Sunday, April 5, 2009

Oceanside 70.3 Race Report

Well folks, it wouldn't be a Marit-style-race-report if it wasn't 'stupidly' long. After running the Carlsbad half marathon last January, I swore that I would limit myself to writing NO LONGER than the duration of my race. But just under 5 hours? No way. Besides, I've had my celebratory glass of wine, but it feels like I've had the bottle. Nice - I know.

This should be good!

I was up well before the alarm sounded. Oatmeal and scrambled eggs were on the docket - and coffee. Yes, a cup of day-old and microwaved coffee. Yeah, Nate, my parents, and ELF just gagged, but I couldn't find the filters. Or perhaps I was just SCARED BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS of what was about to happen.

Courtenay and I set off for race site together, and I was grateful for the company. In the days leading up to the race, it was really nice to "endure" the pre-race jitters with another athlete in our house. My Mom, Nathaniel, and Cat also helped while I packed my bag the night before. At one point Cat asked if I needed to make a list, to which I replied, "Oh! I KNEW I forgot to do something!"

Clearly it had been a while.

After gathering up our stuff and biking a quick mile or so to the race site, Courtenay and I bid our farewells and I truly felt alone. How odd. To be surrounded by thousands of other athletes, in a transition filled with double the volunteers of athletes - and to feel by yourself. I think I was just too nervous for anything else. It just seemed so surreal - like this day would never come.

Last summer when I was really really depressed, I spent a lot of time (probably too much) thinking about this sport and what it meant to me. When I finally decided to start training again - thanks to the overwhelming but wonderful support of family and friends - I decided that the Oceanside half ironman would be a great race to do. During every long (and very slow) run, ride, and swim - I would picture the course, imagine myself running along the beach, and occasionally flash back to my 2007 race at Oceanside.

The one thing that sticks out in my mind from that race? Some crazy guy standing along the run path next to the ocean, waves crashing in the background, and yelling, "Kona's calling your name!" Over and over again.

It gives me shivers just thinking about it.

One of those things that I'll always remember - and I thought about it yesterday during my race. I was disappointed to not see my friend on the course this year. Perhaps next?

But in transition, I felt alone. And scared. No - scared doesn't do the feeling justice.

So scared and nervous that I figured I would still have time to make a break for it! Leave my bike behind, throw on my run shoes, and run home to the awaiting House Monsters, my Harry Potter book (what I read when I'm nervous), hot coffee, and a warm bed. So scared that my heart raced and I thought that anything would be better than racing. I couldn't believe I had actually PAID for this, for this feeling, for the dread, the nerves, the pain, the fear. So scared that I was afraid of what might happen, what I might do (or not do) and what the outcome would be. I'm not one to run away, but it was tempting.

On the other hand, I had never felt so alive.

After finding my rack, I managed to place my bike not too far from the end - maybe 12 or 15 bikes in, set up my gear, and zone out. I tried to NOT look at all the other SUPERFAST! bikes, aero helmets, and incredibly strong women all around. I spotted Christine and croaked out a feeble, "Good morning!" and tried to think of positive things. Like not being eaten by sharks.

Yeah - survival at its core, right?

Somehow, time stood still - but before I knew it it was time to get the wetsuit on and head out of Transition. One final time in the bathroom line (that was the MOST nervous I felt - everyone was talking about the course and how nervous they were! I just tried to keep my teeth from chattering. Not from the cold, from fear.), and I convinced myself to 'stick around', did my buisness (always happy when the body does what its supposed to do), and headed to put on the wetsuit.

That's when I made my 3 (potentially) big mistakes.

Transition area was set up - shoes, socks, bib number, glasses, nutrition, visor - the works all laid out, and I started putting on my wetsuit. Then someone mentioned their TIMING CHIP.

1) Note to self: Remember to place on TIMING CHIP FIRST THING IN THE MORNING! OTHERWISE THERE WILL BE NO WAY TO PROVE THAT YOU DID THE RACE! Sheesh. Rookie mistake.

2) When proceeding to pull ON my wetsuit next to Jen, she asked if I was ready and had been body marked. Oops. So once again, I pulled off the wetsuit and made my way over to the friendly volunteers with smelly black sharpies. Only good thing? NO line - I was through in a flash. Wetsuit back on.

