Tempe 70.8

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    AvatarLisa Stelly

    Today, October 18,2015 I embarked on my very first half Ironman. It was not your typical start to a race, it was “wet suit optional” which meant the water was to warm & the decision was up to you. I knew in my heart I needed to swim w/no wetsuit, but I reached out to our fearless leader for a “reassurance call” and not to my surprise, she encouraged the no wetsuit call.
    I was not on fresh legs, just completing a half marathon and a 50 mile bike ride the weekend before… I Went for it!!! NO wetsuit for me. I did not give much thought to this decision, I jumped in the water, put my face down and kept moving forward the best I knew how. Although my total swim time was 55 minutes, 5 minutes over my projected wet suit time, I was just thrilled to get out of the water.
    T1 took me about 4 min, just as I had projected. The anxiety of the bike was my biggest obstacle in days leading up to the race. I was completely freaked out by all of the turns and potential “monsoon” like weather. Not realizing the course was incredibly hilly, I tackled that bike course as best I could. In the middle of loop 2 the winds picked up, the sun took the stage and I started to struggle. By loop three, my legs were tired to say the least. I stopped three times on the bike, once for a quick sqaut and the other two times for refill on water.
    On loop three, I knew I had to reel it in and relax. I found a groove and kept on moving. I actually, surprisingly really enjoyed the bike, despite the hills, technical difficultly and HOT ASS HEAT! I was shocked that I came in under my projected time.
    T2 was at about 6 minutes, as I projected. T2 is always a struggle for me because the run is up next.. Not my favorite.
    I attempted to run, but found myself walking most of loop one. My heart and mind were totally aligned, however it did not transfer to my legs. My projected completion time was 8hours… I knew I could do it in that time, infact, I truly felt I could do it in less than that. As loop one continued, I found my legs to be just worn out. Although I walked most of it, I knew I had to just keep moving forward. It was not an issue of fluttering heart beats or lack of energy, for whatever reason I could not get my legs to move. The aid stations on the run were awesome, best aid stations I have ever experienced. I took aid at every single one, my need was more of ice, water and soda. By loop two, I caught up w/ a team member and found comfort in her wisdom and words. We stuck together the entire second loop, which I ran 98% of… well, more of a shuffle, but not a walk.
    At 7:25 in this event and only 3.5 miles to go… I perked up and thought for one minute… Holy heck, I might actually finish in 8hrs! I mustered up what ever energy I could and kept “shuffling” forward. I kept looking at my total time in this crazy venture and before I knew it… I had invested 7:45 hours/min into this and was not close to finishing. Still having 1.5 mile to go and the total time hitting 8hours, I started to break down mentally.. All I could here was ” You’re not good enough, You’re not Ironman material, you can’t even make your projected goal.. And for about 2 minutes I totally gave up!
    As I approached the very last aid station, I asked the guy if I could just lean on the table for a minute.. He said.. “you’re so close, it’s just to the bridge and to the left”… I said to him, I don’t understand why I feel like this, it feels like it will never end. Little did I know, the run course was over a half mile longer than it should of been.

    I watched my teammate and her amazing husband pull together and keep going, I got off the table, grabbed some ice and kept shuffling. I finally made it to the bridge at 8:15 hours/min invested in my journey, All I remember is seeing Patty Hammel and her saying, Lisa, just turn left, there is a small hill and then your done. I through a slight fit, gatheredd myself and shuffled along. Finally, I made it to the finishers chute.. I saw my family and team mates and I had suddenly had this intense burst of emotion. I say I turned on the turbo jets and booked it to the finish line, but I’m positive I looked like a snail. It didn’t matter though.. I finished!

    Yes, it is very true that I was incredibly dissapointed and upset with my finishing total time and performance.At a total completion time of 8:20… However, after I picked apart the day, I realized this… This is my very first year in this sport. I had basic, if that, knowledge of this sport and skills when I started. I swam with NO wetsuit, on tired legs, biked on a hilly, windy course w/ technical difficulty which I did not train for. I ran/ shuffled on a course half a mile longer than was suppose to be…. and I came in ONLY 20 minutes over my projected time. Am I dissapointed today, absolutely not. I am more proud today than I have ever been of myself. I have found a strenght in me I had no idea existed. I have found comfort & strength in women I had no idea existed. I am greatful beyond words and can’t wait until the next amazing experience.

    I survived because I trained HARD and had an open mind while training..( I did get beat up a few times. :))( And because my fueling was on point.)
    I perservered because I am worth it
    I am proud because I never gave.

    Swim: 55:28 2388yrds
    T1 4:25
    Bike 3:39
    T2 5:56
    Run 3:35 13.67miles
    Total Completion time 8:20 Total Mielage 70.8

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by AvatarLisa Stelly.
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