Monday, July 21, 2008

IMLP Race Report - Soggy

First, thank you to everyone for all the well wishes leading up to the Ironman event, the taper days and two days of nothing before hitting the starting line are filled with boredom, self-doubt, obsessive compulsive gear and nutrition prep and some random thoughts; your words of encouragement were a great diversion...THANK YOU!
Now for a recap of probably one of the most physically and mentally challenging days I will ever endure: The common theme of the day was RAIN...and I don't mean a few showers here and there, I am talking about a driving rain storm for the entire day and when it wasn't a driving rainstorm, it was a Noah's Ark deluge with the roads turning into rivers...our own form of water torture.

Pre-race - I woke up ready to go, a few nerves but feeling confident

SWIM: We got in the water and it looked like it was going to be a nice weather day...HA! I started right in the front line about 20 feet off the dock...the cannon went off and it was a free-for-all cage fighting match for the first 1/8 of a mile. There is no getting into a rhythm or feeling the water, it is all about survival and body bumper cars. I made it to the turn and found some free water in a good draft and settled in to finish the first lap...back into water (oh, I noticed that it had started raining) and I didn't feel great but was just comfortable enough to battle the last loop.Out of the water and it was pouring rain which really didn't matter since I was wet and trying to get my bearings...wetsuit stripped...nice long run down the hill on a road which was now a river to transition and a good quick change and onto the bike.

BIKE: The rain is not so bad for a little bit and it felt sort of refreshing...I got to the top of the long decent and it was pouring rain. This is where I scared the crap out of myself...50mph down hill in a driving rain which felt like a sandblaster to the face (not that I've ever experienced a sandblaster to the face)...first loop of the bike I keep my power in the range where my coach had told me I would be best served. The rain just kept coming and at this point it was obnoxious and annoying. The second time down the hill it was raining harder and I was going faster , in hindsight this was not my smartest move of the day. At the bottom of the hill I was frozen and this is where, mentally and physically, I started to really doubt what I was doing and looking ahead to running a marathon put me in a pretty deep hole. I knew I was off my goal pace and that my lofty aspirations were not going to happen...I dug down and refused to entertain the thought of dropping out...I was going to cross that finish line come hell or high water (ok, we were already at high water so just hell). I got a second wind and completed the bike...
I got off the bike and while handing to a volunteer he said "enjoy your marathon." Uh, mmmm, oh...a marathon...a good quick transition and headed back out into the rain. I've never considered myself a runner, but at this point in time I've never enjoyed running so much...

RUN: I started out feeling good and holding back my pace and got through the first two miles with a good cadence and rhythm...boom, there goes my stomach...on the downhill part of the run all the sloshing and jostling upset my stomach. I got to first aid station and walked to try and settle my stomach and get back a good feeling. The run was filled with a few highs - running at a good pace feeling good - and more lows than I can count...again, the thought of packing it in was looming...the rain was unreal, but I would not entertain this and would push my aching, frozen, wet, stiff legs to shuffle as fast as possible.
I saw my family and some friendly faces on the course and it is amazing what one word of encouragement means when suffering, it gets you through the next mile, it takes your mind off the pain if only for a few moments...
I crossed the finish line completely delirious and hallucinating, was this real? is this pain finally going to come to an end? am I going to get out of the rain?
I just finished an Ironman...
Thanks again for all the words of encouragement and support!
P.S. When I went to bed last night it was still raining and I wasn't out in it...oh, what a relief!

Monday's raining again in LP...

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