3) Body glide. Either I've got really bad aim or the stuff just doesn't work on the back of my neck. The lower part was great! NO wetsuit bite there whatsoever. But I've got one heckuva wetsuit bite on the right side of my neck - right near my hairline. Apparently my wetsuit hates me. Well - that and I sight to the right. Which would explain my circuitous swimming at times...

Seriously. Ouch. There are marks on the back of my neck. I think I'll need to use Vaseline or something a little more forgiving in future.

Before I knew it, Jen and I had made our way out of transition and checked out the swim start and swim course. I was really happy that we did it - for some reason I remember the swim being really complicated in the past. In all reality, my goggles had probably just fogged up or I had been scared of sharks. But the course didn't look too bad. I just needed to remember to NOT follow the yellow buoys and sight off the hotel.

Excellent!

I knew Jen was nervous because for the FIRST time since I've known her, she wasn't chatting up a storm. We walked in silence, with the occasional question from me or comment from her. But I felt so relaxed having her next to me. Thanks Jen - really! And as she was starting in the wave DIRECTLY BEHIND ME, I was secretly really nervous that she would blow me out of the water on the swim or speed past me on the bike.

And to top it off, I had the W30-34 wave starting 8 minutes behind me. Charisa, Rachel, Beth, and several REALLYREALLYFAST women (wow - THAT was a stacked age group), had me just as nervous about them as the gals in my own age group. I was honestly afraid that everyone would pass me and I would simply give up.

But whenever the thoughts of fear and irrational feelings would surface, I would flashback to my training, remember my Tuscon partners (THANK YOU ALL!), and remind myself that I was HAPPIER and much STRONGER than the pre-crash me. And if 1, 10, or 1,000 people passed me - it didn't matter. I was there to CELEBRATE the day, enjoy my return to racing, and remind myself that the journey and process we go through is what remains with us to the very end.

And then the horn sounded and I nearly wet myself.

About 12 minutes or so before my start, Jen and I shared one final hug and went our separate ways. I quickly worked my way to the front of my line and positioned myself as best as I could to line up in the front (per coach's orders). But it was a move that I wanted to make, a spot I felt comfortable in.

The wave ahead of us lined up while one of Fat Boy Slim's songs played via loud speaker, and I had a sudden flash back of one of my intense trainer sessions where I held a specific power output for what felt like a LONG time, while listening to similar music. I looked around and wondered how many of the other gals had suffered as much as I had, had worked as diligently or been through as much? None of them - I decided.

Tally Target Acquired and I was off.

Horn sounded and the wave ahead of us took off. 4 minutes to go, and then it would be my turn. Doing my first race in a heckuva long time. I was ready, chomping at the bit, and (oddly) no longer nervous to the point of throwing up. Nervousness mixed with lots of excitement. BRING IT ON - let's get this thing started!

SWIM:

I made a point of lining up in the front, towards the left. I wanted to hug the buoys as close as possible, and made it my mission to NOT let myself get too crowded in. I knew it would be aggressive - it always is. With lots of people treading water and then suddenly sprinting, it always is. The paddle boarders were funny and told jokes. I have no memory of what they said. I think one of the guys may have been flirting? with one of the gals in the front row - but who knows?

Horn sounded and we were off!

With a few strong kicks and pulls, I found myself getting out well. The girl to my left matched me stroke for stroke, and it didn't feel like we were swimming really out of control. Just relaxed but HARD! After 30 seconds, good feeling was gone, as some of the people on the right began to cut over our way. After dodging a few bodies, flying arms, and feet, I found a good rhythm and settled. Long strokes, powerful pulls, strong finish, light kick - all felt really good.

Sighting + CLEAR GOGGLES (first time I've used brand new goggles in a race... Speedo Women's Vanquisher - THANK YOU! - and I swear that they make all the difference. New goggles are key!), confirmed that I was on track and pretty much going in a straight line.

I could feel myself grinning from ear to ear while swimming - an odd sensation actually. Trust me. I'm racing! I'm really doing it! I'm in the water racing my first race since November 2007! I'm here! YIIPPPPEEEEEEEEEE! This is great! And then I quickly pushed the thought aside as some of the girls who started waaayy too fast in my wave started dropping back.

