November is shaping up to be one eventful month! It's been chock full of busy-ness! Work deadlines, 1,300 miles of driving, Ironman Florida and a big commitment for me!
Work is BUSY BUSY BUSY! I'm actively working on two projects (same team for both) and trying to tie up loose ends for an old project. November and December are jam-packed with deadlines/deliverables and I've got my nose to the grindstone trying to knock it all out. Work is particularly hectic because of our trip to Panama City Beach for Ironman Florida. 4 days away from the office left me buried in emails and playing a lot of catch-up!
Ironman Florida was the focus of the beginning of this month. We left for PCB on Monday (the 2nd) evening to begin the 650 mile drive. After battling traffic, we called it a night in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where Mike is currently stationed. This was Maddie's and my first trip to see where Mike is living. There's a housing shortage in LC, so Mike is living with a guy from his office. Mike's house mate has a cat and Maddie was in HEAVEN! I, on the other hand, was in HELL, as I'm horribly allergic to cats.
On Tuesday we continued our drive and the state lines seemed to come pretty quickly. Well, there were some stops at Walmart to bribe Maddie with toys to cooperate for the drive. :-) We finally made it to PCB around 6 pm and met our friends Steve and Jennifer at the hotel. We unloaded the car, threw everything in the hotel room and headed out for dinner. After a tasty meal at TGI Fridays, we got to kick back and RELAX!
Wednesday's activities included a solo 3-mile run first thing in the morning and then a nice swim with the IMFL crew. My first ocean swim! I survived without any encounters with marine life!! Woohoo!
Our friends Donnie and Danielle got into PCB on Wednesday night and we all met up for dinner and reconnected, as it's been a year and a half since we last saw each other at Ironman Texas 2013. There was another great reunion after dinner, when Grammy got to town!
Thursday's activities included a 16 mile bike ride with the crew and the welcome dinner. Friday was mostly spent doing race prep (packing transition and special needs bags) and checking bikes into transition. The highlight of the day was running the IronKids race with Maddie. I had so much fun with my girl.
After a carbo-load dinner at Carrabba's, we were off to bed early. I was woken up several times during the night as Mike repeatedly got out of bed. Finally at around 12:50 am, I whispered to Mike "you're not getting much sleep, huh?" That's when he told me the bad news: he had the stomach flu. This is a regular and frequent occurrence for Mike, and usually knocks him out for about a week. I went into crazy wife mode and started researching what OTC medicines are available for stomach flu. I headed out to Walgreens at 1:30, bought one of everything in the antacid aisle and presented my bounty to Mike. He took the medicine and we both prayed for a miracle.
There were some miracles that day, but healing was not one of them. I could go on and on with details about the race, but I'll quickly summarize it. Mike was still suffering in pain with the stomach flu, but he gritted his way through the swim, with a pretty impressive time still (1:11:36, with a usual time of about 1:03). He came out of the water looking gray and defeated, but headed out on the bike. At the second aid station (Mile 20), he couldn't go on any further. He was just in too much pain. Maddie, Grammy and I picked him up and brought him back to the hotel where he passed out for the day. I was so proud of him for even trying to race given how sick he was. Mike is truly the toughest person I know. Ironman's motto is "Anything is Possible" and we can now laugh that truly, anything CAN happen! And, at the end of the day, we're happy and healthy and able to race another day!
This whole week has been me trying to recover from the IMFL trip. I got very little sleep on Friday and Saturday nights, and then did 8 of the 10 hours of the drive back home on Sunday, so I was pretty zonked. I didn't start feeling human again until Thursday. Friday began with a fun Thanksgiving-themed project breakfast at work, and I guess it put me in a great mood, so I'm blaming it for my next decision: TO REGISTER FOR IRONMAN TEXAS 70.3!!! I've been considering stepping up to 70.3 distance next season, but with Mike and I living separately, I felt very nervous about being able to fit in training with work and pulling Maddie-duty. Immediately after hitting submit I thought, "WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!" I'm a little nervous and a lot excited! This will be a new journey for the entire Oyler clan!