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race reports, tri

I gave it my all.

Not really sure where to start here.

Eagleman chewed me up and spit me out.

But that’s Okay.

The truth is, I needed a race like this before the big show, my ‘A’ race.

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Looking back over my past six years of racing, I’ve never had a tough weather race. I’ve had tough courses but in perfect conditions. I’ve had easy courses in perfect conditions… Never really had TOUGH conditions. I’m talking 95 degrees with 100% humidity (Heat Index was 106 degrees that day!)

My husband, Todd asked me after Eagleman: ‘if you knew this race is always this hot, why did you even sign up?’

The truth is, I wanted a challenge, something different. I don’t really have a big reason WHY I chose Eagleman. Part of the reason was I thought I could break 5:00 hours given how flat the course is. But silly me didn’t read much about HOW hot it can get and HOW unshaded the course is. However, I was so angry at my finish time that all I could think was ‘I should have signed up for an easier race.’

You have to have a short term memory in this sport.

For days I wondered about what went wrong.  I have been analyzing my nutrition {too much salt?!}, the swim {non-wetsuit  + current}, the heat {the surface of the sun}, etc. I cared SO much about how I did and how I let myself down. This is all I could think about. My coach told me it was ok to be pissed off the day of the race, but after that, I needed to move onward, easier said than done:) Let’s just say I dwelled on this for about a week…

Here’s how it all went down:

Race Morning:

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Woke up at 4:30, ate my usual pre-race breakfast (1 banana, 1 egg white, 1 bottle Osmo, apple sauce)… need to find a new pre-race bfast because this one isn’t working out so hot anymore. Suggestions?

We left our B&B at 5:40 AM, to get to the race site or 6:00 AM. Transition closed at 6:45. Since transition closed way before my swim start, I hung around with Todd and drank my pre-load while waiting. Later to realize I took in too much Osmo Pre-load, but I’ll get to that later…

8:08 Swim start (we started 4 mins earlier than scheduled)

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The Swim

I was soooo anxious about this river swim! Way more anxious than normal when it comes to a swim. I new the water was murky, choppy and I didn’t have my beloved wetsuit.

It was a non-wetsuit swim, given how warm it was (78 degrees F). It actually felt really warm without the wetsuit, almost like a luke warm bath. I had practiced in the river a few days prior , so I knew what to expect for temps and visibility. The Choptank River is brackish water, so it’s a mix of salt and fresh water. You can really taste the salt when you are swimming, which I am so not used to!

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 What I wore: ROKA Viper Pro Swimskin and  X1 Goggles in Dark Vermillion/Blue Mirror (love love love). And Special thanks to Erin for recommending baby shampoo for de-fogging, worked like a charm! 

The swim started out quite civilized and I made my way to the front of the pack. I’m trying to be more aggressive with swim starts and try not to stick in the back. I am a strong swimmer and pretty fast for someone that didn’t grow up swimming. Gotta work on that confidence!

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race reports, run

the joy of running in the rain… a Boston Marathon 2015 recap

Here I am, eleven days since the Boston Marathon,  still on a runner’s high… I hear the recovery will take 21+ days.. perhaps the post race happiness will last that long too?!

The best feeling is when you race a successful race, knowing you could have done even MORE, but held back. Let’s just say I am pumped up for Tri Season!

If you want to check out my pacing from the race, I posted about this last week.

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My third Boston was my best Boston. No doubt about it. 

This year was something special.  I didn’t want the race to end. I wish I could bottle up how I felt for 26.2 miles and remember it forever. The entire 26.2 miles I smiled, I had goosebumps… not  only because it was cold, but because of the energy of the people cheering me on!

Go Kristin Go! You Got This! Great pace! Look at her go! She’s flying!

I had so much FUN! This is what racing is all about people: HAVING FUN! I don’t know how many times I shouted ‘woooo!!!’ into the crowds, while pumping my fists into the air.. my arms were even sore post race for raising them in the air so many times and giving high-fives. I can honestly tell you I have NEVER had as much fun in a race as I did during the 2015 Boston Marathon. This is why I run, this is why I race.

