By the new year, I'll be a whole new person! Or at least I'll look like I've eaten a person!
Is it time for a new years resolution yet??
By the new year, I'll be a whole new person! Or at least I'll look like I've eaten a person!
Is it time for a new years resolution yet??
Also a big thank you to the people of CDA. The people on the course, the volunteers and so many spectators who cheered us all on (for hours, in my case).
Not to make this into a Hollywood acceptance speech; but thanks also to Stef and RBR along with her gaggle of friends. Stef rushed to support me when I lost my wetsuit the DAY BEFORE the race! She was quick with a kind word and advice. Once RBR found out, you would have thought I called in the national guard! Within seconds she was calling the expo, contacting the local sport stores. Within minutes she had mobilized her friends and had wetsuits lined up waiting for me. I seriously think that within 30 minutes, she had 2-3 suits waiting in different sizes and shapes!! Somewhere there is a politician looking for her mobilization skills!
Finally, I need to say a HUGE thank you to my wife, who stood outside in the rain and the cold cheering me on. She was there to support me when I was thrilled to be racing and when I was miserable and done racing. She stood out there and took care of a 3 week old child (who stayed properly bundled up and was warm and toasty the whole time). I may be an Ironman, but she has earned new levels of spectathlete-ism. There are not enough words to say how grateful I am.
I've been sitting on this race report for a while. I have had complete novels of this rolling around since the race was midway done, but every version was the epitome of a bitter ungrateful brat! I was in a bad place mentally and the only thing that would have come out of me was bitterness, bile and BS.
You deserve better than that. I deserve better than that! So I've waited. I am not sure I'm ready to be fully mature yet, but I can try. I know that in 2 months from now this will be stupid; in 1 year it'll be meaningless and in 5 years this will all be forgotten. My IM experience will have only been a brief paragraph in the novel of my life. Why stress??
Which brings me to my point. I did it! I am a Ironman!! It may not have been pretty but I got it done. I conquered the impossible! Which what my original goal was. When I started this IM adventure, I sought to prove that anything is possible. If I can do it, then anyone can.
Before, during and now afterwards I would hear people say they could never do an Ironman. They put Ironman at some great high pedestal. Unreachable except by those god like men. Only those blessed with natural talent and washboard abs could do an Ironman.
Well, I am here to tell you that I don't have natural talent and I sure as heck don't have washboard abs, but I got it done. I can't run 8 min/miles, but I got it done. My body may have failed me at mile 50 on the bike, but I got it done.
And I wasn't the only one. We had a huge amount of people do this for the first time, and they got it done.
We have proved that nothing is impossible. My dear friend RBR had trouble out there but and was not allowed to finish, but never once did she think that the distance is too much or that it was impossible to do. She was ready, her body was ready. She can do the distance, she knows that she can do the impossible.
And you can too.
I started the whole experience with a wild roller coaster of emotions that never ended.
As I said before, the day before the race, I lost my suit. I had gone out for a test swim and was letting the suit air dry on the car. I had finished packing my Transition bags and we headed off to drop of the bike/bags at the expo.
It wasn't until we had done all that and driven half the course when I realized that the wetsuit was still drying on the top of the truck. Correction it had been on the top of the truck now however, it was probably somewhere in the middle of the road lost somewhere between home, the expo and here(the middle of nowhere).
After a frantic search retracing all my steps, desperately looking through all my gear and praying that somebody somewhere had it, all to no avail, I gave up. I considered my options: I could go buy another suit ($300+ of money I didn't have); I could go suitless or I could quit.
I decided that I would go suitless. It was only when I had convinced myself that I was manly to go without a suit and not suicidal (And believe me it took a long time to convince myself), it was only after I had convinced myself that I was manly that I got the call that somebody had found my wetsuit! Crap! So much for being the tough guy. I almost cried when I got my suit in my sweaty little hands. Sweet salvation!
The next morning, with wetsuit firmly donned, I greeted the shores of CDA along with 2200 of my closest friends.
