This was the first Ironman I've done without Troy being there. Michelle and I traveled together to race and we were in charge of taking care of each other. With Ironman Brazil and Kona this year, funds were just not there to make a family trip. The worst part about that is that originally when I signed up to race we assumed everyone would go so it was not a big deal that Annies Birthday was the Friday before the race and Troy's the Monday after. Yes, yes, I missed both of their birthdays, and that fact would come back to give me renewed vigor during the run. IMG_4488

We did lots of Facetiming, but I still longed to be with them on their special days, sad to miss it, maybe more sad than they were about it.

Michelle and I did our thing. We travel well together, we like the same things, it's easy. I have been hesitant to really put this out there, but I jumped on the Whole30 bandwagon, and race day was Day 12 into it. Honestly I was afraid to put it out there because I thought there was a chance I would bonk or something and I would have nothing to blame but that. Haha, that couldn't be farther from the truth. I started a blog on my Whole30 process and it's linked on the left, under goSonja FOOD!

(When your friends flat...it's best to just take photos...love Stephen!)

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Our pre race workouts went great. The best part was running into all sorts of people that we knew, and making friends with new people that we didn't know. Huge thanks to Mac at Quintana Roo for letting us crash the tent at the expo and use it as a mobile training center!

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After asking all the people on Facebook we found great swimming pools, the one of a kind inground pools Magnolia. This pool is heaven and we met up with friends to swim and be silly. The best part of Ironmans for me is the family reunions with all the people from around the globe I have met while racing and training. Plus the cactus pool had a special baby lane just for me. I'm kidding, but how cute is this mini lane?

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Okay! So eventually race day rolled around. I have no photos, I'm so sorry. Maybe some will come out of the woodwork, but it's mostly gonna be words!

The morning of the race I felt good. I slept great and I had worked really hard the past 72 hours to make sure that my glycogen stores were topped off...and yet in a way that used no grains, no dairy, and no sugar. Oh yea baby, sweet potatoes are my friend.

For breakfast, I went with two hard boiled eggs and a banana. Seemed a little light, but that was what I had.

Michelle and I stuck together all race morning. We did our stuff in transition and then went to find coach Mud to chat and stuff. He and I had a big chat the night before and whenever I talk with him I always come away believing I'm more capable that I thought. That morning I looked and him and said "I just have to punch my ticket right?" and he said "Yup, kiddo, that's it, and it's all good." Big hugs from coach and Michelle and I were off to the swim start. We split a bottle of Osmo and a honey stinger waffle just before we hugged BIG hugs and jumped into the water.

The last few months I have not been able to drop Michelle on the bike. All year long, when I put in an effort, she's off the back, but the last few months I knew that things were coming together and kept finding myself saying "Shit, the girl is back" I watched her running pace at MAF fall fall fall and I knew she was in a position to slaughter it. I was not shy with this fact and told her many times this week that she was FIT and READY, and needed to grab the opportunity and run with it. I'm so proud of her! That's one really nice thing about having a long term training partner, sometimes they know you better than you know yourself, and you can trust what they say because they are more objective.

Okay, so I'm in the water. It feels great. I actually feel pretty good. I line up closer to the buoys this year, but a little farther back than in the past. I didn't want to go lightening bolt off the line. The horn sounded and we were off. It's a great swim start, I love the spectators along the swim course. I had a relatively smooth start and didn't feel too hindered in my pace by others. I even got some clear water for a few minutes.

I swam well. I felt strong the entire swim. I didn't have any dips or dives in energy I was just steady. I messed around with my stroke, trying to get more streamlined with the wetsuit and really pulled my stomach up and tightened my butt. I swam strong and steady, and that's exactly what I needed. I'm really happy with my swim. 1:04 may not seem like much, but with how I felt about my swim fitness going in, this was great. I also loved that they numbered the buoys. On the way back it was nice to count down to the finish, except I could SWEAR that there were two #2 buoys!

Getting out of the swim was crazy, there was a set of stairs and I really flopped myself onto them like a beached seal. The volunteers were amazing. I had my wetsuit stripped and it took 4 of them. The freak did not want to come off. It was funny once the lady got it off she threw it on the ground about 5 feet from me. She was so mad at it, then a guy went and retrieved it for me. hahahah!

In the change tent it was busy. I have 3 things in my T1 bag. Shoes, because they won't let you put them on the bike here, my helmet, and my sunglasses. So it takes me very little time to put those on. Most my time in transition is spent running through the obstacle course they put you through. I'm pretty sure I passed like 5 people on my age group IN the change tent!

Off on the bike I went!

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