I am a bit tardy on this post but I have been debating on whether I wanted to write about my race or not-but I am an Ironman so here it goes:
November 18, 2012-7 a.m.
Cannon goes off! We are swimming our hearts out in Tempe Town Lake. The water is 64 degrees, I am equipped with booties, a neoprene cap, and a full sleeved wetsuit because my 100 pound body doesn't keep me that warm.
I proceed to get the living crap kicked out of me by everyone! It is hard being small and even harder when you're in a hand to hand combat situation. All I could think of was "Do NOT drown-ouch he hit me-why is this guy PULLING me backward by the legs?!" I had an awful swim which was purely survival. My feet were numb and my hands were also.
Transition 1-My volunteer was amazing! I was so cold I couldn't feel a thing so she dressed me. She put on my arm warmers (which took forever on cold, wet skin) and helped me get dressed. I was FREEZING and starving!
That would be Betsy and I-food hanging out of my mouth because I dropped it along with my bouncing CO2 cartridges, which luckily I never had to use. The bike ride was three loops of a false flat for about the first half of the loop, a little climb and then downhill! It got HOT during that ride and Arizona is dry-hence the desert-and we were feeling it.
My main complaints were men drafting off of me and I narrowly avoided a huge bike accident on the first loop. I eventually took off my arm warmers which later became entangled in my frame around my back wheel. No big deal though! I felt decent on the bike and excited to have so many others to bike with unlike training rides :)
After I got off my bike I felt a little wobbly. I thought "Oh shit I have to run a marathon?" Nothing tasted good at this point. Luckily, I had eaten plenty on the bike and it digested to an extent but the thought of eating anything during that run? NO!
I started out at 8min pace-TOO fast for an Ironman! My friend Erin told me "Whatever pace you hold between mile 3 and 4, try to hold that steady and even." My body wanted to run 9:15 pace so I said LETS DO IT!
I actually felt great during the run. The run of an Ironman is truly a mental challenge. Whoever succumbs to the "walking demons" will falter. I was in pain, I had thoughts of just making it to mile 13.1 but then I saw people walking. For some strange and sadistic reason, I fed off of the walkers. If anyone knows me, I am THE most stubborn person ever-and that stubbornness helped me through this run. The only time I stopped was to get my special needs bag at 13.1 to change from my racing flats to my more cushioned Brooks Defyance.
At mile 18 my brother popped up from behind a cactus! He said "Shelby you are going to break 12 hours don't you WALK!" I couldn't BELIEVE it! I was hoping for a 13 hour finish at best-sub 12? I HAD to keep running! So I did. I ran my last loop of the three loop course as as victory lap. My body hadn't shut down, I hadn't puked, I wasn't cramping. I was going to be an IRONMAN-and a sub 12 hour one at that!
I have honestly never been HAPPIER in my life. I had to slow down the last mile to 10:30 pace because I was really close to puking at the finish line. The minute I heard the people cheer, my eyes filled with tears but as I heard "Shelby Norment you ARE an Ironman" I was ELATED and BEYOND EXCITED!
Remember Colin? Try 9:42-now that's moving! He missed Kona by about 3 minutes :( He WILL try again!
I have heard people say it wasn't a life changing experience, for me, it was. I had SO many people tracking me-classmates, clients, old friends, facebook acquaintances, family members, and so forth. I had people message me, text me, and facebook me telling me they tracked me ALL day and that watching me cross that finish line made them cry.
I had no idea that all of the hard work I put in leading up to the race would have such a POSITIVE impact on my friends and family. THAT in itself was worth it! Every morning I got up and had to bike for 6 or 8 hours in the rain and freezing weather, I thought of everyone looking to me for motivation. Every time I jumped into a freezing lake at 6 a.m. before the sun was up, I thought of my supporters. Every time I spent three hours in the morning pounding the pavement mile after mile after mile, I thought of what I was doing-I was doing something great.
I couldn't have done it without my friends, family, Colin, and the community supporting me. I seriously had a a community behind me-borrowed bike box, borrowed wetsuit, massage therapy, food cooked for me, and even a mock triathlon 8 weeks out from the Ironman.
THANK YOU does not even begin to cut it!
Will I do another Ironman? Probably not. I may get an itch to see how much faster I can go in maybe five or ten years but I put 110% into that race and the training. I spent on average 17-20 hours a week busting my ass through grueling workouts, working two jobs, finishing my second bachelor's and commuting two hours a day. I was up at 4 a.m. working out for hours before even starting 12 and 15 hour days. It was beyond exhausting!
Not to mention, the toll it has taken on my body! It is December 4th and I am still unable to complete a good workout yet. Ironman is tough-the weak will not survive! I LOVED the experience but I accomplished what I set out to do-I AM an Ironman!