Guess what - I am an Ironman. I know that because the announcer at the end of the race told me so. He yelled into the PA system "Melanie Rush from Calgary Alberta you are an Ironman!" However, for now I will give you some highlights.
First of all, Richard and I couldn't have asked for better weather since we got here. It has been absolutely beautiful.
I chose to walk down the beach to the race start in the morning because we are only about 1 mile away. It was still a little dark and other that 4 other people down the beach I was pretty much alone. I had my little conversation with God thanking him for everything he has blessed Richad and I with to allow us to come to this event. At the top of the list was that both of us stayed completely healthy dispspite the illness that made its way through the rest of our household, some of which I am sure was the all dreaded swine flu. My only request race day was that Richard and I would both perform to the best of our abilities and that I would really enjoy the day ahead. Both of which happened. I so love Heavenly Father for giving us that too.
Now that I made the prime acknowledgement of my success I had a really really really great race. I totally blew away my expectations. I finished in 12hrs 21 minutes. My best estimate was 13 1/2 hrs. I passed over 400 people in the marathon which was like so much fun I can't even begin to describe it. I had my best marathon ever, and it was at the end of an Ironman. Way Cool. I was 22nd out of 96 women in my age category and finished about 1080 out of 2500 competitors. So in the top half. Not bad for a 45hr old mama!
A few interesting items. The swim was like navigating through mayhem! Bodies swimming over you, into you, elbows and flailing hands hitting your head, some good swells, jellyfish below, and may I just say growing up near lakes not the ocean, salt water makes me gag! The swim was the easiest part physically, but most brutal from a logistics point of view.
Ok, I hate energy gels now. I must have had over 20 on the race. The last 10 k of the run I litterally had to force myself to ingest the stuff, but it is what kept me going.
Best support on a race you could imagine. Lots of spectators, especially on the run. The last mile leading up to the finishe line which you passed 4 times because it was a double loop course was like so much fun. People dressed up, music blaring, crowds lining the road. It was full of so much energy I loved every second of it. On the dark more remote part of the run on the second loop out I envisioned coming in to the finish line that last mile and said to myself "You are going to own it" It was amazing!
So overall, I am glad I did an official Ironman race as my first full ironman distance. It was an amazing experience every step of the way. From the crowds lining the beach at the start to the incredible finish line and all the little details experienced in between.