I didn't know what to expect, I had heard to avoid the washing machine cycle, you should line up way to left or way to the right, but it looked like I wasn't the only one who had heard that. The middle was virtually empty while everyone flocked to the sides. I placed myself 7 rows back and in the middle and waited for the countdown to begin.
Over the loud speaker I heard Eminem's one chance.
Suddenly the mood all changed for me.
BOOM! The cannon goes off! No warning, no preparing. We are just off.
The first few hundred yards fly by, however the rest of swim doesn't. I never ran into the fist and kicks that are legendary for these types of mass swims. I definitely found a lot of rubber-clad bodies to bump off of/in to/go around. But I never got punched.
Now the waves on the other hand…They showed no mercy. I was slapped; mashed and slammed seven ways from Sunday! Each time I found a set of feet to follow, the waves would split us in two.
By the time I hit the second loop, I had lost any sense of direction. I gave up looking at the far buoy and simply followed the feet in front of me. Each buoy was the last one for me and by the time I hit the shore, I was as surprised as I was relieved!
I am not sure what happened to my mind, but I was completely unprepared for the wetsuit strippers. I walked up to them like I was a zombie (which may not be too far from the truth). Once I finally got my wetsuit off, it was fumbling around in the transition tents. BTW a little bit of helpful advice, the doors to the tents don’t close, so if you plan to strip naked, you may not want to stand in the middle of the doorway. HELLO WORLD!!
Once I hit the bike, I was pleased to find how familiar the course was. The time on the computrainer was very helpful. However it doesn’t really help you out with the hills. Not so much the intensity of the hills but rather the psychological effect. Nothing is as depressing as seeing the hills looming in front of you. Seeming endless.
But I behaved. I sat down for most of the hills. This was a two loop adventure and I planned on hammering the second loop.
And I would have…had not my IT band acted up on mile 50 of the first loop.
I was infuriated! My IT had not hurt in more than 6 months. Since that time I had done 10 centuries, 4 marathons, and countless bricks. And never once in those 1000’s of miles did my IT band even hint at hurting.
So there I was, 50 miles out and my race was about to go down the tubes. On the second loop, my bike average started slowly slipping away. By the time the hills hit, I had already lost all the people I had ridden the first loop with. Now it was a whole new bunch of people that I played leap fog with. On all the hills, I would power through, passing people without an issue, but on the downhill, they’d all fly by me. Now, I am not the lightest guy in the field. I carry a certain amount of momentum, so when realized how easy I was getting passed, I knew something was up. It seemed to get worse on the way into town. By then it was all downhill or flat and all my new friends seemed fit to take off and leave me high and dry. My second loop was a full hour slower than my first! OUCH!
Back in the transition tent, it was a different environment. Coming in from the swim, it was a mad house. People everywhere, it was nearly impossible to get a volunteer. This time it was totally different. It was a nice quiet environment. The volunteers rushed to everyone who walked through the door. We were taken care of. We were treated like royalty.
Once I stepped off the bike, I knew it was over for me. I could no longer bend my right leg. I was now faced with running a marathon with only one leg. Yippee!!
It actually started off not too bad. Even though I was hobbling, I was able to keep a pretty nice pace. Unfortunately that wore off as about the same time the awe of being on the final stage of an Ironman did.
After that it was nothing but tottering at a snails pace for me. As I slowly made my way through the 26 miles of CDA, I realized a few things. One, the people of CDA really do like the Ironman. I am not sure that I would like it in my town. We are a big pain in the butt for people. We close their roads, we pee on their yards, we make lots of noise and stay out really late at night. It must be like having 2200 frat boys hold a convention in your town. But despite all this, the people really like us. They are out in the front yards cheering us on. They hand out bottles of water, and food. They play loud music and scream encouragement to us (of course, they ‘might’ be drunk at that moment). They truly support us.
Second, I realize that at an Ironman you don’t have to be a great runner to be a good marathoner. I was slow, god awfully slow, but I still finished with a lot of people behind me. And had I been able to hold the pace I was planning on, I would have finished ahead of a lot more. Let’s be honest, we triathletes suck at running. But that’s OK. We know it, we are OK with it. And the best thing is, at Ironman, you are accepted and welcomed because of it.
