Friday, June 29, 2007

The run...

It has taken me a while to find the right words to describe the run part of IM. I'm not sure if it's because this was the final stage of the race, where months and months of hard work and training were about to come to an end. Or, if it were simply the fact that it was hard. It was the first marathon I'd done in nearly 4 years...

But, here we go!

T2 was pretty uneventful. I did forget to go potty once I got in the changing tent, so I had to backtrack a bit to hit the porta potties. I think they should put a couple outside of the tent too, for those of us who SOMEHOW miss the 20+ of them on our way in to change. Can't really blame us can you? We were out there on our bikes for a LONG time!
I have to admit it was pretty odd just dropping my shorts an standing there half naked for a couple of mins while I put my running skirt on. I decided not to reapply bodyglide anywhere... I do have some modesty left you know...

I couldn't make up my mind what all I wanted, so I just took a baggy of just about everything you might need (face lotion, wet wipe, chapstick, gel, salt, more salt....) and stuffed it into the much smaller than needed pocket of my top. Grabbed my fuel belt, visor and slipped on my running shoes and headed back out to the porta potty.

On my way out of the porta potty I saw Momo. I told her I'd see her out there, she'd catch me.... Then, headed back thru the tent so I could exit on the other side and start my run.

As I started running I realized I wasn't getting any air. My lungs were basically shutting down so I could only do short shallow breaths. It was very exhausting. I never expected this, so of course didn't have my inhaler. But, I remembered giving to Erin, Sara's sister.. so was hoping to see her out on the run. The first couple of miles were out and back along the lake. It was beautiful. On my way back in I saw Melisa, Ric & Sara.... I yelled to Sara & asked her where Erin was, and she told me right up the road.

Thankfully about a mile later I found Erin & got my inhaler. I used it a couple of times but they were too congested to actually get enough medicine into them, I think. Finally about mile 4, I took one more puff and began coughing the congestion up. Ahhhhh, sweet air. I could finally get some.

I think the first few miles went by so quickly, because I was just focusing on getting air. Not expending too much energy by talking or wheezing, and putting one foot in front of the other.

I wasn't really thinking about nutrition too much. All I new is that I was STARVING. I had hunger pains like you wouldn't believe. I started with a Gel about 20mins into the run... That did absolutely nothing. I wasn't ready to walk thru the aid stations yet though, so I didn't try anything else.

I saw Troy at about mile 4.. I asked him where Shane was, and he said not far back. A little while later I saw Shane. He was walking....He said, "You're going to catch me." I knew his A game was over with and the Hernia pain he'd been dealing with had gotten to him.... Poor guy. He had plenty of time though, so I wasn't worried about him not finishing.

At about mile 5 momo caught up with me... then shortly after that Ric. Momo said she was feeling the same thing, and that she had eating an unbelievable amount of gel on the bike. She was done with those though. So... I decided to start with pretzels. I just started munching as much of them down as I could. Still not helping....

I stayed with Ric & momo until about mile 8, after a big climb I was slowing way down. Just couldn't keep up. Shortly after that Sara passed me. I could see all of them in front of me for a while, but just didn't have much in me to pick up the pace. I felt famished. My legs were great, but man.. this girl was just STARVING. I think this was just such a surprise to me. I expected to be tired, to be in pain, to be nauseous... but never expected to want a big old piece of pizza or bagel or ANYTHING solid for that matter....

I ended up walking quite a bit from mile 8-about 12. OH - and I also saw Heather at this time. I was so happy to see her out there and smiling. We were all worried about her after she had trouble in the practice swim. I guess she had an amazing swim, and was out there kicking some but!!

Then, as I approached the transition to begin lap 2 something hit me. I just had a great burst of energy. My only clue is it's the chicken soup I had just eaten. My extreme hunger had finally subsided and I was running.... I was living up the cheers of the crowd, giving high fives and smiling all thru the crowded area. When I saw my cheer group, Stacey jumped in and ran a few feet with me. All I remember saying is "This is F'ING HARD!!!" They were so encouraging. Said I looked great.... was doing so well. Nothing but positive thoughts from them!

Stacey was like, are you ok? What about it is the worst. The funny part was, nothing was hurting. My lungs had cleared up. My legs felt good. I just didn't know what else to say, I guess! And, it was HARD!

I must have picked up some time in those couple of miles because I saw Ric again (he was waiting for Sara) and I figured he was a lot further ahead of me... then I saw S walking. He was just trotting along. Then only about a half mile ahead of me I saw momo. I thought, hmmm, maybe I can catch up to her, but that fell apart pretty quickly when my 2 mile mojo vanished.

