Thursday, May 17, 2012

Girlie, Tough Ain't Enough

Off the bike, quick transition into my running gear and I head out for round three. Starting the run at Ironman never feels great but I take stock and my legs feel good, I feel strong and I am still going tough. The streets are lined with spectators and the energy is amazing. I am getting lots of shouts out for my unicorn kit and I feel like all my preparation and hard work has paid off. I held strong on the swim and the bike and now all that is left is to run the marathon....

Bamo Whamo, not two miles later I am not able to focus my eyes, I am experiencing severe dizziness and I am listing left and right. Of course this is just as I come across my super awesome cheering squad and I have a complete mental breakdown. I am not sure what is going on, but I want to cry. Where is the tough girl from 2 miles ago? Has she completely vacated the premises. I go over to me hearty and try to hang onto him, but for some reason he is keeping me at arms distance and barely patting my back. Are you telling me I am not super sexy and hot and you don't love the smell of me right now? Even in my disoriented haze I recognized the lack of physical attraction he was experiencing. Ever the voice of reason he tells me to slam calories. I respond that I have been doing nothing but all day, I really need to learn to listen to him! I take stock of my current condition and instinct takes over. Perhaps it is dehydration? Skin turgor good, no tenting. Mucous membranes, remain moist. Urination has happened at least twice on the bike (oh, that's why he doesn't want to have me touch him!). I have to pee again. Dehydration ruled out. So dizzy though and doesn't that patch of grass look like a great place to have a nap?
I feel like I am drunk. Maybe that last water bottle on the bike was spiked? Why else am I having to concentrate so hard to run straight (oh yes, I am back to attempting to run). Maybe it's a salt thing. I have been taking in electrolytes and salt but I'll try some more. I am pretty caked in salt from the wind whipping the sweat off my body. Okay, how long before I know if that worked? It's pretty hot out here maybe it's the heat, but I already have ice in my hat and my top and that isn't making me any less dizzy or foggy headed. Yes a rational person at this point would consider calories, but I had been taking in WAY more calories than normal the whole bike ride. I couldn't believe my diesel engine was burning that hot. You know what they say, hindsight is 20/20.

This continued for until mile 4 when I found myself off the side of the road almost running into a lamp post. Whoops! Switch from attempting to race to attempting to survive. Walk now and regroup. Look at that, I am walking a straight line. Don't think I could touch the tip of my nose though but I am making forward progress without detours to the left and right. My stomach is flat, I am taking in calories and I seem to be absorbing them but not it is just a matter of making the finish line. I don't have a watch but I know that I can walk the whole thing in just over 6 hours and I have until midnight so I will finish at this rate. I wish I could say that I tried to fight when I saw the race moving away from me, but alas the only fighting I was doing was to keep my eyes open.

Along the way I made some friends and we formed a little walking club. Just like the kind you see at the malls:) We chatted and we walked and we passed people who were jogging and then walking. I named one guy the Hare because he would pass us only to be passed again when he was sauntering along and we were briskly walking. During this time I got a full can of coke from a little boy at an aid station. He actually chased me down with it, I must have looked really desperate. I hugged him (yes, he let me touch him. in all fairness he probably isn't as aware of what we do out there as me hearty is:)) I carried the can of coke and nursed it for about 3 miles. Somewhere at the end of my second of three laps of the run course I finally came around. I wasn't dizzy, I felt good and my legs were still ready to run. Thus, I started to run and I felt fabulous. I was running how I spent months training to run. I was passing people who had been running and were now walking. People who had seen me casually walking for almost 2 laps were yelling 'you go girl' now that I was FINALLY running. I was loving it, of course I was no longer really 'in' the race but I still had a finish line to get to. The best part was when I went by my own personal cheering squad and they did a rendition of 'She's Got Legs' for me. That lifted me up and carried me for miles!

I ended up taking one more walking break before the finish when the dizzies returned but I ran the last few miles to the finish. People are saying it was the hardest Ironman conditions ever and I can say that the athletes that were doing the walk of shame with me were not off the couchers, these people were the real deal and we were all fighting the battle. I proved I was tough out there but I didn't recognize a full blown bonk. First time ever I haven't slammed a red bull heading out onto the run course, and the LAST time ever! It's true, the stuff may taste nasty but it does give you wings and lots of sugar:)  Sometimes, tough ain't enough, you've also go to fight smart and when your brain isn't working, listen to your husband!

PS: The volunteers and spectators at this event were amazing. Special thanks to the boy who chased me down with a FULL can of coke- you saved me, the ladies who zipped me through both transitions and were so encouraging but most of all to the Team Super Awesome support crew for being out there ALL day for me! You guys rocked-literally!

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