After dodging some more arms and legs, I found myself swimming with another 2-3 girls. One girl ahead seemed to be swimming strong and sighting well, and while I wasn't ON her feet all the time, I made it my mission to follow her through the absolute zoo of swimmers ahead of us.

With seemingly hundreds upon hundreds of people in the water ahead, staying on a straight line was challenging. But every time I lost sight of a purple cap, I made sure to speed up for a few strokes, sight, and re-find the draft.

We swung around the turn-buoys and headed back towards the start. I noticed another girl right next to me, who had a similar stroke, and realized it was the girl who had lined up right next to me. I was happy - we seemed to form a good group, navigating our way through the hordes of people ahead.

In the home stretch, we drifted apart a bit, one gal hugging the buoys, while I sighted off the hotel and remained as close to shore as possible. I made sure to avoid running into the docks, but got some very close fish-views of Pelicans swooping overhead. Wow - if that's the last thing the fish see, then that's pretty awful. Man, their beaks are HUGE!

Finish-line buoys in sight, I made a sharp right turn and (literally) swam into the arms of a waiting volunteer. I tried to thank as many as I could - they were incredible! Some were thigh-deep in water, hoisting swimmer after swimmer up and out of the water.

I was so happy to be done with the swim, grateful to NOT get eaten by a shark or pelican, that I wasn't even upset when I saw what I thought was my time. Being the 'brilliant' triathlete I am, I started my watch 4:00 early when the wave ahead of me began their race, figuring that I would remember while running into transition.

I guess the water was a little colder than I thought, because I completely forgot, and thought that I had swam four minutes slower than I really did. Oh well - I couldn't do anything about it then, except stay positive and work the bike and run!

So I did just that (expecting Jen to come tearing by me at any minute).

Plus, I was SO HAPPY just to be out there - in the end who cares about the times, right?

As I rounded a corner towards the bikes, one of the volunteers shouted that it was slippery and we should watch our step. And then I nearly fell on my butt directly in front of Cat. Luckily - through some miracle, I have no idea how - I managed to keep my balance and save my pride - and kept going. But Cat's cheers followed me into T1, and her voice carried me all the way to my bike.

Before I could chance another slip, I sat my butt on the ground and tore off my wetsuit as fast as I could. Yeah - just when you need someone to wetsuit strip you... Suffice to say, I need to work on this a little. But once it was off, I calmly put on my glasses, helmet, socks, race belt, bike shoes (we could NOT affix our bike shoes to our bikes, according to the race directors. The first time I have ever done a race without clipping on my shoes ahead of time. The "run" down the mat to the mount line was interesting, to say the least. I was grateful for the carpet!), grabbed the bike and ran as fast as I could towards the BIKE OUT sign.

I tried to be as polite as possible, rationalizing that races are not won or lost by getting stuck behind a slow transition-er walking with his bike...but I really wanted to get going! Mostly people were really nice when I yelled EXCUSE ME! or COMING THROUGH! I wanted to give them fair warning, after all.

My chip beeped as I exited T1, and I hopped on the bike.

BIKE:

Right from the go, I went for it. I don't really know how to explain - but I just put down my head and suffered. My bike fit felt really awesome (THANK YOU ROBERT DRISKELL in GULFPORT, MS!!!), and my new Zipp disk (THANK YOU ZIPP and MOM and DAD - a "welcome back to racing" gift that brought me to tears when they told me they wanted to get it for me...), made the awesome "whomp whomp whomp-ing" noise that only a disk can do.

But I felt like I was flying. The winds didn't seem too bad, and I just worked. And rode. And worked some more. And suffered.

I remembered in Tuscon, how while climbing Mt. Lemmon, Spencer mentioned that my first few races back were really going to hurt. "You'll suffer quite a bit, moreso than usual. Yeah. But that's just what it's like when you've not been racing for a while..."

Okay - now repeat the above phrase with a cute British accent, and you've just about got it down.

Spencer was RIGHT. It HURT, it was painful, and I suffered. At one point I wondered WHY I WAS DOING THIS and HOW AM I GOING TO RUN 13.1 MILES AFTER GETTING OFF THE BIKE.

