Friday, December 6, 2013

Ironman Cozumel Part 3 - It's all about the Run

I hobbled happily off that bike of mine, handed it off to a volunteer and ran toward the T2 rack. 

I felt a renewed energy and was excited to hit the road running. Fair game for all.... 

The racks where they had us hang our transition bags were small and crowded. The tape with our Numbers written on them were peeling off and hard to read. My section wasn't labeled and I struggled to find my bag. It felt like forever. The #1620 is hard {for me!} to say in Spanish!! 

I dumped my bag and began rushing to don my shoes for the run... and visor, garmin, glasses, gels, and so on.. Once again, the volunteers just stood there and didn't help. They couldn't speak my language and I couldn't speak theirs. I also didn't have the desire to try after my 113 mile frustrating bike ride. :) 
I was almost ready to go, but still needed my gels and garmin. I looked down where my gear had been dumped and it was all gone. One of the ladies had re-bagged all my stuff and cinched the bag up. ARGH! I wasn't done!! I had to undo it and fumble through all the junk again. grr.. 
I headed quickly into the portopotty since I thought I had to go and Hoped too since being hydrated is critical. Ok... what is UP with the bathrooms there???? I thought it was poor planning at the swim start when there was no paper in the toilets ( and I was Early! ) but here we go again. Not only wasn't there paper, there wasn't a Place for the paper! I had seen a box with rolls and rolls of TP in it on a table in the T2 tent and wondered... but it was way over there and obviously, I wasn't' going to Leave the bathroom, go over to the table way over there , grab a roll and go Back to the bathroom.  Very strange. And, not so good either! {Seems like they could have told us this pre-race....} also  ( Later in my trip I encountered many restaurant bathrooms with No toilet Seats!??? At the airport too... it was like that everywhere. Strange and gross indeed. blek. )  

The signage at this race was pretty much  nonexistent so simple things like Running OUT of the T2 tent was a challenge. Which way do I go? I couldn't say this in Spanish  at that time either, so of course several volunteers just looked at me in confusion as I asked how to get out.  I tell ya....   

After what felt like forever, and was in fact an absurdly long T2 split, I hit the road running. 

Eek! Time to turn this around and have some FUN!!! 

 It was HOT and you know, my legs were pretty heavy!!! I was hoping to feel light and springy but I guess it wasn't quite time for that!! No problem, this is normal. Just run...  I just ran and knew I'd come into it soon. Those first few steps almost always hurt. 

The crowds were awesome and I was ready to finish the race well. I had No idea where I was in terms of placement... no idea. But the run course, like the bike, was a 3 loop treat so I knew I'd find out soon enough if I was in front, or behind.  Head up, arms down, keep feet quick and just go..... 

My pace was quick for the first few miles. But my heart rate  was too high. I tried and tried to back off and get that down.... but instead, it kept rising! Argh.. Not yet! The heat was climbing and I knew that was why. I stuffed 3 or 4 gels into my shirt, a coin purse for salt, and 2 clif shot blok packs! ha.. cute!! Who cares. Arms low, relax, head up, brain off...... 
just go.... 

that was my mission... just keep going.... 

I drank and drank. I didn't need to walk.. I just tried to keep it controlled and steady. Where am I? Where is "she?" I was off to find out what the race was all about now. 

I will not lie. It hurt. A lot. I was hellbent to stay positive and to 'care.' But you know what? It's easy to stop caring. It's easy to decide you just want to stop. It's so damn easy to think you don't really care anymore. When it hurts that much, when you're that tired, and hot, and you think you might not have a shot, it seems like you should just walk. 

That ride was long and made me angry but the run is where it all comes down. What do you have in you? Are you going to fight? Or give in. 

I had to work for it. I had to work for my fight. And I'm happy to say, and proud to say too, that I found my "fight."  I never really lost it, I just had to work hard to get it back up the surface.  

This helped:  :) 
Check out this little series of photos my husband caught. 

The 3 boys who had been up since 4:20 a.m....standing around, waiting, driving in crowds for hours... they all stood watching for me while I was nowhere in sight.... 

Still waiting  

I was coming now.... Tommy moved up to get close... Nick is still attentive....

Tommy leaned right at me and hollered so many enthusiastic cheers, and funny comments that are "jokes" between the two of us, just to make me smile {he did!!} .... Nick has his arms out and yelled GO MOMMY ,Love you!  {seriously! it doesn't get any better!!} as I got to him, Cameron was right there and I remember hearing, " you are doing so well Mommy..."--- they saw me FIVE times on this run and never ever waivered in their enthusiasm.... 

