I know, I know, everyone wants to know if I FARTED yet! Let me clear something up. Thanks Christina, for sending me this:
NO! I hadn’t yet as I set out on the run. The thoughts that crossed my mind were “I’m doing this!!! I’m on to the best part! I get to rrruuuunnn!!!! Where’s my family?” I didn’t see my husband and kids as I came in on the bike and was sad. My youngest had a football game so I didn’t know if they got held up and didn’t make it down town to see me come in. I didn’t have any idea what time it was or where I was at in my overall race time since I’d reset my watch at each sport and didn’t even really pay attention to the times. Isn’t that the best thing to do anyway? Oh well, I knew they’d be there at the end. D’oh! I came out and there they were, right where they said they’d be!! I smiled at them and honestly, have no idea if I said anything to them. I was so happy they were there!!!!! My kids had even made signs for me the night before.
I had a baggie with blocks and stinger chews in it, and munched on a few as I left transition. But I had a delimma. I wanted a picture in the same spot as last year, but I didn’t want to be holding a bag of chews. Heh heh, a bag of chews. You know what I mean. So I threw a few blocks down the hatch since they had more calories than the stinger chews and they don’t bother my stomach, then ditched the rest of them in the bushes. I knew I had a nice-sized gas bubble in there and was just hoping it wouldn’t hurt me as I ran. NOTHING CAN RUIN MY RUN!!!!! That’s what I had done all that swimming and biking for!!! This was supposed to be my reward!! At the time this was going on, I had to set my watch after it funkified itself inside the convention center at T2. So my watch was off distance and time, but all I really wanted to pay attention to was pace. I knew I wanted to start out at a nice, easy 9 minute mile pace so I could finish strong. And because I am who I am, I did have a time goal for my run: sub-2:00. Could I do it?
Temps were forecasted to be in the low to mid 70’s, and I think that was pretty much right on. It was warm. I was sweating a lot very quickly, so I knew that I needed to be smart. Oh, I also carried two endurolyte tabs with me (the third disappeared – I haven’t a clue where it went as I looked everywhere after I dropped it in the changing room). After I passed my family, I made it to mile one and the first aid station, so I swallowed the tabs down with some water. I needed to be smart. I was NOT going to salt bonk for the 2nd time in the 2nd biggest race of my life in the same year!
The course was one tiny little loop at the beginning followed by a big loop around a lake. The unfortunate thing for some people, probably more the full distance runners, is that you have to pass the finish line to go out on the big loop. It was a crazy, fun scene to run through and it was where I wanted to return in just a short amount of time. I paced myself the best I could in the race finish hoopla, and as I headed out, I choked up. I’m doing it!!!!! I think I even made one of those gaspy noises too, but I was just so happy to be doing something I had never imagined I would do!
My run felt strong. The bubble was still there occasionally poking me with a stick, and now and again, my knee made some noise to let me know it was there too. The road leading to the park was super boring, but unlike last year, there were speakers playing music attached to posts along the way. How freaking cool was that?! That continued for quite a while, and finally, I got to the lake where we were to hop onto the sidewalk for the out-and-back. I saw several people I knew, which was way cool, and I tried to smile or give thumbs up to any camera that was pointing at me. Some of the volunteers took their positions very seriously. One kid was screaming at everyone so loud with his unique words of encouragement, he was already losing his voice. What energy! I saw one of the Stride boys at his aid station, and touched a sign for “extra power”.
Thankfully, there was a good tree cover, so the temps were pretty good along the lake. It was refreshing. I was stopping at every aid station to have either water or Heed, because I was covered in salt and sweat. I felt good, but I knew I needed to be careful and not start picking up the pace until closer to the end. I never felt hungry and honestly, I didn’t think about eating anything at all. We kept going. And going. And going. I ran this course last year for the relay, and I remember feeling like it. would. never. stop. One of the girls running by me asked her friend as she passed if we were EVER going to get to the turnaround, to which her friend replied, “not as soon as you want”. Ugh. Gas bubble was behaving and I was able to will the knee pain away, but every once in a while, I did have a little squeaker escape. It didn’t provide the relief I was looking for, but hey, at that point, I was happy for anything. I heard a LOT of “self-propelling” from other runners, which made me giggle.
Finally, we got to the turnaround point. I am HORRIBLE at running math, so I had forgotten that we have a mile or so loop before we pass the finish line, so during the time before the turnaround, I was perplexed at how we had gone over half way without turning around yet. Dur, it eventually dawned on me, but anyway, it kept me busy. My watch showed that at 7 miles I was at just over an hour, so I knew I was headed for a sub-2:00 half if I didn’t crash. When I had 5 miles to go, I started trying to pick it up a little. My Garmin and trees to not play well together, so I had to go by feel, and I honestly don’t know what pace I was going. I knew I was passing a lot of people and that comments like, “you’re looking strong” were frequent. I felt strong. And I was ready to be done. Pick it up, pick it up, pick your knees up, just keep going was going through my mind. I was doing it!!! I smiled a lot. Then I stepped off the sidewalk onto the street, which meant I was headed back down town. I’m almost there!!! I ran by my favorite little hangout, Satellite, saw a few running peeps, waved, and pushed through the “boring but at least there’s music” part.