Here is a little recap of how the days went down leading up to the race:

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Thanks to Kebby from Coeur for the sweet note!

Saturday before the race.

This year, my brother’s girlfriend, Sam was running  and they were in town from Chicago… She also BQ’d and is a speedster! The day started with attending the Boston Marathon Expo where we picked up bibs and purchased our official marathon jackets.  I picked up my bib right next to legendary triathlete, Karen Smyers. I took this as a good omen! Since it was wicked crowded, we didn’t stick around for very long!

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After the expo we took some pics near the finish line!

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Saturday evening

A nice carb loading dinner with family! As much as I wanted a glass of wine, I passed.  I know there are plenty of people who drink red wine before a race, but I always get nervous doing so!  Plus, I’m not a big drinker and my tolerance is literally one glass of wine and I’m good to go, ha.

Sunday morning

A 20 minute shake out run with Sam followed by a  BIG Carb loading breakfast! Give me ALL the pancakes! Then it was time to relax and put my feet up for the day.  I’m a huge advocate of not being on my feet much the day before a big race… less is more!

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Sunday came and went, and before I knew it, I was getting all of my stuff together for race morning.  So much thought had to go into my outfit this year, given the conditions.  I had never ran a race in the rain before (expect for IMMT in August, but it was warm). I took to social media for questions about what to wear and this was helpful! Given the inclement weather, it was really hard to know what to wear/bring/throwaway.  I packed a TON of warm clothes + dry shoes for after the race, knowing that I would be wet and cold!

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race reports, run

boston proud.

If I could sum up how I feel about my race on Monday at the 2015 Boston Marathon it would be…
I feel PROUD. 
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Three days post Boston Marathon, I am still on a runner’s high… wow, just wow.. WHAT a day! It was one of those days that made me feel so lucky!  My body carried me 26.2 miles with heart and courage, through the rain and freezing cold…. I DID it! I PR’d! As a girl who has been running most of her life, I just had the race of my life. 

Official time: 3:19:06

(Marathon PR and Boston PR by 5.5 minutes)

I will do a more detailed recap of Boston + lots more photos.. but for now I just wanted to share how it all went down. The third time was a charm, Boston #3, you were incredible!!

I personally have never felt stronger.  Dare I say the Boston Marathon felt effortless?… well it kind of did. Besides my quads feeling tight, which I partially blame on the cold weather, the race was flawless for me.  I did just what I planned to do.  I wanted to go faster, but I held back. I crossed the finish line feeling like I could have done more, but I was happy I didn’t. I was calm, cool and collected despite the nasty elements.

I started out slow… and got faster as I went.  I actually did Negative split! I zoned in on my 7:30 ish pace from the start.  I kept this pace (which varied a bit) throughout the race.  I was consistent and smart about my racing.  My overall average pace was a 7:36 min/mile and this felt easy.  Given my average heart rate of 136 bpm, versus last year 7:48 pace at 148 avg bpm, I can say I’m wayyy fitter than I was this time last year.  I know cold temperatures can affect heart rate, but I also know I am more fit. 136 bpm for me is considered borderline recovery heart rate.  Wow. Crazyness. To know I was capable of going even FASTER than 7:36 avg pace, is pretty freaking awesome.

Here is a breakdown of my pacing via Garmin Connect graphs…

Total Elevation gain: 925 feet

Total Elevation loss: 1,299 feet

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race reports, Uncategorized

Post Race Fun in Mont Tremblant!

The days following Ironman Mont Tremblant were filled with lots of relaxation, sight seeing, good food and a little bit of exercise.

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On Monday, the day after the race, my family and friends left to go home and it was just us. It was sad seeing them leave because it really hit me that the Ironman was over.  I actually woke up that morning feeling pretty good, just REALLY tired, seriously SO tired. I knew it would be good to get my legs moving and increase blood flow, so Todd and I enjoyed some time around the village. We were lucky enough to have a little vacation post-race in Tremblant!

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Enjoying a delicious recovery smoothie!

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We took the big Gondola to the top of Mont Tremblant and the views were beautiful!  I was in awe the entire time of the beauty around this area!

