Sunday, May 22, 2011

I am Ironman

I am so glad i survived Ironman. I had so many doubts about coming to Texas to do my first Ironman, when I registered for it i just sold my house had some extra cash and i was sure i was going to be able to train for it properly, then life happened.
Every race has been less than ideal this year, i decided that since the last two years I was busy doing all the races and climbs to help the charities i had to put my kids needs on the side so now they come first, life is all about balance, while my kids don't expect me to drop everything for them all the time they are times that they do, now is one of those times, recently i have slept little worrying about my kids, Karl's eye condition and Hans strong personality,I get to see their teacher more often than the gym now days, Karl's teachers worry that he is falling behind, while he stands strong saying that they are overreacting that he is doing just fine, Hans teacher has long conversations with me about him been uninterested in class, of course we both know he discovered that girls don't really have the cooties.
So the best thing to do is to let go and work with what I have, running is still my priority so most of the time was spend running, the other available time was to add some biking or swimming, it was very rare to have a week when I had a chance on doing all three sports.
I arrived in Houston with my kids, the reason why I choose Ironman Texas was because my ex husband lives here, sort of, he lives in Tunisia but has a house in Houston so who was going to be looking after my kids was solved, place to stay was also solved and last he could buy all of us tickets with his miles, with limited money this was too hard to resist, also is one of those opportunities that my kids adore, when both parents are at the same time together, something that my kids cherish and my ex and I tolerate, I strongly believe on maintaining a relationship with the father of my kids something that has cause me a share of arguments on my relationships.

I was very worry about not making the time limit, on the flight I was telling Hans about this but he had a pep talk with me, it is fantastic, Hans was telling me that I could do it, that at least I had to show up and try my hardest, by him voicing those words they would be forever imprinted on his brain, those words had a deep meaning now. I was feeling very confident now until we pass through immigration, as usual the officers wanted to know the reason for a our trip, Ironman, I replied, he looked at me and without smile said," You don't look like an Ironman" I wanted to say a lot of things, that I run ultras and all that but the truth was that I had never done Ironman so that was true,Hans however had something to say "you don't know my mom" that's all he said, Karl had a big grin. I just realized how deeply our bond is and that they are proud of me just like I am of them. Ironman was going to be hard but to teach my kids valuable lessons was very worth it. I know how they will remember me. Go through your pictures, the ones that will remain when you are gone, they will tell your story, how many are of you holding a drink or sitting on the couch? I can tell you that I have very few of those.

The welcome dinner was different than the usual than ultraraces, you could sense of pride in he room, you belonged to an elite private club. I sat with some strangers, three of us were about to do Ironman for the first time, the rest were veterans, of course the veterans wanted give us advise, the really fit veterans always said, "you will be OK, you have 16hrs to finish, plenty of time" the not so fit ones, the ones that sneaked by more than once had a different view, to them even attempting Ironman you had to prove that you were worthy of calming such title. Talking to one of them in particular, a middle age man on my table, it felt more like and interrogation than a conversation,"So of course you done at least done a half", wow, you must have an incredible coach then if you feel confident that you can finish" "a group to train with? "No?!, why would you think you will have a chance!" by now he was clearly annoyed, middle age who brought a date to the dinner clearly to impress her, judging by his clothes and physique he had more money than athletic abilities. I told him that i run far not caring to chat with him anymore, Mr.CEO was determined to not let it go, I could tell that people around him had to prove themselves to him. Well, how many of your races last for 12hrs." you are right,not many, most of them are over 24hrs, I cant believe that I will be home tonight after ONLY 12 hrs. this will be a treat to me.
Of course i was very intimidated by Ironman but i was not about to let him know of that.

