gifts I will have to blog separately about that stuff later.

After 2 days in Peoria we headed up to Aurora. My sisters and Mom threw us another baby shower! Again, more great food and chances to visit with family and friends. My Aunts and Uncles really blessed us with gifts up there too! My Aunt Allison and Uncle Carlo got us an Ironman diaper bag!!! How cool is that? My Uncle Greg and Aunt Kathy got us this bomber pay pen! We couldn't resist setting it up as soon as we got into the house. It looks so cool. We also got TONS of beautiful clothes and toys. I was so overwhelmed with everyone's generosity. There were quite a few gift cards too. I think I am going to HAVE to go shopping soon.

(I know twist my arm, right?)

I will post pictures and stuff later...but now onto Ironman:

Like I said before, this was Andy's 6th Ironman. Now that I am an Ironman and have done more than 1 I feel I sorta have a handle on what drives people to do multiple IMs.
  • For your first one, you want to finish. You want to be a part of something that very few people are part of.
  • For your second one, you want to see if you can PR (personal record).
  • If you do a third, either it is to go faster (getting closer to qualifying time) or you have a different goal. Anymore than 3 you are trying to go to the "big show" in Kona. Nuff said, that is it. KONA.
No one really likes to admit that is the goal after 3, but it is. It is sorta like gaining weight and pregnancy. You know you are gaining weight, but there is not a reason or purpose for talking about it. Same goes for Kona and IM. After a couple Ironman triathlons, you know you WANT to qualify for Kona, but you don't want to sound boastful and put expectations out there that you might not attain. It is "understood" bottom line.

In FL he went 10:34. A qualifying Kona time in his age group is very low 10 or high 9. Like I said before, we didn't need to talk about his purpose for signing up for another IM. I knew. This was an important race.

To properly train for any IM, you need to dedicate a lot of time to all 3 disciplines, injury prevention, and nutrition. Last year when he signed up he was still working at the bike shop and I had just gotten my job at the advertising agency. It seemed everything was secure and pretty calm...1 year later: unemployment, new business, new location for new business, BABY, new job for me, and regular life stressors...Andy's training was not what is should have been for his goal. To finish an Ironman, yes totally doable, but to PR under 10:30?

We knew training was not optimal going into the race. Andy is a great athlete, awesome coach, and wonderful at stress management. We figured, hey let's do this and see how it goes.

His swim was great. He said it was comfortable and he found a good pace. A 1:04 swim time is not an "easy" pace for most. ;-) Lots of swimming this summer paid off. Nice job baby.

Onto the bike...he said first loop was pretty good. He held under the power threshold he wanted and was willing to put it out there for the second loop. At about mile 75 or so on the bike, things started falling off. His neck muscles gave out. Not sure if this has to do with bike fit (new bike this year too), lack of a half IM, lack of training with an aero helmet, or not enough races to get the neck muscles used to sighting during the swim and then sitting in aero position for HOURS. Multiple things could have contributed to his neck. He was not able to hold his head up and look where he was riding. (not very safe). With the added change in his body position on the bike, his stomach started cramping (bathroom issues here we come). By the time he got to me at mile 95 he was miserable. He was pale, shaking, not sweating (super bad sign), and could not look up. Having a 26.2 mile run to do, feeling like you are going to fall out at any moment, is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination. We decided, it would not be a good idea for him to push through. Yes, he could have pushed, but he has already finished multiple Ironman distance races. Better to DNF (did not finish) and save it for another day.

We got back to the hotel and were able to regroup and rest. Then hit the showers and back out there to cheer our friends and family to the finish line. We were able to see many of the Tri-Sharks finish and we were able to see my Uncle Dan (my Dad's brother) finish his FIRST Ironman!!! We are so proud of everyone who competed.

Let me tell you, I don't care who you are. It is one of the hardest things in the world to say it is over before you hit the finish line. Sunday was no exception for Andy. This was his first DNF ever. Hard pill to swallow. I am not a fan of the laundry list of excuses for not doing what you set out to do. Either it was your day or it wasn't. Ironman is a very LONG day and a LONG training season leading up to it. For Andy it is no different. Things happened and it didn't turn out the way we had hoped. But he is healthy, happy, and able to live another day. Ironman is not off his docket. Next year is my year for a heavy race season (getting back in shape after baby girl), so look out for something big from my man in 2012 ;-)

Thanks for all the support and well wishes this year! We are so blessed and happy to have such wonderful friends and family cheering us onto our goals. You all rock!

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