Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No I Won't Back Down. Gonna Stand My Ground. The Marathon

Did I mention that when I first arrived in the second transition tent I was greeted by about four awesome ladies. Since there was only like one other person in there with me I had plenty of help. The only problem was, initially, they placed me RIGHT by the door opening on the chairs and the door / flap of the tent was WIDE open. So I quickly made the motion "I'm going to take my shorts off" and they realized that I was saying "let's move somewhere more secluded" so they grabbed my bag while I started to undress quickly! They even held little towels around me! So sweet!!

Anyway, I was putting on my socks and shoes while they were spraying me with bug spray. I got a big mouthful of it (I heard there were wicked mosquitoes on the course) and decided that was as much cancer as I wanted to swallow today!

I ran out of the tent wondering how my legs would feel. Within the first five minutes I was overjoyed. My legs felt great, like I hadn't even biked!! I made some adjustments to my race belt and started trucking along. Transition was right behind a big super market in town and there were plenty of people cheering and saying things like "Muy Bien Senorita!" I couldn't help but smile ear to ear and give a wave or a fist pump! The run was three 8 mile loops of out and back and I would see many of the same people and places over and over again.

Those first four miles I was clipping along and noticed that the Garmin was still set from yesterdays 15 min run. So I just started it right where it was rather than messing with it trying to get it reset and then on to that screen again giving me pace per mile. I decided heart rate and pace per mile would be my guides (along with how I felt). Miles 1-4 were a little faster than I wanted (6:50-7:15), but honestly, I felt great and my heart rate was fine. I was hot, but other than that, I felt well-prepared to run a good marathon. I decided it was ground I wouldn't have to cover feeling terrible later (which I knew I would).

Miles 4 though.. well the rest of the race were a different story.
My legs started getting heavy around mile 5 and it never really let up after that. I just took water and Gatorade intermittently and tried to be thankful my stomach didn't seem to be having any major issues. I probably smiled a lot less in those later miles. When I would look at my watch I would try to hold around 8 min pace and just not let it stray too far off of that. I didn't know where the other girls were, I didn't see many (except for right at the beginning), and really, I didn't care. I just worried about my race, how I felt, gritting my teeth and either getting to the half way point or back into town.
I saw Kyle when I was in town and made a face. I think that face said "it is mile 8 and I still have two laps to go and I am HURTING!" He just kept on cheering. I think on my second loop when I was turning to finish off my third he said something like "come on Kim - RUN GUTSY" and that certainly meant something to me. I just couldn't back down.. not now, not when I had already come this far. One more eight mile loop and I was home. I had to put my head down and give it everything. The miles clicked away and I couldn't wait to see 18, then I couldn't wait to see the marker for 20 - a 10k to go.. you can do anything for a 10k I told myself.

I started to think of all the people watching me online, and the people written on my arm that morning that between the four of them, were family, or felt like family anyway.. and that I knew were going through some tough times health-wise. Even my coach who had spent countless hours with me via email and phone investing time with very little return but still believed that I could do this. I just couldn't let them down.. or myself down. It was time to put this baby away. My quads felt like a thousand needles were piercing them with every step. Everything hurt.. right down to the bottom of my feet.

Finally I felt it.. the rush of town. People started lining the streets and were cheering pretty loudly. Some people were even stepping out in front of me to take my picture (which I thought was strange but hey - that's fine!). "Just get there!!" I kept thinking.. over an over.. cross that finish line.. get to Kyle.

The crowd was like a funnel and when I saw many people in front of me make the turn to go back out on the course for another loop, I step into the side for the finishers.. I WAS MAKING THE TURN FOR HOME!!

I saw the big screen with the professional women getting their awards.. and there it was.. 400 feet away.. plain as day 10:03.. I hadn't known I was that close all day. I thought I MIGHT be.. but never really knew. You have got to be kidding me I thought...

We did it..We freakin did it! Ballou Skies had a pretty big day :)

I don't know if I have ever been so happy in my life. I started dancing and cheering. The stands on either side started cheering with me!! I felt so blessed and so thankful!!
I had made it!! I was home!!
Needless to say..
I was flying..

