Friday, March 2, 2012

Double Trouble

So I did a double Ironman last weekend.  I swam 4.8 miles, biked 224 miles and ran 52.4 miles.  Blah blah blah, yada yada yada.  I know you're tired of hearing about all this crazy crap I do, so I will spare you the long drawn out play by play race report.  I did it.  It hurt.  Enough about me.  Moving on.  But what I do want to tell you about is my totally bad ass girlfriend Dani who did the same thing, and did it in style.

I've always known Dani was one tough ass woman.  Throw in a huge dose of stubbornness, unbelievable amount of determination and you have the epitome  of "Can do anything".  Sure it's kind of a big deal for someone to complete a double Ironman, but this isn't really the point I'm making.  Dani has been plagued with some crazy injuries ever since she completed her cross state bike record last Dec.  Her right arm had such bad tendinitis that you could feel and hear it actually creak when she moved it.  This kept her swim training from ever getting up to the distance she wanted and kept her from doing a lot of her strength training that she loves to do.  Then let's throw in some achilles tendinitis to keep her run distances down below what you would normally want to do for half marathon training, much less for a double marathon.  Top that off with a slowly but steadily worsening hernia to make bike training days cut way short due to the pain and you pretty much have a complete formula for being seriously under trained.  All this being said, she still stayed smart in training and never just "trained through" the pain. 

My kind of hot biker chick.

Fast forward to race day.  Her coach laid out a race plan for her with zones and heart rates and effort levels with NO time goals.  Emphasis on no time goals because my stubborn ass still can't seem to get this idea through my thick head.  She executed the plan to a T and was absolutely amazing.  I was so proud of her every time I saw her riding strong but staying reserved and keeping a perfect even pace.  She let the guys go by her at the beginning of the bike portion while keeping her ego under control.  By the end she was catching up to those same guys (including me!) who obviously did not pace themselves anywhere near as perfectly as she did.  During the run, she looked great and was consistently making forward progress with no signs of letting up.  I could tell she was hurting.  I could tell she was tired.  At one point, she had to sit down and do some blister care and when I saw her toes I thought "Wow! How is she not limping like crazy?"  The longer the race went on, the more proud I became of her at every passing (the run was an out and back 30 times so I got to see her no less than 58 times out on course).  If I was one of those guys who teared up, cried or got emotional due to being happy and proud, I would've left gallons of tears out there on the course.  But I have personally never understood crying when you're happy.  So I just smiled til it hurt and then smiled some more.  I was ear to ear teeth when she had just one lap to go and was on pins and needles waiting for her to cross the line and fall into my arms.  It's really hard to put into words just how proud I am.  Not just for finishing a double Ironman, which is in itself plenty to be proud of, but for doing it while over coming so much adversity in training and during the race.  To come out, race her plan, dig as deep as humanly possible and to finish it in style under the circumstances was extraordinary.  This really goes to show that you really can do anything you put your mind to.

Still looking great the second day.

She ended up with second place female and forth place overall.  I was second place male and second overall.  Which means we got some pretty cool matching awards.  This was the coolest part of the race for me because I'm OCD which meant we could put the awards on the mantel and have perfect symmetry.  The women really kicked ass at this race.  First and second place were males followed by females in third, forth and fifth place and all within an hour of each other.  Great job to our friend Kacie for a strong race, third place female and fifth overall finish. I loved seeing her out on the course and was super impressed with her positive attitude and unwavering determination.  Simply amazing.  And as always the biggest thanks go out to our crews, including Kacie's.  There really would be no way we could make it through these things without your undying, selfless support.  Jill, Emily, Keith and all of Kacie's crew, YOU GUYS ROCK!!!  And if I didn't make it clear enough, Dani I am SO DAMN PROUD OF YOU!!!

That guy on the left looks pretty proud.

"The highest reward for a man's toll is not what he gets from it, but what he becomes by it."