Race day came, Saturday 5am about 2600 competitors stood at Woodlands Lake for the 2.4 mile swim, because of the water temperature reach the high temperatures they call for a non wetsuit swim but you had the option to use a wetsuit and not be considered for placing of Kona slots, since there was not a fat chance of that happening and I needed all the help in the water i decided to go on the wetsuit corral with about 500 others. I was dreading the swim, i was close to tears when lady standing close to me notice my nervousness and held my hands and said a prayer, then at 7, 10 minutes after the pro start we were off, I stayed behind to avoid been trampled since i knew I was going to be on the back, I alternating from free style and breast stroke,I had tried swimming the distance at my community pool, but things are different, there was some talk this morning at the awards ceremony that the course was probably marked wrong and had been longer than usual, i would not find out about this until the next morning.I tried my best but it seem to go on for ever,as we were coming into the finals stretch I could hear people screaming I thought they were cheering but they were basically telling us to keep going or we would time out, this was going to be a very familiar scenario through the race. I was so glad to be out of the water 2 hrs and 14 minutes later,but now the next part was going to be just as tough,I had not done a ride longer than 60 miles.

Although they called for thundershowers it was just overcast and no rain, it was still warm but the sun was hiding behind the clouds and I was so thankful, I had a hard time from the begin, my arms ache form the swim and my neck too from cranking my neck to see where I was going on the water, I was already 25 minutes more out of transition that I had originally anticipated so I just suck it out and try to go hard, I kept playing two mantras on my head to overcome the fatigue, " you don't know my mom" and 'I am Ironman" I wanted more than anything to tell my kids that I did it, they believe i could, obviously the distance wasn't going to be an issue but ability was, at the 60 mile turn around and first cut out, i made it with 5 minutes to spare,I did calculations on the speed i was keeping and knew it was going to be tight, I went hard again, every time a looked at the 10 mile markers i had to smile, this was the farthest I had ever gone, I pedaled hard again leaving behind all the excuses that I wanted to give to not come to the race, also behind were the tears that I shed out of frustration the last few months. I reached transition in 8 hrs and 14 minutes with 10 minutes to spare, I was the last one to make it, everybody behind me had either drop out or timed out, I have never work so hard to be allowed to run a marathon, finally things were fine, I knew there was not way i was going to time out anymore, for the first time I relaxed.

It was almost 6pm but it was still very hot and humid, the course was a 3 loop course with aid stations every mile or so. It seem the whole town was out, it was like been in Boston, the music the people cheering, music everywhere. I want to thank people that make signs for their friends, o runner name Brent had his friends and family go to a lot or trouble to make some amazing ones, " 112 mile bike ride, because 110 would be wimpy" " congratulations, you made it to Ironman, bad news you are now broke"
I was happy to make for some of the lost time, I fell good enough to run, lots of people were walking by now, the heat seemed unbearable, the air stations were offering iced sponges and had hoses out to spray us, in Ironman lingo, the run is the hardest, your quads are thrashed and the body has been pushed to the max and you still have 26 miles to go, is here on the run where I saw lots of people collapse, stumble and drop in front of me, the sounds of sirens was constant through my run, 15hrs 26 minutes total I crossed the finish line and it was the best feeling, made even better by having my kids watch me, I can't tell my kids that they can do anything, I have to show them.
I loved everything about Ironman, the thrilled the fast pace the aura, I don't think that I will be doing an other full unless I train harder, but I can see me doing half's for fun,I like doing to many other things than to focus on just one sport.
I have been wondering many times when I am just to overwhelmed with everything that its time to hang the racing flats, why compete, why not just train that way there is no pressure but races give me the peace i seek, no matter how hard my life gets out there it doesn't matter,we are all equal, no status, no race, no background of course were you place is many times determined by one or all of the factors but at the starting line we are all the same, after crossing the finish line we all win at some level. To me knowing that I am shaping my kids life in a positive way its most valuable than a gold medal.