As I ran down the finisher shoot, I stopped and took a deep breath. The finisher shoot is something magical and it should be taken with joy. Prior to this, in fact almost the entire back end of the second loop, I was in a bad mood. Not just bad but down right wicked. I hated the run, I hated my knees, and I hated pretty much everything. I was unhappy with way the day had unfolded for me and I had crawled deep down into myself to escape the reality. It was a dark day.
But nearing the finish, I realized that this was it, maybe it wasn’t the Ironman that I had wanted, but it was the Ironman I had. All I could do was accept the reality. Was I bitter? Did I want revenge? Was I still pissed off? Hell yeah! But there was nothing now that I could do.
Total time: 15:49:50
All through the race, the officials had said “You only have control of one thing today. Your attitude. Make it the best you can”. And they were right; in the end I had control of nothing. Not the weather, not my body, near the end I didn’t even have control of my emotion (every time I heard/saw ‘happy fathers day’ I would well up with tears and wish I could be home holding my son). In the end, the only thing I had control was my attitude.
One year prior, the though of doing an Ironman seemed impossible. I could never swim that far. I could never bike that far within that limit of time. I could never run a marathon after riding for 112 miles.
I have done the impossible. Impossible is nothing. With time, with training, the human body can do the impossible. I am living proof.
If I can do this, you can too. You can do the impossible. You can make the improbable, probable.
You can do it. All it takes is everything you have. Every inch of you. They’ll be times of hell and times of thrill. But when it is over with, you’ll be a new person.
You’ll be an Ironman!
For you out there that have not yet decided to get a Garmin 305, here is one more push for you.
Now through July 5th, Costco is having a sale on the Garmin Forerunner 305. The price is $149.99 and that includes shipping and handling to your house.
It’s a pretty sweet deal…. Which leads me to my next problem…
We know that the new 310xt is coming out. Unfortunately it won’t be coming out in time for CDA, which seriously sucks because it last for 20 hours and that way I could have one watch with me the entire race.
But because it is not going to be here I am going to need two Garmin 305’s. One for the swim/bike and one for the run. It just so happens that I used to have two 305’s. One for me and one for the Mrs. unfortunately, ‘Used’ is the optimal word here. Mine died on the road while I was going through a particular bumpy section of the Solvang Century.
Since then, I have been using the Mrs. Garmin and it’s been going great. However, soon enough she is gonna need it back so she can get on with her exercise plans. That leads me to either get a 305 or wait and get the 310.
My question is: Do I buy the 305 or wait and buy the 310?
Here are a few points to think about:
I've used it before and while I had a mediocre resulting time for riding the 56, I enjoyed seeing the course and knowing the turns and hills.
I figured I'd go for it again. I am in taper and could use a easy spin and another chance to see the course.
I should have a much easier time right? I mean I've done umpteen centuries since then. I've conquered the King of the mountains series for goodness sake. What can CDA hold compared to that?! Easy peasy right?
Everything started out great. The first part is nice flat/downhill area. I'm flying along feeling fast. Watching my mph average climb, even the first little hill didn't take the wind out of my sails.
I have visions of greatness dancing through my head. Then I hit the first real and my speed crashes to the ground. I feel like I'm stuck in the mud. My speed has dropped to 6mph and its not even a bad hill! I look ahead and realize how long of ride this is gonna be!
After a while I cease even caring. I am just mashing the gears, hoping that this will end soon. I put my head down, close my eyes and just keep pedaling. At one point, I think I have actually fallen asleep! My legs are still moving, but my mind has lost track, I suddenly become aware of where I am (in Dave's garage), and what I am doing. I look up and try to get my bearings. Luckily I am staring at large TV screen and not a large vehicle as it comes barreling down on me!
After that, I realized I needed some distraction. I found solace in watching a DVD of Lance ride his way to his 6 TDF victory.
While it helped pass the time, it wasn't the best at keeping me focused on the course (putting my head down wasn't a big help either). I am not certain I know the course any better than the first time I rode it.
Well that's not entirely true. I now have a crap load of respect for the course. It was tough, it was tiring and I only did one loop!
