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


  1. Ouch! I can feel those blisters. :(

  2. I once heard someone say that if you can't talk while you run, you're running too fast for an endurance event. But I don't buy into that. I HATE talking while I run. I cannot believe you made chit-chat during an IRONMAN! You are crazy girl. :) But I'm glad it helped you.

  3. I didn't say we couldn't talk, just that we didn't. We were not running too fast in that sense. Don't worry. :)

  4. haha, my point was that I can NEVER talk while I run. Which probably always means I'm going too fast. Which is sad because I don't go that fast. I stand in awe that you could carry on a conversation during an IRONMAN. I don't think I could chit-chat just running around the block. :)