There were tons of people lining the way into T2 cheering & yelling! I dismounted my bike and handed it off to a volunteer and stopped short of telling her to just put it in the dumpster. I started to run to the Transition tent, but could not feel my legs. Next, I saw my husband & kids standing behind the fence and I stopped, let out a sigh of relief, and walked toward them. Then, I heard the announcer saying my name and telling the entire audience that I had just completed a 2.4 mile swim & 112 mile bike ride with a broken arm, as he relayed the story of my bike accident 7 weeks before and that I showed up, despite my injuries. People were cheering and asking me to come give them “high 5’s”, it was surreal and I was overwhelmed with emotion! I quickly relayed the story of my bike malfunction to my husband and asked him to please let my coach know what had happened. He had been worried, but told me I looked great and to have a good run.
I ran into the Transition tent, still “high fiving” people along the way and grabbed my run bag. I sat down to get my bike shoes off and felt such a sense of relief to have made it this far. I looked to my left and saw a lady with ice on her knees and road rash on her legs and arms. She was visibly shaken as she told one of the medical volunteers about a bad crash that happened in front of her that ultimately caused her to wreck. I felt so bad for her and realized quickly that my day could have been much worse! I started to get my running shoes on and noticed that my hands were completely numb. I had caused this by gripping the shifters so hard on my bike, as I was trying to make sure they held up through the ride! I had to have someone put my shoes on for me and pull my quick laces together. The volunteers at this event were unbelievable!! Thank you to the kind lady who did this for me!
I put my race number belt and sun visor on and headed out to the run. My legs were trashed after the ride and I knew the next 26.2 miles were going to be ugly, but I was going to cross that Finish Line no matter what happened! I ran out of transition and people were lining the streets cheering and yelling my name! It was so inspiring, but I struggled. I started to walk and grabbed some water at an aid station and dumped it over my head, then took some ice and slowly chewed on it. Some guy next to me said “hey, we are going to be Ironmen today no matter what, even if we have to walk this marathon!” I smiled at him, but wanted to cry, as I was so damn discouraged. My #1 goal of doing this event was to train well enough so that I would not have to walk the marathon. I had spent the last 8 months learning how to bike efficiently, so I could get off the bike and run. I did Brick after Brick after Brick in training and every single one was successful! Clearly, I had to adjust all my goals after I had the bike accident & injuries, etc., but I still had a glimmer of hope that I could have a “decent” marathon. Unfortunately, I had to readjust my goals one more time and said to myself “You have 6 hours and 45 minutes to make it through a marathon, you had some big obstacles thrown in your way today, get over it and move on so you can finish the race proudly.”
I walked most of the first 2 miles, then started to jog as my legs loosened up. I started to do the mental math again regarding my Finish time. It was annoying me, but I wanted to make sure I was going to be ok. I heard someone from behind, say “Angela, is that you?” It was a lady I had met through social media who was doing the race. We had not met in person, but we had been in communication and shared our training stories over the past 6 months. She looked great and ran past me. I blurted out “my shifter broke on my bike today!” I don’t even know why I did this, but I think i just desperately needed to debrief with someone…anyone… about what had happened earlier. Anyway, onward I went, slowly, but steadily…one foot in front of the other,.
It was very hot and I grabbed ice & water at each aid station, dumping it over my head and taking sips. I ran through a sprinkler at one point and the water was sloshing in my shoes, but I didn’t care! My nutrition plan was out the window… Coke seemed to be the sugar of choice for me! I had sips of coke at the aid stations and had a banana at one point. It did hit me that I had been drinking A LOT of water and hyponatremia came to mind, so despite the 90 degree weather, I had some chicken broth around mile 10. It was surprisingly delicious! I managed to make it to the Village again where I could hear Mike Reilly’s infamous voice calling people across the finish line. The sidewalks were lined with people calling my name and cheering me on in French, “C’est Bon Angela”. I tried to smile, but I was depressed. I wanted to be finishing now, I had worked so hard to be crossing the finish line Now! However, that was not the path happening and I knew that before the day started, but it was still a very big pill to swallow.
Fortunately, just as I was spiraling down, I saw my husband and kids again! They were so excited for me and gave me huge cheers! I stopped and kissed everyone and I felt instantly rejuvenated. I started to think about my kids and how much fun they were probably having watching this race and spending time in beautiful Mont Tremblant. I thought of all the lessons that they may (eventually) take away from seeing there Mom do this event. I started to feel better as I headed out for the second loop, it was 8:15 and I had 13 miles to complete by midnight. It was going to happen, and I was going to enjoy it, even if it wasn’t the day I had trained for. I stopped my mental math, as it no longer mattered and I decided I was going to stay focused & positive for the rest of the experience!
At this point, the number of athletes had thinned out significantly. At one of the aid stations, they were handing out “glow in the dark” necklaces, which I had a volunteer put on me, as my hands were still tingling. Another athlete said to me, “looks like we are closing down the house tonight!” I laughed and said “yup, but we are going to finish!” I walked-jogged for several miles, I felt numb and a little lonely as it was getting dark. The marathon course was partially on a trail that did not have a lot of lighting. However, they had so many volunteers out and glow sticks in the trees, it was a bit like Halloween!
I shuffled by 2 people and one of them said, “Do you know when the cutoff for the turn around is?” I had no idea, but it made me nervous to think of another time cut-off! Another person was beside me and said “let’s move it, we need to go!” I ran with her for a bit, but was just not up to holding any form of pace. I was pretty sure we had made all of the times and were not getting pulled off the course. I stopped to walk and ended up chatting with another lady that was struggling. I was so happy to have someone to talk to, that I stuck with her for several miles. We would run in between street lights. I would say “Run to the light!!” each time and she would laugh! Another lady & man ended up joining in with our walk-run to the light mission. They were both injured and just trying to make it through as well.
I continued like this for the last miles of the race, people were with me, then they were not…either feeling good and moving forward or straggling a bit behind. We were all out there in the final hours struggling, it was a camaraderie of determined people! I began to hear cheering again and looked down at my GPS watch (had to turn the backlight on) and it said 25.2 miles…1 mile to go!! I started to jog a bit after as I came back into the Village. The town was electric! It was Eleven O’clock at night and the streets were filled with people cheering me on! I felt like a celebrity as people cheered my name and slapped my hand as I ran past them. It was so exciting!! I had done it, I was there… it was such a long haul (years), but I had fulfilled a dream I had since the age of 13. Then, I heard Mike Reilly say, “Angela…You are an IRONMAN!!!”
(This post was written in August 2015 and is being republished)