Night before the race... was in bed by 7:30 and asleep by 8:15. That is a miracle for this night shifter. 2 AM I awoke from the strangest dream about Flintstones chewable vitamins killing the human race (strange, I know). Nerves set in and I tossed and turned the rest of the 3 hours I had to sleep. I finally got out of bed. I ate breakfast, my typical peanut butter and gold fish sandwich, put on my swim suit, gathered my water bottles, and my air pump then headed to transition. After I got everything situated, I went back up to my condo room and spent the 10 minutes it takes to get on my wetsuit on and headed to swim start.
Swim: The water was so calm and peaceful. It was some of the calmest ocean water I have ever seen in my life and definitely helped with the nerves. I jumped in line with the 1:11-1:20 group. I really wasn’t too sure how the swim was going to go since the last time I swam in the ocean was pretty miserable and slow... plus this was going to be double the distance. Before I knew it, it was my time to run into the water. The water was very swallow the first 50 yards and then there was a sandbar followed by more very shallow water. Some people decided to walk the first 150 yards... I started swimming once getting past the sandbar. I settled in almost immediately with someone that was at a slightly faster pace. The current was pushing us away from the course so we did end up swimming a bit extra. I eventually passed him once he tired out. I found myself alone with the next closest person about 25 yards ahead of me. As we got deeper into the ocean, I started seeing massive jelly fish. I was freaking out and picked up my pace just to try and catch up with some people ahead. At the first turn buoy I touched something gooey. The next thing I know, the sucker got me right on my lip. It burned and felt like a shock. It took my breath away and I had a mini panic. I got it together and kept moving forward. I got stung again on my foot about 400 yards after my first sting, but it didn’t even bother me. I made it back to shore and got ready to start the second loop. I knew the second lap would be tough since I would catch some of the people who started after me and oh it was! There was SO many people and it was really hard not to get kicked or punched by all the swimmers. I got punched in the ear pretty hard and kicked by someone doing the breast stroke. I’m sure I accidentally hit a few people too. Before I knew it, I was already back to shore. Time 1:11, better than I thought it was going to go.
T1: The wetsuit peelers were right out of the water in the sand. I was just wearing a bathing suit so I got super sandy rolling around trying to get my wetsuit off. I spent a good amount of time under the fresh water shower to make sure I got off all the sand as that would make for a long time on the bike with sand stuck everywhere. I grabbed my bike gear bag and went to the changing tent. Someone noticed immediately that my lip was swollen and red. They called someone from medical to take a look. I had never been stung by a jelly before, so had no idea if I was allergic. Since it was on my face and it was very swollen and red, I got some Benadryl and cream just to be safe. I changed, grabbed my bike, and ran to the mount line.
Bike: The bike was chilly to start, but was going to warm up pretty quickly once I started moving. I felt good getting started despite having a massive, swollen lip and taking in gulps of salt water. I knew we would have some pretty tough headwinds for the first part of the course so it would be important to make sure I got on top of my nutrition quickly. I ate my first snack and finished my first bottle at the 1 hour mark. My goal was a bottle an hour with a snack and I stuck to it. It seemed like every turn we made just ran into more headwinds. It was a little mental challenge. I eventually just started counting down the miles until we got to the turn around to head back to the beach. I had to stop for a bathroom at mile 30ish. Man... that line was crazy. It took me probably 5-10 minutes to get out back on the road. At mile 58 I was still feeling good and stopped for my special needs snickers bar and a few more snacks for the back half of the course. We turned heading north for another 12 miles and direct headwind. Definitely the toughest part of the bike. I saw tons of groups drafting each other to escape the headwinds. It was really hard to get away from the draft packs around me, so I decided at mile 65ish to stop for another bathroom break. Again, the lines were long at the bathrooms and it annoyed me to be wasting all this time. I finally made it to the turn around and was rewarded with the heavenly tailwind for the next 20 miles. At mile 90 we turned heading west with a slight head wind and cross wind. Mile 100 we headed East back to transition with crosswinds. The roads were fantastic. I could put my head down and not even really have to worry about cracks, potholes, or really any road hazard. Definitely helped with staying in aero and being comfortable for as long as possible. I came in right at my goal, 5:58 even with those 2 long stops.
T2: I changed very quickly, stuffed a snickers bar in my mouth, put on my run shoes and off to the bathroom again. I guess this means I was very well hydrated. I saw my awesome coach, friend, and family which helped motivate me to get this marathon over with and eat some pizza and hot wings.
Run: It was truly a beautiful day. I started the run with temps in the mid 60’s. My plan was to run as long as I could keeping a decent pace until I needed to refuel at the aid stations. My bottle lasted about 5 miles and then I was forced to stop and get water at the aid stations. In addition to water, I was taking BASE salt every mile and alternating 1 cliff block with extra electrolytes and 1 cliff block with caffeine every mile. It was perfect because I had NO cramping issues during the run and felt energized. After the first loop, I got my extra cliff blocks from my special needs and took off. I was definitely starting to feel the pain set in and walking the aid stations made it much worse. The key was to keep jogging for recovery, even if it was slow. At mile 18 I was pretty ready to be done and eat some real food, so that means it was time to pick up the pace. I told myself the last 4 miles I would not stop and finish the damn thing. I did just that. I stopped at the mile 22 aid station. Took some water, Red Bull, and some coke because why not. I took off running with a huge burst of adrenaline and energy knowing that in 35ish minutes I would hear the words I had been longing for all day. Before I knew it, I was heading down the the finishers chute, in complete shock, with a huge smile, and then I heard Mike Reilly say “ Morgan Truitt, 25 years old, from Cypress TX, a Nurse, you are an IRONMAN”
I still can’t believe that I actually did IT. Like me? When I thought I may need a liver transplant at the beginning of the year and probably still partially recovering (my doctor said it would be a year until I’m 100%). Me? The person who two years ago could barely swim to one end of the pool and was afraid to “clip in” to pedals. This journey has taught me so much about myself and what I am truly capable of. If I can do this, anyone who has a little will-power and a bit of crazy can do it. Oh, YES, an Ironman is really as amazing and painful as everyone says.