But those thoughts were quickly pushed aside as I focused on the road ahead and riding a clean race.

I felt really solid on the bike - not especially fast, but just plain solid and strong. My effort was comfortably uncomfortable - essentially sustainable over the distance I knew I would have to travel. And I just put my head down and rode...

The first 15 miles were slightly rolling, and I felt really strong. After yelling at a guy to "Get the f*ck off my wheel and quit drafting!" before the short climb off base, I felt a bit shocked that some dude - no, some douche-bag - was hanging onto my draft. What a turd. Honestly. Is the road not big enough for the two of us? Sheesh. A final snot rocket from yours truly deterred any more contact and I was on my way, passing the awesome volunteers at the first aid station.

The ride along the ocean, parallel to the 5 (that's "Interstate 5" for all you non-Californians...), and I felt incredibly solid. There was no shifting in my seat, no bits of uncomfortableness... and I was grateful for my ISM Adamo saddle.

Bright PINK ISM Adamo saddle. Ahem.

I made it my mission to hut down and pass as many people as I could. Occasionally one or two guys would pass me back, but for the most part I kept my head down and just rode.

It hurt. A lot. But every time it felt hard, or was tough, I reminded myself of all the work I had done to get to where I was. The Palomar climbs, the interval sessions on the trainer, the long rides doing hill repeats - all so that I could achieve my goals this season. THIS was the time to make my dreams a reality, to put the training to good use.

Suddenly I came upon the first of two no-passing zones, and was temporarily slowed down by a rider ahead. Yeah - I'm one who sticks to the rules. I follow Jen's workouts, don't speed (much) while driving, and obey all USAT rules. So if I'm told to NOT PASS, I don't. I watched as two guys who I had passed a while before the NO PASSING ZONE - zoomed up the hill to my left. Rat bastards! But seriously - what could I do?

I just watched them go, figuring they probably needed every single advantage they could get because they seemed like they were going backwards when I passed them. Believe me - I gave them a "look" when I passed them after the zone ended.

Take that!

The second half of the course had riders turn into the back section of Camp Pendleton and climb a few hills. Honestly for me - and this is ONLY because I've made myself do a lot of climbing around here - the hills weren't too terrible. Yeah, I agree with eventual-race-winner Miranda Carafrae when she described one hill as a "stairway to heaven" - but a few minutes of suffering and they were done.

I threw the bike into the smallest (or is it biggest?) gear possible, kept my head down and went up the hill as best as I could. Yeah it hurt, and there were times when I wondered how I would be able to RUN off the bike - but I was so happy to be out there. I only saw one or two people pushing their bikes up the hill - but I yelled that they COULD DO IT! As someone who has pushed her bike up a big hill before (Panther Mountain in South Carolina) - I knew that what they were doing took a lot of guts and heart all rolled into one.

The rest of the back part of the base was more of the same. It got windy, but I kept my head down, tucked firmly in aero and refusing to look at my speedometer. I kept the cadence steady, and just worked on passing passing passing.

After a while (maybe mile 43?) the flight line came into sight, and I knew that was the beginning of the end of the bike course. Nathaniel works on the flight line - his helicopter is parked RIGHT THERE (well, somewhere in there). And before the race, I had decided that I would really push it there (if I had anything left). The legs responded and I kept moving.

At one point, I exchanged leads with a woman in the 40-44 OR 45-49 AG named "Elizabeth". She was amazing - so positive, and we cheered for each other as we went by one another (this went on until T2). She would pass me going UP, and I would power past her going down and on the few flats. It was really nice to have so many friendly athletes out there. But she was great - every time she pulled ahead, O would work my hardest to catch back up and pass.

I rode past the flight line, grabbing water from the awesome volunteers, and settling in for the final 11 miles or so. Head down, I just went. I wish I could describe it better -but I just forced the legs to turn over. My position still felt really great, never uncomfortable, and I was able to keep moving the entire time.

Past the familiar sights and sounds of the entrance area of Camp Pendleton, and before I knew it, I was heading into Oceanside Harbor and T2. A lot of the people that I had passed in the final mile or two came roaring past me. But I coasted in, removing my feet from my shoes and spinning lightly. I wanted to make sure my legs felt okay for the upcoming run. My left hamstring felt a little tight, and I knew my quads would be sore (glues as well - holy race fatigue batman!).

