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!


  1. What fun to find another IronCeliac! When I started IM training 3 years ago I felt like there was NO one else dealing with celiac and IM! I am loving the RR - can't wait to read the rest!

  2. I wish I'd found your blog BEFORE my race! Oh well, I'll catch up :) I'm hoping to finish my race report this week so keep checking back!