Tuesday, April 08, 2008
On your mark, get set, go!
So HOW could I possibly sum up one of the craziest, funnest, hardest, painful, joyful, longest race in my life. It was plan madness and I loved every minute (well, almost every minute). I woke up around 4:30 and couldn't go back to sleep. Same yummy breakfast and then it was over to the transition area. As you can see, it was still dark when we started. I want to give a MAJOR shout out to our biggest fan and supporter, Sharla. I know if you look up "cool chick" on wikipedia you'll find her there. Just remember "Boys, what is the MOST important decision you will ever make in your life?"
So, as we got closer to the Start/Finish line, you could hear the music and the buzz was buzzing. It was so cool! We found our bike rack location, unloaded the bikes and then went to body marking. Everything was going very smoothly. Lots of volunteers and everything well organized. Soon it was time to lather up on the Body Glide and move into position. I think we were in wave #7.
Sharla snapped this photo just before we went into the water. I really couldn't believe we were there about to compete in our first Ironman race. It was SO exciting. The music, the announcer, the crowd. Quite the experience. It was soon our turn to get into the water. With only 3 minutes between waves there really wasn't much time. It was cold but I was okay. Next thing I knew we were off and swimming. If you've never had the experience, believe me, it is an experience. There's a reason that they refer to this as the washing machine. People kicking and climbing all over each other. The water was cold and I had a HARD time keeping my face in the water and breathing. So you just adapt and do the best you can. It took me a few hundred yard before I settled down and got into my rhythm. I was just feeling good about everything when the swells started. As long as I didn't think about it I was okay but it did make me feel just a tad bit woozy. The next thing I knew it was time to turn around. The swim back went really well and the next thing I knew I was crawling out of the water. The wetsuit came off SO nicely and I was soon running out the shoot with my bike. Wow! This was awesome!
Did I say how awesome this was? So the bike... 56 miles of riding heaven. I was pretty sure that I was out of the water before Tri-Rich. I didn't know just how long I had but I figured that he'd catch me at around mile 40. I was pretty dang close. About mile 39 miles here comes Mr. Cervelo. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The first 25 miles or so was completely awesome. I was cruising right along, passing most people. I wanted to make sure that I was getting plenty of fluids and nutrition. I was doing pretty good. But a couple of LARGE hills and a stiff wind in the face, the back 20 miles started kicking my butt. I said goodbye to Mr 518 and he rode off to keep up with all of the other rocket bikes. At some point I started realizing that my VW Bug cannot keep up with all of the Audis, TL, Beamers, and other speedy bikes. No problem, I was having fun and heading back. But then I was facing another small problem. The conscious effort to stay hydrated now presenting the need to pee. Hmmm. As long as I sat upright I was okay but in tuck position it got more and more uncomfortable. At mile 53 I couldn't take it any longer and I pulled off to the side of the road and watered the pretty spring flowers. The pros just simply pee down the side of the bike while riding. I'm not quite there yet. Urine on the legs and bike? I think not.
The bike was over. Coming back into the harbor area was so cool. Loud music, tons of people cheering me on (okay so they were probably cheering a few others on too). Next, get off the bike, park it, and put on the running shoes. It was now 2/3's over. I couldn't believe it. Now just a simple 13.1 mile run. No problem.
13.1 FREAKIN miles. No problem. Yeah, whatever. Had I EVER run 13.1 miles before? Nope. I certainly had good intentions to do that distance at least a couple of times before the race but it just never happened. Oh well, I knew I was going to be just fine. So check out those socks! Yes, those are the same GAY socks that I said I would never wear. I'm glad I did. I really like them. Probably not during training and certainly not for shorter distances but I could definitely tell that they were helping me mostly with the cramping.
I couldn't think of a more beautiful place to run. The day was absolutely gorgeous. With the beach and the waves, it was hard to keep running. My body was saying "hey, just go lay down on the warm sand" and "come play in the waves". I did pretty well for the first several miles but then I realized that 13 miles is a LONG freakin' way. Thank goodness I ran into Tri-Rich. He was coming back on one of the legs as I was going out. He told me that he'd wait. What a buddy! So with TR it made the last few miles much more enjoyable. We talked about all of the training that we had done. How, only 10 months before, Rich didn't even have a bike. Now we were about to be Ironmen. How cool was that. I wouldn't have been in Oceanside without my buddy. We were going to finish together.
Okay, #550 you can do it. "Left foot, left foot, right foot, right. feet in the morning, feet at night". At this point, my body from the waist down was more or less numb. I really couldn't feel anything. I just wanted this to be over. Could I have run 26.2 miles? At this point I seriously doubt it. I have much more training to do. Thank goodness for pretzels. When the finish line came into view, I couldn't believe it!
So maybe some of you are thinking, "What the #$@%?" This is a picture of Rich and I rolling across the finish line. If you don't know why, then you need to take a few minutes and watch the story about Jon Blais. "It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for." Way to go, Tri-Rich and Tri-Jeff. You did it!
Again, just wanted to give one last shout out to our greatest fan. Thanks for all of the support! Now, when this picture was taken, I was more or less dead. I just wanted to lay down. Thinking about doing a full Ironman was the LAST thing on my mind. No Gatorade. No Gu. No Ensure. No protein bars. Ice cream! Yeah, a giant bowl of ice cream! Now, as I sit here remembering the event, I can't wait for the next one. Where will it be? We don't know yet, but I can't wait.