Into T2, bike dismount, and then placing my bike on its spot, and I was geared up for the run!

Helmet - off!

Brooks Tempo Trainers - on!

Powergels - check!

Zipp visor - double check!

Confidence to make this happen - YES!

RUN:

Running out onto the course filled me with lots of emotions. I hit START on my watch, but decided to ignore the splits after seeing my first few mile splits. The sand was tough, but everyone was running through the 1/4 mile section X 4 (out and back, out and back on the two loop course), and I knew that obsessing over numbers and playing the "how-many-seconds-will-it-take-to-pass-so-and-so" would not be helpful.

Instead, I focused on turnover and running. And whenever I would see a girl ahead, I made it my mission to pass her.

But I also had a lot of fun - cheering for Terra Castro, Courtenay Brown, and a few other professionals that I recognized.

Somewhere right before hitting the sand for the first time, Oscar Shutt yelled some encouragement, and I felt myself getting emotional and choked up. I'm here! I'm doing this! But me + crying + racing is NOT a good combination. It seems to mess with my breathing. So I calmed down, and made myself just run.

Running next to the ocean reminded me of the "Kona's calling your name!" guy - but he was a no-show today. But I didn't run, didn't race for the slot - didn't make it my purpose to earn it here. Kona has always been a dream of mine, qualifying would be incredible - but I didn't want to put the kind of pressure on myself to go out and DO just that. It would take the fun out of the race - besides, I just wanted to celebrate. AND I had no idea where I was in comparison to other people. There had been one bike on the rack in transition - but that could mean any number of things.

So I just focused on putting one foot ahead of the other.

Right before mile 2, Cat, Lisa, Jessee, Bob, and Laurie were all cheering, and I think I yelled something like, "I'm DOING this - isn't this great!" at them - and then kept going. It felt so surreal. I needed to pinch myself...like I was running in a dream.

More running, and I hear my name called again - Shannon, Stephen, and her friend are standing right by the Mile 3 sign cheering. I held back my sob and just kept running. Yeah, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I'm proud of it. Racing was emotional for me - I was just so grateful to be out there.

I hit the turn around, heard the chipper "BEEP BEEP" of my timeing chip, and two things happend. 1) Terra Castro passed me and was incredibly sweet and even asked about The House Monster and 2) I saw Rachel Ross running effortlessly and it inspired me to work harder. If I could just keep her from passing me...then maybe I would give me the extra bit of motivation to go faster.

More cheers from my friends, and Cat and Bob both give me course information that I'm either in 4th or 2nd, and that the next girl ahead was 1:20 up, but "not looking good". Terra looked back and me and yelled some encouragement, and it kept me going. She was awesome!

Rounding the sand the second time wasn't too painful, but I could feel my legs start to protest. I did everything I could to keep the cadence steady, run strong. Small steps, solid effort, consistent... and before I knew it, I was out.

I hit the corner before running across a bridge and I heard Nathaniel's voice. I don't remember what he said, but my response was to yell, "I LOVE you!" back as loud as I could.

Legs felt a little sore, but I rounded the turn around with the happy thought that I would only have to endure this for another 48 minutes or so. Less than an hour - and THAT I can deal with.

The second lap went by in more of a blur. I eventually passed the 3rd place girl, and tried to put in a laughable "surge" - but really, who "surges" for 2 miles? I remember Bob yelling at me to "PUMP THE ARMS!" while running up hill, and I was grateful, because it 1) proved to be a good distraction and 2) felt better than picking up my knees.

More painful moments, but the satisfaction of seeing friends made it well worth it. When I rounded the final timing mat, I thought of all my family and friends who were tracking me on-line, figuring that this would (hopefully) be the final update before they saw my finishing time. You were all with me in spirit - and I thank you!

The last half mile or so after the FIANL 1/4 of sand was really emotional. I held back the tears, tried to wipe the salt out of my eyes, and poured it all on in the end. The final chute was long - but I didn't care. The feeling of running down it, knowing that I had raced my FIRST race since my crash, and had given it my all, made all the pain and suffering worth it. I was really proud of myself, extatic to be out there with what seemed like a good performance.

