Monday, November 17, 2008

11/17/2008 - Post race and recovery

Ok, its been 2 weeks since the race, and I am still recovering. I did manage 2 runs last week. Friday I ran about 2 1/2 miles, which was waaay harder than anticipated. Yesterday, I went for a 7 1/2 mile trail run, much nicer, but kind of slow. I feel ok today, even though my IT issue on my right leg is still not stretched out at all.

My biggest post-race issue has been that I got know, the thing that you mostly hear that older people get? Well, let me tell you, they are a bitch, and it hurts like hell. Shingles are related to chicken pox, as the virus stays, and basically, it is a flare up of that virus, except it attacks nerves and pretty much makes your skin feel like its on fire. I got several areas of rash (only on 1 side of my torso) and ended up getting an anti-viral to take. They tend to occur when one is stressed and with a weakened immune system (pretty much common before and IM event). So, that was a painful stint; but I am glad that they didn't manifest until the day AFTER IMFL Ouch. Still have some pain, but hoping it all goes away soon.

Still have not gotten my bike from the Tri-bike transport spot; just found out that it has been in for a few days. I am still eating like a pig and that needs to stop before I gain too much weight and can't get it off again. I am taking it easy until December 1st, when training begins for IMUSA. Yes, as I said in July, I signed up for 2 before I ever did one. Good thing I loved it!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Final Act - the Run!

As we left the changing tent for the run, we both felt great and were very giddy, knowing that we had given ourselves a lot of time to finish! We ran out onto the course and saw our super-Sherpas around 3/4 of a mile into the run. Everyone was cheering and as happy to see us as we were to see them! The day was so perfect, it wasn't even really hot on the run! We had a plan to run between water stops and for much of the first leg, we were able to do that! We just ran fairly slow but kept going. The water stops were really funny: the Girl zone with their skimpy outfits and George of the Jungle stand out as memorable. Everyone was sooo nice and encouraging, the spectators, the participants, the volunteers were all super supportive! Around mile 3, we passed Steve who said that Som was about 45 minutes ahead of us. As we approached the state park, Patty passed us coming out, and she looked strong and very focused. Since we had ridden our bikes into the park, we knew how far we had to go, so that part of it wasn't as bad as we had thought. I did wonder how the next lap would go, since we passed by a sign that warned of alligators! It was shortly after leaving the park that I began to have some stomach issues and began to want to walk/run. We saw Kate O in the park and Kate G about a mile later and gave both of them big smiles and thumbs up!

Sharon looked very strong and was obviously having a really good day, and I finally broke about mile 9 and told her that I was going to need to run/walk, but that she should keep going. It was very hard for both of us, since we really wanted to do this together, but we had talked about it and we knew that we needed to part ways. Sharon ran off, and I walked some and it was sad for us, but I knew it was the right thing to do; Sharon looked VERY strong and I wanted her to keep up her great pace. I passed Charlotte about mile 10, looking very determined and positive and gave her a hug of encouragement! I passed the super-Sherpas and trudged on to the turn-around! I had thought it would be difficult to turn away from the finish, but much to my surprize, it wasn't all that hard: I knew I wasn't done yet.

I grabbed my gus out of my Special bag, and kept going. Sharon and I realized early in the run that we didn't need or want our fuel belts, as we didn't drink anything from our bottles, but we did need a place to stash our gus. I came up with the brilliant idea of taking my gu pouch off of my fuel belt and putting it on my race number belt! See, even in an exhausted state, I could still think! I "accidently" dropped my fuel belt at the Sherpa station and MyKaren walked with me to the turn. I made up my mind that I was going to run some portion of every darn mile, and that kept me going and focused.

The 2nd lap was still fun, and different, since now it was dark. Some highlights were: the two guys near the park entrance, one of whom ended up dressed pretty much in only his skivvies, which looked like underroos dancing around and spanking himself; saying to the people at the park turn around "Guess what? I'm going to be an IronMan!"; seeing Sharon, KateO, KateG and Charlotte as I made my way through the final lap; the volunteers who were so helpful as i stumbled past calling for cola (pretty much all I drank); the very kind young cheerleader who gave me a Reesee's peanut butter cup in the park; a woman named Jackie from Chicago who walked/ran with me for a couple of miles; and, Molly who walked with me for some of the last mile. As I rounded the corner to the final stretch, I had decided I was going to run, so I did.

