B2B Iron race report by Lonnie KayePosted by Pete | Categories: MBtriclub News
As I arrived at the transition area and got a goodbye hug from my father saying “I know you will do great.” I took a deep breath grabbed all my bags and it all became so very real. Friday when I went to the expo and dropped off my bike, it seemed like it just another race. Now it was going to happen, the butterflies kicked in and I made my way to the body marking. It was before just 5:45 AM, and the line was only 2-3 people. I set my stuff down and got numbered 503 as this was what I would be saying all day for my bags.
I walked over to my bike and thought, it’s still here and I am going to have to do this! As I looked at my bike and my pile of belongings I see a man with NO ARMS. I introduce myself and his name is Hector Picard. He is awesome about to do his 5th Ironman. I proceeded to work on getting ready, and we were chatting back and forth. I have no acceptable excuse. So I went to the bathroom and decided it was time to just get ready. I saw a few members of MBTC and felt more encouraged, I was not alone in this. I went to the bathroom 3 times at the start line; my nerves got a hold of me.
I put on my wetsuit and grabbed my goggles and swim cap and headed to the trolley. It was 6:30 and I was waiting and Hector walked up. We rode the trolley and chatted until the beginning of the race. If a guy can float on his back and kick, I can swim this. I met up with the fast MBTC members at the start line for a few pictures and then would not see them until we were running, me starting and them finishing the run. But I had no doubt we would all be Ironmen at the end.
I decided not to test the water, I knew it was warm. They started the race and I gave the fast athletes a head start. I waited and then got in took a deep breath and thought this is real, very real. I would make it to the end of this swim if it was the only thing I did today. I kept looking around, I was fine. I was passing people and they were struggling. I just kept going steady. Wondering how much farther, how much farther, trying to stay in the middle of the channel, I think I passed the ½ iron start. I was in uncharted waters (no pun intended). My longest swim was 1.4 miles at most! So I kept going and then I had to turn toward the finish. I was going to make it!!!!! I climbed out and felt relieved. The hardest part was over and now to get out of this straight jacket.
I headed toward the strippers and it took 2 of them to get my wetsuit off. I made my way to the sprinkling shower. I really wanted a nice hard pressure water rinsing. I thought, Mile Cooke could be a big help right now. I started to jog toward T1 and my first personal cheer came from Stacey Lynn of MBTC. Then right behind me coming in the tent was John Mulloy. We shared some Vaseline and I explained the Bacon strategy. We laughed in good spirits, and hoped to finish the bike in less than 7 hours. I grabbed my bike and went to off.
I was cheered out of the T1 and struggled to clip in. I was getting things set for the first 2 miles. My watch was a problem; I never used the multisport and pressed lap to many times. I just decided I would start it over at like mile 2 and got it all fixed at 2.25 miles. Only 32 miles until I would see some faces I knew. I started eating my Bacon strips. I was delicious!!!! I thought it is cool but better drink also. I was cruising down the highway at like 20 MPH and thought this is too fast, pacing, pacing. The highway had an exit for MB and I read the sign, 80 miles and I can be home or put myself through this and then run a marathon? I kept my eye on my watch and every mile seemed to be right at 3:30 pace (17.5 mph). At about mile 20, the ½ Iron stated to pass. They passed like I was not moving, but I kept my steady pace. Everyone liked my music on the bike and they all wanted to just hang with me. They were too slow or too fast. I was well stocked and passed the first water station. Then I saw Pete’s truck and raised my hands with a big smile. I was 1/3 of the way complete on the bike. My knees were starting to hurt, I took out my Aleve, it was in a Ziploc, I dropped it. I decided I would not turn around, and I have some in my special needs bag. I got water at the 2nd stop and kept going. I just need to make it to my BACONZILLA at special needs. I called out 503 and by the time I stopped it was in my hand. I chose to sit down and enjoy my sandwich. Hector was there and we discussed the first part of the race. He had lots of help, but seemed more concerned with my fellowship was my feeling. He finished his food, glared at my sandwich and said “I ate Mcd’s on my bike ride from FT. Lauderdale to NYC, I should have hot wings or something out here. You have this thing figured out.” I looked through my bag for my Aleve, it was not there. I asked around nice man from Virginia gave me a bag. His bag contained: Ibuprofen, Tylenol, salt tablet, salt and caffeine tablets, and electrolyte tablets. I just wanted the ibuprofen, he said take it all. But I could only recognize the ibuprofen; all the other was kind of scary. Striped and dotted, I couldn’t even remember what each pill was, but I was thankful and my knees would be feeling better shortly. About 5 miles before the break I thought we have to be turn and get out of the head wind, we did turn only too directly into a stronger head wind. I remember thinking we are going to get a tail wind. I mounted back up and Jim from MBTC started off with me, and I pulled away slowly to only fight the wind. The hills were rolling and the wind slowed me down for the next 20 miles. I reached mile 70 and the aid station, Heet and water combo, and some much needed oranges. I saw some pizza that the volunteers had thought that would be good but just stayed to my plan. I had some strips of BACON, heaven in a baggie; 1 strip for each of the next 5 miles. At mile 90 I stopped again for more fluids and oranges. Hector was sitting trying to get his sock over his stump on his arm to cut down on the vibration. I sat down and helped him. I got back on my bike before him and then like a blaze I thought I would not see him again. I yelled “today is your day Hector, it going to be a PR for you.” 22 miles left and this was uncharted mileage on a bike. I felt strong, no pain and the wind had seemed to let up. I got to mile 95 to hear Pete cheering me on, with a big smile I raised my hands in victory, and I would complete this thing. I called Jonathon to tell him I would be transitioning in about 1 hour. Cameron was waiting with Matthew, Lorena, and Jonathon. I had Cameron’s picture on my bike to remind me of his smiling face and how he would be proud as I am always proud of him. I skipped the last aid station, passing Hector and but make sure he was okay.
