I woke up race morning ready to go.  I was unsure how the day would unfold, as I was coming into the race with some deep fatigue and inconsistent training.  But as a pro, it is my job to toe the line, with nothing but thoughts of racing in mind!  My goal was to race from the gun and see what my body gave me.  If it carried me all the way to the finish line feeling great, then yay!  And if not, then, I’d finish with a smile and we would know just how much I could push at this point in time.  
We drove out to Clinton State Park before the sun had even thought about rising.  The cars were backed up all the way to the entrance.  There was no way I could just sit in the car and wait….so super hubby unloaded me and my bike and off I went.  Although it was still dark out, the road was totally lit up by the constant stream of headlights, which made it a fun ride to transition.  I arrived at T2 and got set up and heard the water temp had dropped overnight, just enough to make it wetsuit legal…hmmmm….really?!  Then I cruised on down the big hill to T1 and the swim start area.  I got my bike racked and was ready to go.  Well…I guess there was still a big long line of cars trying to get in and parked, so there was a slight delay to the start.  I got my wetsuit on, gave Randy a kiss, and headed to the water.  I had about 20min until the women’s start…so I swam around and go warmed up, physically and literally.  It was going to be a HOT swim!  
alt= "amanda stevens"

Doc Amanda Stevens heading to the swim start! Ironman Kansas 70.3!

The men started and then our canon shot off 4min later, we were off!  After about 500meters, I was finally able to start to put a gap on the other fast swimmers and pull away.  At the far turn buoy, which was about half-way, I was burning up! Why am I in a wetsuit?! So I kept it on full gas for about 500meter then shifted into cruise control.  It was going to be a long day and I was still uncertain how my body was going to respond.  In and out of transition and me and my Boardman were on our way!  Randy was 5miles up the road, out on the dam, taking photos and it was great to see him, I gave him a big wave and a smile!

Amanda Stevens

Heading out onto the Ironman Kansas 70.3 56mile bike course.

My legs were feeling decent, so I decided I would just go with it and see how far they took me.  I love racing off the front and today would be no different.  I was in no man’s land, just me and my bike, giving it what I could.  The course had some great rollers and some wind too.  At the first out and back turn around, I could see the girls charging hard behind.  From my estimate, I had about 45seconds on Rachel and Ruth.  I kept pushing hard but my legs started to rebel.  Okay, Amanda, stay positive, stay in the moment.  At the next out and back they were even closer, like less than 15seconds.  My mind immediately went to, okay, when they pass you, you have to go.  Dig deep.  Make it happen.  Then, my real brain switched back on.  Whoa!  Mrs. Stevens, you wait a minute, they have not caught you yet…you just keep on pushing down the road!  Well…they did eventually catch me…and they did disappear up the road.  I managed my effort as best I could, I mean, I still did have a half marathon to run, and I had no idea if my legs, or more specifically my run legs had decided to show up.  As I pulled into T2, there were two other girls right on my heels, Lauren and Laura.  
alt= "amanda stevens"

Lap 1 of the 13.1 mile run.

We took off on the run and while my run legs weren’t there out of the gates, I was hoping they would come around.  During the first two miles, Lauren caught and passed me, then when Laura passed me, I did everything I could to stay with her.  We made our way up the first big hill and she slowly drifted away.  At that point, I knew my body was not responding, but knew my head was still in the game.  So, I just kept digging deep and focusing on my cadence and form. I  finished lap 1 and as I began the second one, we merged with age group athletes starting lap 1.  Some dude came flying out of transition, right past me.  I was like, oh buddy, you really gonna hold that pace all day?!  But since my competitive drive was still in full gear, I couldn’t let him get away!  So I tried to pick it up…and then uh oh.  Something is working its way up.  Try to hold it in, try to hold it in.  Nope, not happening…epic puke time.  Now, if any of you have seen one of my epic pukes you know it is quite a spectacle.  Full on, mouth-to-ground projectile puke.  Like 4 rounds of it!  Well, that took like a minute (and all my calories and electrolytes) of my time…then it was back to work.  At this point, the dude from transition was about 1minute up the road, I had to catch him!  Well, well, well, at about 1.5miles, he was walking, so I passed him with a satisfied smile.  I’ll take the small victories today!  After that, it was truly a matter of survival to the finish line as I couldn’t get anything to stay in me and I was dealing with major cramping.  Too bad I’m not a basketball player….then I coulda just asked to sit on the bench….hahaha!  Made it to the finish line and was welcomed by the top four girls.  They really brought it today and congrats to all of them!  As for me…onwards and upwards!  See ya at the next one!
Amanda Stevens Amanda Stevens
Here is a link to the blog about Ironkids Kansas: https://dramandastevens.com/2014/06/07/ironman-kansas-70-3-and-ironkids/