Marjie is an Ironman!

14 09 2009

Louisville Ironman  8.30.09

Marjie Hemstreet

I have really enjoyed the FastForward Tri and Run training these last few years.  I had never really thought of doing an Ironman.  It was never a goal of mine.  So, it was natural that I deleted the email from Scott August 2008 regarding the Louisville Ironman training (no offense Scott J ).  I don’t even think I actually read through the entire email.

As the week progressed however; my attitude towards doing an Ironman changed drastically.  A few exchanges with friends and a dare…”Steve said he’ll do it if you do!”…and just like that I had a new goal for 2009.

8.29.09  Night before the Race

I felt great.  We had a fun group dinner together @ a local Italian restaurant.  I wasn’t really that nervous…just ready to do the IM!  Swim practice went well that morning.  Everything was prepped (morning bags, special needs, clothes, etc. etc.) and bike was already in transition waiting for my arrival.


Woke up at 4 am and ate breakfast.  I ate the usual fare like toast, with pbj, banana and coffee.  Left for swim start @ 5:05 am.  Found fellow F4 IMers and hung out in line with everyone.  Once the pros started the line moved relatively fast.  We all wished each other Good Luck and we were off to start our day.


It was a time trial start so I jumped off the dock and started swimming.  It was pretty cool swimming without a wetsuit.  The water was warm…a little dirty but warm.  So many swimmers!  I kept trying to get away from a woman who kicked me and then smacked me in my right eye.  I didn’t sight a ton as I just followed the mass of people.  Besides, I tend to go off on my own too much.  I felt like a poi fish in a small pool at feeding time.  People kept trying to swim over me so I ended up kicking way more than I usually do.  Before I knew it I was done. Yeah!


T1  Lida helped me in the changing tent.  I really took my sweet time.  I found that I had a lot to do in that changing tent.  I went to the bathroom.  I chatted with Lida.  Finally, I was on my way.

Right away I noticed a bunch of stuff…I witnessed a guy take a turn too fast and he crashed not even a mile into the ride.  Yikes.  I drank some Gatorade and kept a fairly slow, even pace.  In looking back I think I got distracted too much and didn’t stay very focused.  I saw some guy in a pickup truck (stuck in traffic) giving all of us riders the finger.  I also noticed a huge chalk sign on the pavement of ‘IRONMAN’ with a line through.  Great.  Then I saw  a tween boy throwing Huge sticks in the street maybe wanting to see a crash?!  Nice.  Other than these issues I thought the police, volunteers (loved them!) and spectators were awesome!

I had a minor muscle cramp in my left calf that just got worse as the day went on.    I’m sure it was from all the kicking I did to carve out my own space in the swim.  It really started hurting around Mile 30.  I was constantly standing up and stretching it.  Also, my cyclometer decided not to work on race day.  I kept messing with it until about Mile 60 or so and finally realized I was not going to see my cadence number or mileage.  That was kind of a drag because seeing my cadence helps me so much when my mind starts to wander.   Oh well.

After stopping for Special Needs bag and using a Port-O-Potty I charged through LaGrange for the 2nd time.  I was looking for Mike, Hana and my parents since somehow we had missed each other at the Swim exit (I later heard they were worried and thought I needed medical attention!).  I saw them as I was going downhill and starting to pick up speed.  That helped make my cramped calf a little more bearable.  After the rush of seeing them, I lost it a bit and got emotional.  I kind of felt a little wacky and tired at that point.  My calf pain kept increasing and would not subside no matter what I did.  I saw Lida, Jen and Scott for the 2nd time.  Scott told me to eat some bananas…of course!  By this time though, all of the aid stations were out of bananas (yes, we have no bananas…).  I upped my salt intake and kept stretching whenever possible.  I tried to keep the negatives out of my head.

At around Mile 85 I got a really bad side cramp.  Oh good I thought, now I can focus on a different part of my body.    I kept drinking a ton of water and trying to talk to the other cyclists to pass the time.  “Hey…isn’t that tobacco growing over there?”  most ignored me.  Did I already say I get off task?  I don’t think I will ever drink Perpetuem again.  I feel that it caused my major side ache.  I kept drinking water and massaging my side.  Finally, I was in the final stretch so I forced down a GU and more water and rode to T2.

T2  Bathroom Break.  I was a little wishy-washy on what to wear.  A Tank or a Long Sleeve shirt?  I asked my volunteer and we discussed it at length.  I ended up ignoring her advice and wore my new Long Sleeve white tech shirt for fear I might get cold on the run.

RUN…It was all about the Tylenol and Coke

Once I was out of T2 and on the run I realized I was way too overdressed!  So, I wrapped that Long sleeve around my waist and ran in my jog bra for the first half of the run course.  I actually stopped a race photographer from getting a shot of me at Mile 2.  I had no intention of seeing my pale stomach anytime soon.

I saw everyone from FF which made the race more enjoyable.  I was so glad to be on the run and be able to talk to people.  Other than a bathroom break and finally finding a banana the first half of the race was fairly uneventful.  At the beginning of the 2nd loop I ran with 2 young guys…23 & 26 yr. olds. We ran together for 6 or so miles.  It was great to run with them but they ended up taking too long at the Aid Stations and by this time I just wanted to finish!  My body was really achy.  My lower back was killing me and so were my feet.  I was definitely running in Zone 1.  I took a Tylenol around Mile 18/19…Relief!!  Yeah.

I got into a grove at each Aid Station…first getting ice water and then Coke.  The Coke was the highlight of my run.  I am not a big soda drinker normally but I felt like an addict during that run.  I was almost in a panic when a volunteer at an Aid Station said she didn’t have any Coke.  “Really?”  I made her repeat it.  Thankfully, every Aid Station had  an ample supply of Coke after that.  Once the Tylenol kicked in I was able to pick up the tempo a bit and keep good running form.  I was feeling really good the last 10K.  I couldn’t help smiling as I turned the corner.  I saw Lida and Jen smiling!  Almost there.  I ran to the Finish and heard Hana say ‘Go Mommy”.  I saw Mike and my parents and felt so awesome and proud of myself.

And just like that I did my first Ironman.  It was done.  That was that.  Yeah!  What an awesome year I have had.  I loved the wonderful experience of training with my new FF friends and learned so much from my coaches, Scott and Michael.  Philip and Susan were really inspiring too.  Canada?  I’ll be there…

Next Time    ~ Transition:    Be more decisive and pick up the pace a bit

~ Ride:           Try to stay more focused and ride a bit more aggressively.  Also,

be prepared for leg cramps…pack bananas

~ Run:            Be more decisive about what to wear

Swim:      1:35:04

Bike:        7:39:39

Run:         5:06:39

Overall:  14:43:56

T1:  11:46

T2:  10:43




2 responses

17 09 2009
Steve van Schouwen

Heeyy– Cindy told me “Marjie said she’ll do it if you do!”… 🙂

Nice report, good job marjie!

good luck in Canada!

22 09 2009
Donna MItchell

Great report Marjie. You did an awesome job! I really enjoyed training with you and look forward to our training for Canada.

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