I had hoped that all my King of the mountain rides would make this a breeze.
Unfortunately, I didn't get the reassurance I was looking for.
Who the hell are these people???
Yes, I did the stupid and competed in two half’s basically back to back.
This puts me in a unique position where I can compare the two races. One an official ‘ironman’ 70.3 and the other a local hard as nails ‘long race’.
Oceanside was my first brush with the power that is ‘Ironman’ and my first impression is … uhh. Not ugh but rather uhh. I liked the race but I don’t see the “whoa! It’s Ironman! We got to do it!” effect it has.
The day before:
I will say that the race is incredibly organized. The roster had more than 2200 people and I expected a mad rush for packet pickup. I expected people crawling all over each other trying to pick up their packet. A mad zoo as people looked at the cool products at the expo. General chaos!
Instead I walked into a library. There were only a few people walking around (about 15 people). Everyone talked in hushed voices. The volunteers were laid back and looked bored. The pickup was broken in several ‘stages’.
Typically, I do the same thing. I mean I am so far from the front that I don’t need to know the ‘special rules’, I just follow everyone else. If they are lost, then at least I know I’ll have good company!
However, this time I did stop and watch. It was a nice video, nothing special. It was basically the RD talking about the course and transition. No demo or anything special, just a general talk. It was set to loop so that you could walk in at anytime and it would just repeat over again.
Honestly, it was a very clever idea. Athletes floated in an out and it was no big “the video is starting in 30 seconds, hurry and grab a seat” event. Very laid back.
The expo was separate from the pickup by about 300 yards. In fact if you didn’t look around you would never see it. I think a lot of people missed it as there were not a lot people there. It was very humdrum and featured only Ironman 'approved sponsors’. I am not sure what I expected but I thought there be a lot of competing vendors and some killer deals. Instead it was ‘the Ironman store’ which sold anything you wanted as long as it said ‘Ironman’ on it! Ironman hats; Ironman cups; Ironman shorts; Ironman jackets; they even had Ironman shoelaces.
There were no free samples of items or fun booty. Everything had a price and usually it was expensive! You can have any nutrition you want as long as it was made by Gatorade. Want Heed? Nope! How about Endurox? Nope! But you can have all the powerbars and Endurance mix you want.
Rage on the other hand was almost completely the opposite.
Pack-it pickup was a complete nut house! People were stacked wall to wall. The expo was in the same location as pick-up so the sound level was LOUD!
At pick-up, you had to wait in line for the one table that helped distribute packets (where they did ask for my ID and USAT card, but JT did not get questioned at all). Then it was swag bag but it was located only 2 feet away and it wasn’t long before the backed up line flowed into each other and everyone was confused.
After pickup was the expo which had a nice selection of vendors. Maybe not a lot of competition but there seemed a wide ranging mix. One nice thing was all the freebies that you get from the vendors.
Thank you Fluid!!
Overall, I liked the laid back pace of Oceanside over Rage. Maybe it was the overabundance of volunteers or the massive amount of space they had but it seemed very low key and relaxed. Whereas after Rage, I needed a beer to calm my nerves (of course, It could have been the fact that I was doing a hard ass race the next day too!)
I was initially concerned that 2200 people would be chaos at the swim. Imagine 2200 people all swimming at the same time! Reminds me of something (like a…..IRONMAN).
But they broke down each age group into lots of little mini-waves. In fact they broke into so many little waves that my wave didn’t start until almost an hour after the race began. They still closed down transition before the race started, so that meant we had to be in transition and get everything set up early and then WAIT!
Lots of waiting! Lots of nervous, freezing my butt off waiting. Lots of watching other racers come in and go waiting. Lots of ‘good God! Hurry the hell up’ waiting.
Each wave would wait until the other wave went off, then enter the water and swim to the start line, some 100 feet away. They’d wait there until the horn went off and then all 100+ people would take off. This would be my first ‘deep water’ start!
While waiting, I was freezing. The outside air was so cold and while the rest of me was covered in neoprene and latex, my feet were frozen. Had I known, I would have brought a spare pair of socks to toss at the last minute.
