Lex Gedeon: Road to Ironman Blog 19

We’ll see if I can write this coherently and without sobbing twelve hundred times.

I have been trying to find the words to describe the experience of this past weekend.  People keep asking me how it was and I usually say, “It was insane.” Accurate. It was also wonderful, terrible, amazing, and horrible.  What I experienced on Sunday will never be duplicated—both fortunately and unfortunately. 

I like sleep.  Friday night Lisa and my tent was attacked by raccoons all night.  I am not a fan of the gross parts of nature (remember my opossum debacle?).  Needless to say, there wasn’t a lot of sleep for anyone. On Saturday, Jay, Kyle, and I headed out to pick up all of our packets and get everything set up in our transition areas.  Kyle, being the OCD caveman he is, took his sweet time…but other than that, it was uneventful. I was panicking a lot. Pretending I was calm. PSA: If I tell you I’m calm, there is a 99% chance I am lying—I have never been calm a day in my life.  While Glaspy’s went to the beach for Skylynn’s birthday (I didn’t want to be in the sun), I got to spend some time with Lunsfords and Lisa under the pop-ups and relaxing. It was perfect.

Saturday night?  I slept three hours.  I was tossing and turning, freaking out about getting a flat tire, going through every scenario in my head of what could go wrong.  It was a long night. At 4:30, I finally got up and ate with Kyle and Jay. We made our way to the bathrooms for our special bonding time of nervous shitting within earshot of one another, and picked up a dude from Holland, Lars, and headed off to the beach.  

Seeing everyone there was incredible.  And overwhelming. We say Carey Pemberton and I gave her a big hug.  It was exactly what I needed. No matter how long and how hard I looked, I could not find Carrie anywhere and I freaked out for a while wondering if she even got in the water.  I made some new friends, Kate and BK, who were super positive and kept me grounded. I saw Eric right before entering the water—it was amazing to see a familiar face, and I knew I had it.

The swim was fine.  Super congested, super chaotic.  I was kicked and scratched and swam over more times than I remember.  Due to constantly trying to dodge people, I swam about 300 yards over the distance and finished in 52 minutes.  I saw Cortney (I know others were there—but she was the one I remembered) and knew I still had the support team there.  The bike transition was eat, put on socks and shoes, helmet, sunscreen, and go. I saw my parents and brothers right before my first turn onto 23.  I was so excited. They made signs and were cheering for me. I was on cloud 9. Until I wasn’t.

I saw all the cars slam on the brakes and bikes dropping to the ground.  I heard someone scream, “Biker down!” and another start yelling for someone CPR certified.  I jumped off the bike and said I was. What I saw I will never forget or unsee for the rest of my life.  Ever. I stood over a woman who had been hit by a semi. I looked down and knew there was nothing I could do.  It’s nothing like I can describe. And I won’t. Another woman ran up behind me and stated that she was a doctor.  I backed away and went to my bike. All of my nutrition and water bottles were strewn across the road as I had thrown my bike down when I jumped off.  I got back on my seat and rode on like I was in a dream. More like a nightmare. Kristen, we will never truly know what happened on that day. What was going on.  But my heart breaks for you and your family. Ironman is supposed to be a wonderful day. I am so sorry and will always be thinking of everyone involved.

The bike is a blur.  I sobbed for a long time.  I saw my family a ton of times (they did a lot of driving and I will never be able to thank them enough for their support).  Kyle came up behind me around mile 14 or 15 and yelled, “Sexy Lexi!” and that also boosted my spirit. I saw my new friends, Kate and BK, along the course as well and had little conversations with them.  Miles 20-56 were constant headwind. Painful headwind. Thanks, Joe. Then it was intense hills from miles 46-56. When I finally got done with the bike, I knew I was in trouble for the run. My heart rate was through the roof the entire bike and I didn’t know how I was supposed to keep going.  Out I went.

