Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fleet Feet group run

Dave and I just got back from the Fleet Feet Sunday group run. Every Sunday people show up at 8am and do an out-and-back course along the river. Today's group had people running between 5 and 18 miles. I decided to do 6, since that's what my half marathon training program said I should have done last weekend. I couldn't keep up with my 5 months pregnant friend Jennifer but she and our friend Cameron slowed down every so often so I could pretend I was a part of the conversation every so often. It's nice to run with other people every so often, instead of my usual solo-run, or running with Dave, which is great when he wants an easy jog but he's so much faster than me that he needs to run without me too. Dave ended up doing 9 miles - perhaps his longest run ever! Yay Dave!

My knees bothered me on the run though, so unfortunately I think I need to stop increasing my mileage and just stick to more frequent, lower mileage runs. I think this means I won't be doing the Shamrock'n half marathon in March for my birthday this year. But Dave's run went so well that he signed up for it as soon as we got home! It'll be my turn to be the cheerleader this year! :) We're both signed up for a 100k bike ride in early April though, so instead of long runs on Sundays maybe I'll just start biking again. After the run I used some store credit to buy a 140.6 triathlon license plate frame for my car and I enjoyed the delicious free coffee that was available for the group runners. I think we'll go back again sometime!

Thank You for Supporting Kendra Nielsam’s 2009 Ironman Florida Campaign!

A thank you from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness!

Way to go Kendra!


On November 7th 2009, NFCA Athlete for Awareness Kendra Nielsam completed the Iroman Florida, dedicating her race to helping raise awareness of celiac disease and supporting efforts to increase the rate of diagnosis among the 2.5 million Americans still suffering.

Kendra finished the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run in 15 hours 15 minutes and 49 seconds, and through the Janus Charity Challenge program, raise almost $4,000 to support NFCA and celiac awareness- Amazing!

Despite the many obstacles Kendra encountered since receiving her own celiac diagnosis earlier this year, Kendra was able restore her health, reclaim her life, and achieve her fitness goals. By overcoming her own personal challenges managing her disease and diet while trying to achieve her athletic goals, Kendra's story has inspired others to believe, achieve, and champion the cause as well. Kendra's journey has motivated those in the celiac community to pursue a healthy, gluten-free lifestyle.

But she couldn't have done it without YOU!

The NFCA would like to congratulate and thank you for your encouragement, support, and contribution towards Kendra's incredible fundraising and athletic effort.

Currently, 1 in 133 Americans have Celiac Disease while only 1 in 4700 is diagnosed. In this respect, we are still far from reaching the finish line.

Your donations will go directly towards raising awareness of Celiac Disease and its complications among physicians and the general public, improving the lives of millions of Americans and relieving the burden on our healthcare system correspondingly.

NFCA's goal is to gain a diagnosis for 1 million Americans in the next five years. Your contribution is a critically important part in helping us meet this mission.

We encourage you to continue to follow the progress of Kendra and our organization by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and following the Athletes for Awareness Blog through our website,

Join our mailing list!


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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ironman Florida Race Report: Post-finish

Ironman Florida 2009 finish time: 15:15:48

What I'd do differently on the Run:

Body Glide the bottoms of my feet!!!!!!! It would've been so much less painful without those blisters. Maybe try having a different flavor sports drink for the run and the bike. Drinking the same thing all day was just impossible. Have a toothbrush in my special needs bag (no need for toothpaste, just a quick dry brushing of all that ickiness would've been great. Also maybe look into whether I could get an American's with Disabilities Act special accommodation to somehow have HOT gluten free chicken broth. It would've been so nice! On a related note, when I volunteered at IM Arizona I noticed they had Lay's potato chips, which were gluten free. I missed out on those entirely but they might have sounded good to eat on the run, had I known they were there. For the first few weeks after Ironman I kept wishing I'd run more, wishing I'd tried to make myself to run during the times I thought I had to walk. But I think I'm ready to accept that I did everything I could to finish and that was ultimately my goal. Next time I can think about goal times, etc.

After the race:

After I crossed the finish line, a volunteer immediately approached me and told me her name and that she'd be helping me now. She asked me if I was okay and I thought I was. I stopped my watch as the volunteer put an emergency/space blanket around my shoulders and walked me a few steps where another volunteer took off my timing chip. I asked him to turn off my shoepod while he was down there because I wasn't sure when I'd be able to bend over that far. Another volunteer place my finisher's medal around my neck. Then I took off the space blanket off and tried to give it back to her (I was HOT) but she wisely refused and told me I might want it later. She asked me what size tshirt I wanted and another volunteer went to find it and then said they were out of that size so I got the next one up, which fit better anyways! (Annoyingly the finish tshirts are all standard unflattering to women uni-sex tshirts, so I haven't even worn mine!) Yet another volunteer gave me my finisher's hat. Then my volunteer walked me over to the finisher's photo area. I put on my new finisher's hat and placed everything else on the ground and smiled big for the camera.

My volunteer then walked me a few more steps and asked if I needed to go to the medical tent. Nope! She asked me if I wanted her to help me find my people, but I told her nah that my husband was usually pretty good about finding me after a race. So she just walked me to the massage tent! Ahh massage. A bunch of athletes were sitting in chairs in front of the tent, so I was bummed, expecting a long wait. But it seems that this was not actually a line, or maybe it was a line for people who had made reservations for an additional massage. I got to go straight back for a complimentary (included in the price) 15 minute massage. I almost laid down with my amphipod still on. It took me awhile to unload everything. I didn't take my shoes off because I knew I'd never get them back on.

"Anywhere in particular you want me to focus?" hmmm "ow actually my tendon on the front of my right ankle really hurts. My knees hurt. My legs are sore. My back is sore. I feel pretty stiff all over. So I guess everywhere." After what seemed like a few seconds, he told me to roll over. I think he had to ask twice as I was drifting off to sleep. After I rolled over he asked me what happened to my hamstring - he said I had a huge bruise. I couldn't see it and I couldn't remember falling during the day, but it was a long day, and my bruise didn't hurt, so I didn't care and told him to rub my hamstrings anyways.

The massage tent looked a little like a tent from MASH with exhausted bodies on tables. It felt so nice to get a massage, but it was also a little cruel to only get a 15 minute massage. While I was in there, Pete came over to congratulate me. He's the awesome massage therapist who gave me a massage the day before and who I had an hour long massage scheduled with for the next day. Anyone who is doing IMFL must use this guy. He's awesome! Send me a note and I'll hook you up.

When I left the massage tent wrapped in my space blanket, I was on my own. I walked past the food tent just glancing at it - clearly nothing was gluten free. I figured Dave wouldn't be too far from the place where athletes exit the secured finish area, and I was right. There he was with Lauren. I tried to smile.

They asked how I was doing and I mentioned the feeling kinda weird about food and having not eating much of anything on the run. After consulting with them, I decided to go back to the medical tent to ask if I should be worried at all. The triage nurse asked me when I last peed (on the first run loop) and she said I looked pretty good and that most people are nauseated by food at the end and get their appetite back in a few hours. So they sent me away. I picked up a slice of pizza for Dave on the way past the food tent which he was happy to eat. The only vegan option for Lauren was a bagel but I correctly decided she wouldn't want it. I was disappointed that the merchandise store was closed, although not surprised since the schedule had them closing at 6 on race day.

