Kitsap’s Tri-Turtle is Iron(man) enriched

Seabeck resident Lisa Ballou has graduated from Tri-Turtle to Iron-Turtle. Ballou, a lady who is becoming known for turning devoted couch potatoes into triathletes, conquered the Ironman Canada on Aug. 29.

Ballou crossed the finish line with her 10-year-old son Dane by her side at 15 hours, 26 minutes. Dane found Ballou at the five-mile mark and jumped in beside her to finish with her and offer motivation and encouragement. The race consisted of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run.

“The instant that it’s over, you can’t conceive that you just did it,” said Ballou, an English instructor at Olympic College who moonlights as a yoga teacher for Expansions Yoga at the Bremerton Tennis & Athletic Club.

Three days after completing the Ironman, Ballou was going through some odd side effects. She was either jumping out of her own skin or asleep; there was no middle ground. She also was having trouble eating and was doing what’s called the runner’s walk: her legs were further apart than was usually comfortable and she was waddling.

“My quad muscles are still really sore,” she said.

For crossing the finishing line, she received a goodie bag full of freebies, which included a maple leaf pendant, a finisher’s hat, a T-shirt and a towel.

Ballou bought her way in to the event. To get into the Ironman Canada, participants have to compete in Ironman previous year. Getting a slot entails waiting outside from 4 a.m. until 7 a.m., which is what time the race starts. Instead, she paid the standard $400 entrance fee and gave a $600 donation to a community fund, which goes to benefit youth athletics.

She wanted to do Ironman since she turned 30. She realized that at 40 she was likely to hit a mid-life crisis, so she opted out of the usual sports car purchase.

“Most people buy a car,” she said. “That’s too expensive.”

So Ironman Canada it was. She decided that on or very near to her 40th birthday, she would compete in and complete an Ironman. She turned 40 in May.

Ballou was enraptured by the entire Ironman experience, she said.

The event took place in Penticton, B.C. The event is a three-day festival that begins on Friday when the participants have to pick up their packets, and ends on Sunday evening when the final runner crosses the finish line. Once of the events is a “little” run set up for the families of the participants. Runners can choose either a 1k (.62 miles) or a 5k (3.1 miles) run.

When the swim started, Ballou was literally giggling at the thought of starting a swim with more than 2,000 people. The swimming part of the race was odd because there were so many participants they were swimming over each other, elbowing each other and kicking each other. She likened the swim to a water polo match.

The first of two problems in the race came when her bike malfunctioned and she ended up riding the last 20 miles with her brake clasping her back tire. She also suffered a severe case of nausea at the beginning of the run. To stay motivated for the run, each time she passed a mile marker she would blow it a kiss and tell it she had “a lot of love” for it.

Ballou said she couldn’t have completed the Ironman without the support of her family and

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