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Standing in the watch tower with the village down below

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If you look closely, the little peninsula below in Lac Tremblant is where the IMMT swim course was!

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Riding back down!

Monday afternoon was spent on Lac Moore near our Condo… relaxing on the dock. We jumped in the water, chilly but refreshing!  Since I didn’t really shower the day before (gross I know, but chaffing was BAD) this acted as a little shower:)

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By Tuesday I still had DOMS (delayed on set muscle soreness) but honestly, it wasn’t that bad.  It was nothing worse than I’ve experienced doing a  stand alone marathon. The worst part was sitting on the toilet and going down stairs… holy quads! The day started with delicious breakfast, sparing no calories:

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To get things moving, we decided to explore and go for a short three mile hike in Domaine St Bernard.  This place was just gorgeous and I felt like I was on a movie set.

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Dinner that night included the famous Quebec dish called Poutine (french fries with gravy and cheese curds). I’m usually not a ‘french fry’ person but thought I would give it a try… when in Quebec.  It just OK in my opinion.  Let’s just say if I had not done an Ironman 2 days prior I would NOT have been eating this.

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After dinner, we walked to a park down the street and saw this gorgeous sunset over Lac Mercier.

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Wednesday was our last full day in Tremblant and we spend the afternoon Kayaking down the River Rouge. We started at this awesome place called the Kayak Cafe, which got great reviews! We rented Kayaks and then kayaked down the river for 12 Kilometers (about 7.5 miles).  It took ~ 3.5 hours but it was breathtakingly gorgeous.  I was definitely tired by the end! There were all these little beaches to stop at along the way, so pretty!  Once we got to the end of the 12K a bus picked us up and brought us back to the Cafe (about a 10 minute drive).

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Wednesday night was a special dinner at Restaurant Le Cheval de Jade. I recommend this place to anyone who is visiting Tremblant. It was so  quaint and romantic… I felt like I was eating at someone’s home. Not to mention, the food was fantastic.

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Thursday morning is was time to hit the road and head back home.  I was sad to leave, but I am 100% sure I will be back to race in Tremblant, I loved it so much!

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Here’s to the next adventure… 🙂

 

 

race reports, Uncategorized

IMMT {RUN Recap} and the FINISH!

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Once the 112 mile bike ride was complete, I was so excited to be on my two feet again! Running out of the transition tent was a huge energy boost, especially seeing my family cheering for me!

T2 time (Run to Bike Transition) = 5:48

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I raced smart on the bike, and I could tell my legs still felt fresh. All signs pointed to having a great run. After the bike, I headed into the transition tent, threw on my sneakers, applied body glide, grabbed my fuel belt/nutrition and I was on my way!

Right out of transition, the I ate my banana for extra potassium… it tasted amazing after eating all those gu’s and power bars on the bike. Hooray for bananas and the run!

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I felt GOOD and STRONG post bike ride!

I had been looking forward to running all day long… running is my strength and I knew I could make up time here.  I played it VERY smart on the bike and I honestly may have even been a little too cautious.  My legs however, were very happy that I was smart on my two wheels and they were feeling great right off the bike.  Maybe it was the adrenaline, maybe it was the crowds, but my legs felt REALLY good at the start of the run.  All of those brick workouts I did, definitely paid off too! My goal was to run a sub-8 min/mile pace on the run.  When thinking about a time goal, I had the magic number 3:35 in my mind and I thought it was completely realistic.

But unfortunately, other parts of me didn’t not feel as great as my legs did…

My stomach.

As I kind of expected, I did feel a little nauseous after the bike. During the bike portion, I drank about 7 bottles of sports drink (which was the plan) and I ate power bars and gus.  I tend to feel nauseous when racing, so there was no surprise there. Eating the banana out of T2 did help things a little bit. As the run continued on, my stomach did get a little better, mind over matter, right? The goal was to drink Perform at every aid station and take one shot block every two miles. I also was supposed to take one power gel with caffeine (but I just couldn’t stomach it).

My lungs.

