So in my first and last blog post I said I would post my IMKalmar race report. Much has happens since then. My 16 year old son ended up in a longboard (long skateboard) accident and almost died. He was in ICU two weeks and he’s now at Craig Hospital for rehab. Thank God he will recover and he’s doing well. Life can change in a heartbeat. It has made me realize how fragile we are but yet how strong we can be. Here’s my race report;
August 17th 2013 IMKalmar, Sweden
Race morning up at 3.30 am. Ate breakfast, toasted bagel and PB, coffee and off we went. At the transition I needed to fill up my tires, since I didn’t have a pump I asked to borrow one, there were plenty of them on the course, but unfortunately, they were all European! I couldn’t figure out how they worked, seems crazy yes, but I had the hardest time. Feeling stressed on time, I finally had to ask for help, my tires had inflated by the time I did. Ugh, that resulted in a few heartbeats higher than normal! Eventually, I calmed down and off we went to the swim start.
“Dark waves are licking the pier, white gees flies in a wavy turmult. The sky is dark with clouds covering the morning sun. The wind takes of hold of me. I’m standing in the water among 1800 intense athletes ready to get started. It’s a seeded mass start. I’m strongly believing I can still do ok with a cast on my broken hand. Broken hand?
” Quick backflash; two weeks prior I did a race called Öloppet. It’s a two person team race (thanks Sean Everett, you’re the best) where you swim and run between 15 islands outside my hometown Göteborg, Sweden. Total distance 5 k swim and 18 miles run. You race together with no more than 10 meters apart. We made it to the second island where I slipped on the wet rocks and hit my hand on the rocks. The swim thereafter was the hardest, but the jelly fishes was the worst. They stung and burned. 😦 We managed to finish the race and we still got in 7th of 18 mixed team! Total time 7hrs 10 min.”
They play a swedish song called “Never give up” not the National Anthem! Then the start signal goes off. I have placed myself in the 1.15 hr slot thinking it would be a reasonable challenge for me since the other two IM I finished in around 1.20hr. It didn’t occur to me I could end up having a real hard time swimming with one hand in cast. I ended up 20 minutes slower. 😦
Off we swim and I feel pretty comfortable right away, not too bad with body contacts or kicks from others. Once in a while thou, I get a breast stroker kicking me in the side ugh, that’s a new feeling. There are plenty of breast strokers, I have forgotten we are brought up learning breast stroke rather than freestyle in Sweden.
The waves were choppy and the current was strong. I felt early that I kept going to the right all the time despite my bilateral breathing. I realized I was way off, my right hand was weaker. The course was two and a half loop and already after the first loop I knew I was way behind my estimated swim time. I thought the course was sparsely with boyuees which made it hard to sight. On the second loop I ended up swimming towards the wrong boyuee and they knocked me on the head and told me I missed one and I had to turn back. Arrgh, how could I miss that!!? I lost a lot of time. One thing that was cool, the end of each loop we swam under a bridge by the harbor and spectators was real close and cheered you on. Finally, the end of the swim. At this time I felt aggravated and tired that I’ve spent such a long time in the water. I was so ready to get out. 1.41 hr swim.
T1 was a bit of a struggle to get my wetsuit off over my cast and with one hand. There were no wetsuit strippers or volunteers in the tent, which was a surprise to me. But I managed to change and soon as I came out from the tent I was greeted with huge cheers from my friends Renee and Bruce. Wohoo, my enthusiasm was back! 😀
The bike started great with big crowd cheering me on. A few miles out, I could see the island bridge that appeared majestic in front of us. With no warning a headwind slammed right into you. The ride became instantly a struggle. I passed a guy with full disc wheels who barely was moving for the risk of being thrown over. I had 400’s and 800’s and I felt my bike wobbling, I could just imaging his. There was a strong headwind the first 55 miles. Around mile 20 I felt a real achy pain on the inside of my left hip. “Oh no, I will not be able to run” was my first thought. I have no idea what that was all about, I have never had that pain before. I changed to an easier gear so I could keep a higher cadence. It resulted in lower speed but the pain reduced.
Riding the bike with a cast wasn’t so bad. Only when I needed to change gears did it remind me. I needed to move my whole arm rather than just my fingers. Infinit nutrition did not work so well for me this time. I knew I needed more calories, so I ate and drank what they provided on the course. Going back north on the island there was a crosswind from the ocean, the ride started to feel better and my hip was not hurting now. Going back over the bridge felt more like a homestretch. At this time it was only 35 miles left and I thought I had it in a bag. Boy, was I wrong!! The last small loop was such a technical ride in between forest and houses with left and right turns. I was barely in my aero bars. And ugh, where did those hills come from??
Finally, coming back into town I was soo ready to get off the bike when I suddenly heard a loud shot. I did not realize what it was until my bike started to feel real bumpy. REALLY, a flat?? 6 km away from finish!! I soo wanted to continue on the rim, but I knew that would ruin it. I tried to change the tire with one hand in a cast, comical in a way, but very frustrating. I didn’t even have the strength to get the tire off. It was a blessing in the sky when I heard a car honk and asked if I needed help, yes, yes. They called the service car, and another blessing, the car was very close. They came and changed my tire in no time. I think it took longer to explain how I could swim and bike with a hand in a cast, hehe. They were mighty impressed! They even took a picture of me holding my hand up! 🙂 all in all it only delayed me 17 min. Total bike time 6.45 hrs.
Coming into T2 I was so nauseous that I had to sit with my head between my legs for a few moments. In comes this lady full of energy and bubbly and bursts out “this was fun, but now is where the fun starts” !! Haha, she motivated me and I told myself just go out there and move one foot in front of the other. Slowly I headed out. I told myself I can run two km and then I can walk on the water stops. The course was three loops. The first loop was the toughest for me due to my nausea. I stayed a little too long on each water stop. I couldn’t eat anything, but I forced myself to drink water and coke. I believe I had a bit too much mixing of food on the bike and it made me feel sick. I saw Agnes out on the course, she was on the second loop while I was still on my first, she looked great. Can’t say it encouraged me, her being so far ahead of me, but I was still happy to see her. 🙂 Coming out on the second loop I started to feel better. I had now figured out to take gel packs and dilute them with water, since I can’t handle the texture of gel. I also kept drinking coke and once in a while had a banana. By the time I got back into town to start the third and last loop I felt strong again. It’s such a mixed feeling when you run next to the finish and hear the cheers for fellow athletes becoming an Ironman, and you know you still have a long way to go. But this time I was very encouraged and ran the last loop steady and strong. I had a faster pace than earlier and I didn’t stop on every water place. Coming into the final stretch was amazing. Running through the old city on cobble stones and having the crowd cheering you on is priceless. I can now hear the roar at the finish and I know this time I will run straight down the chute to the finish. This time is my turn to be cheered on. Running as fast I can, seeing the finish right in front of me, I hear “Goo Mamma”!! It’s my son Phillip, who I have not seen in a year, standing with his girlfriend and cheering me on. What a feeling! I did it!! Run 5.07 hrs.
Final time 13.41 hrs. I did not make my goal time of sub 13 hrs. But it was a 30 min PR! I take that! 😀