We don’t just celebrate anniversaries around our house, we celebrate Ironmanniversaries. Back on August 30, 2009, Scott and I competed in the Louisville Ironman triathlon. We trained for 1 year leading up to the race and completed the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run in 15 hours, 25 minutes and 16 seconds.
So, how did we get there? We were young, out of college, and had a lot of time on our hands back then. In 2008, I completed my first ever race – The Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, TN. After this, Scott and I talked about what race we would do next. My uncle and cousin had just completed the Arizona Ironman in 2007, and we thought, “What the heck? Why don’t we try it too?!”
So, in August of 2008 we signed up for the 2009 Louisville Ironman. We had never competed in a triathlon, did not own road bikes, had never swam more than 6 lengths of a pool … I had only competed in one race … ever! We had plenty of naysayers. PLENTY. However, this was perfect fuel for our training fire.
Over the course of those next few months, we purchased bikes (on eBay), bought swimming goggles and swim caps, tried on tri-shorts, and worked out almost every night. We graduated from college at the end of 2008 and moved up to Northern Illinois. We didn’t know anyone up there, but we didn’t need to. All we did was workout.
In the summer of 2009 we decided to give our first triathlon a go. The Effingham Half Classic Half Ironman. It was on Father’s Day and my parents and sister came up to cheer us on. It was 105 degrees that day. HOT! So hot, the roads were actually melting.
Long story short, we completed the race but came away with some nasty sunburns, heat exhaustion, I crashed my bike (but still continued on), Scott threw up after eating a bunch of grapes … it just wasn’t good. It makes me nauseous thinking about it again.
This race was our reality check. We freaked out about the Ironman that was only two months away. We were like, “If we could barely complete half of one, how could we do a whole one?” It was a definite low.
However, we kept training. Our weekends were dedicated to our 8 hour training rides/runs. We didn’t have a life outside of work and we really got to know each other. It was like dating on steroids.
When August rolled around, we thought we were prepared. We traveled to Louisville to stay with my cousin. The weather forecast for the race was an unseasonably cool 75 degree high. We were elated! We checked our bikes and bags in and were excited/nervous about the race. We had been training for this moment for a year and didn’t want to blow it!
The morning of the race was really chilly. We were in pants and long sleeves … and scared out of our minds. However, the river was warm when it came time to jump into the washing machine of people. With legs and arms flailing, we found our groove and finished the 2.4 mile swim.
Scott is a great swimmer and finished about 10 minutes ahead of me, but our plan was to stick to our training, and we had trained together. So, he waited in Transition 1 for me to exit the water. And then we were off for the 112 mile bike.
We biked … and biked … and biked … for hours.
But, we stayed together to build each other up when we hit a wall, entertained each other with made-up songs, and chit-chatted like we had during training.
While we were in the slog of the bike, our families had come out in full support of us. We had one of the best (and biggest!) support teams out there!!
Seventeen people endured the day with us and we couldn’t thank them enough!
Once we made it through the bike portion, it was time to transition to the run. We had a full marathon ahead of us and it was 5:30 p.m. We were tired, but happy to be on our feet!
The run was interesting. We were chaffing in all the wrong places, Scott was severely dehydrated from eating too many pretzels, I couldn’t get my hands on enough chicken broth and flat Pepsi … but we endured.
After 15 hours, 25 minutes, 16 seconds, we finally arrived at the finish line!
But there was one last surprise in store. After we crossed the finish line, Scott, in his euphoric delirium, pulled me to the side, got down on one knee, pulled a ring out of his tri-shorts’ pocket (which he had been carrying with him the entire run), and asked me to marry him.
August 30, 2009 still stands as the craziest, most exhausting, yet wonderful day in my life and the start of my favorite adventure yet. I can’t believe he could still form coherent thoughts at this point, but he said, “Babe if we can do an Ironman, we can do anything. Will you marry me?” At this time the race announcer made his way over and was broadcasting this to the finish line crowd.
Of course I said yes!
So, in conclusion, Happy Ironmanniversary to my best friend, training partner, made-up song lyric co-writer, silly dancing husband. You’re the best. For realz. 🙂