I mentioned the COLD temperatures on the bike course in my {bike recap}, but I did not mention how it was affecting my lungs.  Due to the breathing incident that happened during the Patriot Half Ironman in June, I had my inhaler with me and I was very proactive with taking it.  I took two puffs before the swim, and then took four additional puffs, spread out during the bike ride.  I knew with the colder temperatures that Sports Induced Asthma can flare up, and I wanted to protect my lungs for the run.  Despite the fact that I was very proactive with taking my inhaler, I could tell my lungs were hurting from the bike ride.  As soon as I started to run, I felt the shallow breathing that I felt at the Patriot Half.  I was telling myself to just relax my breathing, but it continued to be very shallow.  I felt I couldn’t take deep breaths and I was wheezing and coughing… a lot.  I proceeded to take my inhaler (two more puffs) but it did NOTHING.  You know that feeling when you have a chest cold and you go for a run outside in the winter… that’s what it felt like… for most of my run. For the first half of the Marathon, it definitely felt the worst, then it became a mental game to just try not to think about it. There was seriously a point where I said ‘F’ my lungs because I was getting so frustrated.  I had trained so well and so hard, I didn’t deserve this!  My legs felt great, but the coughing and wheezing was affecting my pace and it was upsetting.

THE COURSE:

As I mentioned in my race preview, the IMMT Run Course is an out-and-back course, that you repeat twice for 13.1 miles.  It is split up into two sections. They call it ‘two loops’ on the race website, but it’s more of an out and back.  What I loved about this is you get to see other athletes and cheer them on/check out your competition as you’re running.

The first section of the loop is Chemin du Village to the beginning of Le P’tit Train du Nord (mile 1-3 and 10- end).  This is what I call the ‘hilly section.’

As I left transition I headed towards Chemin du Village, which took athletes around the side of Lac Tremblant into the charming little town. This section has lots of spectators and I loved the energy! People were holding signs, music was blaring… it was just what I needed. Chemin du Village is the hillier section of the course, and you climb up your first short, moderate hill within the first mile of the run, as you pass by the swim start from earlier in the day. The hills aren’t anything too crazy, but they can pack a punch after riding your bike for 112 miles. After that first up hill, there are some down hills (which I later went up on the return) I saw lots of people walking the hills on the second loop! On this part of the course, half of the road is open to traffic, which got a little frustrating later in the day when trying to go around people. Besides my breathing issues, I felt very strong on this part of the course

The second portion of the run is Le P’tit Train du Nord, miles 4 – 10 (just short of finishing 10th mile)

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A photo from when I previewed the run course on Friday!

Before the race, I thought this section would be an actual ‘trail’ until I heard from a twitter friend that it’s actually a ‘nicely paved trail’ oops!  This portion of the course takes place on a narrow, wooded trail that’s very pretty and shaded, but does not have any spectators. It’s basically brand new pavement and did feel a little ‘soft’ on my legs.  It’s also quite flat and there is a small section (maybe 1/4 mile) of loose gravel/dirt trail before getting back into the Chemin du village. This section is quite narrow and can fit about 2-3 people across on both sides.  It can get tricky when trying to pass people and also around the aid stations. Besides the aid stations, there was no one really cheering for you, which made it mentally difficult, I found. During the first loop. I saw a lot of the Pro’s running by on the other side, that was really cool! I cheered for the first and second place pro female and also for the people on my QT2 team who were running on the other side of me.  It was fun to ‘high five’ my teammates and cheer them on.. definitely gave me a boost!

After Le P’tit Train du Nord I completed the loop and headed back into Tremblant Village. In this section, athletes are routed to the cobblestone walkways of the mountain village of Mont Tremblant (the best part with the most spectators!). This area is all downhill and it feels incredible with all of the cheering fans. There is a sign that says (Right) SECOND LOOP and (left) FINISH. I went right to start the second loop and others went left to finish the Ironman.  It was a little hard seeing that sign, knowing I had to run another 13.1 miles before coming back to this point.

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The best part of the run course!

