Digging deeper than she ever had before in life, Alisa Wise crossed the finish line at the end of her first half Ironman Aug. 17, in Lake Stevens.
The 47-year-old Camas High School track and field coach completed a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run with a time of 6 hours, 33 minutes, 8 seconds.
Wise competed in nine triathlons in the past three years, but nothing could have prepared her for this six-hour exhausting challenge. Not even the Boston Marathon.
“My goal is to survive the swim, enjoy the bike and kill the run,” she said. “The Ironman turned out to be the exact opposite for me. That run was all about survival.”
Wise beat her goal time on the swim, despite getting kicked in the gut, elbowed in the side and hit in the face. She also eclipsed her goal time on the bike, but admits she might have been too aggressive on the hills. The run turned out to be more difficult than she envisioned, but Wise wouldn’t allow herself to quit.
“By the time I ran, it was getting hotter by the minute, my quads were shot, my tummy was feeling a bit queasy and I soon realized I could not run on pace but rather on effort,” she said. “This had become the most difficult challenge I had ever done, especially mentally, to stay in the game.”
Wise received a second wind from her husband, Jim, and her son, Stockton.
“There was a hill to go up and over and then turn around and go up and over again. I knew I was facing that hill. I was hurting,” Wise said. “Jim ran alongside me and said, ‘Don’t listen to your mind, listen to your spirit.’ It was just the perfect thing I needed to hear.”
Stockton took a picture of this special moment between his mother and father. Wise is going to have this photo framed because it captures the essence of the entire race.
Reciting the words of her husband over and over in her mind, Wise conquered the hill both times and crossed the finish line with her hands in the air.
“This is the most proud medal I have because it required so much mental toughness. I don’t remember the last time I had to dig this deep,” she said. “This really is so epic. Represents so much of my life in the past 10 years. Doubt, resistance, strength, courage, overcoming, support, perseverance … and I could go on and on … but mostly, the glory and the joy of victory.”
Wise wants to use this experience to inspire the Camas athletes she coaches.
“You’re never too old or too cool to try new things,” she said. “On the edge of your comfort zone is where real growth takes place. Do something new. Do something scary. That’s when you learn the most about yourself and how you tick.”
Wise shared her feelings of accomplishment with several friends who trained together at LaCamas Swim & Sport.
Camas triathlete Lisa Wourms clinched third place in the 45- to 49-year-old age division with a time of 5:24:15. She accepted an invitation into the World Ironman Championships Aug. 30, 2015, in Austria.
Read more about Wourms and other local Lake Stevens finishers in the Sept. 2 edition of the Post-Record.