BENEFITING: Holy Childhood
EVENT DATE: Jul 27, 2014
THE FINAL UPDATE
Sunday, July 27th 2014
Gabriella Rood, You are an IRONMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you all for your amazing support, encouragement and generosity. You inspired me and I cannot thank you enough for helping me make this experience about more than Ironman but about giving back. You made this a success and with your generosity we have raised to date $6,875. WOW!!!!! You are all amazing! Thank you. Race day started at 3:30 AM. Up for my morning nutrition and getting ready for the day. Transition opened at 4:30AM so of course I needed to be there at 4:30. Feeling very calm I went to my Run Transition Bag to put my hydration bottles in and organize for transition ease. Then over to the bike to get it all set up only to realize I forgot my aero bar bottle. Good thing I got there early, it allowed me to keep calm and head back to the hotel to pick it up. Back to the bike, filled all the hydration and nutrition needed for the first 56 mile loop of the bike. Then back to the room to help get the kids ready. Out by 6AM to head over to the swim start. Still feeling calm. Maria, Jackson, Ella, Sister Tanya, Bonnie and Ben were all with me at the water. Time to head in and seat myself for a time slot. I hugged everyone, thanked them and cried with appreciation for all of their support over the past 7 months of training.
In the water around 6:45AM, feeling great and ready to get it done. A storm had been heading our way but we were all in hopes that it would skirt us or at least just rain. I am a cautious swimmer and like to know where I am and who is around me. I don’t want to run into anyone and I don’t want to be run into. No matter how you try it is inevitable to happen anyway. Shortly after the start I was punched in the back of the head. Ouch, but not hard enough to really hurt. I was pancaked a few times but I felt very comfortable and not stressed at all. The rain came in on the return swim to the beach the drops hit hard on the face but it was just rain. Out of the water, across the beach and back to swim or the second 1.2 mile lap. Feeling good thinking the storm had passed, getting about 1/3 of the way through that loop. It started to rain again but still no big deal. I started to notice people swimming across me… What is happening, why are they swimming the wrong way???? I popped my head up to see what was happening and a streak of lightning spidered across the sky and I heard voices yelling to get out of the water. I couldn’t believe it, I thought this is it, my journey has just come to an end, all of that training done, done, done… If given the choice I would have taken my chances and swam through the storm… We swam to shore, walked through the woods over a fence to the road. I was walking thinking it was done and then heard the announcement go right to your bikes!!! It was on!!!! I started running (one of only a few runners) I couldn’t believe it, come on people you trained for this! This is your day! Make it count!!!! Holy crow, I just wanted to get to my bike and on with the race. So with the swim to shore and running barefoot on the road to our bikes I still feel like I covered the miles but in a different way. Am I still upset they pulled us? Heck yea I am, but I will get over it (one day/maybe).
I looked around for the family during the run down the road to transition but assumed they took cover and I moved quickly to transition. I found the strongest looking wet suite stripper, thanked him for his help and grabbed my bike transition bag. Off to the changing tent where not a seat was to be found. Chatter of what just happened filled the tent. I tried not to get sucked into the chatter. How were they going to time us, would we be DNF’d, how would the numbers be calculated???? I didn’t know the answer to any of this, all I knew was that the race was still on and I had no control over what has just happened. I finally found a seat and changed. Not sure what to do with the arm warmers I packed, do I put them on do I not? Make a decision and GO!!! I chose not to put them on, thinking they would just get wet, heavy and cold and would make me unhappy. We had the choice to hang out till the storm passed or get out on the bike. NOTHING was keeping me from my bike short of a full race cancelation. Most were in that same mind set and we were all off at the same time. Rain was coming down in buckets, lighting and thunder all around. The rain, thunder and lightning added a bit of adventure to the ride. I wasn’t concerned at all I just wanted to get into a comfortable place and ride. This being my first Ironman I don’t know if the ride typically start out so congested, but the course was packed and we were 4 wide at points. The first 9 miles or so of the ride starts out with a good climb and false flats. My focus was on cadence and heart rate. Keep your cadence up and HR down, you have 112 miles to ride. Now here comes the steep, long descent. This was going to be the most challenging part of the ride today due to the weather conditions. I wanted to go fast but I wanted to be safe. I sat up on my bike with hands firmly at brake's reach. I feathered the brakes the full way down picking up speed but keeping it under control, most did. Of course there were those dare devils that went for it, women and men both. Passing to the left wide open in aero and no stopping them. I did hear myself say out loud “WOW”….. and hoping for everyone’s safety. The rain was still coming down and when being passed the water off the passers tires was splashing up at me, I couldn’t get away from it. I was happy to have my sunglasses on for eye protection. I saw many without, I assume they left them behind as it was dark from the storm when we started out on the bike. I am sure they wished they had not made the choice to leave them behind.
