Ironman - Mighty Marlene McVicar
September 14th, 2010

Ironman Louisville 2010

What began as a challenge of the body, ended as a challenge of the mind.

During the last weekend of August, I had the pleasure of participating in an Ironman Race in Kentucky - the 'Bluegrass State' - known for thoroughbred horses, bourbon, and southern hospitality.

The swim start in IMKY is unique in that it is set in a time trail fashion, first come first serve. I arrived at 4.45, got someone to hold my place in line, and then tended to my bike in transition. I did not do the practice swims the day before, as I wanted to avoid the mystery microorganisms in the Ohio River for as long as possible. When the start gun went off at 7.00, I was soon running down the dock, over the chip matt, and into the murky 84F water. After swimming 2.4 miles which involved a lot of physical contact and ingesting many mouthfuls of water, I headed into transition.

The 112-mile bike course took us through beautiful horse country.  A pleasant diversion while peddling hill after hill. This is when I tried to load up on nutrition.  And pray.  Nor for world peace, but to finish the course with an intact bike and no flats. The ambulance seemed to be busy, with accidents, and people just being overcome with heat and humidy. The temperature at this time was in the 90's. This was when much of the advice I received came back to me, and helped me finish the bike portion of the race. With a smile on my face, I was glad to hand my bike to a volunteer, grab my gear bag, and prepare for the run.

The smile soon disappeared. Holy crap! Now I have to run my first marathon. With the humidy, it was over 100F. When I got to the first aid station, my stomach finally revolted, and the gel I took did an about-turn. Next aid station, time for the porta-potty. And repeat. Not a pretty picture. It was difficult getting even sips of water down. My marathon pacing was a cruel joke. At this point, there were a lot of people off to the side, getting medical attention. I did not want to join them. I was told by someone "Do not get caught up in results. The day will unfold as it does, simply take what the day gives you. Enjoy the day, you are very fortunate to be able to line up on the starting line." That was my mantra throughout the day, and at this point, it was vital; giving me the lift I needed. Back comes the smile. Around mile 18, discovered fantastic chicken broth. Coupled with coke-shooters, did the last six miles in a hurry.

Ecverything came together at the spectular finish at Fourth St. Live. To hear those words "You are an Ironman!" .... and to share the experience with my daughter Jensen .... well, it was pure happiness.