Monday, December 20, 2010

IMFL - Part 2

So, I left off with me getting colder each moment as the sun went down on the run portion.  The run was 2 loops of 13.1 miles.  I first started to feel cold at the 6 mi mark, just as my gut was settled.  As I made the U-turn to head back to town for the first loop, a volunteer held up a pair of arm warmers and said: "someone discarded these armwarmers, anyone want to use them?"  HELLS YEAH!!!!   I swooped them up - they were knit Pearl Izumi - black, to match my kit, and DAMN did it help me out!!!  I felt exponentially warmer just having them on!  I vowed to turn them in to lost and found after the race, but for now, this was my savior.  I typically don't feel cold on my legs.  This was a true gift for me!!

Gotta say my run felt good. I don't recall any real mental lows. As a matter of fact, I get very emotional, spiritual, and embrace the "attitude of gratitude" when I'm in the middle of these long days! Not unlike the loving drunk hugging everyone and saying "I love you, man!", I sport this general mentality, and often run around like Mary Poppins (not to be confused with her evil twin, "Mary F'ing Poppins", my alter ego that emerges with hypoglycemia or just a crappy day!), dancing and singing and tossing flowers around if they are available! :)   I saw several BAFF runners and always gave a shout out "Go Cleveland"!!  I knew a few of these guys, but they don't know me. Regardless, we got some fist-pumps in, and I was truly feeling happy.  I really like the solo feeling of the late night running.  The runners are thinned out now, the hammer-time athletes are all finished and it's us "regular" people, the age-groupers (AG) that are left.  I saw many with LOW spirits.  I felt good mentally and emotionally so it was easy to give back, like those swimmers did for me! I would often chime in "good job", "looking great" and "run with me for a bit?" - I seem to connect with the guys in their late 50s and early 60s - I love to encourage them.  There were even a few people out there in their 20s and 30s.   I was MOSTLY running! I didn't feel the need to walk too much.  I now am aware that my "running" is really the "Ironman Shuffle"!  Coach Angela described it best at a recent CTC gathering.  I remember seeing footage of me running, and was mortified that I did indeed "shuffle" - there was essentially NO knee lift going on!! Here I thought I was kicking it into the chute, but nope, it's definitely a shuffle! It's something I can work on. :)

I struggled with hypoglycemia pretty much the entire last loop of the run.  I was taking in Gu and Coke regularly, it would creep up to the 80s or 90s then begin to plummet down ... 60, 50, 40, then LOW.  Not good!  Ugh. Another Gu and more Coke.

I enjoyed the different themed aid stations, and while the volunteers started to thin, there were still a few hard core out there to support us!  I was doing the math in my head and I knew I wasn't going to beat my time in the Rev 3.   It kind of bummed me out because I really cannot explain why, or where I lost significant time.  My swim was better - no goggle debacle (THANK YOU LORD!).  My bike felt relatively strong, and my run felt as good, maybe even better, than Rev 3.  No toe-swelling issue. No pain.  I suppose I was just not as physically fit and prepared.  I did know that going in.  I knew that my training intensity was far less than it was for Rev 3.  Oh well.  I didn't factor in the post-IM funk that occurs.  I didn't know I'd lose motivation.  But I did.  No question.  It's not an excuse, just a fact.

As I headed in for the last 2 miles, I encountered Vic Kinnunen looking for me.  The Captains were given a window of 13-15 hrs and I was resolved to make that window!!  Vic found me and I was SOOOO happy to see him! I knew he was just trying to give my peeps a head's up, and I felt rejuvenated seeing him, knowing they'd be there to cheer me on to the finish!  Vic asked if he could run with me .... I honestly just felt that if I ran with him, my mental game would be affected. I knew what I had left, it was budgeted, and I feared putting in too much effort to run with him and not having it to follow through the chute.  He was very gracious, and totally understood.   I don't know if I made the right decision. Maybe running with Vic would have cut a minute or two off my time. Maybe it would have allowed me to pick up the pace, and I would have found that the juice was there to carry me through at the faster pace. I just don't know. But I feared failure, and I knew I could finish with what I had left in the tank.   He sprinted ahead to tell them I was coming and I dug deep for a strong finish.

It's really quite funny! Here I felt the energy of the crowd. I heard people calling my name! I knew they were looking to me for inspiration, thinking that if I can do it, so can they!  I FELT like I was kicking it in ... I FELT like I was sprinting down the chute!!  I was happy to see the finish line, but I was also very, very low.  BG=43.  I was snappy and crabby to the finish volunteers.  I was asked what size shirt I wanted, and I was so low, disoriented, fatigued, I replied "how the hell do I know, just pick a size".  NICE TIFFANY!!!   Ugh! So ashamed.  I declined the "finisher photo" because I felt so damned cranky ... then, I was SHOWERED with LOVE from my peeps!  They would understand! They are diabetic too!  They were so proud. So happy, so supportive.  It was contagious.  I continued to feed myself Gu and couldn't help but be grateful for all the love and support I was getting!  Erin Avellon handed me my cell phone, which I had left in the condo.  On it was a text from Ted: I just watched you finish live on!!! Great job!    This blew my mind!  First off, I had no idea that Ted would figure out he COULD watch it live, and second, since I was hoping to finish faster than Rev 3, he had to be monitoring that site for HOURS!  I was so touched!!  I monitor my peeps when they race, but I'm a huge fan of the sport, so it's easy. Ted certainly respects the sport, but that was really touching to have him figure that out and do it!!  It meant a lot to me!!  He had wanted to come and support me, but I talked him into staying home - he'd be spending tons of $$$ just to see me for only a short bit of time. We all know triathlon isn't spectator friendly!!  So, if you don't LOVE the sport, it can make for a long, boring day until your person finishes.