The descent was the worst part of the ride as far as getting cold, teeth chattering and knees shaking… but soon started to warm back up a little. The rest of the ride was great. I caught myself smiling a lot. Why wouldn’t I be? I am doing an Ironman!!!! I was feeling great and was on a really good pace for me. Back to town and to pick up my special needs bag. Refilled my hydration and nutrition and then I was off. I could see the family just ahead waving and cheering, I was so excited to find them in the crowd and they were seeing me. I stopped for hugs, high fives and to let them know I was feeling great. Riding through the crowd to head back out of town for the second loop was amazing. The cheering and yelling was wonderful. I gave a little back by pumping my arm and yelling with excitement. This made the crown even louder and certainly made me smile bigger.
The second loop was mostly dry and the sun came out to provide some warmth and drying. I was ready to be done with the bike around mile 90 and ready to trade it for my running shoes. I heard others saying the same thing around me at the same point in the ride. I still had 22 miles to go so I tried to clear my mind of the discomfort and ride on. More rain hit at about mile 105 which helped me forget about the discomfort. The skies darkened and then opened, dumping buckets of rain on us. It lasted only a few minutes but was intense. Back into town the family in the same place yelling and cheering. I waved and smiled but did not stop this time but they all saw me and I them.
Off the bike to the run, I felt GREAT, this was the part I was most concerned about. I didn’t know if I could run the full marathon. I wanted to and I am very driven so it would have killed me not to, but in the end if I came in under 17 hours I would still be an IM. My legs felt great, my energy felt great and I was off. Out of transition I saw my Dad first and we yelled acknowledgement that we saw each other. I was looking but didn’t spot anyone else, then I heard Maria yelling my name. I had passed her and Bonnie but I turned and smiled so she knew I heard her. The first couple miles were at a quick pace for me and my heart rate was high. By mile 3, I was able to settle my heart rate and was running at a pace I felt like I could run forever. I had a plan going into the run, walk the aid stations whether I needed anything or not. That is what I did and it proved to work. Around mile 7 I started to get stomach cramps that made me quite concerned. I didn’t want to get GI issues, was this the beginning of GI issues? What do I do??? I backed off of the Osmo drink and chomps, changing to water and pretzels for a while. This didn’t seem to be helping. I thought maybe I was over hydrated so I stop drinking for a while. I went a few miles without taking in fluid and the cramps subsided. By the end of the first loop I was done with the chomps and Osmo I couldn’t eat or drink anything that was sweet and everything is sweet. At my special needs pickup I didn’t refill but dropped off my belt of fuel and continued on. Heading out for the second loop of the run again I am looking for my supporters. I see my Mom and Dad, Bonnie and Ben. Hey!!!! Dad says the rest are across the way. I keep running, looking and then I see them. I diverted my run a little to get to them for high fives and hugs. My nephew and his family have joined the supporters now as well as my dear friends Lauren and Annette. This was just what I needed to divert my attention away for the cramping. With a new found pep in my step I am off for the last 13 miles of my day. I tried some chicken broth that is served for sodium intake, YUCK!!! That was warm and gross, I poured it over ice to see if it would be better that way, NOPE. So back to pretzels and water. I stopped half way through the second run loop to pee and make sure I wasn’t dehydrated. All was well. It was not a hot day so I felt comfortable not having to take in much more than water at this point in the race. Mile 20, the dreaded mile 20 in a marathon is where I started to feel myself slow down. I still felt good but couldn’t keep up the same pace. I knew my family and friends were waiting for me and that was all the motivation I needed to continue on.