And even though the names had long faded from my arm.. and the small tattooed cross was only barely visible.. I knew each step of the way I was running on faith. Faith in those that helped me get here, and an even bigger faith that if this was the day I was supposed to have.. well, then I would have it.
And it was.. and I was so grateful.

and in pain
But I beckoned the cameraman over to give me a huge hug seeing as I couldn't take one more step.

Another great part of the race was seeing Charisa after in the finishers area! She had a great swim and is just a wonderful, fun, charming person. It was awesome to get to race alongside her.
Calling Coach Justin after the race. I almost fell off my chair when he told me I was the first amateur female and 6th including all the professionals.
And I met the policia after I was finally able to get out of the medical tent.. which I didn't want to visit but considering I only had to pee once (a very small amount) during the day.. the fact that shortly after I was dizzy and lightheaded made me realize I probably did need that IV.

You know who you are.. and your stories and thoughts have touched me in a way I can't describe. Thanks for taking this journey with me to the finish of Ironman Cozumel. I couldn't have done it without you.


Kim said...

kim, i have tears in my eyes - what a day. what a day. those finishing photos are amazing. you need to order them - so awesome. congrats again friend!

Kim said...

Thanks so much Kim and thanks for all your help before the race. That really did help.. it did!! Kyle actually cut those out of his video.. my photos from the race itself were poo :( So, I might just get the bike ones.. those were pretty good!!

Heidi Austin said...

i second the tears. so amazing and inspiring. you did it! you freaking did it! congrats girly! you made your comeback :)

Kristin said...

AWESOME job!! You are amazing!!

Chloe said...

What an amazing day for you - you are so inspiring. I have both goose bumps and tears in my eyes! And the photos of you going through the shoot and crossing the line are amazing. Congrats again!!

Christi said...

Wow, I am crying tears of joy for you right now! I love the photos of the finish! They speak volumes! Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us in blog land.

Kim said...

Thanks Heidi, Kristin & Chloe - you guys are awesome support and I love following your races and seeing you achieve your dreams too!! Thanks for being so great this entire season!!

Teresa said...

OMG!! You are so sweet and so thoughtful and deserved to win this race more than anyone and you DID!!! So impressive and so kind of you to think of so many others along the way. I can't tell you how happy I am for you. Now you get to do it all over again in Kona!!! Yeah!!!!

D said...

I know we have different "beliefs", but I have to say it... YOU did it! YOU! With all that hard work & perseverance, you totally deserve that amazing race.

Now eat some donuts. Unhealthy ones! ;)

Beth said...

Awesome finishing pictures! You can just feel how happy you are -- and should be!! Congrats again Kim!

Kim said...

Thanks you Christi, TN & D... You have all made me laugh with your stories and helped me be a better athlete just by being a part of this with me!! Thank you so much - I really can't thank you enough. Let's do this together again in 2011 ok. TN - I can wait to see you up and running and doing what you love again.. you'll get there. I have a LOT of faith in you!!

GoBigGreen said...

Kim:) you don't know how inspiring your entire season has been. Since Clearwater I have been following you and that clavicle:) and am, like orhers, choked up at how YOU made this happen. Yes... With God's grace but you did it!
I can't wait to reread these entries when I do my first IM next year!!!

ADC said...

Wonderful, wonderful. What a great way to finish the season. A lovely post Kim.

Kiet said...

So awesome to see it all come together Kim. And though it looked easy, we all know what it takes to make it look easy. And so funny you noticed the flap in the changing tent, when I race, I never notice things like that, I definitely would have just gotten buck naked wherever I was, gotta get out of T2 fast, ha ha ha.

m said...

Congrats again on an amazing race! It's awesome when everything comes together so perfectly on race day!

Steve said...

You don't know me at all, but I stumbled on your site via a comment you made. That was a great write up, and Congrats. From Someone who is now a fan. :)

You girls are way too tough for me. :)

What an accomplishment. I never ever want to do anything like that. :) lol

Charisa said...

CONGRATS!!! So great to watch you have a great great race :) Way to put in the hard work and so happy it all came together.

Anonymous said...

Finally getting to reading all your posts from IM-COZ. Awesome freakin amazing. Enjoy your recovery....and your off time with your hubby! Merry Christmas!!..and cheers to another great year in 2011!!! Mindy F.