KT Tape Propels "Iron Mom" to Finish France Ironman

Congratulations to KT Tape Fan Eve Barrett of Florida, USA on completing the Ironman France this summer!   She is truly an IronMom and we were thrilled to hear her story on how KT Tape saved her Achilles tendon pain throughout training and the races.  Check out her race report and photos below:   I started training for Ironman, France in December of 2010, developed intense Achilles tendon pain in February 2011, discovered KT TAPE that same month, and have used it consistently through the intense train-up and Ironman race in June. I still use it today. It totally keeps the Achilles pain at bay. :) Below please find my race report. KT TAPE has seriously changed the way I train, race and enjoy triathlon. At one point, I thought my Achilles would knock me out of the race. You-all helped me cross the finish line and complete a life-long dream. Keep up the great work! WE ARE ALL SUPERSTARS WITH HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS!!! The IronMom Dream - Fait Accompli As I sit in the Nice, France airport waiting to board our flight for Rome, Italy, I can't help but wonder if writing this race report may seem a tad redundant, given the detailed report Jim published on FaceBook during the event. Technology has certainly come a long way. Here we are in another country, six hours ahead of the United States, yet Jim is able to post pictures, realtime time splits, as well as report my physical and mental condition to more people than I would have ever expected. It was literally like you were all on the sidelines holding signs up, BeliEVE in EVE forEVEr!! The energy was absolutely amazing. The last seven months have been life-changing. The Universe served up a bounty of good fortune each day, including PERFECT weather for training, no illnesses or viruses, no training time lost due to injury, and, of course, allowing me to cross paths with the most stellar and inspirational triathletes worldwide. Sometimes the stars and moons must align perfectly to bring one to their final destination...and this was just that occasion. Arriving in Nice, France on the Thursday afternoon, we settled into our hotel across from Expo Village. I'm not going to lie, the butterflies began to flutter. We checked into the Expo to register before the masses arrived, then shortly thereafter met Alex, my 'virtual Ironman training partner' from Denmark. Alex and I had met a few months earlier on FB and had followed each other's training plans; hence, the reason for my frequent training posts. We motivated each other via instant messages and wall posts, we compared heart rates, training rides, runs and swims, distances, terrains, temperatures. And although our training regiments appeared vastly different, we shared the same goal, to cross the finish line and hear those four words...You Are An Ironman! Little did we realize that participating in the event together would prove so beneficial. Saturday was eventful. Transition bags organized and relinquished, bike turn-in would be my 15-seconds-of-fame celebrity moment. As soon as I departed the hotel room with Pink-a-Boo, the crowds stopped and stared...and took pictures. Little girls ran over to take a closer look. MANY of the European male athletes pointed and took photos with their phones, all professing their girlfriends would LOVE to see a pink bike. An Ironman representative spotted me and asked if I would pose under the faux finish-line arch. Of course, I obliged. As Ironman's large cameras were flashing and rolling, so, too, were many other flashes and camera phones. There were 5 pink bikes at the event, but none nearly as pink as Pink-a-Boo. She took center stage and stole the show everywhere we went. Along the bike course, one of the penalty refs cautioned me to slow down. I thought for sure he was citing me, but, no, another Kodak moment for Pink-a-Boo. It was really cool having my own personal paparazzi, albeit for a short time. As most of you know, Jim was an Ironman volunteer and was placed in transition. The morning of the race, he reported to duty before me, and by the time I arrived, he was busily chatting with the pros and pumping tires for many athletes. What a trooper. Transition is a VERY busy area, but from his vantage point, he was able to catch me at three different points and physically kiss and hug me upon entrance and exit. Lord, that carried me through. 2,500 blue caps and 191 pink caps toed up to the swim-start shoreline. Not quite the stats I had hoped for, but the mass swim start commenced at 6:30am sharp. The Mediterranean was everything I could imagine...sapphire blue, calm, alluring and not nearly as salty as the Gulf, which caught me off guard. The horn blew and the chaos erupted as the black-wetsuit-clad bodies piled into the water. It was a very rough start, which, unfortunately, carried through entire swim course. I've never played football before, but can only imagine this is what it's like. I was kicked in the jaw, punched in the head several times, elbowed and physically pushed repeatedly. As we exited the first loop, a large male dragged me down, used me as his carpet to avoid stepping on the painful rocks, along with the jerk behind him, and I struggled to gain the attention of the volunteers, who graciously yanked me up. As we entered the water again for loop 2, I was much more prepared, as well as much more aggressive. I plowed my way through shoving and kicking and making up valuable time to the swim finish. The bike course was epic. There's no other word to describe it, and I don't use that word lightly. The first 68 miles was an 8,000-foot ascent through the French mountains and numerous small villages. Mile 68 to 86 was up and down, Mile 86 to 99 was a steep, sharp-cornered descent with no