(Side note: While standing in line, waiting your turn to get in the water, nature inevitably hits. The RD actually had several port’o’potties in the waiting area!
Another side note: Not everyone used them! I made the mistake of looking down and noticing that a guy had ‘water’ coming out of his wetsuit and dripping down his feet into his sock. Mental note: don’t look down and don’t pick up any ‘used’ socks)
By the time I hit the water, I was afraid that if I dropped another degree, I would go into hypothermic shock. Imagine my relief when the water was actually warm! Who knows, it could have been 50 degrees but as long as it was 1* warmer then the outside air, it was WARM!
We swam out the start and waited for the gun to go off. Everyone tried to space themselves a part from each other, but it was either the current or the competiveness, but in a matter of seconds we were all bunched together. Once the gun went off, there were arms and legs everywhere! It wasn’t bad and within the first 200 yards it was fine.
The race itself is very well marked because it the buoys are all spaced about 100 yards apart.
Once I followed the buoys out the main sea, the rolling waves hit but it was more big rollers than crashers, so it wasn’t a problem. On the way back, Nate had told me to forget the buoys and instead focus on the big hotel. Sight on that and I’ll be perfect. He was exactly right! The sun was blinding and I couldn’t see anything on the water.
If I could give one hint (beside focus on the hotel, it would be to stay closer to the docks than the buoys on the way in. The docks are the best line as the buoys take you out and then back in.
Once we were out of the water, we had to run down the entire length of transition to get in the back. With 2200 athletes, that’s a long run! One nice thing about the Ironman race was the carpet path they provide for entire swim to transition and through most of the transition area. My (pansy-ass) feet thank you so much!
On Rage, I seemed to take the exact opposite approach and showed up to Transition way after everybody else did. I had to fight (almost literally) for a spot for my bike. And while there, I must have zoned out, because I looked around and noticed that I was the only one in my area. Hmmm….where is everybody? Oh the water! Why? The race is about to start!!! Crap! I don’t have my wetsuit on, I haven’t eaten, and I am way on the other side of the transition area.
As I am making my way down, they start the countdown and I barely reach the water’s edge when the gun goes off. I slap my goggle into place and dive in.
Holy Crap! The water is cold! So much for a warm-up or even a chance to let the water soak into the suit. I am have way to the first buoy when the water makes its way down to the lower back, WAA! I am almost to the second buoy when the water finds my lower section. He-ll-o shrinkage!
By the third buoy and I started to adjust and am making some headway. About mid way back, it dawns on me that we are not heading straight back but rather going past the entrance to the next buoy and then in . At this point we are joined with the sprinters and I am mauled as I get swam over by the fast guys. But this gives me the chance to draft off of them for at least a few minutes.
Unfortunately, Rage does not have carpet in the transition area. For those who don’t know me, I have the weakest feet in the world! I am a little baby for walking barefoot!
OK. So overall, I think I would give this to Oceanside. They had a great support on the swim course with the buoys and the carpet, not to mention the volunteers in the water! Who helped you unzip. No strippers but a boy can’t have everything!
Oceanside starts off nice and flat. There are a few hills but all in all, nothing that slows anyone down too much.
Again the power of Ironman lies with the volunteers. The bike course had an overabundance of volunteers. Volunteers directing you; Volunteers feeding you; even volunteers in the middle of nowhere whose sole job was to cheer you on!
The bike course also had powerbar gels which is nice!
They’ll tell you that Oceanside has one big hill. They lie! It has a one BIG ass hill and several hills. And then a few minor hills (but by the time you get to them, they FEEL big).
Of course, the problem with all these hills is that they don’t happen until way over half way into the race. By then you are feeling good, feeling like you are flying; you’ve been enjoying the flat fast ground and you feel f-a-s-t! Right then the hills hit and all thoughts of good are gone!
You’re struggling to get up the first hill (there were some people walking it) and then the remaining hills are just vampires sucking the energy out of you.
Luckily, I started to feel better right around mile 50 and got my second wind. Nothing feels better than passing people on the last 6 miles in!