It was a great 2 miles.... but, then, then they were gone. It took everything I had not to walk up Sherman as I headed back out to the hills. The crowd saved me. Saved my running legs. You can see in this picture that I wasn't exactly cruising anymore!


The next person I saw was ironbenny. He was actually sitting down on some grass. I asked him if he was OK, if he needed anything... He said he just got low on fuel, but he'd be alright...

Then, I ran up to Shane. He was walking. I walked with him for about 5mins. He kept trying to get me to go run, but I was actually enjoying the walk :-) He was telling me to go, that I could beat his Wisconsin time. I knew that wasn't going to happen, and really just didn't care about the time. I already knew I was going to finish, and finish well. I just wanted to take it all in. Not be in pain... and get thru it. Although Shane would probably give anything to have been able to run the marathon, the rest of us sure did have fun walking with him at various points... Here's ironbenny & S walking together...

Eventually, I left him and started running again. Then walked..... then sometimes ran. When I got to the top of the hill where the turnaround was I saw momo. She said, "Come on - I want to finish with you!" It was so cute!!! I told her I couldn't run up the hill.... and she said, "that's ok - I'll walk."

So she did.. she walked and waited for me. I finished the up part then somehow got my legs to speed up and catch her a couple of minutes later on the down. She told me we did all the training together, and we were going to finish together! She asked what my plan was, walk, run or walk & run. I said yah.. I've been doing them both.

So, being the brilliant gal she is she said, "Ok - we'll run the down's and walk the ups." Gotta love a girl with a plan. Especially one that sounds as good as this one!

That is what we did... walked some, ran some..... drank a LOT of soup at the aid stations...

We also ran into ironbenny again. Or, he caught up to us. I can't tell you how good it was to see him! He was't looking so hot when I saw him a while back. It was like a complete turnaround. He walked with us for a while... then, I think he could tell we were just happily trotting along at our leisurely pace, and he picked it up and headed up in front...

The next and last few miles actually went by fairly fast. We stuck to our plan of walk/run. We talked about how it was just much more fun to be doing this than powering thru it and hurting. Our legs were finally starting to get a little tight, and we were ready for this thing. Ready to see that finish shoot... ready to stop moving.

We turned the corner before hitting Sherman where they were directing those who were finishing to go to the left, those who were starting lap 2 to go to the right.

In pure momo fahion she raised her hands up in the air changing, "We're finished, we're finished!!!" It was a blissful moment! I remember telling her I don't think I can run fast down that last stretch, but as soon as we turned the corner a whole new body over took mine and we started booking it!!!

About 100 yards from the finish I saw my Baxter sign with Stacey, Carrie, Chris, Karen & Dave - and I also saw a couple of surprise guests as well. Molly & Stacie, some friends from high school that were at the swim, but I had no idea they were coming back for the finish.

I think I picked it up even more..... Momo told me to go ahead, that she was grabbing her kids.

So, I sprinted (or at least that is what it felt like to me) and crossed that finish line as I heard my name followed by "YOU ARE AN IRONMAN." I was all smiles.
I turned around and saw Momo, gave her a hug.... We did it, just like we planned. Trained together, finished together..... It was such a great time. Such a great experience. Something, I will never forget...

It's hard to believe that it is overwith right now. Maybe that is why I signed up for next year. I wasn't ready to let it all go. I didn't quite feel complete.

I think there is a lot more that momo & I could have done out there, but we did what we did, had a blast and will be back next year to do it all over again! Hopefully, no white-caps on the lake and a little more running mojo!

I can't say enough about our wonderful support crew out there in CDA cheering us on all day long. Or, about the friends who were at home watching us online. I thought about each and every one of you while I was running out of fuel and steam out there on there run. You all are the reason that I made it....

I also can't say enough great things about the small city by the lake, Coeur d'Alene. This place and all the amazing people that live there made my first Ironman such an incredible experience. I really did feel like I was home......

4 comments:

Spokane Al said...

Congratulations on a great time and a great race. Coeur d'Alene and the entire Inland Empire were definitely a bit brighter with you and your gang here.

momo said...

really, really great. you did so well, just like i knew you would! and being able to finish together, well that was the icing on the cake. mwa! we did it! too cool!

Di aka "Mrs Bigun" said...

Your smile says it all!!! Congratulations on a spectacular event in your life! To be able to finish with a friend you have trained with makes it even better. To finish with Momo, well, what else is there to say? Congratulations IronWoman.

Sheraa said...

The picture with your medal says it all...the look on your face...you are glowing! I am so proud of you!!!!