At this point I was walking pretty slowly. Taking baby steps actually. Each step was stiff and now I actually felt like I just traveled 140.6 miles by swimming, biking, and running. It was probably 11pm by now. Dave and Lauren carried my stuff for me and Dave basically propped me up and helped me walk. I mentioned I thought I might be able to walk back to the condo but they both were of sound mind and said no. The three of us made our way to where the road closure ended - basically on the far west side of the hotel's convention center. Somewhere on the walk my parents called my cell phone, which Dave had been using to Tweet updates about my progress all day. They'd been tracking me online so wanted to congratulate me for finishing. I spoke a few perhaps coherent sentences to them, told them about the flat and not eating, and then I decided it was too complicated to walk and chat at the same time. Dave left me and Lauren and walked back the next 1/2 or so mile to get the car.

When we got back to the condo parking lot, it was really funny trying to decide how to get to the condo unit which was on the second story. Two choices 1) walk maybe 100 feet farther, but take the elevator up, or 2) take the shorter distance but go up the stairs. I went with option 2 and had Dave essentially push me up each step. When we got inside, I called my coach to tell her the 5 minute summary and to thank her for being so awesome. She advised me to have some food ready in case I got hungry in the middle of the night, since the fridge would be a far walk. Smart woman!

I took a 15 minute ice bath and then got into warm pajamas and put my feet up, with a pack of ice on my extremely sore ankle tendon. During the ice bath, I had a few bites of plain potato and after the bath I was starting to get hungry. By the time I was on the couch, I asked Dave to cook me one of my gluten free pizzas - Glutino Duo Cheese. Yum Yum. It was great. I really had to rely on Dave and Lauren to get me the basics of food and water. It was so awesome to have them there to help me. It was amazing to crawl into bed at almost 2am. I'd been up for 23 hours which I hadn't done since college, and during that time I became an Ironman!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ironman Florida Race Report: Run (the finish!)

I could see mile marker 24 up ahead. My knees had been hurting for who knows how many miles. They only hurt when I ran though, and that hadn't been much in this second loop. They hurt on the inside near the kneecaps. I'd never felt pain there before, but in all my research to figure out what caused my outer knee pain (IT band) I'd read about runner's knee, and it sure seemed to be the same pain that I'd imagined came with runner's knee. It struck me as a tad bid funny that I developed this in my first marathon, but not funny enough to laugh. I think laughter on the course at this point would probably only be related to hysteria.

An older woman had passed us after she'd started jogging at some point in the last mile or so. I think she was probably the trigger that made me want to start jogging at mile 24. A guy passed us who was running fairly fast and had his arm bandaged up. Our guess was he was only behind us because of the time he'd spent with medical. He was clearly going to book it to the finish line.

The thought of the finish line had made me remove the reflective stickers that were visible from my front. I could totally picture my face in my finish photo just being a big blur of light caused by the flash reflecting off my hat! I'm glad I did this because my first loop run photo actually does show a minor reflection on the hot pink reflective sticker that was on my IT band wrap.

Mile 23 had me feeling a little stiff. I dropped one of my fuel belt drink flasks and bending over to pick it up was a bit of a chore! In addition to the stiffness, knee pain, and those awful blisters on the balls of my feet, I was also feeling a lot of pain in the joint where my right pinky toe meets the rest of my foot. It felt like a really bad blister there too. Almost immediately after the race, I felt a lot of pain in the tendons in front of my right ankle too, but I don't remember that hurting during the actual race.

Emotionally I was feeling kind of blah. I was happy that I was about to finish, but I didn't feel as excited and thrilled as I had during every time that I had visualized finishing the Ironman. I didn't have goosebumps or feel overwhelmed. It was more like waking up on day three of the bar exam. Sure, it's the last day of three intense days, but your so spent that it almost doesn't matter. I felt like all the walking I'd had to do was a big letdown. It was frustrating. I'd been able to run 20+ miles in my last long run three weeks earlier, and now I was tapered and it was race day. If I wanted it to be, this could be the last day I had to run for the rest of my life! But there I was, walking.

I was still using the yoga chant to help me avoid focusing on the pain and to just focus on breathing and moving forward and staying as positive as possible. Ohm namo guru dev namo. It was on repeat in my head and it had a calming but also empowering effect. I wasn't sure if my friend Artemis was still at her yoga class, but I was sure she was still sending me good vibes. I was so thankful for all my friends who had supported me through my training and through race week. My friend Jennifer had taken my frantic call the previous night when I had my pre-race freakout while Dave and Lauren were at the the volunteer meeting. (The freakout only lasted about 30 minutes, so they missed it!) Having just done her first marathon, she was the expert here and reminded me that no matter how overwhelming the race seemed at that very moment, once the race started, it was just like any other training day. My body would be on autopilot. It really was! Mentally I'd imagined Jennifer running mile 10 with me. Yay for having invisible friends on that course! Even while chatting with Mac and Ricardo, the yoga chant had been going through my head and it felt like that was what kept me moving forward.

When I told Ricardo my plan to start jogging at mile 24 with me, he said he'd give it a shot too. I was glad to have the company, but at the same time I was so determined to jog at that point, that I knew I would've done it anyways. As soon as my foot was even with the mile marker, I started jogging.

I really focused on my mantra as I jogged. Ohm namo guru dev namo. Ohm namo guru dev namo. I managed to tune out the pain and thought about how great I'd feel having really given it my all by jogging the last 2+ miles. There were a few volunteers out on the course still. As they packed things up, they said congratulations and asked if we needed anything. I no longer had the energy to thank the volunteers for their efforts. I smiled when I could, though given the darkness I'm not sure they could tell that I wasn't really ignoring them.

After maybe two or three minutes of jogging, Ricardo slowed to a walk and shouted "You go girl!" to me. I've always had mixed feelings about that phrase, but this time it made me smile. I passed someone walking, and he said something encouraging to me too. I passed another walker who told me "good pace!" I gave them a thumbs up; it was all I could really manage. Honestly I felt like a little bit of a jerk for passing people, as though I was rubbing it in that somehow I suddenly had the energy to jog. But the other athletes were incredibly supportive and cheered me on as I passed them, even if it was just a whispered "good job" as they struggled to keep walking towards the finish.

As I jogged, I was breathing faster. The chant no longer fit rhythmically. Not knowing if this was going to ruin my oneness with the universe, I dropped the last word of the chant. Ohm namo guru dev. I could handle that with my faster breathing. Breathe in - ohm namo; breathe out - guru dev.

As I got closer to the turn onto Surf Drive, I saw a handful of spectators here and there. They cheered for me too. I waved with my thumb-up, hoping they would know how much I appreciated them. The volunteers were great, because they helped us with whatever we needed all day long. The volunteers really wanted us to succeed. I can't quite explain it, but somehow it seemed that the spectators were almost more invested in helping us finish than the volunteers were. Maybe it's because the volunteers had jobs to do, whereas the only job the spectators had was to cheer and motivate us. Even though it was dark out there and there was maybe only one spectator every 100 meters or so, the spectators were so excited - so thrilled to see us near the finish - that it helped me remember what I had accomplished today. I no longer felt lame for walking so much. After all, I was doing an Ironman! I felt awesome and amazing, and random strangers were telling me that I was awesome and amazing.

