As the old Chinese saying goes, "May you live in interesting times!" was certainly true this weekend at Barb's Ironman race in Idaho.
The fun all started when she went for a last long swim on Monday morning at the health club and came back with a raging eye infection. The water somehow irritated her right eye to the point that it swelled shut. After a brief visit to urgent care she was given a prescription for antibiotics and told she had a bad case of pink eye. The doctor said give it a few days and it will be good to go on Sunday.
So I was a bit surprised to see the eye still red and puffy on Thursday when she flew to meet me here in Coeur d' Alene. It was pretty obvious that it was not getting better.
On Saturday morning she went for a practice swim while I waited to try on a wet suit.
When she came out of the water I thought the race was over.
Her eye was swelled up and almost shut again. The lake (swim) conditions were horrible. The water was cold (60 degrees) but the wind had whipped the lake up into a frenzy of waves, white caps and whirling water.
Her goggles had allowed a bit of water in and her eye had blown up again. To make matters worse, when the bad eye watered, the other one did as well making it almost impossible for her to see as she tried to swim.
After another drip to urgent care here, she was given an antibiotic ointment and eye patch (to help keep the medicine in her eye) and told to race at her own risk.
We thought the race was over. Saturday was an emotional roller coaster for Barb as we hunted for a dive mask and hoped for the best.
Sunday morning dawned early and her eye showed a little bit of improvement but certainly no where near race ready state.
We walked to the water and waited for the 7:00 a.m. start. The wind had once again whipped up the waves and it looked liked this might be her shortest Ironman. One drop of lake water in the eye and the race would be done for her.
So we were completely surprised when the the race organizers announced (for the first time ever!) that because of the horrible winds and water, and the fact that 1000 newbies were racing...athletes would be given the choice to race a duathlon. In other words, skip the swim and still be allowed to compete. Times
would not count to toward qualifying for Kona, but that wasn't important to her anyway.
She ran an incredible 4:20 marathon after a very hilly and hard 112 mile Bike ride.
I've never seen her run so strong as Tommy and I were lucky enough to bike the last 3 miles with her to the end.