I have been looking forward to this race since being out there last year to fan, volunteer and train. I love the vibe and energy of the town, the phenominal scenery and the history. I caravanned out with Mangos and Balikas and the adventure began right from the start! The week we spent in Lake Placid was one of my favorite Ironman weeks to date. So many friends, so many laughs and memories made! Durno did an awesome job with the house and there was plenty of room for all. Thurs morning Mango, Brent and I went out for a run on River Rd. We saw the olympic cross country team teams out on the roads practicing and spoke to them. They were impressed with us! We all laughed, they are the olympic athletes! Fri morning a smaller group of us went early to ride the decent into Keene. Amy drove ahead and Deb blocked traffic with Brent's truck so that we could get a feel for the road and not worry about traffic. Thank you Deb! We all arrived safely to the bottom and Brent yelled, "that's my wife!" aswe looked up the mountain and she had a good few dozen motorists blocked behind her. When a gentlement pulled over to ask what was going on, "I didn't want you to run over my friends, you wouldn't want to run over my friends, would you?" There was a beautiful evening for opening ceremonies! Fred, JC, my parents and I attended along with other members from the club. Sat was a warm-up swim and bike and gear check.
I had made it to the start line healthy, was hoping for a great day and to be able to finish strong. I have always approached training and racing with an attitude of gratitude. To have the ability to be out there swimming, biking and running is a gift and a priviledge. I never, in my wildest dreams, could have imagined I would be doing any of this when I was sick and labelled "disabled". This has been a journey back to health for me. I try each day to give my best effort, to be a good teammate and training partner and to have fun! After Chatt last year 2 surgeons told me I could not run anymore and I was done. I was allowed to swim and bike but running was off the table. I sought another opinion and got diagnosed with avasular necrosis in my femoral head, bony impingement and fraying/tear in my labrum. In laymen's terms, there is not an adequate blood supply to the bone and in esence it is dying. With the biologics I take for my psoriatic arthritis I am not a good candidate for surgery. Emotionally there were a lot of ups, but more downs this winter with uncertainty of my hip and race schedule. I am a type A personality and a planner. To not know what I would be able to do was horrible! I took months off running at a time only to come back and have the pain return. Countless PT sessions and masotherapy appointments. I tried to wrap my head around not racing anymore and I couldn't. Being a triathlete has become a part of my identity and lifestyle. I thrive on the training. I relish the endorphines of the workouts. The friendships I have made will last a lifetime and I love being so active in the club and serving on the board. I could not walk away. Thank you Dr. Rosneck! When I met him he got it! He told me the ortho in him wanted to tell me I was done but the PT in him could see my love and passion for the sport and he would do whatever he could to keep me out there as long as he can! We did a cortisone injection in Feb, I know this is not a cure, only a bandiad, but the relief from pain was immediate and I'll take it! It allowed me to begin to put some running miles in. I am realistic. I know there is no "fix". I live with a degenerative disease. My meds help slow the progression, but it is what it is. One day the hip joint will collapse and I will need a total hip replacement. But until that day, I will train and keep at it as long as I can! My coach and I knew that training would look different from the previous 2 years. Moving forward was going to be trial and error and significantly less mileage. I was happy I was able to get 2, 20 mile training runs in, but I lacked the muscular depth in my legs of years past. All I can do is go into the day with a positive attitude and it will be a great day to have a great day! I am my own worst critic and I know that, but I just have to take the day I am given. But I am here, I am prepared and it's go time! Lake Placid had been the only certainty on my race schedule this year and it was finally here!
Race day! Let's do the damn thing! Weather had been beautiful all week leading up to the race but Mother Nature had some other plans for us Sunday. I learned from IM Maryland, just roll with it! There was a lot of congestion getting to the appropriate corrals for the swim start and I was not able to begin with the group I had planned to. I tried to swim wide to avoid contact and that didn't work out for me. Swim could/should have been faster had I been able to get into a comfortable stroke pattern and glide. NBD Then the bike. We had a really stiff headwind coming out of town, add in the rain and hail on the decent into Keene, conditions were not ideal. I had to pedal downhill! This was supposed to be the easy part of the course! I loved the changes from last year's course. There was a lot of fresh pavement too! Wee! I could have done without the out and back on Whiteface Mountain ski resort, lots of climbing and poor road conditions. The fans (Deb) on the 3 bears were amazing! A little girl on the side of the road yelled out, "Mom! Another girl! And she's beating the boys up the hill!" That brought a smile to my face! Weather improved on the second loop but the wind was brutal the entire day. I always tear up when I come into T2, I've made it safely through the bike:) Tears of joy that my hip was holding up also! My volunteers in T1 and T2 were amazing, thank you! Now the fun began, looking for all of my friends! I only saw a few on the bike. Kept my mind engaged and energy up. I ran when I could and walked when I needed to. I saw Durno for the first time, "You've gotta be F'ing kidding me! That's awesome!" Lots of high fives, Go CTC and keep up the good work! JC and my elevation update:) Our fans were stationed at the tent by mirror lake and my parents were all over the place! Thank you! And there was Deb again, out on River Rd at the turn around. My angel! I was walking more then I would have liked but my body was just exhausted. I had pushed hard on the bike because I knew I could. Now the lack of running mileage was catching up to me. Thank you for the updates on everyone, the kind words and encouragement! I apoligized to her that I couldn't run with her and knew I was way off of Durno's predicted over/under. Coming back into town the last time the sun was setting but I was going to make it in before dark! I could hear the music and feel the excitement from the oval. I got to our fans on my way out and there was Mango. Sadar! Don't walk the rest of this race! Mike is just ahead of you and you can lap/chick him! My body was screaming NO but my head and heart took over. I passed him after the turn around before the aid station! Check! That had been a goal of mine:) I passed our fans one last time and they were amazing! Now down the hill into the oval! Tears welled in my eyes as I saw my parents again. They are fantastic fans, not just at IM but in my life. They have been on this journey with me as well and I appreciate all of their love and suppport more then they could ever know! Thanks Mom and Dad! Down the red carpet and heard Mike RIley announce me in again, Julie Sadar from Cuyahoga Falls, OH, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! That never gets old!
The beauty of this year's race is that we had a huge group of 35 participants from Cleveland. Some are very close friends and some I met that weekend. Although triathlon is an indivual sport, being part of such an amazing club as CTC you also feel a part of the team! The beauty of the club is the diversity of its members. Not only in age, demographic and professional capacities, but also in their interest within the sport (short course/long course). This year I had the opportunity to train with friends, strengthening our relationshps as well as bodies and minds. Quick shout out to Brent Balika, JC Stouffer, Bill Oshowski, Karen Feakes and Dominic Calvarse. The beauty of great training partners is that they are dependable, accountable and get their shit done. I could always count on them to show up, put in the work and have fun with me! Each year presents a slightly different journey to each IM race but these were my peeps this year!