A woman sitting on her balcony saw me coming, and as I passed another walker, she shouted out to her friend across the street "Look at her go - she's still got energy!" My smile kept getting bigger and bigger with every comment I heard. I passed the woman whose jogging had inspired me to start jogging again. I was amazed that I was passing people. It made me feel pretty awesome, though it also seemed like sheer luck. Somehow I'd gotten a second wind. People shouted out things like "You're an Ironman!" or "You are made of Iron!" or "You're awesome!" to me as I jogged past.

As I came across the quasi-aid station that had been blaring music painfully loud earlier in the night, the music suddenly seemed the perfect volume. And they were playing my song! The two times that I did a long run with my ipod, there were three or four songs that really got me moving, and when they came on, I'd hit repeat a few times. One of them was ABBA's Dancing Queen.

(Go ahead, hit play. It'll help recreate the moment better as you read.)

Hearing Dancing Queen must have helped my body kick into overdrive. I sped up and my smile got even more gigantic. I was about to burst with excitement and happiness. As I sped up, more people cheered for me. A guy wearing a dress was dancing in the street to Dancing Queen. I managed to squeeze on "awesome song" on an exhale and high-fived him. I picked up the pace and with each step I felt stronger.

You can dance. You can jive. Having the time of your life. .....

Even with Dancing Queen motivating me to run faster, my brain was still using the ohm namo guru dev chant to keep me moving at all. The mantra was giving me the life I needed to be moving; the song was the icing on the (gluten free) cake. I was still moving faster and faster and I was thinking about how I really was having the time of my life right in that moment. This was the most fun I'd ever had on a run.

I was nearing another turn, as there was a very short block right after the ABBA dancer. Another guy pointed me in the right direction and shouted "You can pass 6 more people who just walked past; you can catch them!!!" I managed to thank him though I had the feeling he was one of those people who says "the top is right around that corner" when you're hiking uphill, even though the pinnacle of the mountain is really another mile or two up. I couldn't see the group he was talking about yet, but I picked up the pace even more.

By now there were spectators all over the place. It was so strange to suddenly see so many people! Suddenly I saw the group of walkers ahead of me. Oh how sweet that would be to finisher six people closer to the top than to the bottom. I knew it didn't really matter what place I finished, but at the same time, this was technically a race and I was on a roll. I ran harder, hoping to pass them soon. I wouldn't be that jerk who passed people in the finish chute, ruining everyone else's finish photos. I wondered how fast I could run. My breathing was so fast. Ohmnamogurudev. Ohmnamogurudev. I reached them. I ran in between a couple of them and then realized I should really run around them, so I took to the outside of the group and felt even more awesome as I realized I was adding more distance to my run and passing people. I was so elated I wasn't even wondering "how much farther?"

It wasn't long before I realized it was silly to have even wondered if I could pass those people. I smoked past them as my pace kept increasing. I knew it was silly but I had to know how fast I was running. I wanted to know if it was just my imagination or if I really was kicking butt. I glanced at my watch and saw the pace: 10:00. SWEET.

Even though I didn't think it was possible, my smile got even bigger with each stride. I felt like I was bouncing at this point. Running/bouncing toward the finish of my incredibly long day, each step in tune with Dancing Queen which was on repeat in my head. That 2.4 mile swim felt like it was yesterday, I could barely remember the frustration of the flat tire, and my knees and the blisters no longer hurt.

I could see the big tall structure that was lit up near our hotel. I still couldn't figure out what it was, but I knew I was near the finish. Plus there were tons of spectators and I could hear Mike Reilly rallying the crowd. Ohmygosh. I was about to finish a freaking IRONMAN. I was having the time of my life. This was the best feeling ever. I almost didn't want it to end! I'd imagined this moment so many times and here it was, exactly as I'd pictured it.

As I made that incredible last turn to go towards the finish chute, I could see two people ahead of me. I slowed down a smidgen not wanting to catch up to them in their moment of glory but I was so energized it was hard to slow down much. I crossed a timing mat about 75 meters from the finish as I heard Mike Reilly dub the people ahead of me with the word Ironman. I figured the timing mat must have been to let Mike Reilly know who the next person coming was.

I heard something about Sacramento and knew Mike Reilly was now talking about me. ME! I started high-fiving everyone on my left, hoping that's the side Dave was on. I didn't stop to look for familiar faces though. I was smiling so much and Dancing Queen's "having the time of her life" line fit so perfectly. I put my arms in the air like a good champion, and just before I crossed the finish line, I heard Mike Reilly say, "KENDRA, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!"

FIRST RUN SEGMENT 6 mi. (1:12:25) 12:04/mile
SECOND RUN SEGMENT 7.4 mi. (1:31:10) 12:19/mile
THIRD RUN SEGMENT 5.6 mi. (1:25:22) 15:14/mile
FINAL RUN SEGMENT 7.2 mi. (1:42:55) 14:17/mile
TOTAL RUN 26.2 mi. (5:51:52) 13:25/mile

SWIM 1:20:58
T1: SWIM-TO-BIKE 19:01
BIKE 7:24:45
T2: BIKE-TO-RUN 19:12
RUN 5:51:52
OVERALL 15:15:48

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ironman Florida Race Report: Run (part 5)

Crossing that last timing mat in the park was great. I thought about the people who might be tracking me online. I wondered if my parents really brought a laptop to my cousin's wedding in California so they could track me during the reception (they did!). I thought they'd probably be relieved to see that I finally made it another few miles, even though I was going so slowly. I wasn't sure if Dave had tweeted about my slow patheticness. I thought that I should've told Dave to call someone who could track me online and tell them when I got to the park, to give them some idea of when I'd finish. Later I found out that there was a computer by the Information Booth where spectators could check on their athletes, so he knew when I was on my way back to the finish.

Mac and I had the same general idea: we wanted to finish and we thought if we walked we could finish; we weren't sure what would happen if we tried to run. I really wanted to finish, but I had no idea what my body was capable of and I was definitely running (walking) on empty. We'd both seen those videos of Sian Welch and Wendy Ingraham crawling to the finish - their bodies totally spent. [If you haven't seen it - stop now, go watch it and come back here later.] So we basically just accepted that chances were good if we took it easy, we'd get to that finish line. That didn't stop us from trying to run every so often. It seemed like less often than every 10 minutes, but I'd pretty much stopped looking at my watch - I could tell my HR wasn't too high, I knew my pace was slow, and it didn't really matter what time it was since I felt confident I was traveling fast enough to meet the cutoff, assuming I could keep moving.

