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Road to the Iron Man

December 12, 2007
by Leslie Biernat

It is official, Iím in, Ironman 2008 here I come!!  Registration closed in 20 minutes and I was one of the last ones to get in whew!  So now Iím a little scared, what was I thinking?? What am I thinking?  Okay I am doing this for all of us survivors and I will represent us well.  So now as I continue my road to the Ironman I will update you on the latest in my journey.  

I finished the Chicago Triathlon, which took place in August, my time was 3 hours 25 minutes to complete the 1.0-mile swim, 26-mile bike, and 10k run.  The day before the race my friend and I went down to Chicago and registered and of course bought a few things at the expo, a girl must shop.  We started to realize that we were really going to be doing this and our nerves started kicking in, there were going to be over 8000 people participating in this event, WOW!  

The next morning we were up at 3:45 am to arrive at the lake around 4:30 to set up our transition areas, drop off our bikes, and then wait.  My age group didnít start until 8:15 am so I had to wait 4 hours before I could even get in the water, talk about nerve racking.  I tried to swallow down a bagel with peanut butter and a few bananas along with a lot of water.  When my time came I was cold, tired, and now pretty nervous.  The water temperature of Lake Michigan was 66 degrees and even with a wet suit that is cold!  As I jumped in and my face was submerged into the cold dark mirky water the cold reflex began, I couldnít catch my breath, and before I could the gun went off and we off.  Seeing I couldnít breathe and I surely couldnít put my face under the water I had to revert to my good old side stroke and the butterfly with my head out of the water.  For a moment I was so angry and disappointed in myself because I am a good swimmer and I kept telling myself if you donít get yourself together it will take you 2 hours to finish this 1 mile swim so come on.  Well after ľ of mile, and as I warmed up, I was able to place my face under the water and begin swimming the crawl, my time in the water was 45 minutes, which normally could have been 28 minutes.   

I finished the swim feeling great, relieved, exhilarated and now I had to run about ľ mile to my bike as I am trying to peel off my wet suit.  The bike went smooth and as I was entering the run transition a sense of pride came over me and I welled up with tears that I was actually doing this and I was going to finish it, thank you God for the opportunity and for my health, I am a survivor in life and in this event.  I stopped early on in the run to use the bathroom, all that water I have been drinking was starting to take a toll and I was not about to urinate on myself like some of the pros, a pro I am not!  I ran the whole 10k never stopping, just a nice steady pace armed with my water bottles attached to a waist belt.  I kept on running, talking to myself and admiring the beautiful scenery until I reached the finish line, feeling strong, and with a huge smile on my face, I did it!  After a moment I realized that to finish the Ironman I have to race about 4 more times. I laughed to myself and said you better keep trainingÖÖ  

So thatís what I am going to do.  I took a little break after that race cutting back training and enjoying life.  I know come January I will be hitting the training harder and getting back on track with preparation for the upcoming event. I canít express in words the sense of accomplishment and pride I felt that day and I can only imagine how I will feel as I cross the finish line in Madison on September 7, 2008 when I become an Ironman!  I pray that all of you will continue to accomplish your dreams and goals regardless of what you may be facing.  I am also trying to raise money for my Survivorship Fund by doing this event through donations.  So please if you are able to give to my cause or send me an E-mail ( or letters to help keep me going I would so appreciate it and so will the many survivors my fund will touch.  If you are able send donations or letters please send them to:  

Leslie Biernat (Breast Care Coordinator)

2900 W. Oklahoma Avenue

PO Box 2901

Milwaukee, WI 53201-2901

6 Center Building  

Checks can be made out to Survivorship Fund.  All donations are tax deductible and you will receive a thank you letter from the fundís officer.  Thank you again for your prayers and donations.  So until next time I will continue my road to the IronmanÖ..


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