My Triabetes Captains friends, and some triabuddies and their parents, were all surrounding me, congratulating me, and just giving me lots of love! I had such an entourage that several people stopped by our group and asked if I was famous!!!  LOLOLOL   Why yes, RIGHT NOW, I FEEL FAMOUS!!!  I was initially very nervous to have the "pressure" of people watching ... but I did a lot of self talk to make myself accept that as a POSITIVE thing, not to feel stressed by it, just let it be a positive thing.  It really did work!!  While I initially envisioned myself doing this alone, and upon hearing I'd have a posse of supporters, I got immediately scared! I want to race anonymously!  Anonymity!!  I want to succeed or fail without my peeps as spectators.  What kind of thinking is that??   I bet I'm not alone here.  I know that when we, the Triabetes Captains, do IM St. George in May - we will be blessed to have each other to support us through the challenges of Ironman.  It's a scary undertaking. That course, in particular. But we have each other and I know that we will all greatly benefit from that!!

When the race was over, I headed back to the condo and just basked in the glory of finishing :)  I was a tad bit disappointed that I didn't improve my time, but hey, that's how it went, and no need to dwell on it.  I have signed up to do Rev 3 Full Iron distance next September - and there, on that course, I WILL break 14 hrs.  I will improve my time.  Same course. Watch for it. 13 hrs and XX minutes.  That's my next big goal.  For now, I will tackle IMSG.  That race is May, 2011 and I have NO time goals for that race. The challenge of the course, the elevation, the mountains, the frigid water temperature, the ambient temperature, all will make for a challenging day.  I plan to finish that course! I don't care HOW LONG IT TAKES, I will finish it by cut off time!  We all will!

After posting some grateful words on Facebook, I got to sleep pretty easily.  I would be surprised to wake in the morning feeling PRETTY DAMNED GOOD!  Barely sore!  How is that even possible??

Tom and I headed over to IM store and to get coffee - there was, again, an ENORMOUS line.  To buy finisher jackets.  Eh, we were out! Headed to get coffee at McDs and then over to the park where my triabuddy, Rachel, would tackle her very first triathlon!!!  I had been looking forward to this as the highlight of my whole week!!!   It was nice to see my friends again, but even nicer to catch up with Rachel, Jodi, Ed, and meet Rachel's sister Emily.  I had a little gift for Rachel, then went on to ask her how she felt. She was nervous.  I hear ya girl!!  She felt very frustrated that she didn't know where to go. There was no course map.  That was a mistake on their part. These kids need to see a map!!  Heck, adults need a map. It's scary enough, but if you can't visualize your race, well, dang, that stinks!!  Rachel's frustration was hard for all of us to watch.  We found the race director and she comforted Rachel with a verbal recap of what to do.  I know that a map would have helped, and that would be my suggestion for future races.   But Rachel felt a bit better and then, after setting up her transition area, found some of her other triabuddy peeps and relaxed a bit.  Seems a lot of those kids were nervous, anxious, excited, scared.   All of those emotions swirl around in your mind! Plus, it wreaks havoc on your blood sugar!  She was running a bit high - stress will do that to you!!

Tom made himself right at home and I didn't feel the need to stick by his side to accompany him. He made friends easily, and was very happy to just chat with the other captains and triabuddies, parents.  I love that about him.  Unfortunately, Erin and her parents had wanted to come.  I was unaware of that, and there was some miscommunication.  :(   I feel terrible, because she and her parents would have really enjoyed watching these kids do their thing.  She was a good sport and accepted my apology. Erin is quite an amazing triathlon spouse!!  I give her huge props for her commitment and support to this, often all-consuming, sport.

The kids did their triathlon. It was set up a bit differently because they'd be swimming in a pool.  We often do our indoor triathlons this way.  Rachel was in line and I could tell she was excited and scared.  When it was her turn, into the water she went and began her swim, looking very strong!  She had a good stroke and had a good swim leg!  She climbed out of the water and headed to T1, where she took her BG, put on some clothes to bike in, put on her helmet, then took her bike to the end of the rack, where her RD buddy was there to direct her to exit the area.  She hopped on her bike and off she went! I was so excited!!  Rachel was having fun and had moments where she was smiling - beaming! But then there were other moments where she was just focused on her race.  We got some great pics!

I'm SO EXCITED for Rachel!! She's ready to go!

Triabuddies Photo Op

Ironman Tom, enjoying the kids' triathlon

Rachel doing jumping jacks to keep warm! Black and green suit.

And she's off!!

Lap 1 almost done!

Off for lap 2!

She's a fish!

Heading to T1 ... Swim: DONE!

Testing blood glucose!

T2, more BG testing!

Time to hydrate!

Love this one!!  And she's OFF!

She was QUICK on the run, we weren't expecting her yet!

Kicking it into the chute - struggling with a side stitch - Ouch!

Proud mom, Jodi, and step-dad, Ed - PROUD Rachel! :)

She's excited, she's nervous, she's a typical triathlete!



  1. Great report....I read the part of it being a "long boring day" to my husband. He laughed and said , " How about a long boring five days." Lol!

  2. Enjoyed reading this (as I do all of them). Need to get back to doing my own blog on a semi-regular basis :)

  3. Awesome race report! So cool that your husband could watch your finish live! Glad to hear your feet did not swell and no blisters.

    Great job to Rachel too!