The loop in the park was really, really dark now. I mean pitch black except for the occasional street lamp. I stumbled once on some uneven pavement, but I managed to not fall. Ever so often one of those nauseated headlamps would ruin the darkness for me. At some point in the second loop, I'd realized that I'd been saying my 'ohm namo guru dev namo' mantra so much that it could play in the back of my head while I talked to Mac. But when we weren't talking, it was forefront in my mind and gave me something to concentrate on other than the headlamp/food induced nausea. One thing I didn't think about, but wish I had, was the fact that when I started my watch some 13 hours earlier, my total mileage on the watch since I'd last reset it was 140.6 miles. What a positive sign! But I'd just smiled at it in the morning and promptly forgot about it until after the race.

We came upon the area with the Ford electronic billboard messages. This time I didn't get any messages, which kind of annoyed me since there were so few people out there you'd think the computer could bother to display the messages again. I just decided to imagine my message from Dave was up there again, and I smiled thinking about how much I loved this.

We saw a volunteer truck with a few volunteers helping some guy who really looked like he couldn't finish the race. This guy made it about 133 miles and it looked like it was going to be a DNF for him. Not fun! Seeing him made me feel a mix of fear - that could still happen to me! - but also relief - I certainly wasn't that bad off!

Mac made a pit stop but told me he'd catch up. I had no doubt he would! I'd visited one of the portapotties in the first loop - pretty much as gross as you can imagine. My recommendation is to visit one of the ones close to an aid station since there's a better chance you'll have some light, and just assume there won't be any TP left unless you are fast and go in your first loop.

Mac caught up with me pretty quickly and then another guy our age joined our group, Ricardo. He said he remembered seeing me on the bike, and then I remembered seeing him too. His girlfriend's name was Kendra. Ricardo was walking with a backpack - not a camelbak - a school bag backpack! - and cell phone (to call his girlfriend when he got near the finish; she was asleep at the hotel already). It was nice to have another person to talk to and I think we all started to feel like we were accomplishing something.

I saw Dave's sign at the Inspiration Station finally. Yay! Go Kendra! Then we had to run across the street - it is really uncool to walk when traffic is waiting for you. We saw a woman ahead of us pull down her running shorts and pee on a lawn (or maybe it was an empty lot - kinda hard to tell in the dark). It's against the rules but really I thought she had a good idea - much nicer than those portapotties.

The first time I noticed a mile marker great than 20 I realized I was now in my longest run ever! It didn't really feel like a long run though given all the walking. At some point we realized we'd traveled 135 miles so far. Just over 5 to go! I remembered noticing when I'd hit 125 miles on the first loop and had told Dave that when he met me near the end of the first loop. It made me feel pretty awesome.

The guys and I discussed our training for the event and whether we'd do another. I was all for it, if I could find another year with the time to train. The others thought they'd stick to shorter distances. This was Mac's second marathon. I was totally floored when he said he'd done his first one in sub-3 hours. This guy was fast - goes to show how the ironman distances can level the playing field a bit. We complained about our blisters a bit more and Ricardo mentioned he had blisters when we started the race. He and his girlfriend had walked the run loop the previous day so he could see how long it'd take him to walk 13 miles! Let's put that on the "what not to do" list for race week.

The volunteers who were cleaning up the aid stations started congratulating us around mile 21 or 22. It was kind of strange since we clearly hadn't finished yet, but I think we all kind of felt like it was okay. We were going to finish. Slow and steady. Watching people who were still in the race who were walking towards the park was tough. A few times we checked our watches and looked at each other thinking hey that person isn't going to make it. It's so heartbreaking to see someone not finish when you're at an Ironman event. I think it's somewhat less heartbreaking when you're a fellow competitor, but only because your body is too busy worrying about yourself.

Mac, Ricardo, and I kept trying to run every so often. I felt like I couldn't even manage running (jogging) a full minute. I'd just get that feeling again of my brain fogging over and my body feeling like I'd suddenly jumped out of bed too quickly and was about to topple over from the dizziness. I had another bite of pretzels and immediately had to spit them out. That's when I decided it was time to dump the pretzel bag. I dumped my gel flasks pretty quickly too. I had less than 5 miles to go. No need to carry this stuff with me anymore as it clearly wasn't going to sound good at all.

Mac made another pit stop and told us to keep going and that if he didn't catch up, he'd see us at the finish. I fully expected him to catch up, but he didn't. Ricardo and I made one more attempt at jogging for a little while but I couldn't and then walked again. Jogging was so hard!

I decided I was going to try to jog again at mile marker 24. I thought maybe I could jog the last 2.2 miles if I went really slowly and just focused on my yoga mantra. It was only 2 miles and I thought I was going to feel really, really wussy if I didn't run at least the last mile. I was thinking about how I should cross that finish line having given it everything I had. Maybe I'd already given it my all, but I might as well keep trying. After all, this is what I was doing today. And if I passed out or fell down, I still had time to pick myself back up and walk or crawl to the finish.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ironman Florida race report: Run (part 4)

Once I'd said "see you in a few hours" to Dave, I felt like I was really starting my second loop. I kept missing the mile markers so I never really felt sure how much farther there was. In some races I'm counting down the miles, but strangely I wasn't going that here. I just knew I had to get to the park, do a loop in the dark, and then get back to the finish.
The thing about Ironman Florida's run course is that it really looks like an out and back course, but it's not. If you look at the race course carefully, or if you drive it, you realize there are plenty of turns and there's one section where you are running east, turn south, then go west before turning back east again. I knew the course was like this, and I hadn't bothered to memorize where all the turns were. This meant that I really just kept making my way along the course until I saw cones or a person indicating I needed to turn in some manner. I think it was probably better this way.

At the time it seemed incredibly appropriate that once we left Surf Street there weren't many spectators out there. The Ironman is a solo endurance event. Of course you're going to be alone at times. Why wouldn't the last loop be incredibly dark and empty? But I was thankful I'd made it through the super incredibly loud group of spectators along Joan Ave again - their music was so loud it hurt. I felt like a spoil sport just thinking about how I wished the music was quieter.

One of the aid stations had a MASH theme and the theme song was playing over and over again, and the volunteers all had army scrubs on. Since I liked the song, I thought it was cool. Another aid station them was That 70s Show, but my feeble attempt at a joke about Fez (a character on the show) fell flat because the volunteers clearly had never seen the show. So sad. The volunteers were all helpful and I finally decided to accept their offering of Gatorade Endurance, since Heed sounded too icky to drink. I knew it was gluten free, but I hadn't ever trained with it. Now, everyone knows that you never try anything new during a race. But in years past, I'd trained with regular old Gatorade and never had any problems with it. The reason I hadn't trained with it for this race was because I was trying to stick to maltodextrin as my sugar source, whereas the readily available (premixed) Gatorade uses HFCS. The powdered Gatorade doesn't use HFCS, and at races they mix from the powder and they always have the lemon-lime flavor. That's what they had here too. Kinda icky and sweet, but slightly more interesting than Heed. Really I just wanted to brush my teeth and quit consuming sugar!

