The transition from the bike to the run was simple, as all I needed to do was throw on a hat and change my shirt. While the transition felt easy to complete, I came off of the bike still fighting some extremely nasty nausea to the point where I simply couldn’t even keep water down.
My legs, as one professional ironman once said, “wouldn’t fire”. Basically this was FUBAR, big time. (FUBAR – Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition for all of you playing the home game). 6.2 miles to go, nothing in my stomach (not even bile – even that made an exit stage North), and sunburnt (because King Dipshit – that’s me – figured that it wouldn’t be necessary). I began walking through the transition area toward 72nd street, in the hope that motion would create emotion and I’d find a way to rally.
I wish I could lie to you and say I charged forward and rolled through the 10k…but I didn’t. I was a complete mess. Three tenths of a mile into the race I saw one of my TFK coaches. She gave me some frozen electrolyte stick that she hoped would bail me out of my current condition. A quick note: we need more people like that. Ones that say “hey – I hardly know you but I see you need help – so here you go”. If you’re on a course and you are cruising but the guy next to you seems….well…FUBAR, do the right thing. Words of encouragement. Give him a GU. Run with him. It only takes a minute to do the right thing.
Although I shot the frozen electrolyte drink down quick, two tenths of a mile later it was already on it’s way back up and out. And, of course, with my perfect timing….that’s exactly the point in the race where my family saw me. I was asked not to continue – but let’s face it: I came this far, and there was no way I wanted to quit on the run. Screw that. Plus: there was no way I was going to let my kid see me fail. Ever. I’d rather be wheeled out on a stretcher then let my daughter see me fold. So I gave her a hug and continued to waddle toward the park.
I took the 6.2 miles very….very….slowly. I walked the uphills and managed to run the downhills. It was miserable. Toward the end, with Cat Hill in sight and the finish a half a mile away, I did pick up a light consistent jog through the finish line.
So what did I learn on the run? Nothing technical to share, really. However, I do have one mental point to mention, and that is: much of the time, your head will tell you to quit before your body does. Those negative thoughts become free-roaming as your blood sugar drops. Your blood sugar drops because you are lacking adequate fuel. This is exactly what happened to me during the run. I had nothing in me. My blood sugar dropped. Then all I could think about was quitting. I just wanted this to be over. Screw finishing what you started. Those thoughts were thicker than I ever dealt with before in any athletic event. Fortunately for me, I was able to rationalize what was going on. Think about what was going on at the time and understand where the negativity was coming from. As a result, I fought off the urge to fold. Looking back on the whole long morning, that was the one victory I could claim. I didn’t perform as well I had hoped during the swim, I was lazy during transitions, and the bike was….say it with me…FUBAR. I couldn’t rally to run, even in front of my kid. But I did chuck one up in the win column by getting to the finish line. And that – quite frankly – allowed me to leave the finishers area with a smile on my face. Why? Because the ability to override your brain’s negativity as the battle rages is a key to becoming an Ironman.
I have 10 months. 10 months to prepare to take the worst pounding of my life. So I’ll take what I’ve learned, look for wisdom from teammates, coaches, and friends, continue to make myself lighter, and work my ass off daily. 10 months to build myself up in preparation for a race whose goal is to break me down.
Great. 10 months straight of dealing with The Tool. Off we go….