I crossed the line and promptly forgot to turn off my watch. Instead I made a bee-line NOT for the water, but for the salty chips one of the volunteers handed me. Breathing became difficult as I was choked with emotions. I was tearing up, crying with happiness - but I'm sure everyone thought it was pain.

One fo the volunteers wanted to take me to the medical tent, but I assured them that I cried after every race (not really - but she was really concerned), and this was "normal". Instead my Mom and Nathaniel found me, and I took turns hugging them both.

And the rest - as they say - is history.

I found out at the awards ceremony that the girl who won the age group already had a Kona slot and it would therefore roll down to me. I don't think 2nd place has EVER been so exuberant. Mike Reilley didn't even have to finish his question before I shouted that I would TAKE IT! The crowd of spectators cheered and for a moment I made eye-contact with Jen who stood up about half-way down the room. She looked so happy - but it was a moment for us BOTH to share.

It was really a great day. All of my friends had spectacular races, or at least learned a heckuva lot. My training partner Charisa qualified for Kona, and I'm already excited about the workouts we'll do! Jen and Beth are both going to Clearwater... but I was most excited for Courtenay - who had a spectacular pro race debut!

Thank you to the volunteers, race organizers and sponsors. It was a fantastic day for a great race!

36 comments:

D said...

Phew... I'm worn out just reading it ;P

Awesome! I totally wear my heart on my sleeve too. It very much gets me into trouble racing. And seriously, you talking about the moment for you and Jen when you got your Kona slot made me well up. Congrats to both of you on that one.

You're amazing and I absolutely can not wait to cheer for you in Kona. It's going to be spectacular!

ADC said...

And you have me here in tears just reading this - I also wear my heart on my sleeve :)
What an amazing race Marit. You are right -we were tracking online and cheering - I so wich I was there. You deserved this, you so deserved this. Now, enjoy.

TRI-james said...

Wow - great race report - thank you.

CONGRATS ON KONA!

Jennifer Harrison said...

I LOVE your RRs....Really, a fantastic job - I already told you how I feel - but I NEVER doubted for one second. Again, much deserved congrats AND IT was worth the wait.
:) ENJOY the accomplishment!

Dave said...

Great job, Marit. We had fun tracking you online...can't wait to see what you do in person in CDA! I just hope I'm off the bike in time to say hi on the run. :)

Laura said...

Marit!!!! Amazing!!! Congratulations a hundred times over. You rock chica!

Rebecca DeWire said...

Awesome comeback race! I loved your race report, I felt like I was there. And congrats on your Kona slot.

Runner Leana said...

Congratulatons on a great race Marit! You totally rocked the comeback race, and you qualified!! Way to go!!!

Kevin McNeese said...

Marit,
I am so proud to say I know you!!! Great Job on your return to racing.

Kona has called your Name!!!

(only 3 mentions of sharks, did I miss any)

Formulaic said...

Congrats on the comback race of a lifetime!

Lance should take note!

That was a great RR and I loved every minute of it.

Congrats on qualifying!

Missy said...

Man, I got all choked up just reading about it! I'm a sucker for a good race report.

You have to be thrilled. That is so very exciting. That is one way, ahem, to make a comeback;) Hey girls, I'm here, I'm here, see me, I'm here. Yeah, you don't have to say that very loudly, I'm sure they know!!!

Congrats!

Molly said...

OK, now I'm totally crying.

Yes, I'm with you, I get emotional racing and often have to stop myself from choking up during a race as then I can't breathe. I save it for the finish line where I then wheeze :)

Fantastic job, we are all so proud of you!!!

rr said...

You did so well Marit, and you seemed to enjoy every minute. Congratulations on that Kona slot, it's going to be a great year!!

Fun to meet you :)

Mama Simmons said...

You have such a great attitude! I think my revised goal for the Hawaii 70.3 ast the end of May is to have an attitude like yours. :)

TriBunny said...

Loved. Loved this post. Great job Marit. I'm so happy for your triumphant return. Congratulations on your Kona slot.

Kim said...

been following you through Jen H... amazing race report and even more amazing race! congratulations!

runningyankee said...