I could see the ski jumps now and that meant I was getting closer to the crowds and cheers and the finish line. It was just starting to get dark out and I thought maybe I could make it in before dark. How was this happening? I was looking at my watch and the elapsed time and I was killing my target time. How could this be happening when the run was my biggest concern going into the day? The sky continued to darken and I was handed a glow stick to wear for the balance of the run. This is for safety and sighting while running in the dark. I ran past the ski jumps down around the bend through screaming supporters, up the hill and heading into town. The lights were lit the crown was huge, the noise was loud it was exhilarating to be part of the commotion. This is it! I am about to be an Ironman!!!! Running through the cheering crowd I remembered the course takes a turn and I am not going right to the finish. I just want to finish, I want to see my family, where are they??? We are diverted to the right for what seemed like an endless run. Past the aide station to the turn around. Where is the turn around? Why does it seem so far away? Finally, there it is!!! Back towards town and towards the finish line. I did not know where my family and friends would be set up so I am scanning the crowd for green T-shirts that they all have on. I still have a mile or so to go (I think) and the crown is bringing me home. I enter the finisher shoot, this is it! I am going to be an Ironman in a couple of minutes. Still scanning, scanning, scanning… there they are!!! All of them, I slowed down and high fived everyone. I was so excited and the adrenaline was pumping not allowing me to stop. Past the family around the circle to the finish line. At 8:50:39 on July 27th 2014 I heard the six words that I have spent the past 7 months training to hear: “Gabriella Rood You are an Ironman.” I had accomplished my goal of becoming an Ironman. Even with all the training I still couldn’t believe that I would be able to say that I completed it and finished an Ironman. My target finish time was 10:20 PM. I always have a target it’s just who I am. Here is the breakout of how I came up with this number. In the water at 6:45 AM, 1:30 swim 15 minute transition. (Given the circumstances we will never know the true results of this). On the bike at 8:30 AM with a 7:30 ride time (actual was 7:07) 20 minute transition. Out to run 4:20 PM with a 6 hour run time with a finish of 10:20 PM (I thought give or take 15-15 1/2 hours to complete. The Ironman site shows a completion time of 13:19:18. This number is skewed due to the swim pull and how they calculated the numbers. The way I am calculating it is from time in water to time across the finish line putting me 14:05:XX… I am still very happy with this number. I came in 21st of 80 in my gender/age group. Coming out of the water I was 63rd in my category, coming off the bike I inched up to 31st and the run that I was so worried about pushed me up to 21st. I couldn’t be happier with these results. The most important thank you I must say is to my family, Maria, Jackson and Ella. None of this would have been possible without their love and support. Maria is my rock!!! We have two children that need extra care and she stepped in to do it all while I trained, never, ever complaining and always encouraging me along the way. Maria knew as soon as they pulled us from the water that I would not be truly satisfied and I would need to get back to Lake Placid for redemption. I will not be going back next year (we all need a break and some family time) but I have my sights set on 2016 with the families blessing. Thank you all for sharing in my journey and for supporting Holy Childhood.
THE REASON FOR MY IRONMAN QUEST FOR HOLY CHILDHOOD
My goal is to bring awareness to this very important agency and what they provide, not only for the children and adults they serve, but also their family and friends. I invite you to take a tour of Holy Childhood to learn more about this valuable agency that we are so lucky to have in our community.
Please think about making a donation in support of my Ironman race for Holy Childhood. This is a not for profit agency that relies on the generosity of people like you. No gift is too small, please give what you can.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about Holy Childhood and why it is important to my family and so many others.
Please meet the two biggest reasons why I am passionate about Holy Childhood.
11 Years Old
Jackson is a smart, funny, sensitive, kind, and shy kid. Jackson enjoys playing his memory game with anyone who'll join him. He loves dance class, plays baseball and backyard basketball. Jackson’s biggest passion is the Muppets, anything Muppets related will do (the Chef is his favorite) mostly because he throws stuff and Jackson also likes to throw --funny kid. Jackson has Down Syndrome.
