Part 2: Ironman Arizona Race Report

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Part 2: Ironman Arizona Race Report

Guest Blog by 2014 Klean Team Ambassador Beth Ulibarri – Sponsored Athlete

“Beth Ulibarri, you are an IRONMAN!”  Unfortunately I did not hear Mike Reilly say those words on Sunday evening, however, I did finish the Arizona IRONMAN®!  I’m still a little sad that I didn’t hear those iconic words, but I won’t let that take anything away from the awesome day I had at my first IRONMAN®.

The morning started with being herded like cattle into a narrow space where we descended some steps and had to quickly jump into the cold water and start swimming a few hundred meters to the starting line.  I was definitely nervous, but had to put that aside and just suck it up and get going.  After a few minutes of treading water, I heard Mike Reilly say to us over the loud speaker “May the wind be ever at your back” and the cannon went off (these words would run through my head later in the day when the wind was doing the exact opposite!).  There is much to say about the swim, but I’ll keep it brief and say that it was brutal.  I’ve never been hit, punched, run into, swum over or kicked so much in my life and hope I never am again.  The good news is that I got out of the water intact after a 1:16.50 swim and was ready to get on with the rest of my day.

Once I got out on the bike, I began my fueling (Bonk Breaker bars, gels, Skratch drink mix, and Klean Athlete Endurance tabs and Electrolytes), and told myself to bike smart.  I didn’t want to ride the bike course too hard and put my legs at a disadvantage for the run.  I think I did a good job of holding back the first out of 3 loops, and I’m glad I did, because the wind kept getting stronger and more punishing throughout the day.  We rode up a 9 mile stretch of the Beeline Highway each loop directly into a 20-25mph headwind, with occasional crosswinds that pushed me a few feet to each side.  I had to stay alert and focused all the time for fear of a gust blowing me over.  I saw 4 crashes throughout the day, which scared me, and I hoped that everyone was alright.   6:37.47 later I was off the bike and never so happy to put my running shoes on!

Time for my favorite part of the day, the marathon!  Even though I have run 11 marathons in the past few years, with this being my first IRONMAN®, I had no idea what to expect on the run after biking 112 miles and swimming 2.4 miles.  My number one goal was to cross that finish line, and I hoped to do it feeling strong.  My strategy was to run much slower than I would in just a marathon, so I started out at around 10 minute per mile pace.  I walked through every aid station and drank water and poured ice and water on my head to keep cool, and I continued to fuel with gels and Klean Athlete Endurance tabs.  Luckily the temperature was in the low 70s at this point of the day, so the heat was not a factor at all.   I met a few friends along the run and enjoyed chatting with them as the miles passed.  The Arizona IRONMAN® is a spectator friendly race and it was fun to run by the large crowds out there cheering us on.  4:27.54 later, I finished the run and crossed the best finish line of my life.  My total race time was 12:32.46.

The journey of the past year has come to completion and I could not be happier.  IRONMAN® is about so much more than the twelve and a half hours I was out there sweating.  It’s about determination, perseverance, hope, dedication and proving to myself that the impossible can become possible.  I want to thank my family and friends for their unwavering support and their huge part in helping me reach my goal.  I was blessed with an incredible race experience and am grateful to Klean Athlete for the opportunity, encouragement, and of course, amazing products that helped keep me healthy through hundreds of hours of training to get me to the starting line in top shape.  Maybe next time I’ll hear Mike Reilly call my name…


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