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Number 2482 leapt off the bridge into the bone-chilling, sixty-degree Arizona water along with 2400 other competitors. No turning back now; this was it.
She was about to find out how successful the last five months of intense Ironman training had really been.
She had faith in her training plan and felt pretty relaxed about the whole thing but could she really swim for 2.4 miles, then immediately ride for another 112 miles and finally complete the 26.2 mile marathon? How long will it take? How much Gu could her stomach handle? How she had come to loath that stuff.
Once in the water, there was no chance to daydream or to sing, she had to make sure that she did not get clobbered on the head by any of the others. Nevertheless, she was a good swimmer and got out of the water after only 1 hour 8 minutes followed by a smooth transition onto the bike.
The rain and the wind were tough with 25 mph gusts; this was to be the hardest thing to deal with. But now at least she could sing and sing she did throughout the next six hours as she maintained her 18-mph pace (primarily Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and Blame it on the Rain). She must conserve energy and take in extra nutrition on the bike so that she had plenty left for the final stage. One more transition and then onto the run. More singing.
She had been cautiously circumspect when asked what her target time for the whole event was. The allowable cutoff time was 17 hours, any first-timer that breaks fifteen hours is doing extremely well and thirteen hours would be considered truly outstanding. But maybe, just maybe she would do even better than that. Once well into the run, she realized that breaking twelve hours might be possible. Dare she hope? As the calls went back and forth between “Mission Control” in Austin and the onsite Arizona support team, it became increasingly clear that this indeed might be achievable.
Into the final stretch. A mile-long tunnel of spectators all cheering and shouting as she crossed over the finish line.
She is an Ironman! 11 hours, 50 minutes and 35 seconds. 15th in her Division. Our Tammy had done so well, so very well.
Note: Primary bike training partners in Austin were Red, David, Steven and Jerry. Mission Control in Austin consisted of David & Emily. Onsite support team were Dina & Shawn. Tammy’s Tri team is Austin T3, Inc.