I have to hand it to the police officers directing traffic. There was a LOT of traffic that was stopped to let the runners cross, so as soon as there was a gap, they would get some cars through, stopping them just in time to let a runner through without breaking stride. I was ready to just let a car plow into me as long as I didn’t have to stop or slow down, because I was ready to finish this thing!
There’s a pretty short, steep hill as you get down town, and I knew I had to be careful not to trip and fall on my face. But after that, all bets were off. As you make the final turn, it gets loud. You hear the announcer, you hear the crowds, see the crowds, and it’s impossible not to absorb their energy. I saw my friends, my sister and brother-in-law, the finish line, my husband and kids, and I (wow, I’m getting teared up thinking about this as I write), and I crossed the finish line while hearing my name being announced with a smile on my face and a feeling of victory I’ve never felt before.
OFFICIAL RUN TIME: 1:53:25 (8:39 pace)
I collected my metal, water, and about fell over the lady who wanted to get my timing chip. I sat down (mistake) and my knees didn’t want to allow me to get back up. Finish line volunteers are used to this, so I got a little assistance up so I could find my family. When I saw my husband, I don’t know if anything else was said, but he told me I finished in just over 6 hours. Wha? I figured it was about 6 1/2 hours but I was rounding up with all my events, so hey! Wow.
OFFICIAL FINISH TIME: 6:03:10
So you may ask, did you ever fart???? NO!!!!! And that’s when it really hit me! Ugh. I felt horrible. My stomach was cramping so bad and all I wanted to go do was lay down so I could get some relief. I found a place to sit, which would have to do. I hurt so bad, but just a few minutes later….. ahhhhhh. I FINALLY FARTED!!! I’d waited HOURS to do that. Now you may ask, why do you keep talking about that? Why won’t you just let that drop? Well, really, it’s a part of endurance. Poo, farts, eating, drinking, puking, spitting, going pee, it’s one of those things we talk about and is a big deal. And when your body hurts because of one of these, it’s in the forefront of your mind. Now that I mention it, it’s sort of like having an infant. All those things are VERY important 🙂
After I had a little relief, I walked over and got some food that I didn’t want. But something usual caught my eye – a Coke. I don’t drink regular Coke, but I knew the sugar would be good for me, so I grabbed the coldest can I could get and started drinking it. It was like the nectar of the gods. It was just what the doctor ordered. I had no appetite so just carried my plate around so I could get another picture with the actual battleship in it and went to the beer garden to sit down. We chatted with friends, hung out, basked in the sun, and yes, Roxanne, I was totally farting as I talked! Haha!!!
We hung out there, let the boys play with a friend’s kids, and about as the awards was to start, I was ready to leave. A big group was going to the lovely Satellite, and I wanted to go there and relax and watch the runners go by.
Once we got there, I started feeling pretty good. I did eat the pizza I got at the finish, but didn’t want anything else. I had a glass of water and my husband got me an Allagash Wheat. Mmmmmm good! An bonus, it comes with an orange so it’s a health drink! Two beers and a few hours later, and after cheering on so many runners, some going strong and some struggling, it was time to head home. One thing I kept yelling at the runners was “You’re doing it!!!” because I think, in events like that, you can lose sight that every single step you take gets you closer to where you want to be. No matter how slow or fast, these people were doing it. We stopped for another beer and pizza at Slice of Life, and at that point, my energy was fading. I don’t know what time it was and it doesn’t really matter, but I think I was in bed, lights out, at 9:30. What a day.
The next morning, I got up and was surprised to find that I wasn’t that sore. My knees bothered me more than anything, but it wasn’t bad. I was sort of in a fog, but happily thinking about the events from the day before. I certainly wasn’t with it though.
It was such an awesome experience. I think about the journey over the last year, the time to prepare and train, the people I’ve met and gotten to know better. I will really miss that!
What’s next? Well, I’m off training this week IF I can go that long. I have to really be careful because of my shin splints to see if I can get those things repaired as I recover. They’re feeling good so far, so if I do anything this week, it will be swimming or a very very very easy light run.
My marathon is in January and I’m shooting for a sub-3:40. I know I have it in me, just need the stars to align and have everything come together at the same time.
I’ve learned a LOT from doing this triathlon, so I’ll be putting those thoughts together here soon, but honestly, my house is a total pig sty so I need to concentrate on that. I do have words of advice for ANYONE who is even considering a triathlon. Just because you don’t know how to swim or don’t have a tri/expensive/fancy bike doesn’t mean you can’t do this. One step at a time, one goal at a time, it’s reachable. All it takes is work and a positive attitude. Come on, you won’t know if you don’t tri. Tri it, you may like it. Just give it a tri. Ah, now, I’m just being punny.