As you can see in the tracker screenshot below, my pace for the first 13.1 was close to my goal time… I stayed in the 8’s with the exception of mile 13 where I stopped at a porta potty. My lungs were bothering me and I was coughing a lot, but I tried to just ignore what was going on.  My legs also continued to feel great through the first loop.

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The best part of the first loop was seeing my family when I got back to the race village to begin the second loop.  I wish I could put into words how amazing it was to see them cheering for me. I think you get an idea of how happy I was by the look on my face in these photos:

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The good thing about two-loop Marathons, is you know what to expect the second time around.  The bad thing is, things feel a little more painful the second time around. By the time I got back into Chemin du Village for round two, I was no longer wanting to drink perform or eat my gels.  It was getting more muggy outside and warmer. I took the advice of my peers and started to drink Coke.  All I have to say is, thank God for Coca Cola on this run course.  Honestly, I think it saved my life.  I had heard about people drinking Coke during an Ironman but didn’t think I would want it… boy was I wrong!  The change in taste plus carbonation really gave me a boost! I made sure to still take my Clif Shot Blocks and Salt Tabs, since it was getting warmer outside.

Once I entered Le P’tit Train du Nord for the second loop, there was a TORRENTIAL downpour when I was at around mile 16/17.  It was raining so hard that I couldn’t even see in front of me. I think the rain was a blessing in disguise because it helped me to forget about the issue with my breathing and also helped take my mind off the fact that I still had a ways to go. Here I was running on this dark, wooded trail, pouring rain… I was running with thousands of other people, but somehow I felt all alone and in the moment, it was pretty cool.  The rain probably lasted for about 30 minutes to an hour, just enough to make my sneakers completely soggy and heavy. Once I got out of the trail section for the final time and headed back into Chemin du village, the rain stopped and I was almost home! This time in the village was a little different than the first.  My legs were heavy and I was tired.  I was still coughing a lot and my mind started to go into a dark place, a place I didn’t want it to go.  My pace at mile 20 was 8:15, still doing well, but I was getting tired.  I just kept plugging away, drinking coke and smiling, trying to ignore the pain. There were many points where spectators told me to ‘keep smiling’ and I could tell they were happy to see I WAS actually smiling!

It all happens at mile 23 

As I mentioned in the bike recap, I wrote ‘mile 23’ on my forearm, to remind myself to think about this point of the marathon and to pace myself appropriately.  Around mile 23 is when I hit the difficult hills in the village and also a dark place in my mind. Running up those hills in the Chemin du Village was twice as hard this time around and things were starting to break down.  My feet were burning, my knees ached, my breathing felt labored again… I so badly wanted to walk.. but I didn’t.  People were walking all around me, but I refused… I kept going.  I’m proud to say I did not walk once during the entire Marathon. I knew I was headed to the finish, but that didn’t make it any easier.  One thing that gave me a little boost was seeing Nino, the owner from our Bed and Breakfast earlier in the week, he was cheering ‘go Kristin!!’ and that was just what I needed.

The last three miles were BY FAR the hardest part of the race.  As you can see in the tracker photo above, my pace dropped into the ’10’s’.  I tried not to get discouraged, since I was still running, but it was hard feeling like I could NOT go any faster.  As hard as I tried, I literally could not go any faster in those last three miles. It was also very hard not to get discouraged when other women were passing me… I hate getting passed on the run!

Miles 23-26 were without a doubt the most difficult miles of my life.  Those miles in an Ironman are the definition of mental toughness.  At this point, my body had been racing for 11 hours and I was forced to DIG DEEP more than I ever thought was possible.  I thought about all of my training hours and all of the sacrifices I made to get there, this is what got me through.

I looked down at my watch and I knew I wasn’t going to break 11 hours (my original goal) and I was ok with that.  At this point in the race, I was so close and I just wanted to finish… I was about to be an IRONMAN!

As I approached Tremblant Village, I knew I was SO close! I could hear Mike Reilly announcing finishers and I got chills down my spine… I was almost there. Once my feet hit the cobblestone for the second time around, the finish line was just yards away.  I thought about the advice you (my readers) and friends gave me, to take my time approaching the finish and to savor the moment.

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My cheering squad in bright green!