Again, I saw family and friends and saw smiles along the run.  It was insanely hot. I was splashed with water and had ice thrown down my shirt almost every aid station.  I chugged as much as I could without throwing up and kept moving on. I saw Kyle again. He was on lap two when I was on lap one.  He looked incredible. His positivity gave me life for a little bit. Once I started lap two, I saw my family again. I remember my dad yelling, “You look great!” and me yelling back, “I feel like shit!”  Just being honest! I walked a lot during miles 8-11, but I knew I was going to finish. At one point I realized I never had to do this again and got excited.  

The finish line was perfect.  The good thing about finishing last?  Everyone was there to cheer for you. Haha.  We had a sea of JG3 people in the stands, Amanda and her kids right outside the stadium, my uncles, aunt, cousins, and grama right outside the stadium, and my parents and brothers at the finish line.  It was so loud. Incredible. I get emotional thinking about it. As soon as I finished, people were throwing a medal, a hat, and water in my hands and I made my way to the timing chip tent to sit in the shade and cry.  The emotions. Wow. I got up and gave my family huge hugs and got to share the experience with my gym family. My heart was so full and so broken at the same time.

To everyone who came to camp, to watch, tracked me on the app, and supported me along the way – I will never be able to thank you enough.  I won’t. EVERY SINGLE JG3 MEMBER was with us. You did this with us. My family? They saw my struggle. They saw the work I put in. They supported me and pushed me when I didn’t want to keep going.  They drove miles and miles to make sure I felt supported the whole race. Like damn.

To the team.  John was with me during a ton of pool swims and was so supportive.  I cannot wait for your turn. Jason was the first person I swam in the lake with for open water and would check in to make sure training was going well.  Next year? Absolutely your year. Kyle. Kyle, we ran in a blizzard together. Haha. But you were always so positive throughout the process. It was what we needed.  Carrie, our swims and bike and runs together always had great conversation and always made me feel like I could do anything. And Jay. I already told you a lot of what I wanted to say.  Thank you for making a program that worked best for me and always reminding me that I’m a badass.

A lot of people have asked me if I would ever do this again.  My answer? Absolutely not. Seeing what I saw and the mental and physical pain that occurred over the last seven months…nope.  I was honored to do this for Joe and know that the title of IronWoman will never be taken away. It was, as I said, an incredible and horrible experience.  I think I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. It’s been a rough few days since I’ve been home both physically and mentally. However, I’m super excited to get back to my home and workout with my favorite people.

#foreverpembertonstrong

#ripkristen

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Road to Ironman: Jay Blog 18

Ironman 70.3 was one of the most emotional weekends of my entire life.  So many highs and lows. 

If you know anything about JG3 Fitness or myself, you know we do things big and we do them as a group.  It’s just how I feel moments are meant to be spent.  Friday started off with my family pulling a camper down to Delaware State Park with Cortney, Kyle and Lex following.  We got down and set up the camp site to be joined later in the day by the Lunsford’s, Aaron and Christina Rodriguez and Lisa Kramer.  My brother and sister and law’s and their families were down in a different area of the campground too.  The day’s mission was just to eat and relax.  We went to the beach and just got as prepared as possible. That night we were chilling around the fire eating, when raccoons galore showed up.  We had been warned about this but didn’t realize how quickly they would show up so we learned to put our food away a lot sooner in the night. 

Saturday was my daughter’s eighth birthday and the plan was to get our athlete stuff out of the way so we could enjoy the night.  This is the first time I let creep into my brain how big of an event this was.  The bike racks, the expo, the rules, it was all overwhelming at first.  We wrapped up with everything and had a huge BBQ for my daughter’s birthday.  The coolest part of doing an event like this, a lot of the same people were invested in enjoying my daughter’s birthday.  So we ate a ton of food, relaxed and enjoyed the little moments.  Then we crashed really early.  Side note: Jason Dunfee had showed up and asked to sleep in our camper. 

3:30 AM, some dipshit’s (yes Jason, I’m fucking talking to you) alarm went off and it was time to get up I guess.  We ate our prepared oatmeal bowls from CR Juices and chit chatted.  Walked to the shower area to get the first of many “nervous shits” out of our system.  Kyle made a friend that he offered to take to the Ironman course with us and we patiently waited to get going.  All trying to maintain our composure as the day was here. 