Estoy feliz de haber sobrevivido Ironman. Tenía tantas dudas acerca de venir a Texas para hacer mi primer Ironman, cuando me registré acaba de vender mi casa tuve algo de dinero extra y como era Septiembre me imagine que iba a ser capaz de entrenar correctamente, pero la vida nunca sale como la planeamos exactamente.
Cada carrera ha sido menos que ideal de este año, he decidido que, dado que los últimos dos años que estuve ocupado haciendo todas las carreras y escaladas para ayudar a las organizaciones benéficas yo tuve que poner a mis hijos las necesidades en el lado por lo que ahora son lo primero,hay que buscar el equilibrio, mientras que mis hijos no esperan que yo deje todo por ellos todo el tiempo si lo esperan de ves en cuando.Ahora es uno de esos momentos, recientemente he dormido poco preocupada por mis hijos, La vision de Karl y la personalidad fuerte de Hans, ahora voy a la escuala a verme con los maestros de mis dos hijos con más frecuencia que ir al gimnasio, los profesores Karl se preocupan de que se está quedando atrás, mientras él se mantiene firme diciendo que son exageraciones, que el está muy bien, el profesor Hans tiene largas conversaciones conmigo acerca de su desinteresado en clase, por supuesto, los dos sabemos que hay una sola razon esta facinado con el sexo femenil.

Así que lo mejor que puede hacer es no obesesionar y enfocarme con lo que tengo, correr es mi prioridad sigue siendo así que la mayoría de mi entrenamiendo es correr, el tiempo disponible alterne entre andar en bicicleta o nadar.
Llege a Houston con mis hijos, razón por la cual elegi Ironman de Texas fue porque mi ex marido vive aquí, más o menos, él vive en Túnez, pero tiene una casa en Houston por lo que se no me tuve que preocupar en quien iba a cuidar de mis hijos, el lugar quedarse se resolvió tambien y el último también se podría comprar todos los boletos con sus millas, con el dinero limitado esto era demasiado difícil de resistir.

Yo estaba muy preocupada por ser eliminada porque me tardaria mas de el tiempo designado, en el vuelo le decía Hans que que me preocupaba mucho eso, lo fantástico, Hans me decía que yo podía hacerlo, que por lo menos tenia que intentarlo, estoy seguro que esas palabras quedaron tatuadas en su cerebro,esas palabras tienen ahora un significado mas profundo profundo para el,al pasar immigracion, como de costumbre, los oficiales querían saber la razón de nuestro viaje, cuando dije al agente de immigracion que venia a Houston para hacer Ironman , el oficial me dijo, "No te ves como un Ironman" Quería decir muchas cosas, que yo hago ultras y todo eso pero la verdad es que yo hasta ahora no hecho el Ironman eso es cierto, sin embargo, en cambio Hans no se quedo callado "usted no conoce a mi mamá" eso es todo lo que dijo, Karl tenia una gran sonrisa. Me di cuenta de cuán profundamente el vínculo entre mis hijos y yo y que se sienten orgullosos de mí como yo soy de éllos. Ironman iba a ser difícil, pero enseñar a mis hijos lecciones valiosas vale la pena el intentarlo. Yo sé cómo se me va a recordar. a traves de imágenes, cuando ya no estemos,esas imagines van a contar tu historia, ¿cuántos de ustedes tienen mas fotos donde están sosteniendo una copa o sentados en el sofá? te puedo decir que tengo muy pocos de esas.

La cena de bienvenida fue diferente a la habitual de ultramaratones, se palpaba el sentimiento de orgullo por él ambiente, el sentido de pertenecer a un club privado. Me senté con unos desconocidos, tres de nosotros pretendiamos hacer el Ironman por primera vez, el resto eran veteranos, por supuesto,los veteranos nos aconsejaban. los que se veian que eran muy buenos me decia, "usted va a estar bien, usted tiene 16hrs para acompletarlo un montón de tiempo" los no tan buena condicion daban un punto de vista diferente, para intentar siquiera Ironman tienes que demostrar que eran dignos de perseguir ese título. Hablando con uno de ellos, en particular, un hombre de mediana edad en mi mesa, fue como un interrogatorio que una conversación, "?Así que, por supuesto, has hecho por lo menos el medio Ironman?", wow, debes tener un entrenador increíble si crees que puedes acabarlo ",?"¿No?!, ¿Por qué cree que vas a poder!" se le notaba que estaba molesto por mi arrogancia, Mi compañero de mesa, era de edad mediana y trajo a su novia nueva a la cena obviamente para impresionarla, a juzgar por sus ropas y el físico el tenía más dinero que las habilidades atléticas. Solo le dije que como estoy acostumbrada a correr ucho a la mejor eso me ayudaria. La verdad es que ya no tenia paciencia para esa platica pero el señor Presidente estaba decidido a no dejar la conversasion asi, se nota que el ha de ser duro con sus empleados y demandar lo mejor siempre. Bueno, ¿cuántos de sus últimas carreras han sido de mas de 12 horas. "Tienes razón, no muchas, la mayoría de ellas son de más de 24 horas, no puedo creer que voy a estar en casa esta noche después de solamente 12 horas. Esto será un placer para mí.
Por supuesto yo estaba nerviosa por el Ironman, pero no le queria dar el gusto.

