2006 Ironman World Champion - MJ in her own words.One of the first questions I was asked when I crossed the line first at the 2006 Ford Ironman World Championships was "How does it feel to be Ironman Champ?" and I was like "how do you think I feel?" Very, Very happy, Unreal, awesome, amazing, really cool, out of this world I could go on and on.
One of the words to be describe this years Hawaii Ironman is very strange. beginning with the swim I knew I was having a pretty decent swim as I could still see the leaders. We had a pretty strong current on the way back and some swimmers in front of me started dropping off so I had to sprint around them to continue getting the drag from the pack in front. I could see a number of female caps around me so that made me stay relaxed. I only learnt miles later that a lot of my competitiors had lost a very significant amount of time a lot more that usual. When I exited the water I had a pretty quick transition and headed out on the 112mile bike. I quickly saw the two girls in front of me and I settle into my pace catching them both in the first 6miles. So now I was in the lead I just focused on making sure i was getting on top of my nutrition and turning the gear over efficiently. We had a headwind on the way out but that changed about 40miles and the first part of Hawi we continued to have a tailwind. When I made the turn for the 18mile journey to the hawi turn around I noticed there were no white caps on the Ocean which meant no nasty side winds.
I was getting a leader board spilt during the ride but it was very difficult to tell which number belonged to whose name. But I seemed to be gaining time and or holding.
I got to the turn around at Hawi and picked up my special needs which contained my water bottles with my calories for the final have of the ride and I grabbed a mouth full of Sour Gummy worms.(My secret weapon:))Then over the next half I also noticed i was losing time on the bike. I tried not to panic about it and just stayed onto of my pace. It is funny because Paula mentioned before the race not to be surprised if there were girls closer than my previous Ironman's. So I was prepared for this when it happened. Thanks Paula.
With about 40km after the long stretch of headwind back from Hawi we got a tailwind all the way to the transition.
As usual when I got off my bike my legs where pretty wobbly so I kept my stride short and headed to collect my run gear and more Gummi worms. I heard Paula tell me to have faith in my run. So I headed out and rolled into my marathon pace and surprisingly after about 2miles I started to feel better and the next thing I new I was gaining back the time I had lost on the bike. Although we had some cloud coverage it was still very humid and warm so I tried to focused on what I needed at each aide station I approached. I was dreading running up Palani the nastiest hill on the course but I felt so much better than last year. Once in the energy lab I had only lost a small amount to Lisa Bently who is known for her running ability. So I decided a quick detour to the lady's would be Ok. I felt so much better and even though I lost about 30seconds I thought it was the wise choice. At the top of the energy lab I was about 8 1/2minutes up so I decided to not do anything stupid and back off a little. I didn't want to have something happen and be passed in the latter stages of the race.
Running down Palani was way more painful than running up. My quads were screaming but I knew once I hit the bottom I had a long flat section and a little downhill and then the long straight down Alli Dr into the finish. I tried not to think to far ahead that I was
going to win. But once I hit Alii Dr thoughts of winning the Ironman creaped into my head. WOW what a feeling people were cheering so loud I almost couldn't here my self think. With every step the smile on my face was getting bigger and bigger I even started to cry. It was awesome! I never thought I would ever do an ironman so I certainly never thought I would win the Ironman World Championships. But I get it now. I know why people want to do the Ironman especially in Hawaii and let me tell you there is nothing you can compare to running down Alii Dr at the end of the Ironman too.
Yep, I cried at the finish as did my husband Pete, Paula who I couldn't have done it without her help, my twin sister Gabby,Ryan my training partner for many years whose wife surprised him on his birthday with a ticket to Hawaii to watch me race, Kristen who designs my uniforms, my High school teacher John White who suggested I do my first triathlon, Richard from 2XU who was my running partner for my
Ironman training, Duke and everyone else. We all needed a couple boxes of kleenex.
So how does it feel? Unreal Banana Peel!:) Live your dreams.