guardrails along the edge off cliffs. Although it was a great recovery opportunity and a chance to make up some serious time, I used caution and rode my brakes and kept my speed at around 25 mph. Mile 99 to 112 was a fairly flat exit ride to the transition point. Obviously Florida training rides could not prepare me for these climbs. San Antonio would not have prepared me for this, either, as it turns out. But because I was churning on the climb for 3 1/2 hours at a 6.5 mph rate, the upswing was I was able to ride beside other athletes and chat. One of the cyclists I chatted with at great length was Adam, age 28. Having trained in the Shenandoah Mountain Valley range for the last six months, he was ready for this. We had exited the swim together, I caught up with him on the bike after my long transition and stayed with him through much of the bike course. Would this push cost me on the marathon??? My quads were shot. Entering the run course felt like a dessert after the appetizer of a 2.4-mile swim and the main course of a 112-mile bike ride. Feet to pavement is where my comfort zone lies. Entering the transition tent, I checked the condition of my KT Tape, and believe it or not, it had withstood the last 9 hours of sweat and heavy mileage, as well as a sharp blow by a fellow swimmer's fist during the early morning swim. Although I was ready to change the tape, it was unnecessary, and this saved me precious seconds on my transition time. As I entered the marathon course, my ever-nagging Achilles tendon pain was under control. Mentally, this is right where I needed to be. Maintaining Z2 throughout the course to this point had bode me well, and I wasn't switching it up on the marathon. My breathing was fluid and steady as I ran each of the four 6.4-mile loops. My pace was incredible the first loop. By the second loop, my right knee started to bother me. I'm absolutely sure this was due to the steep climbs on the bike course. Lord knows my poor knees were surprised with the long, steep elevation increases. By the third loop, the heat and fatigue made for a lethal combination and I watched several athletes collapse, succumbing to dehydration and exhaustion. My mindset hardened and I vowed not to become a victim this close to the finish line. Each lap was rewarding as I was able to cross paths with Alex and Jim and receive my doses of motivation. Dressed in pink and one of only a handful of females on the course, both were able to spot me from yards away. Alex had an hour's headstart on the run course, so he was always on the backside of the loop when we met up. What a great kid. He would jump across the median to give me a hug and say, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!! Yes, we are, I would say. Catch you on the next loop. On the third loop, we hugged again, but this time he said, great job, Eve! At the rate you're going, you'll finish in 15 hours! I'll be waiting for you at the finish line. He was thrilled for me, but I was not content with that finish time. I kicked it into high gear vowing only to stop for water, no stretching. Alex was clearly a whole hour ahead of me, but I dug deep and made up 45 minutes during the last 8 miles, finishing only 15 minutes behind the 6'6" young Danish man. 14:06 it was. The last 3.2 miles was spent running and slapping young children's outstretched hands right through to the finish line. The sheer joy and elation and adrenaline that surges through your body as you hear the announcer calling your name that last .5 miles is exhilarating! It's a drug, more addictive than anything known to man, I'm sure. Jim grabbed my hand and ran with me through the finish chute. Looking up at the clock, I realized I had beaten Alex's 15-hour prediction by a landslide. I was relieved. Jim picked me up, hugged me and spun me around. Thinking there was finish-line video feed to my children and friends who were viewing, my body fought hard to find the last bit of energy to raise my leg and strike a pose...the Barrett pose, to be more precise. The finish-line photo is clearly my best photo moment of any race. Not only did I finish, I finished strong, KT Tape intact!! What a rush. While crossing the finish line and tasting the sweet reward of victory was truly sensational, I soon realized the ultimate reward lie in the journey to that finish line. The life-long, world-wide friendships formed along the way made me realize that we are all exceptional beings yearning to push ourselves beyond what we thought possible. Many shared my journey, and many have been inspired through my journey. If you're truly willing to put in the time and effort, as well as diligently follow through with your goals, your family and friends will support you. As I experienced, that's what WILL carry you through the worst of the worst and lowest of lows. Brevity has never been my strong suit, whether it be racing or writing race reports. As evidenced by this article, I especially enjoy endurance events. Please know that all of you reading this lengthy report have contributed to my success in your own special way. I can only hope to reciprocate when the time comes. To the 10-thousand dollar question that's been asked of me a few times since race day, "Will you do another Ironman?", my reply is simple: Cozumel, Florida and Arizona are on the radar... Here's to a fabulous 2011 triathlon season! Hoping to read all about your race experience soon!  -Eve J. Barrett - IronMom Photos:  Ironman Finish Photo - KT TAPE is unfortunately hidden by my compression socks, Finishing a 15k Training run in May with Pink KT TAPE, Finishing Disney 70.3 Ironman in May with Royal Blue KT TAPE to match outfit, Swim Start of Olympic Triathlon in April with Beige KT TAPE on ankle, Finishing Sprint Triathlon in March with Beige KT TAPE on ankle