I think you can see the pain on my face.... but those 3 kids were RIGHT THERE for me. No "pre-teen I'm too cool and bored for this today" nonsense. They were my rockstars!!!! My YOU CAN DO THIS push- all day long. {Thank you boys. Thank you Mark. This trip to Hawaii is for you too. Love you!!! }

I have no idea what my problem was at this point but Nick looks like he's wringing his hands thinking, "Hmmm... what can I say right now that will help..."  :) :) 

 I ran and ran and ran. Sometimes I ran harder than others. On my way out on the first loop, I saw my friend Karen PM that I met when I went to a training camp in TX. She was KICKINGBUTT!!!!! And, I couldn't have been more happy for her. Even if she was in my age group and ahead of me. :) I know she has worked SO hard for this and I am pretty sure she has done 4 Ironmans in the last 13 months with a fight for her Kona spot. It made me smile to see her having a great day. The question was, who else was ahead of me? I was fine with Karen being up there, but nobody else. :)  :) Shortly after this, I saw Michelle S. She confirmed that one other lady in my age was up there. Ok.... work to do. And, I had no idea if there was still a shot for me.  Would there be 3 spots or only 2 again. We had been hearing 3. You just never know.

I wasn't running as fast anymore and I was sad to see the pace I had slowed to, but I was running. I only walked here and there through aid stations to get the fluids in. I took a few gels ( or only 1? not sure) and I ate some clif bloks, I felt ok. I was very very hot though. I had to go to the bathroom Badly ( I think that was the problem in the pictures above ) and there were only a couple portopotties out there on the course.

My mantra during the run became.... "Just keep running because you never know..."
I was hot, but it was hot for everyone. I was tired, but of course I was! And of course everyone else was. You never know if someone else, someone ahead of you, was going to start walking. Or cramp up. OR, if someone behind me was close. I had to hold on. I had some very low spots but then I rallied... I rallied hard. I fought back. I wasn't about to give up after all the effort that went into this.

I headed out on the third loop and the sky was BLACK black black!!!

It started to rain. Yay!!! But then, it started to POUR!!! I mean, POUR. Torrential hard heavy big fat rain. It FELT really nice. It was hard to see..but it felt good! :) The problem however, is that the roads there don't drain. The roads became basically flooded. Huge deep puddles filled the roads so much of the time we were splashing through water that covered our shoes. It was literally that deep. The sun did come back out and that was ok too, but now our feet were heavy with water. It was a little crazy. Also, some of the aid stations went a little berserk during the rain storm and some athletes had trouble getting drinks etc for a while.

I actually started to feel better as the run went along. I pushed harder and while my pace never went back to where I wanted it, it didn't slow down Too much. I did have to make a bathroom break towards the end .... just had to ... and that took time I shouldn't' have spent.

I never really knew where I was in the race. Just that I had to stay the course. Keep pushing, You just never know....

I finally saw town again. I had hope of reaching the finish line after all . The buildings never seemed to get closer though. It was as though I was running in place. I felt like I was separated from my body. I was moving closer and closer to the end in my mind, I could feel it. But my body wasn't going forward. I could hear the finish line but was I moving? The rain had stopped but I was slogging through ankle deep water in the road. People near me were going backwards... did that mean I was in fact moving?

Just keep going.... just keep going .... you never know. Run harder.  You will get there.

Even though my mid-race stupor at mile 3 of a 26.2 mile hot & humid run said, "oh it's ok, you're a big girl and can deal with defeat. You have been to the Big show twice, you have done it! It's ok if you don't this time."
Ha! That is NOT what was in  my heart and soul. That is not how I felt. I realized this during that run, I snapped OUT of the I'm so hot and tired pity party and Fought back. And I'm so happy and proud that I did.

Near the end, the rain started again..... my race photos are in my mind and in the eyes of my kids and my husband. The camera had to be saved and put away in the bag but turning the corner to the Finish and crossing the line is something I will Never ever forget. I did it with a huge smile and satisfaction knowing I gave it Every single ounce I had that day. I played fair, I raced smart and I raced hard.

race time: 10:05*( 141.2 miles ) ---- 3rd age group-- 9th amateur woman

There's a  little more left to the story.....  :) :)

coming soon.....


Damie said...

I love the pics with the kids- great family!!! you are a hell of an athlete! wondering what more there could be, and hope it is good with a KQ!

Jennifer Harrison said...

Great race and day for you, Ange! It is never easy, but it is always worth it. Congrats again on your race and Kona slot (just wish it was the same year I was going!).

And, the cheating at these events are just awful sometimes. :(