Dana Dudley FTR May Athlete of the Month
WR: Hello Dana, congratulations being selected athlete of the month after Ironman Texas. What have you been doing with your time off these days?
DD: SLEEPING IN! Haha and relishing in my accomplishment. Catching up on things like housework and spending time with friends and family who helped me along this incredible journey.
WR: Awesome! Who helped you along your journey?
DD: So many people helped me with this BHAG. My coach who got me thru this injury free, My running buddies Amie and Tina who were there on treadmills or 5 am, Blaise and Coach Sherril for the OWS and all the encouragement when I doubted myself, and especially my husband who was there all the time helping me and taking care of the house and all the other things I could not do while training, and ZB for getting me into all this triathlon stuff.
WR: We definitely know your husband was your biggest supporter for you on this journey. What sparked the initial interest in wanting to do an Ironman triathlon?
DD: When I was 45 I decided I wanted to start running and thought a half marathon or a full marathon would be a great goal to work towards. So before I turned 50 I had run 3 marathons. I have to have a race or goal to motivate me. So I volunteered to help at the triathlon put on by Steve Farris. I loved it and one of my doctors wife competed and I spoke to her afterwards. She loaned me a bike to ride and I signed up for a training class and it’s history from there. I never thought I would do an Ironman and now I have no idea what I will work towards next. Maybe the Dopey challenge in Disney World?
WR: How does it feel to be an Ironman?
DD: Awesome! I realize what an accomplishment it is and how hard I had to work for it. Now to figure out where to put the tattoo.
WR: Haha, alright.
You had a busy year including several losses in your family and increased load at work, this definitely didn’t make it easy on you. How did this affect your ability to train?
DD: It actually helped with everything that was going on because I was able to remove myself from the situations/work and look forward to just training and not getting dragged down by what was happening. But it also was a challenge to stay in the training mode just because of all that happened.
WR: Despite the situations you were able to get through it. Tell me how your experience was at Ironman Texas, through the check in process to the finish line. Help our readers live through your experience and what it was like.
DD: By the time the race day comes you are walking on cloud nine. From the time you walk-in into the check in tent the volunteers are congratulating you for you accomplishment because the hardest part of all this is behind you and you feel amazing. Finding your name on the official Ironman T-shirt is thrilling and yet there is a sense of calmness. Preparing all you transition bags and making sure you are prepared for anything, getting your bike ready and sleeping are really the only things I focused on Thursday. Friday morning was swim practice at the swim site. Just remember no chip no dip! practice went well and spent the rest of the day hydrating and eating and staying off my feet. Slept pretty well and was at the race by 4:30 am. The swim was a rolling start and that made you feel like cattle and once you walk over the timing line they grab your arms and lead you into the water. I had a hard time catching my breath so I did the first half of the loop doing backstroke. Once I got my breathe I moved into the freestyle and did pretty well. Got out of the water at 1:39 and was wanting to finish by 1:40.
Got my wetsuit off and grabbed the bike transition bag and headed to the tent to change. Volunteers are wonderful in transition. They laid out all my bike gear and I changed into my bike gear. I left my shoes on my bike so I won’t have to run in them which was a good idea. Once on the bike you take a meandering route to the Hardy toll road and that’s when the headwind was brutal. Two laps and made it back to transition 15 minutes before the cutoff. Really felt pretty good but I knew I was behind. I walked the first lap just to get my legs and feet back under me. I saw my husband at mile 7 and he asked me if I was ready to quit because I was 45 minutes behind the cutoff. So if I wanted to hear my name I better start running.
Then my support group was there; ZB, Tina, brad, Kimberly, and Seth & Jeffrey in speedos. Made me laugh. Then ZB joined me on the second round and Tina and Jeffrey joined in to help me home. Now that it’s done I don’t remember the last lap but I remember coming across the finish line and hearing the crowd and seeing the expression on my husband’s face I was glad I got thru before the cutoff.
WR: excellent, I was tracking you from the start. I could tell the headwind was brutal. I was texting ZB midway into the run the splits you needed to be at, he did tell me you were in good spirits and such, so I knew we still had a chance to get in under the cut off and boy did pick it up the second half. Great job!
Can you elaborate on how the FTR coaching helped you? We did a hand a lot of problems managing consistency but we were able to get good block of training in before Ironman Texas.
DD: I had lots of distractions during my training for IMTX. New pressures at work, several loss of close family members and just life in general. I hired Coach Ritter because I did not want to get injured and I wanted a solid base. That’s just what he did without any help from me. He made sure I was working out appropriately and made sure I was resting on rest days. Looking back there was no way I could have done it on my own. Many thanks to all those that helped me along the way.
What’s next? You mentioned the Disney Challenge, but I hear rumors floating around that you’re feeling pretty good and already talking about another Ironman so you can get some redemption from that headwind on the bike.
I’m not sure I’ll do Texas again but I’m keeping all my options open for another full Ironman.
WR: Awesome! I can’t wait to see what is next for you. It’s been a pleasure working with you. You know you can always reach me.
DD: Thank you so much