Holy crap. I just completed the Ironman World Championships! I don’t even know where to start.
It was amazing, it was epic, it was SO HARD, it was harder than I thought but not hard enough to break me.
Leading up to this race was the most stressed I’ve ever been or ever felt. The week before I was to leave I had two panic attacks. If you know me at all you know this is NOT normal. I can take the pressure and put it in its place but this time I was struggling. This. Was. Effin. KONA. The best of the best all on one course battling for the glory!
I got on the Big Island my nerves calmed a bit but it was still more than I could handle. I tried having fun, did a photoshoot with Tri Sirena, went to the underpants run, went to a tri-party, walked the expo, drove to Hawi… I just couldn’t get back to myself. Honestly just writing this makes me relive that stress I was holding onto! Ughhhh.
Friday morning, I met up with Kristian Manietta from TriSpecific for a pre-race SBR… thankfully! It was just what I needed. A mini outing away from the hustle n bustle and a great pre-race chat with Kristian and his other athletes. I finally got my shit together and calmed down. It was amazing how leaving the group that morning washed away all my fears and stress. Just in time for me to take Felixia and drop her off. I was ready, and I was going to become an Ironman in Kona!
CATURDAY aka Race Day in KONA!
Amazing. The feeling you get walking into body marking, then transition… it is so electric. I was so pumped. The transition is HUGE and it is full of awesome mementos; I, of course, had to snap this picture because Dave Scott wins in 1986!
It was great, just before the turn around I realized how good I felt and kind of panicked because every time I feel good swimming I’m going SUPER SLOW. Thankfully I wasn’t going too slow for me. My goal was a 1:20 swim so not too far off. I am happy with it. Plus, I got to see fishes!! Very amazing swim. I hate boats though… thankfully I have learnt to deal with my breathing around them, but it doesn’t get easier. I always think of the poor sea life that must deal with our big boats and gas.
My goal was a range of 6-6:30 hours… I say it was another win, close enough. I wasn’t in Kona to kick too much butt… I had just done Copenhagen 8 weeks prior and I knew that I had not trained for Kona. The hills, the wind, the heat. I was just here to kick my own butt and complete the most iconic race in triathlon. The hills, the wind, the heat is all REAL on this island. WOAH. I knew it was going to be a challenging course, but I didn’t really know apparently. Shoot. It. WAS. Hard. I just paid attention to my cadence and went at it. I knew this was where peoples’ mistakes start so I put my head down and did my ride, I rode smart for me. It was slow but smart, tried to keep myself cool, ate more salt then I thought possible, drank sooo much liquids and peed three times! #winning
Getting off the bike is my favorite part of the day! Finally, a few more hours and I can stop! WOOT WOO. My goal for the run was 4-4:30 hours… I love running off the bike. I felt amazing running down Ali’i Drive and through town, then we had to go to the Queen K… it was quiet and it was going to be dark soon. One of the first aid stations I hit going out to the Energy Lab started pulling out the soup. At first, I was like ohhh great Mandi, you get to be on course with the soup. Then I caught myself right away and stopped the negative thinking… Mandi. You. Are. In. Kona. Doing. The. Ironman. World. Championships. All better. Let’s run, only a few more hours now. The Energy Lab is far, and then it’s so long! lol admittedly I really didn’t know this course, sure I’ve watched it on TV for the past years but it’s so different being out there. Once I got to the Energy Lab and made the turn around it was DARK. Kona gets really dark. I decided I was getting tired and had some Red Bull… my tummy didn’t like that at all. Saw a porta-potty about 500ft away… oops. Couldn’t hold it. I pooped my pants for the first time ever! lol… so when you are checking out my splits and see the 11/12min mile I was in the john cleaning myself up. Omg. Thank you Ironman. Hahahaha so gross. So funny. After that I felt fine, kept it going, slower than before but I was just tired. The heat was still real even in the dark. My last 7 miles were pretty slow but I held it together, never walked and finally hit town again to be able to cross the finish line.
OMG. Running down the finish shoot was something I will never forget. The lights, the cheering, Mike Reilly saying I was an Ironman and that I looked great! YES! Thank you to my people. You guys are the reason I am able to train hard and pull off a random Kona Trip.
My thank you’s because I am so grateful for my people.
You know who you are and you mean the world to me.
Ked, my memories will always be crisp and in focus thanks to your amazing photography. Thank you for following me around the world and supporting my crazy dreams. I love you and all you sacrifice for me.
Rei, you are the best. Thank you for teaching me how to suffer.
My RF Family, cori, karrisa, kerry, ivonne, lauren, torche, jhonatan, franni and the ones before you made all those track sessions, long ass bricks and coffee dates the best times of my life. I am so grateful to have found yall in the mia.
My AZ family who welcomed me back with open arms and took care of me! Sue, who housed me and made her amazing boyfriend cook and feed me dinner nightly. Ginger, Josh and Shawn for lending me wheels, helmets, shoes and making race day fast and easy! Alex & Regroup for taking care of Fleixia. TriScottsdale for welcoming me into their family no questions asked!
So many people helped get me to this year’s Ironman Kona and I want y’all to know that you aren’t off the hook. I plan on getting myself an Ironman trophy and going back to the Big Island so be prepared to keep working your butts off and helping me!
I love you all.