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15 hours of non-stop movement

15 hours of non-stop movement
15 hours of non-stop movement
Book navigates through downtown Louisville during the 112-mile cycling portion of the event.

‘Julie Book from Palmyra, you are an Ironman,’ the loudspeaker blaringly announced to the crowd at 4th Street Live in downtown Louisville last month.
As her husband Bob, and five children ‘ Jill, Jake, Collin, Josh and Deidre ‘ joined her on the final few 10ths of a mile on a grueling journey, Book crossed the finish line about 10 p.m., completing one of sports most grueling amateur sporting events ‘ a full triathlon.
Book spent her Sunday on Aug. 26 just going for a leisurely swim of 2.4 miles in the Ohio River, a 112-mile bike ride from Louisville to LaGrange, Ky., and finished running a full 26.2 marathon through the city of Louisville. Sound easy?
A lifetime goal for Book, 37, was to compete and finish a triathlon. Since she first saw the strenuous sport on television when she was 8, she said to herself, ‘I’m going to do this one day.’
After nine months of training, the North Harrison graduate, an avid cyclist, had to face the initial leg of the event, swimming 2.4 miles. The swim turned out to be a piece of cake, she said. Swimmers were pushed into the Ohio River several at a time until all 2,100 competitors touched water.
‘I got kicked a few times and swam over people. You don’t really know where you are going,’ she said. ‘The swim wasn’t bad; much easier than I thought.’
After completing the swim in 1 hour, 26 minutes, Book and the other competitors transitioned to the bike for 112 miles on the saddle.
‘Biking was my strong point,’ she said. ‘I held a nice, easy pace, about 16 miles per hour. It was hard to hold back, but I knew I needed my legs and strength for the run.’
Along the bike route, her computer that helps gauge speed died. Leg cramps, something she had never experienced while riding, also slowed her down. But a woman in a lawn chair near LaGrange brought comfort. In normal clothes, the woman wore a large, purple, Derby-style hat that brought a smile to her face, encouraging her to keep on.
After just more than seven hours on the bike, inspiration was surely needed to complete the marathon run through the streets of Louisville.
‘After the bike, I wanted to be done,’ she admitted. ‘The transition to the run was miserable. It was hard from the first step to the last one.’
The support of her family and about 40 friends pushed her to complete the run; a run she described as the ‘nursing home shuffle.’ Her support crew, led by friend Mary Pat Payne, donned neon shirts that read, ‘Jules has the tools to Book it.’
Along the run, she saw people bowing out, many needing medical assistance. Seventeen miles into her run, Book started to feel dizzy and sick.
‘So I just walked miles 17 through 20,’ she said. ‘Seeing people leave on ambulances made me realize I didn’t want to be that next person they took away.’
Mile 20 is where she started really moving again. At that point, she looped around 4th Street Live, which was the finish line.
‘At mile 20, I was like a horse headed back to the stable,’ Book proudly said. ‘I never once thought about quitting.’
At mile 23, just three from the finish, she receive a phone call that led to the most memorable moment of the race. A friend let her know that her husband and kids were going to run a portion of the final mile of the race, to finish with her.
The finish was priceless and for a woman who admittedly is overly social and a big talker, she was speechless at the finish. The official time was 14 hours, 56 minutes.
‘I’ve lived in Palmyra for 18 years; I’m a stay-at-home mom. I’m just like other people; I do daily things, nothing special. I’m just a mom,’ Book said.
Now she can proudly display her medallion and photos from the event in a shadow box.
Book’s training for the event is unimaginable to most. With five children and a husband, finding time to train required a disciplined, strict schedule.
‘My husband and kids were so supportive, putting up with sandwiches for dinner almost every night,’ Book said. ‘But no one complained.’
At 5 a.m., Book was at the YMCA of Harrison County in Corydon. During the summer months during little league baseball, Book either rode her bike to the games or took a stationary trainer and her wheels went round and round while cheering on her kids.
‘I’ve always been a mom first,’ she said.
With her primary love being cycling, swimming more than two miles and running a grueling 26.2 miles were a cause for concern. Knowing she was going to swim in the Ohio River, she realized laps at the YMCA weren’t going to emulate currents and murky water.
Insert Amber Gresham, a lifeguard and North Harrison student. She was hired by Book to oversee her swim across Buffalo Trace Park’s 30-acre lake as a training mechanism.
‘Amber paddled right next to me and made sure I swam straight,’ Book said.
All the training, along with a strict diet led to the Ironman event.
Prior to the competition, Book’s morning didn’t go off without a few odd obstacles. When she wandered over to check out her bicycle in the early morning, she was greeted with a flat tire. Help from a fellow competitor fixed the flat, but Book’s untroubled morning wasn’t over.
Pre-race, she ventured to one of the many portable rest rooms lining the event. Book picked the ‘lucky’ rest room.
She heard something click when she shut and locked the door. That mystery was her being trapped in the lavatory.
‘I couldn’t free myself,’ she said. ‘I peeped through the door until I saw a man pass by and yelled at him.’
The man helped, but the door had to be broken to free her. After all the hoopla and obstacles, Book finally was able to jump into the Ohio River and begin her adventure.
So what does a woman with a family of five children do after accomplishing a lifetime goal? Do it again.
‘I am going to work on my running,’ she said. Having yet to run a marathon before doing so as the last leg of the Ironman, Book is now determined to better her time of 14:56. ‘I am a glutton for punishment.’
She has signed up to run in the Chickamauga Marathon in Georgia this November. The plan is to enter the 2009 Ironman in Louisville. Between 2009 and now, she is intent on being a solid family-woman and busting it through conditioning to improve from her initial competition.