We showed up at the swim at roughly 5:30 and headed straight to “Athlete Marking” to get our numbers drawn on us.  I made a joke to the guy doing mine that he was going to have to write them over tattoos and he laughed and said good call.  Then I heard someone yell “Jay” it was Carey Pemberton.  The first emotional high of the day.  We all hugged her and chatted with her, handed her our bags.  Took “nervous shit” number two and then we headed over to a quieter area to chill before the race.  At this point I realized I forgot my chapstick sunscreen and that Carrie Mayle still wasn’t there.  I did happen to see Mary Mayle so Carrie was there I just wasn’t going to see her before the event.  It was time for emotional moment number two. 

I hugged Kyle and Lex and told them to trust their training and they fucking got this (along with some personal shit that is for their ears only).  Then I fucking stressed that I couldn’t find Carrie.  I had to go to the starting line as I was going to be in the second group of people to go.  So that went to an emotional low as I really value myself as a coach, not just an athlete but it was out of my control. 

An odd calmness came over me as I stepped up and wiped off my goggles, this was going to be a good day I just knew it.  Joe was with me and he would make it so.  Then I entered the water…. And got kicked right in the fucking Adam’s apple and swallowed what felt like a gallon of bacteria infested water.  I battled not puking and immediately got hit with reality.  2600 people wanted to finish Ironman and they didn’t care if they ran you over to do it.  I should’ve seeded myself faster, swam out ahead of people and just got out of the way.  You live and learn.  I veered off to the side of the course and stayed clear from all but two people.  The guy who kicked me… I pulled his ass under me out of frustration.  Another guy who ran into me and several women, I ran over him.  Other than that the swim was non eventful. 

Exiting the water and seeing your loved ones is something that I’m unable to put into words.  I thought I was so happy and had to have looked it, they said I looked angry.  I guess I hadn’t recovered from getting kicked.  It was transition time which meant eat, put socks and shoes on and apply sunscreen before moving to the approved bike area.  Then it was bike time.

Holy fuck, I am not good on a bike.  Because of my swimming ability, I was able to be out with a lot of the pros for the first part of the bike.  They made me feel very inadequate and I had to just ride my own race, I didn’t.  Try not to keep up, I did.  And don’t do anything stupid, I did again.  I went out the first hour in the fastest pace I have ever done by over a mile.  I needed to pull my shit together or I was in for a long day.  That’s when I hit emotional low, I forgot my salt tablets and started cramping… at mile 30 of the bike.  Fuck this was going to be a long day.

In saying that, I kept fighting and kept trying to stay in the game.  I kept asking Joe for signs and he would hit me with a head wind that made me want to cry… he didn’t want it to be easy.  I just had to keep moving.  I was going to get it done, but it would be a battle and slow because quitting wasn’t an option. 

Emotional high number three came at the bike to run transition when I saw my family again, this time my kids were there.  I was done with the bike and dealing with cramps but seeing my loved ones gave me a boost I couldn’t believe.  Racked the bike and put shoes one, applied sunscreen and 13.1 more miles to go. 

Starting the run I forced myself to smile for all my friends and family.  I pointed to my kids, I smiled at my wife and whoever was standing with her (I apologize as I don’t remember which groups were where).  I know I saw the Lunsford’s, England’s and Carey Pemberton at some point too.  Christina and Aaron.  So many people were there for us.  I had to keep moving and look happy, even if Jason was telling them that my pace was off compared to training. 

As soon as I could no longer see my family… I walked.  I was in hell.  Thinking about quitting and something being easy are two different things.  There was no fucking way I was quitting, there was no way I was going fast either though.  Mile 1, I hit red bull (caffeine for headache) and ice station to cool off.  Not a lot to talk about until mile 7 other than a lot of reminding myself to stay in the fight.

Mile 7 I hear, “There’s that sexy ass I’ve been looking for all day!” and a bunch of women saying what?  I knew the voice, he was talking to me.  Kyle came up and looked insanely good.  He picked me up and we ran together for a mile.  It was very clear he was in good shape while I needed to pace, he told me that the Carrie and Lex were out of the water and on the bike.  Which was a huge emotional high.  Then he told me about an accident that unfortunately ended in a death on the course.  He told me to finish with him.  I told him I needed ice and let him go. 