I ran down the street toward the finish line and heard the announcer calling names at the finish. My feet hurt soo bad, I thought my big toe on my right foot was going to explode from the blister, but I kept going. Reaching the finish chute was probably the best feeling in the world, and I cannot remember being as happy as that moment. I think I may have jumped around a little, but cannot be sure! I heard the announcer say my name, my hometown and that I was an IronMan, and then I was across and it was DONE! Later today; post race!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bike report (Part 3)

Out of the changing tent, Sharon and I ran to find TriGirl heaven! Jackie had my bike all ready at the end of my rack, and I got to say hey to Tim, Jill, Derick, Cyndi as we ran our bikes to the mount line. We rode through the crowds to the open road! The day before when I was packing my T-bags, I had calculated the amount of calories that I was supposed to eat on the bike, and then listed the actual food that would sum up to that total---probably the best thing I did in the whole race--and as I rode the first 10 miles, I ate a Cliff bar as the first of my 1750 calories. Sharon and I were passed at first by a number of zip-wheeled, sperm helmeted riders going like crazy, but we had a plan and we stuck with it. The first 10 miles passed quickly, as we both ate and drank and got ourselves settled in. The ride up the bridge was funny since most people didn't seem to be able to do that small hill, so we passed a few as we cruised up and over. Our first pee stop was at the first water stop. In our excitement in the tent and getting on the bike, we both forgot to pee!

OK, the course is boring. We came to the turn onto Route 20 and just kept riding steady down Route 20, when a white car went by, honking and with a blond woman yelling encouragement to us. As the car whizzed by, I thought it looked like Heidi, but that didn't seem right...and I slowed to have Sharon take the lead, we both commented that it looked like her? A few miles more, and we saw the same car by the side of the road, and sure enough, it was Heidi sitting on the roof and cheering like crazy for us! What a treat!

More pine trees and now a few rolling hills along with a nice head wind as the miles slowly ticked off and we began to look for the special needs stop at about mile 49. Finally, a nice volunteer told us as we passed that special needs was just ahead, and we rolled into the area shouting out our numbers. We had a nice picnic by the side of the road as well as another pee stop (behind a truck) and I ate my Uncrustable and had some Mountain Dew. Grabbed the Snickers bars, another baggy of pretzels with peanut butter, 2 gus and a packet of Sharkies and off we went!

At mile 50, just around the corner from lunch, were our wonderful sherpas! They were very excited to see us and we stopped briefly for a few hugs and photos! Down route 231 with a nice tailwind and we were cranking at 21-22 mph! Mile 60 came quickly. We turned west onto the more interesting part of the ride, through some small neighborhoods with shade and again saw our sherpas! Between 60-70 is where the little out and back part of the ride is, and that little section going east was hard with a head wind and the road is crappy, but since we had driven it, we knew how far we had to go to the turn around. Finally got to Mile 70 and then heading west to towards the final big turn! The road between 70-90 is also kind of crappy, and my privates began to feel really battered, but we kept going, pushing a little harder and now passing people who had flown by us earlier! I ate something every few minutes, sometimes just a bite or a drink of Endura, but I kept eating and ticking off the list of things I knew I had to eat.

We stopped and peed on the side of the road (scandalous) and finally got to Route 77 and the bridge for the second time! Again, we passed people who were now struggling and then, with Sharon in the lead, really began to push the pace (well, she did, I was just trying to hang on!) We flew down the home stretch, which was longer than I remembered coming out, but finally got to the end. Sharon was 30 seconds ahead of me at the transition, and as I came into the end, I saw Todd (Shelley's brother) who was working the chute, and it was good to see a friendly face. Once off the bike, it was all Trigirls and Maramarc boys--Tim, Sarah, Grandison (maybe more, I was kind of fuzzy). Grandison carried our bags to the changing tent and she helped Sharon, while Sarah got me all changed, it was like we were rock stars!!!! Awesome. Having friendly faces helping you get naked and dressed was the best treat of all! Sharon and I both felt good at this point, somewhat suprizing, but the 3-100 mile training rides got us really ready for the ride.

I got my running garb on and we headed out of the tent to begin the final leg: the dreaded run.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Race morning and swim (Part 2)

For some reason, I had it in my head that transition opened at 4:30am, so I was antsy to get my bottles and water on my bike and tires pumped, etc. Shelley and Anna kindly walked Sharon and I down at 4:45 only to find out that transition didn't open until 5. Waiting was hard, I wasn't even out my PJs and hadn't eaten yet. Anna had volunteered in transition so she put her shirt back on when the transition opened and found us a tire pump and our T-bags. We were very lucky in our bag and bike placements, on end rows and near Porta-potties.

Back up to the condo for breakfast, and I managed to eat a good one: 2 frozen waffles, 2 eggs, applesauce, a banana and coffee. Fully fed, I laid back down and dozed for a few minutes until it was time to get my swim and wet suit on. MyKaren was a peeler, so she left a few mintues before we did.

