Just finishing the Quintuple race took so much effort not only for me but for all the support crews too. Even though I later discovered that I had made a world record as the fastest female to finish 5 Ironman in 5 consecutive days, it was one of the most difficult races I've ever done.
12 mi swim, 560 mi bike, 131 mi run. 1 Ironman distance every day for 5 consecutive days.
In the swim portions I had trouble with the cold temperature of the water for the entire 5 days of the race. I encountered challenges that I had never encountered in my previous races, e.g. goggles breaking, getting almost hypothermic, so much so that I ended up screaming out for help from Spanish-speaking people up at the bridge, breaking out in tears in the middle of the swim, to feeling like my head would explode, because it was so cold. Vineta was in a kayak nearby for support and gave me hot water periodically to get warm because I was shivering so much. I treated the hot water like a treasure and kept telling Vineta, “Let’s save it for my last laps. I'll need it.”
Bike was fine but got dramatic when I couldn’t even sit on my saddle. I was desperate for help for my aching butt, while I still had another 100 miles to ride.
Then in the run part, my body felt different amounts of pain as the day went by, but I just had to accept it as “normal.”
After the race, I couldn’t eat at times as my body refused to do so. I’d be relieved to just be able to drink my full bottle of protein with carbopro nutrition. There were times that I just felt nauseated that I ended up not drinking at all.
Lack of sleep was also unavoidable. The longer I stayed on the race course, the less sleep I got. My alarm controlled the time I got up every morning. I just got up and accepted the fact that I was there to finish the race. There was no way that I was going home with DNF.
It was tough. Even on the last day, Friday, I got up a little earlier just because I kept on coughing uncontrollably. All I had to do was take medicine and everything was sweet and dandy and back to normal… but just by doing that I pretty much lost 30 minutes precious sleep. Yes, I was on TheraFlu, Mucinex and Ibuprofen for the entire week as I had lingering cold. For some reason, I didn't feel it during the race. I kept telling myself I'm fine and not sick at all. My dad prayed over me every morning. I asked Vineta to read FB messages during my dark times to give me a boost to continue. So thank you very much to those who reached out!
The race was very difficult mentally. A lot of people told and thanked me for my smiles. I shared my smile because I was happy and felt privileged to have an able body to be at the race. Plus, I wanted to send a positive message to fellow athletes and support crews.
There were only a few daring females who had the nerve to compete in this race. Hence, I had no other goal besides finishing the race and beating the men to the finish line. Nevertheless, I felt honored to be racing with all of them. They were all experienced while I had started my ultra triathlon exactly a year ago. I just took a giant leap and big risk… With hard work during training, I made it through. For these reasons, I feel very happy and proud at the end.