Mile (fuck I don’t know somewhere around 11-12) I get squirted with a water bottle from none other than Mighty Mouse (Carrie Mayle).  She asked how I was doing, I mumbled something about clearly being in good shape as everyone keeps catching me.  She laughed and asked if we would finish together, I said you are going to have to walk a bit, I have maybe the last mile in me.  Then she walked with me.  Carrie doesn’t like to walk, she said walking means it doesn’t count… yet she walked with me because we were finishing together.  After hitting the last aid station, we ran. 

Emotional rollercoaster alert.  We are about to enter the stadium to finish and Amanda and her girls were right at the entrance, big high fives and so happy to see.  We enter the stadium and it sounded like the loudest thing I have ever heard.  Carrie and I both said no sprinting so we casually ran.  Then you saw the sea and I mean sea of JG3 in the stands.  They were going nuts.  Just get to the finish before you lose it.  We cross the finish line and I look up (as does Carrie) and just said, “I love you Joe and I miss you buddy this was all for you!”  I hug Carrie and tell her I’m proud and then I make a straight path to my wife and kids.

I kiss my wife, my son and my daughter.  Then I move on to Carey Pemberton and I did what I’ve dreamt of doing for over five months, I hung the medal on her and gave her a big hug.  Then I don’t really know the order of people I went but I just soaked up the moment.  Then asked who was tracking Lex, to which everyone was.  And we got ready to go ape shit when Lex crossed.  Which she did not long after.  Which was amazing and I’m so proud. 

Acknowledgements:

Debbie, you are my rock and I love you more than I can ever show.  Thanks for supporting me and being there the entire weekend.  This was as much you as it was me!

Trenton and Skylynn, Daddy loves you so much and hopes you chase your dreams.

Joe Pemberton: This was for you. I miss you everyday bro. I love you.

Carey, Alayna and Taylor Pemberton, you are family.  I love you all.  This started for your husband/father but I hope you know it will continue for you. 

Kyle Tester: You are a different “Bread” I am so proud of you brother.  You are an Ironman.  The rest I shared privately.   

Lex Gedeon: You are far more mentally tough than you ever let on.  You are a boss and an IronWOMAN.  The rest I shared privately.

Carrie Mayle:  You are a pain in my ass, but you are still one of my favorite people in the world.  It was an honor crossing the finish line with you.  You are an IronWOMAN.  The rest I shared privately.

Christina and Aaron Rodriguez.  Holy shit did you guys do a lot to prep us for this.  Lemony-lytes, oatmeal bowls and so much more.  Thank you for everything you did and always do for me.

Lisa Kramer.  You helped more than anyone will ever realize.  Thank you.

Jason Dunfee.  Thanks for waking us up at 3:30 dick.  HAHAHA.  Thanks for always knowing every little detail of our training so you could communicate what was going on.

Cortney McNair.  Thanks for dealing with our asses all weekend.  You are a special individual and it’s been a pleasure getting to know you.

The Lunsford’s.  Thanks for camping and being there for everyone and especially thanks for the brisket. 

The England’s.  I know you don’t miss church often.  Thanks for the encouraging words and being there because you knew it was important.  You guys are awesome.

The Johnson’s.  It was awesome knowing you were going to be there.  It was even better when I was done and getting to thank you in person.

Amanda.  Thanks for coming down and seeing us cross into the stadium. 

Magic Mike (Eric Torres): Thanks for being there and the encouraging texts. 

To anyone and everyone else that sent me text messages of support: I thank you.  I don’t want to risk missing someone because there were so many.  Thank you all.

Finally, to all the people who talked shit, said it was impossible, said we didn’t prepare right, said I wasn’t a smart coach, said anything negative or copied my actions for personal gain…. Thanks, your words were needed too.


I can’t doesn’t exist.  BOOM.

Jay

#4for4

#ironman #ironwoman

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Road to Ironman: Jay Blog 17

I’m sure next week I will talk about the race week jitters and all the preparations for the actual event, this week is about relaxation.