8 Years Old
Ella is "Miss Social", very talkative, high energy, engaging and loud. Ella doesn't stop talking or moving from the time she wakes up until her eyes close at night. Ella loves dance class, baseball and basketball. Ella’s passion is acting out her favorite shows, she knows every line by heart. Ella has Down Syndrome.
Jackson and Ella are our son and daughter. Jackson came home April 23rd, 2003 (7 ½ weeks old) and Ella came home Dec. 21st 2005 (12 weeks old). When we became a family, Holy Childhood became a part of our family.
What is Holy Childhood?
Holy Childhood, is a non-denominational, non-profit agency, that has enriched the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than 65 years. Our mission is to prepare children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities for maximum independence and integration in the community through individualized programs and services, in keeping with the philosophy and vision of our founders. We are dedicated to serving our people in an atmosphere of dignity and compassion.
Here is why we are committed to Holy Childhood:
Our journey to Holy Childhood started 11 years ago with the homecoming of Jackson. We knew of Holy Childhood, but learned so much more when we decided to start a family and chose to have children with special needs. We knew immediately there was no other option for our children’s educational experience.
Jackson started kindergarten six years ago and Ella is in her fourth year. From a parents perspective, Holy Childhood is an amazing place. Our children not only receive a personalized education program, they also receive all of their therapies from committed teachers, therapists and aides. All of which are key to our children’s long term success, independence and ability to be active participants in the community from social to employment opportunities.
As a parent, it excites me to think that my children will have lifelong friends. We make assumptions that our children will fit in and have this type of experience, but I wasn't confident my children would have that, if it were not for this agency's commitment to this community. These are the reasons we chose Holy Childhood.
I invite you to learn more about Holy Childhood by visiting www.holychildhood.org.
2.4 mile swim/112 mile bike/26.2mile run
My journery to Ironman
It started mid-2010 and at that time, I had no idea that it would lead me here. It all started when I picked myself up off the couch, put down the remote and worked on getting in shape. Doing video workouts (P90X and Insanity) I got bored with these and needed a new challenge.
In 2011, just as I was looking for something new, I was asked if I would like to be the run leg of a Tri. SURE!!!! Little did I know that I had just committed to a 9.3 mile run and I had to be ready in 3 months! Not being a runner, I invested in a treadmill and got started. Once the weather improved I moved outside to get comfortable with road running. Well, I was ready and I finished the run. I wasn’t fast but I completed what I had set out to do. I continued running and that fall I ran my first half marathon.
At the Tri I saw people of all shapes, sizes, and ages competing and thought I could do this (not thinking an Ironman distance). I started biking (I love the bike) and got in the pool that winter. Now this was almost the end to my Tri dreams. I didn’t know, that I did not know how to swim… really swim. I just thought get in the pool and swim… NOPE!!!! I kept at it and took a few lessons. Now, I’m at a pretty good place with my swimming.
In 2012: I competed in two not so pretty sprint tri’s (truth be told I wasn’t sure I was going to make the swim) but I completed them. I also ran my first Marathon in 2012.
In 2013: Musselman 70.3 (half ironman, 1.4 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) my biggest athletic accomplishment to date. My time was better than I had anticipated with a swim that I was very happy with.
This year I am training for Ironman Lake Placid. Always wanting to be, but never being an athlete, I am so excited to be competing in an Ironman, and at age 50! I am not in it to win it but to complete it. I will not be the fastest or even close, but I am determined!!!! I have an amazing support system, my family not only supports me but pushes me. If I’m having a day that I just don’t want to go to the pool or do a second work out of the day, I hear “but you have to”. They know how important this is to me and they make sacrifices right along with me. I am a lucky woman with an amazing family and life!!!!!!
I will be updating this site with training updates, how it’s going, the good, bad and the ugly.
I am training with Valor Triathlon Project and my coach is Mary Eggars.
Strength Training: Crossfit Ambition
Computrainer: Crossfit Gordon
There’s more to come as I update you on my training!