LOVE that you told someone to F off on the bike. LOVE IT!!! you work to hard for some bozo to draft.

Anonymous said...

I hear that Bob Marley song Redemption...such a kickass return! Kona? :D

-ps I've got my own injury (it will be a while) and often reminded of your grace in dealing with last year. The words of a stranger had a lasting impression!

Anyway, this Wisconsinite is thrilled for your victory (it really is, right?!)
Erin :)

BreeWee said...

I am so happy for you! Good things happen to good people, all your efforts, hard work, celebrating others, being positive through your recovery/accident finally paid off- your turn!!

I am so excited you will be in Kona, you will love the race, enjoy the journey Marit, you are about to become an IRONMAN!!

Heidi Austin said...

congrats marit. I'm so proud and excited for you. I almost started crying just reading this... You are such an inspiration girl :)

Anonymous said...

You are definately the comeback kid. Great race. I'm honored to be your father.

dad

kerrie said...

that is a great RR! a little wordy, but i can totally feel your excitement!!!! just let me say that your race is a total inspiration for me and i hope that my return is even half as good. your attitude and joy towards racing is truly contagious :).
i think you will feel this x1000 in kona and it will take you far!

Beth said...

Marit!!! It took Oscar and I like 3 different cities and planes to read your full report. :) (we kept having to turn the computer off when we got on the plane, etc... :) GREAT report though. Congrats again and again. O and I both agreed that one of the highlights of the whole trip for us was the expression on your face and your excitement at getting that slot! So, so, so happy for you!

Charisa said...

YAH!!! Loved reading about your race - an awesome comeback it was! :)

Bob Mitera said...

When hard work meets opportunity you qualify.

I said to Lorrie that you looked really strong and that you were in the running for Kona. Then the emotion hit US!

NOBODY earned that Kona slot more than you Marit. It will be fun watching you train and race in Kona.

What I had written down which I said I would tell you after the race:
a) Sub 4:50
b) Top 3 age group
c) Kona slot

Way to prove me right!

Melissa said...

Hi Marit. You don't know me but I'm one of Jen's athletes too :-) Awesome job, congratulations on your race!! Reading your report made me tear up!! WooHoo Kona!!

Mer! said...

I for one am so glad your race report WAS long. You need to save this and savor the moment..you have so much to be proud of, getting back on the horse after a rough 2008 and WOW what a 2009 season opener....SO excited for you and can't WAAAAIT to give you a hug tomorrow at lunch!!

I only wish I could have seen it in person....but..I feel the emotion and there's nothing like "leaving nothing out there"...
Many hugs,
Mer

Alili said...

Marit,

I have been SO looking forward to your race report. Thank you for sharing your journey - I'm saving this to read over and over again. I cried happy tears when I heard how great you had done, cried again for Kona and of course cried a third time just reading it all unfold. Way to go!!!!!

Stef said...

What a celebratory comeback race! So so very happy for you!

Nikee Pomper said...

Fantastic RR! You CRUSHED it out there. I am SO stoked to watch your progress this summer. This is your year!!!!

Winter in San Diego is alright, wait until the summer comes! You are going to absolutely LOVE it out here.

Keep up the GREAT work!

Sarah said...

I was totally all choked up last Saturday when I saw your results and now you made me choked up again. :)

Marit, no words can express how happy I am for you right now. I came across your blog about a year ago, right after your accident. To see you come back from this, to be part of your journey and to be able to take part in the emotion of it all has been a real gift and I'm so grateful that you've shared all of your feelings and thoughts with all of us.

You EARNED this, girl! You are GOING to Kona! I can't think of a better way for your season to begin. Welcome back, Marit. :)

Sarah said...

btw your report doesn't seem so long in Google Reader. ;)

Kim said...

Loved hearing all the details about your day. Truly amazing and so inspirational. That day was a testament to your will and ability to never give up!! Enjoy some R & R! You deserve it my friend!

Maggs said...

I finally finished reading it. Wow, what a great report and a great day! Congrats on the race and the Kona slot!

Monica Kvas said...

It has been neat reading about your journey back to health and to triathlons! Congratulations on your first race back and qualifying for Hawaii! Amazing!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Marit. What a great race!!! --Katie