el sábado 05 a.m. cerca de 2700 competidores, 265 de ellos de Mexico, nos reunimos en el Lago Woodlands para nadar los 3.8 kilometros , debido a la altas temperaturas si querias calificar a Kona o querias ganar el uso de traje de neopreno no era permitido, pero que tenía la opción de utilizar un traje de neopreno ,ya que no había una posibilidad de que yo calificara para Kona o que ganara decidi por usar my traje nepreno ya que necesitaba toda la ayuda en el agua. Yo estaba temiendo la nadada, yo estaba a punto de llorar cuando una señora que estaba cerca de mi se dio cuenta de mi nerviosismo y me cogió las manos y dijo una oración para las dos, a las 7 e la manaña la carrera empezo yo me quedé atras a proposito para evitar ser pisoteada,yo había tratado de nadar la distancia en mi piscina comunitaria, pero las cosas son diferentes, las corrientes, y miles de otros nadadores que te rodea. Despues me entere que esta manaña que hubo una discusion que tal vez la distancia habia sido mas larga de lo que deberia ser. Yo por supuesto no sabia esto todavia, la verdad que me tomo michiso mas de lo que yo habia anticipado. Cuando entramos en el tramo final yo podía oír los gritos pensé que estaban saludando, pero los gritos eran mas bien porque si no nos apurabamos el tiempo se nos acababa y no nos dejarian seguir.Eso me paso much durante la carrera. Yo estaba tan contenta cuando por fin sali del agua 2 hras y 14 minutos despues, pero ahora la siguiente parte iba a ser tan difícil, yo no había hecho un viaje más largo de 90 kilometros.

A pesar de que el pronostico habia dicho lluvias, termino no lloviendo solo estuvo nublado,hacia calor pero nada comparado para las temeraturas regulares de Houston en este tiempo. pero el sol se escondía detrás de las nubes y yo estaba tan agradecida, al principio se me difculto mucho me de dolian los brazos por la nadada tan larga, en la bicicleta tuve dos mantras en mi cabeza para superar la fatiga "usted no conoce a mi mamá "y" Yo soy Ironman "Quería más que nada para decirles a mis hijos que so lo termine. alrededor de el kilometro 96 se encontraba el primer corte si no llegabas ahi para antes de 1:40 te mandaban a casa, ahi me di cuenta que para hacer los 179 kilometros completos en el tiempo que decian tenia que darle duro, cada vez que miraba a los 10 marcadores de milla tuve que sonreír, cada kilometro despues de los 90 era mar lejos de lo que siempre habia hido en bicicleta, como que con cada pedaleada dejaba atrás todas las excusas que pensaba al por que no deberia de venir a Ironman, también deje etrás de las lágrimas que he derramado por la frustración de los últimos meses. llegué a la transición con 10 minutos de sobra, yo fui la última en salir de la transision 2 hacia la corrida de maraton, ahora por primera vez me relajé, pro fin no tenia que preocuparme por ser la mas lenta.