I saw the hills, traffic and city. Cars line the road for the last 10 miles of the bike. I just plugged along put my head down and knew it would soon be over. I started up the big drawbridge and got to the mats. A young boy had half his body out of his car yelling at me “you got this you are an IRONMAN”. I smiled and took a deep breath and turned down 3rd Ave. for the home stretch. I was just about there. I see the runners in the first mile, and then see a shirt with a 4 leaf clover and the biggest smile. It was Cameron!!!! Lorena and Cameron were yelling, I got my coveted high 5 from Cameron and I was sucked into the convention center as Matthew and Jonathon cheered me on.
T2 I was in changing and trying to not take too long. Everything was feeling good. I got my stuff all set and forgot my number on laying on the floor. I checked on hector as he came in and I was leaving. He told me earlier he always struggles with the run. I reminded him it would be a PR day for him.
I came out of the convention center with tired feet. My bike shoes were pinching my foot half way down the outside of my foot. I was hoping it would go away, it didn’t. I stopped and talked to Matthew and Jonathon, I told them about Hector and they were amazed by him as he passed. I walked up to Cameron, tried to get a hug and he backed away and called me stinky. I am sure I smelled very bad at that point. I shuffled to the loop and talked to them all as I started on the journey for the next 25 miles. My feet were so tired and legs seemed worthless at this point. I saw Stone and Davis finishing the first loop as I was about mile 3. I walked and ran walked and ran and then got my legs back. Cameron and the others followed me for the next 9 miles popping up and taking pictures videos and conversation. At mile 4 I walked with a guy named Jay from Virginia, he had permanent brace on his ankle and a limp. I knew I would finish today, so I wanted to know his story. He was in an accident 10 years earlier and almost lost his lower leg. He has 7 pins in his ankle and a brace. This was his first Ironman and has done a few sprints and Olympics. I gave in and shared some Bacon. He said calories are calories and smiled big. I was ready to really run at this point and had a good pace of 9-10 minutes for the next about mile. My legs were just heavy. I got to the loop and saw my cheerleading team, I though 5:30 would be my best today. I was ran some and walked some on an off, just don’t get fatigued. I munched on oranges and then started with some broth, it was tasty. I actually had to stop to pee a couple of times on the run which I think is a good thing. About mile 10, my left Achilles started to hurt. This was a new pain and I could only think I have a marathon next week, just finish this one without being hurt.
I pressed on, this was just another marathon. I would here the people cheering me on through Runtatsic. I wonder who it was, maybe just the people watching at the race. It turns out to be lots of friends and family all over the country. The cheers at some points got overwhelming, was it the same person, either way it was a constant motivator. I started to walk and move quickly. I knew that I could beat my ultimate goal time of 15 hours, but by how much and not be hurting. I finished the first loop with a good pace jog. Yelling out 503 at the special needs bag. The guy helping me kept saying take the shirt, I kept saying give me the BACON. 5 strips of heaven, 1 for each of the next 5 miles. Micah, Pete and Mike cheering me at the turn helped a bunch. Pete’s flash didn’t get my X jump, but he knew I was okay if I could do it. I saw Bard and Wade, then John, Jim and Matt; MB would have a handful of new IRONMEN today. I would walk at 12-13 minute pace, keeping the impact to my Achilles to a minimum. I passed so many more than would pass me in the last 10 miles. The loop about half way out was kind of mess but I made the best of it. I joked with the marshal directing runners; can I please take the loop? I think it was his first smile in a few hours. At the turn, the guy checked to make sure my chip registered and said “great job maniac Lonnie”. He would pass me in his car on the way back to the finish line about 20 minutes and he yelled my name and cheering me on.
I pressed on the last 5 miles. I was watching my watch, what would my time be. I kept coming up with different times, I was tired. I kept up the 12-13 mile pace and wanted oranges but the aid stations were out. I settled for a handful of Oreos. They taste even better after 13 ½ hours of an Ironman. At just before mile 25 some joker (a 5 time Ironman) who was helping at the aid station meets me saying, “remember to smile at the finish you are only a first time Ironman once, enjoy it, you have 2 miles left. What do you want I will yell to the aid station to get you what you want? “I asked for oranges and was about to get in the debate over that I already passed mile 25 and he was nuts!!!! I made that turn and was about 100 feet from the railroad track and the arms started going down. I had to really hustle, what if a train was really coming. I ran through the RR crossing and after I cleared the arms went up. That was cruel if someone was playing a trick was my thought. I made the turn down the hill and home stretch, I could see the brick. I can see the finish line. The cheers on my headphones were going crazy and constant. As I crossed the line, I did my X jump again, and got a big hug from Mary Jo. I am now an IRONMAN.
Looking back 2 days later, all I can say is WOW. I did it. Things could have been better and some could be worse. I will run the Marine Corp. Marathon in 5 days proudly and comfortably. I thank my family, friends, MBTC, and God for making this happen. It is road well worth traveling. Thank you all.