Tuesday, September 10, 2013

IMWI 2013: Hot or Not

When you compete in a sprint or Olympic distance triathlon, it is not uncommon to have a race where you feel like you totally nailed it.  Your training was solid, you felt strong and fast throughout, and that confidence carries you through to the finish line.  An Ironman is a totally different beast altogether. Even the fastest professionals go through cycles of high points and low points throughout the day.  The trick to conquering the IM is to ride the highs as long as possible and dig yourself out of the low points quickly.   Below, in a hot or not format, are some of the things that affected me throughout my race on Sunday.

HOT:  The weather.  I mean, seriously, when was the last time you saw a cloudy, 70 degree day sandwiched between two 95 degree sunny days?  That's what I thought.   Never.  Someone was looking out for us.
NOT:  The wind.  It was a bitch.   Especially on miles 96-102.  Those were definitely the worst part of the bike for me.

HOT: The volunteers.   Unbelievable.  Their smiles, motivation and enthusiasm were so fantastic I almost wanted to hug each one I encountered.  I accidentally threw water and/or Perform on more than one of them and they all laughed it off.  To the girl in T1 who rubbed sunscreen on my back to the one in T2 who changed my socks- you all rule.
NOT: The triathlete who called one of the volunteers an asshole because he wouldn't give him his gear.   This athlete did not have his participant bracelet or pickup ticket, which was a rule stated from the very beginning.  Poor volunteer was just doing his job and this guy was giving us all a bad name. Too bad it was after the race- he should have been disqualified in my eyes.

HOT:  The spectators.   From the guys in the pink speedos to the tutu'd ladies to the man who looked me in the eye at mile 10 and said "You look like you are having a great race."  The spectators made this race a memory to last a lifetime.  Thank you for coming out.
NOT:  Miles 18-25 on the run when the sun was setting and the spectators were calling it a day.  These are what I call "the dark miles."  When you need to dig deep and figure out what you are made of. Reflect on how far you have come and where you are going.  The pain was bad, I remember that, but already becoming a distant memory.

HOT:  A breakdown free bike ride (for me).  No mechanical issues with my newish electronic shifters, no flat tires, no ejected water bottles.   Nothing to throw me off my game.
NOT:  The poor guy I saw looking at his bike on the side of the road with a BROKEN CHAIN.  Broken chain?!  Yikes!  I can only hope race support was able to help him and get him back on the road.

HOT: Any section of the race on State Street.  There are two portions on each loop so four times altogether you get to run past the bars and the crowds and they will motivate you like none other.
NOT: Who decided it would be great to make miles 6 and 19 mostly uphill? And a steep one at that. Even walking at mile 19, uphill was killer.   You try to tell yourself only 7 more miles but then realize that is over and hour and it is depleting.

HOT:  The deliciously salty goodness of the chicken broth I chugged at mile 20. I was sticking to Perform and water prior to then, but all bets were off the last 6 miles.  So yummy.
NOT: The sticky sweet taste in the back of my mouth and throat for a majority of the marathon.  Ten hours of Roctane, GUs, Chomps and Perform will do that to you.  I am on energy supplement detox for a while.  

HOT: The last few hundred meters of the race with the spotlights pointed towards you, the roaring crowd and that final boost of adrenaline.
NOT: Ten minutes after the race when I realized I needed to lay down or I was going to keel over.   When I laid down right there on the sidewalk my mother immediately walked me to the medical tent.  I managed to avoid an IV by laying down for a bit and drinking a can of Sprite in front of the doctor.

HOT: Taking a warm bath at the hotel after the race, falling into bed, and blissfully falling into a deep slumber.
NOT:  Being awake in a full blown panic almost all night Saturday before the race.

HOT:  Every time over the past 48 hours that I remember that I just finished an Ironman.
NOT: When I realize that I might never be in this great of shape again in my life!  Aaah!

BTW, the picture on the top of this post? That is the tattoo I am finally going to get next week.  It has been a five year decision process and I am ready to make it happen!
-Coach A

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