The walk down the beach to the start area was pretty intense, I think it really hit me at that point that I was going to be in an IronMan race very soon! We met up with KateO and Patty and all of us slowly walked to the start corral. The whole scene was surreal; tons of wet suited people wandering around, some excited, some obviously very nervous, the energy was crazy and the crowd was everywhere. We met up with the remainder of the group inside, as we hugged the rear of the corral. We saw the TriGirls and boys (Jill, Grandison, Jackie, Cyndi, Derick, Sarah, Tim and a few others I can't remember off the top of my head--sorry!) Jill was the best, she was beside herself with excitement for us--a camera man filmed her hugging Sharon and then he gave Jill a hug as was very cool. The gun for the pros went off, and then we waited for our turn, which came much sooner than I thought it would.

We had agreed to wait on the beach, but that plan fell apart very shortly. We all waded in as the masses surged into the water after the start gun. It wasn't but 30 second or so, when Sharon looked at me and said lets go. So off we went. I have to say, I loved the swim. I lost sight of Sharon at the first wall of people who were still walking and bouncing out further; I figured if the water was deep enough to swim, that was what I was going to do. I passed a crap load of people in the first hundred meters, lots of people were bobbing around; doing the breast-stroke to sight, and just kind of thrashing around. Thank god for ProKaren; I could SWIM! I would characterize the swim as aggressively defensive; I kept looking ahead in the water for feet and managed not to get kicked or punched. I just looked for openings between people and kicked like hell when I needed to break free from packs of people. It became a game for me to find the open water pockets and before I knew it I was nearly done with the first lap. As I exited the water, the timer said 50 minutes, so I was freaked out since I thought my first lap had sucked. However, I did see Som just yards ahead of me, so I thought I must be doing ok. After grabbing a mouthful of water, I waded back in for the second lap.

I swam as directly as I could to the corner turn bouy and was alone for much of that leg. At the turn bouy all hell was breaking loose as everyone was trying to be as close to it as possible. Again, I thought it was kind of fun to try to squiggle around people and find the smallest openings to try to squirt through before they closed. At one point, I almost got squeezed between two swimmers so I did a cheating catch-up and pushed them off of me without breaking my stroke! I was quite proud of that move, and actually laughed underwater at myself.

Sighting is something that I tend to do fairly well, and I had a good swim back to shore for swim end. I followed ProKaren's advice which is to sight something on shore; the huge arch is a good one for IMFL, and the hell with the bouys. I was again alone for most of the final leg and finally got to shore and waded out. As I was wading I could see part of the clock: 1:2xxx, so I was happy thinking I was like a 1:28 or 9, so I was VERY happy when I was 1:23! I peeled my wetsuit as I ran up the sand to the peeler station, and then began to call for MyKaren much like Rocky did Adrienne---KAAARREN. I saw Shelley and then Karen at the end of the peeler station, and ran to them for peeling. Both looked at their watches in amazement!

Peeled and showered, I entered the changing tent and came to a dead stop. Never have I seen such chaos and skin. I found a chair and began to dry off and get dressed when I hear my name being called by Sharon! Yeah! We were going to be able to ride together! TriLynn found me and helped me get changed the rest of the way and Sharon and I left the tent together. Tomorrow: the BIKE!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


OK! I AM AN IRONMAN!!!! I'll break my race report into several sections; this one being the pre-race one. MyKaren, Shelley, Lisa and I all flew down to Panama City on Wednesday. Nothing much to do that evening since we got in after the expo and registration closed. I managed to grab my bike from TriBike Transport before they closed. We fed TriKate and Sharon dinner that evening in our condo as their people were not arriving until the next day. The Boardwalk condos are nice and very close to the action, but still quiet.

We all agreed to a practice swim at 8 am, so we all met up at the Gatorade bag check-in. A pre-swim is a must and the bag check-in is great since you also get free gatorade afterwards. We swam one loop; it was lovely! There was some chop out by the turns, but not too bad. We swam over schools of little fishes and I nearly swam into a jellyfish that was purple and pink. After the swim, we ate breakfast and got our race packets. Reality began to set in about that point, even though I kept thinking I was there for MyKaren and Shelley. Several of us rode our bikes on the run course (another must) so we knew how the run course looked and how far it was. MyKaren, Sharon and I also drove the bike course (yet another must) which showed that the course was not in fact, dead flat. There are some sections of rolling hills, not terribly hard, but rolling hills nonetheless.

Friday was bag check-in day. My sherpas took control and got me all organized and packed up which really reduced my stress! Thanks Sherpas! It was still scary for me to actually drop off my bags and bike in the transition area with all the other really expensive bikes and their zip wheels or disk wheels. My poor little Sweet Pea looked kind of out of place, but we did find a couple of bikes that were really low end and poorly maintained. Dinner was pasta and I tried to get to bed at 8 pm. Tossing and turning and dozing was about all I could manage Friday night...the alarm at 4:15 am was not a surprize.