I kept trying to take turns with jogging and walking. Mostly I was walking though. I saw a guy who seemed about my age and realized he was doing the jog-walk combo too. I decided he was going to be my person for this second loop. I managed to catch up to him and said hi. We had the standard "is this your first? how're you holding up?" conversation followed by "where are you from?" Mac was from Ohio and when I said I was from Sacramento, he told me that one of the guys he was doing this race with was from Sac too. I knew a few names of people from Sac who were doing the race. When he told me the name, it took me a moment, but I realized I knew the name. It wasn't someone I knew from Sac, but it was my coworker's brother. She'd told me her brother, who lived in OH, was going to do IMFL too. What a small world! So Mac and I had plenty to talk about since he's in law school and I'm a lawyer, etc, etc, etc. All the standard blah blah blah chit chat.

The chatting us from noticing those awful blisters we both had on our feet. Mac said he was planning to walk 10 minutes and then try running again. I groaned a little inwardly - this guy was going to make me keep pushing myself? But I decided this could be a good thing and I said I was game but that he shouldn't worry about it if he lost me because I was sure he was a faster runner. He let me know when our 10 minutes was up, and so we jogged. Thankfully, he stayed at my pace. I was a little worried I'd have to find someone else to talk to! We didn't talk much while we ran. My blisters hurt so much when I ran. I'm not sure that we ran very long. Maybe a minute or two. Then my blisters hurt too much and I was feeling close to passing out again. Luckily he was ready to stop at the same time. After a silent pause, he asked me where I was from, without remembering that we'd had this conversation. Then I asked him his name again. At one point someone going the other direction yelled something, clearly directed at us, but it took another minute or two before we deciphered it into "Go Mac!" and realized it was my coworker's brother on his way to the finish. This is your brain on Ironman. Any questions? (I would not be surprised at all if we have very different recollections about this loop!)
The headlamps out there were making me nauseous. Whenever I saw someone ahead of me with a headlamp on, I had to be careful not to look at the ground near them. The light moving back and forth while we were moving was just sickening. Mac and I were moving pretty well out there compared to some other people. We certainly weren't the fastest, but for the most part, we could get ahead of those swaying lights and get them out of sight. The people with headlamps who came up behind us usually moved away from us quickly enough that there was only a minute or two where I tried to keep my eyes closed.

I tried a pretzel every so often but it was just so blah. I drank my broth here and there, wishing it was hot broth. I couldn't help but be jealous of Mac as he took the warm broth from the volunteers. It was nice to have someone to talk to even though I'd had so many of those "oh you're a lawyer too" conversations that I didn't care if I never met another lawyer in my life. But now I had someone who I could say stuff like "sure would suck to be in those cars. we're moving faster than they are." Really thrilling stuff here. When we came across the Janus Motivation Station, I told him about Dave and my sign making, and I looked for the signs again. It was a little less nauseating since we were walking, but I still couldn't find Dave's sign.

Mac wanted to run again once we entered the park. No, he wanted to run the entire park loop. Crap. I don't even remember if I pretended I would try to run it all too. But I certainly started jogging with him. Every time I switched to jogging my feet screamed at me and my I wondered how I could be okay to walk but about to pass out whenever I ran. We made it to the timing mat before starting to walk again. 

THIRD RUN SEGMENT 5.6 mi. (1:25:22) 15:14/mile

Friday, January 8, 2010


I was too busy and tired to finish my run report today, but I'll do it soon, I promise. :) In the meantime I thought I should get back in the habit of regular blog posts. I can only draw out the Ironman race report for so many months.

It's January 8, and I don't have a race plan for the year. I'm toying with doing Shamrock'n half marathon on March 14. The reason I haven't signed up? I can't get myself to exercise on a regular basis, let alone run three or four times a week to train for a half marathon. I feel like the laziest person ever right now. I've managed to go for a walk almost every day this week, but I actually haven't run all year! I ran on New Year's Eve first thing in the morning - about 3 miles or so - then I went to get some fasting blood work done. (I'm normal! It's amazing how the gluten free diet fixes everything.) Boy was I hungry by the time I got home! I went back to work this week and a few times this week I tried (quite unsuccessfully) to get up early enough to run before work. I've become quite fond of the snooze button. Even when Dave went running at 6am, I just rolled back over to sleep more. It's not like I'm sleep deprived, I'm getting 9 hours of sleep most nights. But I just can't motivate myself to get out of bed and move my butt in the mornings and I've never been able to convince myself to run after work. I just feel like this:

Dave and I decided to give up refined sugar for the new year, so we went out with a bang. After a dinner at a Thai place we've been to a few times, we made Betty Crocker's gluten free brownies, and topped them with marshmallows near the end of their baking time. We couldn't even eat half the 8x8 pan and we were ready to not see any more sugar until 2011. But it's been hard the last few days. Diet changes are always hard but this seems tougher than going gluten free. Perhaps because it's a choice, whereas with gluten I don't have a choice. Maybe I can blame my laziness on the lack of sugar. Or maybe I'm still on a sugar crash from that New Years sugar fest. I wanted to quit eating refined sugar because I can sometimes get a little obsessed with sweets, and I've read a lot that points to refined sugar being the culprit. It might just be sweeteners in general for me, but I decided I wasn't ready to give up honey and agave, etc, for an entire year. Too much deprivation to deal with all at once. So I'm avoiding refined sugar and in a few months I'll decide if I want to eliminate all added sugar and go back to my pre-IM no dessert rule.

Last year I had a big list of races and events that I used as training goals. Half marathon in mid-March, my first century in May, swim race in June, half iron in July, full aquabike in August,... all to get ready for November 7. But this year I lack an ultimate goal. I'm not desperate to find one though. It's kind of nice, in a very weird and unfamiliar way, to just be coasting along with no real plans. I mean, it's Friday night and I drank a hard cider and I don't have to get up for a long run or a long ride tomorrow; I can take a day trip and go play in the snow with Dave and Sierra! I have free time to read books that don't involve swimming, biking, or running (except for vampire runners)! But it's all a bit weird and I'm not sure I like the lack of structure. But I'm also definitely not ready to commit to anything yet, unless it's a really fun race in a fun place to visit. I feel like I'm in post-Ironman limbo. But I'm sure I'll feel like this again soon enough:

(Yes, Sierra really is the cutest dog in the world! I can't wait to see what she thinks of snow!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ironman Florida Race Report: Run (part 3)

After I crossed the halfway point timing mat, special needs was just ahead. Maybe whatever I had in there would save me. Surely I must have some calories in there that I can stomach. At least I could finally have some broth. Watching everyone else take hot broth (not gluten free!) at the aid stations had made me envious, and more than a little frustrated with celiac disease!

I knew I had clean socks in my special needs bag, and I had blister pads with me, but I didn't want to have to stop and put on clean socks because I didn't think I had baby powder (it seemed likely that my feet would be so wet and icky that I'd need some talc to help dry them off.) Also I felt like my feet were just going to be a big bloody mess and I didn't want to deal with them. It seemed easier to just keep my feet as they were and not have to worry about it. It's kind of like how in a long swim workout, if you take your goggles off for a moment, you suddenly realize how much your eye sockets hurt. I didn't want my feet to get worse by taking off my shoes for a moment.

There were lots of bags at special needs, but I got my bag quickly. It was a little weird to stop and go through a big plastic bag when people all around me were running to the finish. This was a little break for me though.