When you spend seven to eight months preparing for an event, you sometimes get lost in the goal. I constantly caught myself thinking about the end result and being pulled back to enjoy the journey itself. Ultimately the journey is usually what you remember more than the accomplishment. If you don’t enjoy the journey, you won’t enjoy the result.

After finishing the trial run of 70.3, I just tried to enjoy life for the past week (it’ll end up being two by event time). Yes, I still worked out and got what I needed to for the taper. More importantly, I slept/rehydrated and spent a lot of time with my family. That is much needed when it comes to dealing with the stress of the actual event being here. So this week’s message, always lean on your loved ones and spend time with them when stressed… it helps.

As always, I can’t doesn’t exist. BOOM.

Jay

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Lex Gedeon: Road to Ironman Blog 18

Tapering.  Tapering is amazing.

After suffering from some heat exhaustion last Saturday and just an overall intense 7 months, nothing feels better than knowing you don’t have to do any 3 hour rides, two hour runs, or three days a week of swimming.  Letting the body heal and rest to allow better performance. Now that is what I like to hear.

This week was slow.  I made the mistake of working 11 hours again on Sunday in the heat, carrying beer and ice over God’s green earth and discovered that was extremely stupid to do after completing a 70.3 the day before.  Monday was the rest day I needed. I slept in (until 8:45—crazy!) and stretched a ton. On Tuesday I got my mom to come with me to the high school so I could get 1000 yards in. Turns out, it was my fastest 1000 yards (22:07), AND 500 yards (10:51) I’d ever swam.  I looked up at the wall and saw the fastest girls and boys records for the 500 were 5:05 and 4:55 (I think) respectively. I laughed at my joy of hitting my fastest times, but was honestly proud. My first 1000 yards was like…31 minutes or something. I think I must’ve gotten better or something.  Those 4:30am wake up calls to get in the pool apparently did some good.

Wednesday I biked 8 miles in my basement just to get some blood flowing and did a ton of stretching.  Thursday I biked 15.25 miles outside and really struggled with my heart rate. It was skyrocketing without doing much.  I felt okay, but I think between still recovering from Saturday and changing a medication, I was just a little off. This morning, before it got unbelievably hot, I hit a three mile run.  I learned something this morning—I am no longer the youngster who could get up and workout early and eat breakfast later. I came home, tried to stretch, and threw up. Between no breakfast and the heat, I should’ve known better.  Lex, your body is getting older and needs food to survive. Lesson learned.

I’m getting super excited for 9 days from now.  The amount of support and positivity that has been shown between my gym family, my friend family, and my blood family has been nothing short of incredible.  I know, without anyone telling me, that people had doubts I would stick it out. But I did. Just like I said last week (or Monday), regardless of what happens in 9 days (so crazy to think it’s so close), I’ve already proven myself.  How can you not be proud of that?

#iwrotethisonthetoilet

#FortBallBuffetIsCallingMyName

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Road to Ironman: Jay Blog 16

It’s been a long road to this point.  It’s been a lot different than originally thought.  So many emotions both high and low go into something that you train seven months for.  Saturday was the culmination of training and brought everything full circle. 

Thank heavens it wasn’t fucking HOT on Saturday, it was much cooler than during the week.  It started off with our new puppy Stella deciding six was too late to sleep in the camper and she wanted up dammit.  I drank my two meal replacement shakes and some water and got prepared to head to the beach.  This was going to be a family affair, the only way we know how. 

We got to the beach and Stella met some dog friends and was running around swimming.  I was pleasantly surprised by the clearness of the water.  I was also surprised by the temperature of the water.  It was very humid out already, despite reports of it being forecasted as a cool day.  We wandered off into the swim, Lex and I were a team today… NO MATTER WHAT.

The swim hasn’t been a concern of mine but with the recent drownings in the area, Lisa and Debbie watched from the shore and I kept checking to verify where Lex was.  Unfortunately, we ended about quarter mile from each other at one point and just had to trust the training had her prepared.  It did.  I finished in about thirty six minutes (I’m not really sure because I naturally overshot my target).  Lex finished in fifty or so. 

