Well...I am officially an Ironman for the second time! With that said…. You’d think it gets easier the second time around, but nothing could be farther from the truth. I spent the better part of the last year preparing for this event juggling a full-time job, family and many other responsibilities. Training through the winter months for this early season race was HARD. Not only does training on days when temperatures are 30 degrees and below stink, but not having any company while out there did not help either. Winter months seem to be the time when most are doing reduced volume and focusing most anything but training. There were so many Saturdays and Sundays that I'd be out on the bike all day and/or running and/or swimming and I missed spending time with Trey (my husband) and my boys. Trey’s incredible support has allowed me to follow my dreams and do things I once never thought possible in the sport of triathlon. 10 years ago I would have never imagined that I would complete an Ironman as it was a struggle for me to complete one full lap around the local track. And yet….here I am.
My Ironman Arizona Race report:
The water was COLD (64 degrees). It was a mass start that started in the water. This meant we had to swim out and wade in the water for 10min or so before the gun went off. I start off and immediately my goggles fog.... This goes on for the first 20-25min..... Panic sets in and I finally end up spitting in them. It worked. Can't remember who told me this would work, but it did.... thank-god. I pull myself together and proceed with the swim passing back most of the people who had passed me during my goggle episode. It was difficult to find any clean water to swim in...... there were people any way I went. My finish time is nowhere where it should have been, but at this point I'm glad the swim is over.
After the first transition I wheel out onto the bike course for 3 loops. First loop is WINDY as hell all the way out to the turnaround and temperatures are beginning to rise. Luckily the wind did help some on the return. Second loop is even MORE WINDY than the first and temperatures are just plain HOT. I opt to stop for my special needs bag and loose some clothing hoping to cool down some. Third loop is about like the second. This time I stop for a restroom break on the return. During the whole bike I hydrated and ate 2 gels and took 2 edurolytes per hour as Carole (my coach) had suggested. The bike course was tough due to the wind and heat (at one point I rode through a dust storm), but somehow I was able to pass a ton of people. I finally make it to transition area and dismount the bike and feel pretty good.
After the second transition I head out a very HOT run course for 3 loops. There was NO shade to be found and my tummy was not welcoming any gel for the first 3/4 of the run. I continue with fluids and endurolytes. Due to the heat and multiplying blisters on my toes I knew this run was going to take far longer than I wanted so I kept telling myself to hang in there and do the best I could. There were periods of walking and periods of running, but I knew I would finish this damn thing one way or the other. Luckily Trey ran some of the run with me and it was nice to have some company. People were dropping like flies on the course (later I find out some 350 people dropped out)..... I feel very fortunate to have stuck in there and finished. Crossing the finish line was every bit as special to me as when I completed my first Ironman. Hearing the words "Dreama Campbell YOU ARE an Ironman" on a day with less than desirable conditions is proof that I can overcome so much in life and hope that I can continue to inspire others along the way.