In my special needs bag, I had: Ensure vanilla shake, Swanson chicken broth, an empty flask (in case I'd dropped one), a flask of apple CarbBoom, larabar, 12 individual CarbBoom gels of various flavors, an orange Gu Chomp packet, 2 pkgs of strawberry Gu Chomps emptied into a ziplock baggie, one unopened strawberry Chomp pkg, a flask of Heed powder, baggie of gluten free pretzels with extra potassium salt, almond butter packet, more blister pads, clean socks rolled down in a baggie, baby powder, individual body glides, a long sleeve running top (in case I needed another layer), light weight gloves, ear warmers, an inhaler and more Endurolytes (in case I'd dropped mine).

I rummaged through my bag and got out the broth and started drinking. It didn't taste as good as it had in T2, but it was still good. I opened the Ensure and took a sip to see if it was edible - yuck. I wanted to try to lighten my load so I tasted my watermelon CarbBoom flask that I'd been carrying for 13 miles to see if I thought I'd enjoy it at all over the remaining 13 miles - nope. So I exchanged my full watermelon flask for the apple one.

I swapped my pretzel bags too. I'd only eaten 2 or 3 pretzels - they tasted way too dry to me. My mouth was dry and it was hard to drink enough to get the pretzels down. But I thought there was a chance I could get myself to eat the pretzels over the next few hours. I really had no idea what would happen in the last half marathon, but I wanted to be ready for it, so the more pretzels the better.

I probably just stared into my bag for awhile willing it to create a panacea for me. I grabbed the Gu Chomp baggie because they were the one thing that I'd managed to eat a little of in the first half of the run, and when I did Vineman Aquabike, they were the only thing that sounded good at the end. Chomps are my friend. I didn't see the baby powder or I might have decided to sit down and check out those blisters. I remembered I hadn't body glided a few places, so rubbed some on - wow those individual containers are really useless.

For most of the previous 6 miles, I'd switched to drinking water. I thought maybe my gut had been overloaded with gus and gels and sports drinks and maybe water would fix me. But I had managed to drink almost two of my Heed flasks on the run, so I added some Heed powder to those, figuring I could add water to them if I felt up to drinking the sports mix again. I placed one of my full Heed flasks into my special needs bag and picked up the empty one. I filled the empty one with the chicken broth. I drank some more broth but there was still some broth left in the box. I decided it was worth carrying in case I needed more, since I sure wasn't going to find any gluten free chicken broth on the course.

I felt very sullen. When I'd seen Dave a mile or so earlier (probably 30 minutes ago by now) I'd teared up and the mild crying made it harder to catch my breath. Silly kendra! I just kept telling myself there's no crying in Ironman. I'm not sure why but I don't think I used any of my mantras during this point. They probably would've been helpful. There was a lot of mental stimulation though with bright lights, loud music, spectators, and everyone around me was becoming an Ironman.

Running while carrying a box of chicken broth didn't seem like fun but I thought once I finished drinking it surely I'd be able to run. My back pocket had 2 flasks in it, a baggie smooshed full of pretzels and a baggie packed with my Chomps. I was carrying a flask of gel in one hand and a box of broth in my other hand. I felt weighed down in many ways.

I thought about how I was going to get through this second loop. I finally concluded I was just going to have to walk it, and that pissed me off. I felt so trained for this. My muscles were fine. It was something else that wasn't working the way it should. It was really frustrating. I wanted to run, but my body didn't seem capable of handling it. I thought about asking Dave to walk it with me, to keep me company. I figured I probably seemed depressed enough that he'd agree, even though he'd never had any interest in a half marathon race (in face he seemed repelled by the idea of registering for a half). This is what spouses are supposed to do though, right? This was why he was here - to make sure I finished my race, right? I was sure if he came with me, I'd finish. He could see the whole run course, see how dark it was in that park. It'd be good old fashioned forced family fun.

Dave, being the awesome husband that he is, beat me to it. He offered to do the second loop with me. Wow, I must look really pathetic right now if I didn't even have to ask. I already knew my answer though. It was tempting, obviously, but I told him no. It seemed like cheating, not just because it was against the rules, but it seemed like taking a shortcut. I wanted to finish more than anything, except that a large part of the Ironman is the mental aspect, and I wanted to see if I really had what it took. I'd read race reports and seen enough races to know that I could find another athlete out there to walk with. I'd pull through this with by making a new friend out there on the course. It'd be well within the rules (athletes who haven't yet finished the race can help each other) and maybe it would help someone else too. Dave asked me if I was sure, probably more than once. I was sure I wanted to try to finish without him with me, and I just hoped that was the right decision. I got a hug and a kiss from him and off I went into the darkness alone!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ironman Florida Race Report: Run (part 2)

After crossing the timing mat in the park signalling the end of the first 6 miles, I saw my watch and was glad I was running a good pace. My pace was just over 12 minute miles - it was basically right on course with my usual long run pace. I was having a hard time eating though. I had a little gel but my teeth felt totally gross after just eating sugars all day. I just wanted to brush my teeth! I had some banana - the aid station volunteers gave me a whole, unpeeled banana after I explained the predicament of cross-contamination with the cutting board (powerbars aren't gluten free). I knew I wasn't eating enough to reach my 300 calories per hour goal, but I tried to keep taking the Endurolytes to keep my electrolyte levels up. Unfortunately I kept forgetting so I probably only took about 3 during the entire run.

The run in the park was very dark. I mean pitch black dark with the very rare street light every so often. I wondered if I would fall. I also wondered what the park looked like during the day! I was still feeling okay for the most part and was smiling whenever I reminded myself I was doing an Ironman. I was doing the race I'd thought about for so long!

Almost at the end of the loop in the park, I could see an electric billboard of sorts. Aha. This was the Ford message board! I wondered if I'd see the message to myself (something silly about Sierra) or the message Dave had written for me. I crossed the mat and about 30 seconds later, when I was right in front of the message board, it flashed: "63. Nielsam, K. Smile, you know you love this!" haha. I was still smiling a few minutes later.

Just outside the park was a stretch of sidewalk that we had to run on. This was where the Janus Inspiration Station was. Dave and I had made signs earlier in the week at the Ironman Expo. Janus provides the blank signs and markers and puts the signs up at Mile 20 on the run course.

Since our run course ran the same stretch four times, runners got to enjoy the signs four times. I knew what the sign Dave made looked like, so I kept my eyes open for it. Unfortunately the signs are on both sides of the sidewalk and placed super close together. Picture yourself jogging along 10 hours into a race, darting your eyes back and forth to read signs looking for your name. It's a little nauseating. I noticed the one I made for my STC teammates, but I didn't see the one Dave made.

We'd written on both sides of our posters because I think we assumed they would be lined up in a way you could see side 1 when running one direction and side 2 when running the other direction. But instead they were placed at angles so that the signs made a big zigzag and you saw different signs depending on which way you were running. Even though it was dizzying, I looked for Dave's signs every time I ran past them.

Most of the course was on asphalt roads, a lot of residential roads, and there was very little traffic on most of the course. There was one major street we had to cross, and the traffic looked so snarled. During my first loop the people were so close together it seemed like those cars were going to be there for hours!

