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Nancy Kinney's first Ironman

Ironman Boulder 2015


The day finally arrived! It is August 2, 2015. A journey I began 6 months prior was about to cumulate in a long day of endurance. It was a beautiful Colorado morning with the temperature at about 67 degrees. After dropping off my special needs bags, I was walking to the buses with my morning clothes bag which included 2, yes 2, wetsuits! There was a question if the swim was going to be wetsuit legal, and I had both my full sleeve and sleeveless wetsuit. Being my first Ironman, I would rather be over prepared than under. As I walked to the buses, a guy announces it is 78 degrees which makes it wetsuit illegal if you want to qualify for Kona or get any age-group award. I knew I was not in contention so I would choose to wear my sleeveless wetsuit for security. I boarded the buses with my friends Jeff and Danielle Mack! Danielle being last year’s winner, I wanted to hear all her positive thoughts she would give her husband, Jeff. Upon arriving at the start, it was the busiest hour I have spent doing all the last minute things of getting marked, prepping my bike, bike bag and last minute toilet stop. Choosing the wetsuit option put me in the back of the pack but the entry into the water went very quickly!

The Swim

Before I knew it I was in the water on my way to my challenge of 140.6 miles. The swim in my opinion was fairly brutal! I was knocked in the head a couple of times including a knock to the jaw which was extremely painful. As I exited the swim, I saw my time was a little slow to what I wanted but I must keep moving. Seeing one of my friends as I approached the wetsuit strippers was a huge delight to have her pull my suit off.

The Bike

My transition was slow but I wanted to make sure I was all set to start that 112 mile bike ride that would take me about 7 hours. Off on the bike…the first few miles were slow as usual. As I headed down Neva Rd, I decided to eat my first bite. My jaw was throbbing from the hit on the swim and it hurt to eat but I knew nutrition is important. As the miles went by the pain started to dissipate and I was getting into the groove. I figured I was ahead of schedule which helped my mental state. Toward the end of the second loop, I realized I was no longer hearing the beep on my watch to remind me to eat. I didn’t know if my watch had given up on me or I became mute to the beep. So I had to come up with a plan to eat because my watch was not beeping. The 2 hills (7 miles) we had to do to get to the top of Lookout Rd was greeted by a non-aid station of Scratch snow cones! That was one of the best treats to bring home the bike for the last 15 miles!

The Run

Coming into Boulder High was great but that transition from bike dismount to the change tent was very long! I changed into my running shorts and was on my way to the 26.2 mile run. The run started out very well. I was feeling good and trying to keep my pace not to fast because I knew I wouldn’t last. I walked ever aid station to make sure I was getting fluids. Although, by mile 18 my stomach and intestines were cramping pretty bad! I would make me feel nauseous when I would try to run. I did not want to get sick! I was not only walking aid stations; I was walking the uphill underpasses. I didn’t know what I should drink to make it feel better. I just drank some water and coke for a few stops. The cramps would come and go but after a while they actually went away permanently at about mile 22. My friends at aid station 2 kept me going with making me laugh and trying to meet my nutrition needs so I would finish strong! As I left aid station 2 for the last time to the climb to Eben G. Fine Park, I focused on one foot in front of another. No matter how slow my pace was it was faster than walking. I just wanted to get the Ironman done! I trudged up to the park and as I ran down, ever step was so painful. I felt every muscle in my body was so sore

The Homestretch 

Coming around Boulder High a burst of endorphins hit me and I began to pick up my pace! As I hit Arapahoe, I knew I was on the home stretch and in a few short blocks I would be called an IRONMAN (WOMAN)!! Smile on my face; I ran as fast as I could to bring it home! My friend Lynn met me on the way in and told me I was making her cry and said, “Wow, you are running really fast!” I told her, “come on, keep up!” As I hear more of my friends cheering for me, my smile was bigger than ever and so thrilled to achieve the biggest accomplishment of my life!! My family was at the finish including my 85 year old parents which meant the world to me! There is nothing like crossing a finish line and hearing your name called and being called an Ironman was just the icing on the cake! What a great journey the last 6 months have been with a fantastic ending!

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