Eran casi las seis, pero todavía estaba haciendo mucho calor y estaba muy húmedo, habia areas para tomar agua y gels en cada kilómetro más o menos. Parecia quetodo el pueblo habia venido a celebrar,la gente animando, música por todas partes.
Yo estaba feliz de que por fin podia recuperar parte del tiempo perdido, me senti bien y decidi correr, ahora si mucha gente tenia dificultad, el calor era insoportable,en las estaciones de ayuda estaban ofreciendo esponjas con agua helada y tenía mangueras para rociar a nosotros, bien dicen que la etapa mas dificil de Ironman es en el maraton. Tus piernas ya no dan masy el cuerpo has sido empujado al máximo y aún tienes 42 kilometros por recorrer, es aquí donde vi un montón de gente tropezar y caer delante de mí, los sonidos de las sirenas de las ambulancias se escucharon constante, cruzando la meta fue la mejor sensación, aún mejor por tener a mis hijos ahi, El decir a un hijo que confie en si mismo no es tan eficaz que el mostrarselo, hechos no palabras.
Me encantó todo acerca de Ironman, no se si podre darme el lujo de hacer otro, la vedad es que la unica forma seria si o dejara los otros deportes y me dedicara nomas a ese y no se si quiero, a mi me encant ala aventura tengo corazon de gitana.
Estoys ultimos meses me he preguntado mas de una vez el porque todavia pongo tanto esfuerso en participar en eventos como el Ironman ¿por qué competir, ¿por qué no solo entrenar y no competir de esa manera no hay presión, pero las carreras me dan la paz que busco, sin importar lo duro de mi la vida es, no importa, cuando llego a una carrera a competir cuando estoy parada esperando que comienze en ese momento todos somos iguales, no importa las clases sociales, no importa la raza, ni nada, por supuesto que al cruzar la meta ahi es donde se nota la diferencia pero la verdad después de cruzar la línea de meta ganamos todos en algún nivel. Para mí saber que estoy unfluenciando a mis hijos de una manera positiva su más valioso que una medalla de oro.


Daddy Background said...

Congratulations, Norma Ironman!

I have been sitting here on the sidelines of your blog for a few months now, reading but not commenting. But I thought I'd jump in now because something's been on my mind.

I have "Extraordinary Moms" still on MY DVR. I watched the first segment and then fast-forwarded to yours and that's all I've seen. I'm saving it to watch with a mutual friend of ours; we'll see the whole thing together sometime.

As admirable and honourable as it was, I thought from a storytelling point of view that they failed on some (small) level to really give you credit for what you've done, what you're still doing.

I participated in an event this past weekend that like many others is divided into different distances for different levels of ability (or interest or inclination). I ran the half marathon. Someone else who was running the 10K approached me on Friday for a donation; he was collecting on behalf of people with brain injuries. There are lots of people running and collecting for lots of charities.

For most people, it is a nice thing to do, a good thing, but it is not such a personal endeavour the way it is with you, doing this for your son.

There are even fewer people going out and running Ultras - 50 or 100 miles.

From having trained for and run a marathon, I have some small sense of the levels of AMAZING that must be.

Amazing from the level of fitness it requires, the accomplishment it represents and most significantly, the amount of dedication required to find and fit in all those hours and hours and HOURS of training. And then to go out and RUN ONE HUNDRED MILES.

That's the part of the story I would have told differently, the part that was almost glossed over by the TV show. See, I would have put that part in capital letters...

She does this for her son. She collects money for research and she runs ONE HUNDRED MILES.

... letting the viewers in on the magnitude of what you've done. What you continue to do. And as a single mom. Doing this for your children.

I got it because I knew of you from our shared friend and from your blog. I will pay more attention the next time I see the show to see maybe if it was just my appreciation of it that was off.

But never mind the show.

Congratulations to you, Norma, Ironman. I'm out here somewhere in the background quietly supporting you as you continue to be Amazing.

Norma Bastidas said...

thank you so much for your nice comment is always nice to hear from you, is nice to see and hear form the people that read my blog, I always look forward to posting, i feel that somewhere out there someone is feeling the same way that I am.
I know what you mean about not elaborating on the act of ultras, i think that they wanted to focus on why i was doing it, I am very grateful for every time that the story makes news, it helps all the organizations that i am connected to or any blindness related charity by putting a face to vision impairment, it also makes my son's life easier and for that it's all worth it.
I have sometimes wonder about what it means fundraising for strangers or your loved ones, of course I am more passionately than people who do it for strangers, but like i tell my kids doing something is always better than doing nothing at all.
I think that to truly understand how difficult something really is will be by attempting it yourself, It means so much more to receive praise from my fellow runners because they know first hand how difficult really is.
Talk later