As I wound my way back towards the finish line to finish my first loop, I was no longer forgetting to take my walk breaks. I felt a little weird. I couldn't tell what the problem was. Was I low on salt? Just low on calories? How bad was it? I felt so out of it that I started worrying about passing out. My head felt cloudy and my sports drink was the grossest thing ever. My feet were starting to hurt - not the way I'd expected though - my feet hurt because I had a huge blister growing on each foot in the same place - right on the balls of my feet. It felt like someone had taken a knife and scraped off the skin there. Other than those problems, I felt fine. My legs weren't sore; my IT Band was fine. I was a bit surprised. But the overall feeling of weirdness was not good.

With a mile or so to get to the halfway mark and special needs bags, I came upon Dave, waiting just after the road that I'd expected him on. (I thought I'd see my friend Wendy on that road cheering too, but I later found out her husband missed the bike cutoff.) It was so nice to see him. He cheered so loudly for me. His voice was so scratched and hoarse I had to smile. Dave is the absolute best cheerleader at races. He screams and yells for everyone and after a daylong race, he could barely talk! I started walking as soon as I saw him. It was time for a walk break anyway. He said something supportive and it made me start to cry so he tried the tough love approach instead.

I told him how I couldn't eat and I thought I was going to pass out so I was going to walk for awhile, etc, etc, it was just a list of complaints. I'd been so annoyed earlier on the run when I saw other athletes who had a friend or someone else not in the race running next to them to keep them company - it's against the rules to have a pacer! I mentioned that to Dave as I felt like a bit of a hypocrite, but he was probably only with me for about 5 minutes (during which I decided I didn't care at all because I needed his support then more than I needed to not get disqualified), and he was definitely not pacing me. I told Dave about my blisters and how I must have forgotten to bodyglide the bottoms of my feet. Woe is me. He mostly just told me to keep moving and get the broth from my special needs bag and that he'd see me back there in a little bit when I was on my way back.

The last mile or so before the finish was where the biggest crowds were. There was one faux aid station where the spectators were offering beer to the athletes. Just before Dave and I parted ways, we saw a guy take the beer and chug it - one mile to go before he finished his Ironman. The crowd cheered for him and chanted his name like it was a kegger party (well, I guess it was). The thought of beer nearly made me gag. I was a little bit jealous of the athletes around me who were going into their last mile, but I knew they were faster, better athletes than me and that's just how it is! I was a little afraid I'd have people telling me I was almost done (I hate it when people think you're on your last loop and you're not!), but it seemed like people were just cheering in general. It was so nice to cross another timing mat and know I was halfway done with the marathon!!

SECOND RUN SEGMENT 7.4 mi. (1:31:10) 12:19/mile

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ironman Florida Race Report: Run (part 1)

I was just kidding about keeping my run description so short. Sorry to disappoint! Like I said at the beginning, this race report is long and detailed! My friend is doing IMFL '10 and I'm hoping all the details will help her out a bit, and they should help me next time I want to do an Ironman, since the logistics can be difficult to plan.

RUN: 5:51:52

It was so awesome to finally be on the run course!!! It was still daylight even! When you start the run, you have a very short jaunt to the west before turning around and running east for about 6 miles. Shortly after that turnaround, you run past the finish chute. I stared down it watching someone run to the finish. It was exciting! I knew I had lots of work to do still to get to the finish though. We'd only driven the run course at night since I figured it'd be dark for most of my run.

The run course is very flat, but the road quality isn't that great. I was a bit worried about stumbling and falling, but I decided not to wear my headlamp because it seemed like just one more extra thing to carry. I also figured most other people wouldn't have them and since most people seem to survive without one, I probably could too. It was a little weird in the section of road near the finish because there were lots of spectators not paying attention who kept crossing the course when they shouldn't have.

My run plan was to run easy for the first 2 or 3 miles to loosen up. Then it was basically going to be a comfortable but steady pace, trying not to let my HR drift too high in the first half of the run. My dad has run 50 marathons and kept warning me that the last 6 miles are the hardest, and my coach advised me just to push through whatever I could do in those last 6. After the experience on the bike, I was a little worried about what more could go wrong. I'd read so many race reports where the triathlete gets violently ill on the marathon, whether it was vomiting or diarrhea every mile. It didn't sound pleasant, but since I started the run at 4:24pm, I had a little over 7.5 hours to get to the finish by running, walking, or crawling (per Ironman rules).

I saw Dave and Lauren separately early on in the run. I'd seen them both at the end of the bike and knew I'd taken long enough in T2 that they'd be able to see me. It was nice to chat with them both after being out on the bike for so long. When I saw Lauren she said "see you in 26 miles" and for a brief moment I was horrified - were they going to ditch me and leave me to fend for myself for the whole run? Then I realized she'd just forgotten it was a 2 loop course.

When I saw Dave I was switching my watch to pace view and I was surprised that it showed me running a sub-11 minute mile. I figured the watch must be broken! I felt good though. My lower back was a little bit sore and it wasn't much fun having to carry all my food! I knew my back would feel better after a mile or so though, and it did.

The aid stations were in theory one mile apart, but not in practice. Even though the run course is out and back, there would be an aid station on one side of the road and then maybe 50 feet later there'd be one on the other side of the road, then the next aid stations would be 1.5 or so miles later. It was weird. (Perhaps my brain was fried and it just seemed this way....) I'd planned on the aid stations being one mile apart, and I'd expected to see mile markers at each aid station, and that would be my reminder to walk for a minute. The mile markers seemed hidden at times, and other times I would only notice the markers for the second loop runners. I kind of wondered if I was so slow that they'd taken away the first loop markers!

In the first few miles, I kept leapfrogging an older woman - at age 66 she was the oldest woman on the course! Wow, the spectators LOVED her! It was definitely humbling to be jogging along next to her and have everyone so thrilled to see her, when I was less than half her age and she'd pass me whenever I stopped for my walk breaks. I chatted with her a little bit and found out the older woman I'd seen on the bike was her friend and they'd come to Florida to do the race together. I hoped I could beat the old lady (as she called herself), I could just see my brothers teasing me about it for years otherwise. I checked on the race results later and saw that she qualified for Kona!

I'm not sure why, but I was really surprised how many people were out on the run course on my first loop. I guess I just figured more people would be done already. It was nice to see so many people out there. Most people were running which also surprised me, given how many people I'd seen walking at Ironman Arizona, but I figured it was still early. Two guys about my age kept leapfrogging me too, they were taking walk breaks every so often as well. I finally asked them which loop they were on, figuring maybe we'd be together for the whole run, but they said loop 2. They wished me luck and told me to have fun on loop 1, because loop 2 sucked.

I don't remember when it got dark, but it was definitely dark by the time I finally reached the state park, where we'd run a little loop and then turn around. The timing mat was shortly after entering the park, and I could hear it beep whenever a runner ran over it. I was so excited to get to the timing mat! I couldn't help but smile as I ran over it.

