Ironman Arizona - Keep on Knocking!

Well, that was awesome! I won Ironman Arizona last weekend - a classic showing of hard-work & determination paying off, and a great way to put a stamp on 2012!

The first Ironman I ever watched was Ironman Arizona in 2006. I was visiting for the Team Timex camp and I just remember being in awe of the infectious energy that Tempe provided. I chased the race as best as I could and watched Michellie Jones take the win. After that day in April, I knew it was a race I would love to leave my mark on. I loved the energy the 3 loop bike & 3 loop run course provided. You were sharing the course with the age-groupers, and to me, this is the spirit of Ironman! I couldn’t stop thinking about the aid stations that are put on by local triathlon clubs that go over-the-top to entertain while providing support. The spectator friendly set-up provided big crowds, which to me provide big energy.

2008, I finished 5th.
2009, I finished 2nd.
2010, I finished 2nd.
2011, I finished 2nd.

Arizona has been very good to me! I get good energy from the sun, the desert, and the local athletic community. I was looking forward to what 2012 would bring - which hopefully was not another 2nd place. 1st, 3rd, or…. anything but 2nd!

On Sunday we hopped into Tempe Town Lake, the cannon fired, and the usual kick kick, sight sight, stroke, stroke, “where am I?”, turn over, turn over, ensued. I swam alone for 2.4 miles. Which isn’t my idea of a good time. I was missing my “get up and go gear”. The positives were I did not let up the gas and instead thought, “it sure is a beautiful day for an Ironman” seeing crystal blue skies every time I took a breath.

I heard I was about 9 minutes down on super-fish Meredith & Haley (great swim, ladies!). Ummmm, ouch. That one could leave a mark. Rather than go into “freak” mode, I put my head down and completely removed any thought of winning from my head. I focused on a few things I could control: mainly my cadence, power output, eating every 20 minutes. The plan before the race was the same it has always been at this race: to build my effort each loop of the bike and kill it on lap #3. Somehow I am always in a hurry and rush early in the bike resulting in a lackluster last 20 miles. This year I actually listened to my coach. Smoking jackets lap #1 (easing into it), porkchop paradise lap #2 (working now!), monkeys knuckles lap #3 (giving ‘er!!!). By lap-3 I was making moves towards the front of the race. The take away for me here was stick to your plan and believe in it.

I started the marathon and still wasn’t thinking of the big WIN. Instead I was thinking “Meredith (the leader) is killing it today!” I turned the legs over and focused on eating/drinking. Anyone can run 10k, just 10k and settle in. I never once gave up on myself. After 6 miles I got to start counting down the miles, 20, 19, 18: you don’t have to run again for another month 17, 16, 15: you’re a ketchup packet - squeeze out every last drop 14: is that a cookie monster running with me? Why, yes it is. 13, 12: ouch, I am in the hurt box 11, 10, 9: the gap is closing - you’re doing it - you could win this baby 8: I passed MBK and tell her “1-2 punch, 1-2 punch, let’s do it!” 7, 6: thank God for Coca Cola 5: Good thing my parents came to see this.  4: this is your jog loop to the U and back at home, you do this all the time, no big deal 3: I am so thankful to be here in this moment, right here, right now. I am also thankful that was my last gel for a long time. 2: forget trying to break 9 hours, please just stop screaming legs 1: Why is the last mile the longest?

I rounded the corner to the amazing finish-line and did it! I won!! Winning is fun, anyone that tells you otherwise is crazy. All the hard-work, concentration, focus, fitness, determination, positive thinking - totally worth it for that moment in time. Meredith was in a few minutes after me, what a battle she put up! It was hugs all around as we both celebrated a successful 2012 racing year. The “ah-ha” moment for me on this day was to never give up! Simple, silly, something we hear all the time, but don’t always implement.

The night before the race Chris shared with me: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” All race long, I kept on knocking. I never once gave up on myself. I just kept knocking. This is something I am really proud of.

At awards I read a poem by Walter D. Wintle that I write on the back of my bib # - I have posted it below with the photos.

I want to thank the entire Ironman community of Tempe. It is just that, a community. From the volunteers, to the spectators, to the athletes, to the other professional women. It’s the spirit of Ironman. So many people took time out of there race to encourage me along and I wasn’t able to thank each person at the time. You fueled my performance and made my day a memorable one!

I want to thank Matt Dixon for all the coaching and deep thoughts. You’re a smart cookie! I owe you big time.

I want to thank John Ball for keeping me healthy and moving all year long. Your treatments are painful but well-worth it!

I want to thank Mark Andrews & Trek Bikes for the free air, athlete support in Tempe and keeping me mechanically confident on Sunday! 3 cheers for the fastest bike split!

I want to thank all of you that take the time to email, Facebook, Twitter, read my webpage and cheer me on throughout the year! You inspire me to be a better athlete and make my job so enjoyable. I take the time to read each note - I love it!

I want to thank my amazing sponsors for the incredible products & support.

I want to thank my parents for there unwavering support, giving me the endurance & stubborn genes, and sharing in this crazy journey with Team Corbin. Seeing you all-over the course spurred me onwards!

I want to thank Chris Corbin. Clearly, he is husband of the year.

See you in 2013!

Watch me finish

Race day video

Post-race interview

Race day photo gallery

Listen to how it all went down.