Wednesday, November 26, 2008

na, na, na-na-na!

So is it wrong to have the song Ironman stuck in my head? I submit that it is not.

Here's a quick and dirty recap - a full one is coming very very soon, I promise! I've just had to deal with a ton of other stuff - my court date, my yearly performance review, and a mishap at the bank that resulted in about $200 of fees that required some immediate attention.

OK - so the swim was good, despite the CRUSH of humanity - 2100 people all at once. Imagine the thrashing and kicking! Anyway, I got a charlie horse in my left calf about 1/2 mile in - so it hurt like hell to try to swim it off when I couldn't really stop to do anything about it. And when I got out of the water, both calves charlie-horsed up. I think the cold water was the main culprit - I hadn't done any cold-water open swimming, and my wetsuit had no sleeves - it was just a bib.

So I could barley walk through the first transition, let alone try to move quickly. I did manage the swim in 76 minutes - about 4 minutes below my goal time, so I was very surprised (OH, and I also overswam the turn, so to come out when I did was AWESOME!)

T1 took me about 12 minutes to get ready for the bike - I was trying to get my calves to cooperate with me the whole time. I headed out on the bike, and I just have to say, the throngs of people cheering us on was nothing short of inspiring!

I spent a lot of my time on the bike trying to get my calves to stop screaming, so when I finished the first lap with an average speed of about 19.5 mph, I was pretty happy. But part of that was the wind blowing us back into town on the way back from the out-and-back loop - I averaged close to 30 mph on the way back. But then A) it got warm, B) the wind started shifting, and C) I started hurting. I stopped at one of the aid stations on the second lap to slather on vaseline on my neck from the chafing the collar of the wetsuit gave me, despite putting on bodyglide. I stoppped at the half-way point to eat - I had to stand upright as I could not get the food to settle in very well. The HammerFuel I had with me started tasting like crap, too. I shouldn't have tried to flavor it myself.

On the third lap, the wind had completely changed, so the way back was fully into the wind. That slowed me down. I also had to stop a few times on the lap to stretch out my back - it had been hurting the whole week leading up to the race, and it was screaming at me to get off the bike and get upright.

I got in for T2, took my time changing because my back, legs, and shoulders were killing me. I knew with the blown calves I wouldn't be running much, so the question became how far off from my goal time of 13:30 would I be? I knew that I could still make it if I walked the whole run course, but that wouldn't be very sporting, would it?

I walked to the first aid station, where they had a cramp/massage station. I knew I needed them to work on my calves. Luckily, the day before, I bought a pair of compression running socks and it was the best purchase I made in preparation for this event. After the rub down, I tried to run a few times, but my calves still would have none of it. I ended up walking the whole first lap.

On the second lap, I stopped again at the massage station, this time having them stretch out my entire legs. That seemed to help, along with the walking and the compression socks. A fter walking uphill for the next 1/2 mile, I tried a jogging for a few minutes. My heart rate shot up, but my legs didn't hurt so bad. I knew that once the sun went down, I would be able to push a little harder. I started running for a couple minutes, walking several more, and picked up the pace. The third lap, I was able to run from aid station to aid station, walking through them to give the water and gatorade a chance to get digested.

At the start of the third lap, I started calculating if I could break 15 hours. I thought it would be close. That gave me the motivation to speed up. With about 3 miles to go, I thought I could break 14:45. I still had to stop and walk on the inclines - my calves wouldn't let me run up them - but by the last mile, I was running. The last 300 yards, it seemed as if all the pain was starting to melt away. The last 100 was a sprint for me - I wanted to catch up with a guy in front of me, and once I did, my legs forgot how to slow down - I couldn't stop myself.

I crossed the line at 14:41:44...which was fitting for my number, #411.

As for court - the judge heard our case yesterday, but didn't make a decision - he's mailing it out in the next few days.

More to come very soon!

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