FIRST RUN SEGMENT 6 mi. (1:12:25) 12:04/mile

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ironman Florida Race Report: T2 + Run

What I would do differently on the bike: Not get a flat!!! I would stop using my floor pump when I change tires in practice. I plan to practice with CO2 a few more times and then use my hand pump more often until I can pump the tires to 140psi. I'd also like to work at accurately guessing the psi by feel. For all I know, I'd pumped the flat tire back to 140psi and just wasted time looking for a floor pump. I'd also make sure that I kept eating on schedule, even if I am stuck with a mechanical problem.

T2: BIKE-TO-RUN 19:12 (!)

It's a little annoying when the dismount line is before the timing mat. You hop off your bike and have to run a bit before your bike time is officially done. It just makes your bike leg seem a smidgeon slower. (Vineman 70.3 was the worst offender of this I encountered this year. I think it was almost 1/2 mile between the dismount line and the bike racks!) Here I was careful not to fall getting off my bike. I figured I might be a little wobbly after riding 112 miles. All that time on my feet must have helped as I slipped off the bike easily and jogged the few steps to the timing mat, so I could finish ahead of the guy next to me. A volunteer took my bike from me almost immediately. Actually it's possible the volunteer held my bike while I got off of it. I can't really remember now. Either way, I felt so pampered by the volunteers!

I made a quick right and since I had such a low race number, my gear bag was very nearby. The gear bag volunteer handed me my bag and said "Wow, this is heavy!" and then I wondered what excessive things I had put in there. The change tents were in the same place, but the exit for T1 was now the entrance, which made for a shorter trip to get in the tent. The tent was practically empty. In contrast to the morning, it was totally empty! In the morning there were probably 1.5 women per chair, now I had enough chairs to myself that I could've taken a nap.

I took a seat as another volunteer opened my bag for me and dumped everything out. She saw my "to do" list and started reading it off to me. To Do list: Body glide (toes, feet, inner ankles, inner thighs, HRM straps, waist); change watch settings: 1) run, 2) autolap on, 3) shoe pod on; face wipe (wipe of leg so IT band wrap sticks?); from jersey: eye drops, inhaler. You only need to take 2 flasks!

A little explanation of the To Do list: I've noticed after about 15 miles on the run, when my legs get tired, I sometimes keep my legs and feet too close, I end up kicking the insides of my ankles, etc, so body glide is useful! I hadn't ever gotten chafed from my amphipod belt but I thought body glide couldn't hurt. Since my watch doubles as a bike computer/run computer, one downside is I have to change the settings between sports. This only takes a few seconds, but the risk was that I might forget to do it. And then I lose the total workout duration time. But since I knew my race started at 7am, I could always look at the time on my watch and figure out how long I'd been on the race course. During the run my watch would tell me how long I'd been running too. As for the face wipe, I'd gotten some of those travel sized face cleansing wipes so I could feel somewhat clean on the run. I figured it might be bad enough without feeling like I hadn't showered in weeks. I'm not sure why I told myself to put my eye drops and inhaler from my bike jersey into my run jersey since I was wearing the same top all day.

So what I did do is take off my helmet, fix my ponytail, put on my hat. Took off my sunglasses - had planned to wear them until I saw Dave and then hand them over to him as the only sunglasses case that I had was still in my T1 bag - but the volunteer said she'd just put it in my bike shoe. She had a very calm demeanor which I'm sure was great for anyone who might've been frantic in T2 and when I asked she said she'd done her first IM earlier this year (Canada), so since she was the expert, I let her deal with my sunglasses. Since the run course goes west to east, I knew I wouldn't need my sunglasses at all because it'd be dark before I had to head west. I changed into my running shorts and then I think I got really slow.

I'd forgotten that I needed to take my evening asthma medication until I happened to see the sandwich baggie with my inhaler and a pill on the floor. Normally I take a ton of vitamins too, but I'd already decided to just take my allergy pill so that my stomach would have less to deal with. When I took my inhaler, I think I just saw there between each puff. If I'm out on a long run and need my rescue inhaler, I just slow to a walk when I need to hold my breath. I'm usually very efficient with multi-tasking. But I was definitely not multi-tasking in T2. Eventually I finished with the multiple inhalers and tried to figure out what else needed to be done.

I wiped my face clean and then went to work on my feet. My feet felt pretty good with the bike socks and shoes off, but I put baby powder on them to make sure they were uber dry. Then I body glided all around my toes, the back of my heel, the inside of my ankles and the outside edge of my foot. I put on my clean socks and then my shoes. I tied my long sleeve shirt around my waist - I knew I didn't need it yet but I wasn't sure how fast it would get cold after dark, and I knew dark would happen soon.

My T2 bag had this in it: PM medicine, non-RX stuff to bring in a baggie (immodium, gas-ex, blister pads), hand sanitizer, baby wipes, face wipe, baby powder for feet, body glide, long sleeve running top (marked with reflective tape), IT band wrap, extra hair ties, running shorts, running capris, clean socks in a baggie, running shoes with shoepod, hat, chapstick. It also had a note that reminded me of my mantras.

My food in my T2 bag included: amphipod fuel belt filled with Heed drink premade and loaded with one Gu vanilla-orange gel (2x caffeine) chapstick and 12 Endurolyte capsules, gluten free pretzels in a baggie with extra potassium salt poured over it, gluten free chicken broth in a box (swanson), flask with 60g powdered Heed, Cashew Cookie Larabar, Gu Chomps Strawberry with caffeine - 2 pkgs opened and dumped in a ziplock , 1 unopened Gu Chomps orange flavored, 3 flasks filled with CarbBoom gels: apple, vanilla-orange, and watermelon. I wasn't sure which flavors would sound good, so I made one of each gel flavor so I could pick 2 that sounded best.

With all that food, here's what I did: I drank some of the broth in T2 - it was so yummy - but I didn't bother carrying it with me because I had so much other stuff, and I felt like I drank enough that I'd be okay on salt until special needs where I had another box of broth. I placed the strawberry Gu Chomp baggie and the flask of extra Heed powder in my jersey back pocket. I strapped on my amphipod belt and pulled the back pocket down below the belt - I've found it secures the pocket better so that things don't jostle around as as much while I run. It looks weird but it feels better! Then I grabbed the apple and watermelon gel flasks which I'd carry in my hands. The volunteer said she'd put all my stuff in my bag for me, so I could get started. I turned on my shoe pod and switched my watch to run mode and headed out the door.

I hit the portapotty before leaving T2. They had a volunteer standing by the portapotties and she offered to hold my flasks for me! So nice! I started jogging right afterwards and very quickly crossed a timing mat, which I assumed was the end of T2 and the start of the run.

What I'd do differently: Take less time and body glide the bottoms of my feet! Honestly I have no idea why it took me 20 minutes in T2. In the half I did this summer, my T2 was 7 minutes, but I did do a bit more than usual for this transition since it was a longer race. I could get by without cleaning my face but it was really nice to get clean! I think maybe I was so slow because I hadn't eaten enough so my brain was a little on the slow side. I definitely had a casual attitude about the transition, somewhat like my first half Ironman (I think that T2 was about 12 or 15 minutes). It's a little weird to have spent 40 minutes of my Ironman not swimming, biking, or running!

RUN: 5:51:52

I ran and/or walked 26.2 miles and then I crossed the finish line. The end.

What I'd do differently: Run faster.