Manlius: First-time Ironman participant finishes race with time to spare

"Tracy and I would get our kids to school by 8:30 a.m. and then we'd go ride our 100 miles and be back to get them out of school at 3:30 p.m.," Buck said.

Their day would consist of riding by area ski resorts such as Labrador and Toggenburg. They'd pedal past Highland Forest, in to LaFayette and around Oneida Lake.

"It would just depend on what the day brought us," Buck said. "I would go online and figure out all our maps and I'd go onto the web site to figure out the exact mileage."

During the winter, though, much of Buck's training remained indoors in her basement.

"It was good mental training for me," she said. "You could have time to think about everything. I just kept thinking about doing those hills, doing the course."

Cote also coached Buck on nutrition, rounding out a complete change in lifestyle and course of action.

"When you're out there for 112 miles you have to make sure you're hydrated," she said. "I had to really calculate the amount of calories I took in, the amount of water I took in, everything."

When training pays off

"It's an endurance race," Buck said. "My husband said he tips his hat to everyone who did it because it's a whole different perspective on what an endurance sport is."

Throughout her six-month rigorous training program, Buck never contemplated quitting.

"There was never, ever a time where I would say 'I can't do this,'" she said. "That's just not my personality, because if I'm going to do something, I will always follow through with it and I will work my hardest to get through it."

Buck said people have asked her if she ever hit a low point during the two lengthiest portions.

"I was so high mentally, there was never a low point," she said. "I was thrilled to be running into that stadium."

The stadium, Buck noted with pride, where American speed skater Eric Heiden won his five gold medals in 1980.

"I miss it," she said of Ironman. "I still have my bracelet on. I'm still on cloud nine.

"Words don't even describe the feeling you have doing this, participating in such an unbelievable event."

Her biggest joy, though, was not only feeling and seeing the support of her friends and family as she entered the stadium, but also in crossing the finish line with her son and daughter.

"You couldn't ask for a better thing," she said.

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