We lightly conversed and started getting shoes and all on for the bike.  Liberally applying sunscreen (did I mention it wasn’t very hot?) and drinking our hydration drinks from CR Juices.  Lex had a little hiccup with the handlebars, we ended up needing to take a wheel off and deflate it to fix everything.  This meant transporting back to the camper to pump her tire back up.  After the brief detour, we set off on a nice and easy (not to mention cool) fifty six mile bike. 

The scenery was beautiful, the traffic was plentiful and the first half of the loop wasn’t bad.  Then we hit wind plus elevation.  Imagine climbing a quarter to half mile hill with about thirty mile an hour winds in your face and dumbass cars trying to show you who deserved the road.  That was the next thirty minutes.  The plan was to just go right into the second loop, I called and audible and took us back through the park to ease the tension for a bit.  Then we would do the loop again in reverse and have ten miles to make up at the very end. 

The second loop, no talking, no real enjoyment.  Miles thirty to forty six was just silence and legs churning… harder than they should’ve been this early in the event.  We ended up timing things almost perfectly as after the ten mile stretch of just weaving in and out of any side road we could fine, we headed back to the campsite, having just drank our last sip of water.  In typical fashion, we overshot the bike too.  We were at three hours and forty minutes for the bike.  For those with math skills, you know for an eight and a half hour time cap, we would have about four hours to complete the half marathon run then (yes we had transitions, they will be different at the event). 

We slid on our running shoes, drank some water and I had a meal replacement shake.  Put more sun screen on (seems excessive for how cool it was Saturday *picking up my sarcasm yet?) then loaded up two water bottles, one for the freezer and one for the run.  We would do three and a half mile loops so we were never without water and we had four hours.  The only rule, don’t stop the fucking watch when you go inside… that would be cheating ourselves. 

The plan was four minutes run, one minute walk right off the bat.  It was pretty obvious at mile one how much trouble I was in.  I don’t know what was going on in Lex’s head at this point because I was in my own hell.  I’m a fairly positive person, yet I like to think negatively just to make myself laugh at times.  At one point on the run, I told Lex well thank God I’m to fucking stubborn to quit because I’m fucking done.  Then we walked into the camper at mile seven to exchange water bottles. 

I FUCKING SAT DOWN to pet Stella.  It was over.  Fuck it, I quit.  I don’t have to do this.  I don’t need this today.  Then a text, from Jason Dunfee (who had to withdraw because of a shoulder injury) that simply read… keep going.  I stood up and it was go time.

Then we saw (I could be mixing up the order of these because well that big orange thing that wasn’t supposed to be out… was out the entire day and it was according to my weather app unsafe for sensitive individuals with a heat index of one hundred and four but I digress) Christina hanging out of the truck yelling at us to keep going.  The wind picked up and I remembered Joe P and the Pemberton family who would be up at the campsite later to chill.  I remembered Cassandra and Corey were coming up to hang out.  I remembered every single text or word of encouragement from every person that has ever been sent to me.  We kept moving. 

I made fun of my ego for thinking a three hour half marathon was easy in any conditions.  I made fun of the thought that walking was quitting.  I talked about singing the same fucking song (Something’s Gotta Give by All Time Low) for the last three hours straight inside my head because well something had to give.  It just wasn’t what I thought.  It was my ego.  It had to let go of expectations and just move. 

We were down to two miles left and we decided we could run a minute and walk a minute.  We did that until we realized my wandering around the camper looking for water left me a few hundredths ahead of Lex.  So we made a game plan to end at the water.  Which I couldn’t tell Debbie or anyone anymore because my sweat covered phone locked itself out because of a high temperature issue.  We finished at the beach and casually strolled to the water and fell in. 

Here’s the thing.  When you work so hard for something and accomplish it in training, there is zero fucking doubt come race day.  No matter what happens next, I’m a fucking Ironman and Lex is an Ironwoman.  It’s that simple. 

Two seconds after finishing, my kids decided to spray me with water guns and wanted to play.  This is why I train so hard, I got the hell up and started playing with them.  You know why?  Because training smart beats training hard every day of the week.  Thanks for reading my “book” of a blog this week. 

As always, I can’t doesn’t exist.

BOOM

Jay

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