Had an amazing time at IMFL. Wanted to do a quick blog with some pictures on pre race through post race.For anyone that has done an ironman, the day you arrive to get ready for your race, you feel the energy. Nervous energy? Probably.On race morning, I was scared to death about the mass swim. Hey, I can hold my own, but I didn’t really want to fight people the whole 2.4 miles. I started waaay right, knowing that I’d have to swim a bit farther than other people. Saw lots of jellyfish and some stingrays during the swim.The bike was what I expected. Headwind going out and tailwind coming back in. I have never stopped during a race for anything, but found that I had to stop for a porta-potty break and for my special needs bag, not only for the bike, but for the run too. Quite the change from my sprints or even my 70.3’s. Felt good on the bike. Hard to go that slow at times, but I kept thinking that I needed to, so I could do well in the run. Not actually running 26.2 in training scared me a bit for the run.
Once I got out on the run, I felt great. I was running comfortably, then looked at my Garmin. Oh, how I am a slave to that Garmin! 7:00 min. miles?!? I don’t think so! So, I slowed it down to 8:00-8:30. Felt like I was in slow motion, but I had to make sure that I’d make it to the finish. Thank goodness I did, because by mile 18, I was sticking with my 8:30’s and no faster. I stopped at every stinkin’ water stop. This is also something I’d never do in any other race. By the last 4 miles, I’d grab a Gatorade and a couple of waters. Looking up ahead while I ran, I couldn't wait until the next water stop! I seriously didn't think I had ever taken in so many fluids in training or racing.
Finishing was just amazing! Laughing with me training partner, Shannon, who ran most of the marathon with me, just because we were almost done. Seeing that beautiful finishline all lit up and hearing,”Stephanie Liles, you are an ironman,” was something I’ll never forget. So, not only did I have a great experience for my 1st ironman, I get to do it all again in Kona. Thanks for everyone who was cheering me on, my wonderful family who put up with my absence for many months, for my fiancee, Mike, for doing much of the training with me, and for my awesome coach, Coach Dan, for training me well & helping me qualifying for World Championships Ironman 2010.