Todd waiting for me to come down the finish chute!

Todd waiting for me to come down the finish chute!

I gave high fives to people cheering me on, I held my arms up in the arm, I was so excited!  I had a permanent smile on my face and I did not let it go. I really took it all in and wanted to remember this moment. As I ran down the hill in the village, I saw the finish chute in front of me, wow that came up fast, I thought! All of a sudden I was RIGHT there in the finisher chute!  I got really chocked up at this moment, almost hyperventilating, so emotional!

These photos say it ALL:

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Honestly, I have never felt so proud of myself.  It’s hard to even describe what I was feeling at this moment, but it was electric, I felt like I was on top of the world.

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I crossed the finish line by myself and heard Mike Reilly call my name:

KRISTIN LAWHORN YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!! 

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RUN TIME: 3:57

My goal time was 3:35, and to be honest, I was a little disappointed with 3:57. However, when I thought about what I accomplished, especially as a first timer, I was still very proud of myself! I also realized that an IRONMAN Marathon is nothing like a stand alone Marathon;)

OFFICIAL FINISH TIME: 11:28:36

If there was ever a moment where I felt I could accomplish anything in the world, this was it.  After I crossed the IRONMAN finish line I felt unstoppable!

Once I crossed, I did have some issues breathing and the volunteers were fantastic in helping me. I took my inhaler again, I was ok, but still wheezing a lot.  They put the medal around my neck and gave me my mylar blanket… I was DONE!!! I couldn’t believe the race was over.

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I walked through the finish line area, got some snacks and saw my family and friends waving me over!

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Hugging Todd when I finished! I couldn’t have done it without this man.

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Me & Dad

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Me & Jenny

Here are some photos of me and my ‘tribe’ after the finish.  They all wore matching shirts that said ‘Kristin’s Tribe.’  My parents, sister, husband, friends Steve and Emily, made up my amazing cheer squad! I saw them throughout the race and I have them to thank for all of my race photos:)

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Me and hubby

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My parents, sister and I

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Me and my Tribe!!!

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Dad, Mom, me, Jenny and Todd

And some father daughter moments…

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After the race, we all went back up to my parents hotel, which was at the top of the hill in Tremblant Village. All I have to say is, thank goodness they have the gondola that took us from the bottom of the hill to the hotel at the top!

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Gondola ride post race!

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And then when we got to the Fairmont hotel, my lovely husband carried me up the stairs!

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Husband of the year

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After we got back to the hotel, I rested for a while. My appetite was a little funky and I wasn’t hungry for dinner until later in the night.  I attempted to shower, but it was SO painful because of all the chaffing.  I seriously could not shower… I will spare you the details, but I was literally screaming from pain.

After some rest and food, we decided to go down to the midnight finish line celebration! I heard this is a MUST do when you do an Ironman, especially your first one.  I didn’t want to miss it!  As exhausted as I was, I was so glad I went down to the finish line for midnight, it was incredible.  Mike Reilly is phenomenal.. the energy he brings.. he’s honestly quite the entertainer! There was music, fireworks, dancing, so awesome! Seeing the last finisher cross the finish line melted my heart. It was amazing to be there with so many people who raced that day, we were all celebrating together and supporting the final finishers.

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Me and our friend Steve!

The last finisher was brought in by ‘angels’ people who wore angel wings and literally ran out to her on the course and ran back with her.  How cool is that?!

Ironman Mont Tremblant was a day I will forever keep close to my heart.  I came, I saw, I conquered… I had FUN!

Thank you to all of you for following my Ironman journey and for tracking me on race day! Thank you to my husband who was nothing shy of AMAZING throughout this process.  To my parents, sister and brother who cheered for me in person and from afar (my brother lives in Chicago), I am forever grateful.  Thank you to all of you I have met via this blog and social media for your support and advice leading up to the race.  Also, I am forever grateful for my chiropractor, massage therapist, and acupuncturist for getting me to the start and finish line!

It’s hard to believe my Ironman Mont Tremblant journey is over… but my life is just beginning as an IRONMAN! Next challenge… to be determined…

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