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!

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