Saturday, October 19, 2019
IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2019
I took a few days to digest my feelings after achieving my life dream. Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
Reaching the top of the triathlon world without being the best in my category was a hard and long journey, but I did it thanks the the Ironman Legacy Program which was created for those like me who love the sport but were not born with the best abilities. This program allows a small group of people to feel the privilege of participating (for just once in a life time) next to the top athletes of the entire world.
We had to gain that spot through the years by completing 12 or more full Ironman races and submitting an application with your story. Behind each of these participants there is a great story.
10 years ago the idea came to my mind but I didn’t know how to swim or ride a bicycle at all. When I was 34 years old, I had a dream, I was determined to heal my fibromyalgia symptoms and help others achieve their physical and emotional goals.
So here I am telling you the story of how my Ironsoul Wellbeing Program was born.
It took me 2 years to get my body used to endurance and control my mind to deal with pain; then it took me 3 years to lose my fears in open waters and learn how to swim and ride my bicycle in public roads.
During those early years, I was able to complete 8 Half Ironman 70.3 races, more than 10 full marathons and about 150 races of less distance and other sport categories such as duathlon. Then it took me 5 years to complete 13 Full Ironman races and apply for the Legacy Program. It wasn’t just competing but training, working and saving money for each trip.
While I was training I was dealing with the usual aches of the fibromyalgia, plus a cyst in my cervical spine that gives me so much pain in the entire upper body that my hands get numb and I need to stop and stretch periodically.
I still do a lot of physical teraphy which has proven to help me even though many doctors have told me to stop riding my bike and doing any endurance activity. For the people that doesn’t know about living with fibromyalgia; pain, fears, anxiety and days of sad emotions are a big part of this condition. Every day is a battle against all of this. I am not ashamed to share this because every morning I wake up felling like a 90 year old lady who doesn't want to get out of bed, and then go to bed at the end of the day being a happy Ironman.
I train the mind, body and soul with my students at work, and I feel better as soon as teach my first class.
Every day I beat Fibro like a champ.
These years, my goal seemed to be imposible, it was like a path that would never end. I suffered but I learned and I did enjoy each step.
Ironman World Championship 2019
THE DAY OF THE RACE:
Last Saturday October 12, 2019. Finally in my 44 years of age, there I was, walking towards the start line of the biggest race of the triathlon world Ironman Kona. Along with the group of Legacy Athletes, we were the last wave (last starting the race).
We knew that we would be the last ones out there since the day we checked in, dealing with hard conditions during the day. That was though in my mind because being alone in the race course is not my favorite scenario.
The sea water was totally clear the fishes were so bright and colorful, that it helped me forget how dizzy and nervous I was. I got a cramp in my right leg half way of the swimming course which defenitely tested my determination. The strong currents that were pushing me out of the buoys made it harder. God was next to me and the love for the people that supported me.
The two big boats located in the turn around gave me strength to keep going nonstop as I was reaching to the huge bottle of Gatorade that was waiting located at end of the swim course for visibility. Patience...I just keep saying to my self.
“Wow I did it” better than before so I smiled, after 2.4 miles I was out of the water in 1 hr 45 mins.
THE BIKE COURSE
The day of the bike check in, I changed the cleats of the cycling shoes and accidentally put the cycling socks in the running bag. I thought "OMG running with blisters, please no!"
But God again sent his love through a volunteer that was assisting me. She took her shoes off and gave me her socks which were perfect.
“Thank you wonderful woman whose name I wish I know to thank her again”.
The first 30 miles were really nice with tail wind and it looked like it was going to be a good ride until we got to the 52 mile hill going to Hawi for 6 miles long. The heat was 97 degrees out there, the wind started bouncing us right and left. 30 mph wind gusts were the most scary thing I had experienced in the bycicle. At least 5 times I was about to fall.
Once again I prayed to God to give me energy and mental strength to keep pedaling nonstop. I knew Angel my boyfriend would have been proud of me since we trained in places that were also challenging and I knew that he was at the finish line waiting for me.
Finally I reached the turn around, took an Advil to help with the upper body pain and then it all was about hanging in there while pedaling against the head and crossed winds and controlling my neck pain.
Around mile 80 the headwind was so strong that the miles left to complete the 112 miles cycling course felt like an eternity and I did it in 7 hr and 23 minutes.
Once off the bike, I did smile because I knew my favorite sport was next.
I was sore, tired, feeling weak and vulnerable, my stomach was getting acid because of that much protein and Gatorade accumulated during the cycling, but my mind kept telling me: “If you stop now, you won’t finish”.
The temperature dropped which helped a lot.
The legs felt heavy and little by little I was getting the body done with the hard transition from bike to running.
50 min later I was running way better knowing that the turnaround was out in that dark hilly road going to the lab near the Kona Airport outside the main city.
I saw the sun reflected in the ocean, I opened my arms and felt the energy of the light. Later I saw the colors of the beautiful sunset blue, orange, black, white I just can’t describe how scenic the sunsets are in Hawaii.
The moon was full giving us hope, lighting the darkness of the mind and the road.
I thanked each person that had been in my life even the people that once hurted me, I forgave them all and also forgave myself for being weak sometimes and for doubting the universe.
I thanked everybody, my family, my boyfriend, my students, my friends,my IG and FB friends and followers and the volunteers.
The time went by and at mile 23, my left knee was in a lot of pain, and I also needed sugar. My stomach was about to throw up so I got coke with ice, 🤦🏻♀"LOL.
I was in need.
Angel was running close to me checking that I was fine and I keep passing people that were walking already.
I was able to hear the announcer who was about two miles away from the finish line, his voice was getting closer. Then suddenly I saw the lights and the red carpet "OMG 😱. 10 years passed so fast". It took me 2 minutes to cross the finish line. I wished I could freeze that moment and stay there forever. My Ironsoul got soft, my heart was pumping harder. I was crying and smiling, got so emotional.
I ran 26.3 miles in 5 hours 27 min, I was an Ironman again, I was 14 times Ironman, but this time I was becoming an Ironman World Championship finisher and a better person who still believes in the healing power of the faith, in the benefits of the sport and the miracles of meditation. A very proud mother, a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, a friend, a teacher that now has more to share.
This race is magical, the level is for Pro athletes, sure more challenging than any other race I know. The people I met is amazing, the other two Colombian girls and the boys that were participating are talented and I am proud of them for their achievements. Unfortunately the beautiful Colombian girls Ana and Martica had complications and couldn’t make it. Sure they will come back stronger next year.
“The imposible dream became possible”, don’t doubt yourself, go through your fears, with discipline you can make your goals happen. This is not the end of my goals it is just the preparation for the rest of my life.