On the way out of transition, you run past the finish line (where there is an aid station, very nice of them to think of the beginning runners) and you get to see all the bikers coming in and the runners who are finishing. Personally, I would rather NOT see the finishers but it was nice to see the bikers, so you knew where you at.
On Rage, the bike (as always) has this huge hill climbing out of transition. Nothing like hitting zone 5 off the swim! But the good thing about the hill is that as soon as you are up, it everything else feels better.
It’s like when you tense every muscle in your body and then relax. Go ahead try it: tense up your arms and then your legs; work on tensing up your whole body. Now in one big motion: RELAX! Ahh! Everything feels so much better!
After that brutal hill, all the minor hills felt like cake, at least until hitting North shore road. Then the hills really began!
On this race, I had a few things going for me:
Once I hit the turn around point, I knew that I was doing good. I felt strong and I felt fast. Went I hit the hills, I was able to stand up and work it! I was able to pass a few people and only got passed a by a couple people.
On the final hill, I was ready for the run.
I don’t know how the women do it. They can hop out of the water onto the bike wearing nothing more than a padded bikini. Not me! (You don’t want to see me in a padded bikini!) I need not just one pair of riding shorts, but two! If I could somehow get three on, then I am sure that I would!
Why oh why do bike seats have to be so freaking hard!! Would it add too much weight to add in some padding? Because it sure adds time to me, to put on the padding. For Oceanside, I swam without the extra riding shorts and then in T1, I put them on. (Nothing like nylon and wet skin to slow a person down). So this time, I swam with them on (probably sucked up half of the lake) and then I didn’t have to worry about putting them on in T1. Of course I have to remember to take them off in T2. Oops! No wonder it felt like I was running in a diaper…I was!
Oceanside is mostly run all on the street. I say mostly because there is a small section (1/4 mile) where it is through deep loose sand. That sucks! But the rest is all on the street and the pathway. Unfortunately, the street and the path are concrete. While it didn’t affect me much, I saw some people out there were feeling the beating.
My whole goal was just to play it smart. Run slow and steady for the first half and then add in the speed for the second half. A sort of negative split.
The problem with this idea is that it sucks to watch all those people you just passed on the bike come pass YOU on the run. My body is screaming to go faster and I have to check my ego at the door. I can almost hear the smugness in the steps!
On the second loop, it’s my turn to shine. I finally am able to put on the speed (that being a relative term – it’s me we are talking about after all). I finally get to pass (almost) all the people who flew by me. I also get to pass the people who went out way too hard.
It’s great! Until around mile 11 and I start to realize that I should have eaten more. My body is hungry and I am starting to feel fatigued. The sun is beating down on me and I am starting to feel fatigued. The sand gets in my shoes and I am starting to feel fatigued. The concrete is wearing me down and I am starting to feel fatigued. I guess what I am saying is that I am starting to feel fatigued!!
When the final stretch for the finish line is there, I am almost too gassed to put on the sprint. Almost! It feels good to be so close the end. I see the arches and I hear Mike Reilly announcing names. I don’t know if he says my name or not, but I feel like I have just finished an Ironman!
Continuing with the tradition, Rage is almost exactly the opposite of Oceanside.
Almost of all of Rage happens on gravel paths. There is only a small section (2 miles) that is on anything paved. The rest is all on trails. Some are groomed and well maintained and others are just a corridor through the desert, full of rocks and sand.
Add in that the first 4 miles are uphill and I knew that I would not have a repeat of Oceanside.
Well before the halfway point, I am feeling tired. My only saving grace is that I have been shoving food down me at every few miles and I have been dumping water on me at every aid station.
It’s HOT! There is very little shade and it’s us vs. the desert sun and I am starting to lose quickly.
Right after the halfway point, I see JT and he is looking strong. If he keeps up his pace, he’ll beat me to the finish line! This thought alone kept me going for more miles than I can remember.
Once I finally see the finish line, I take my time and enjoy the finisher chute. My family is there and I get to enjoy their company. I am happy to be done!
After Oceanside, they direct you into a line. Get your medal, move to the next line, massage? No, next line; food? There is a wide variety of food, pizza, pizza and pizza! Lots of different types. Plus there are also the oranges, cookies and pretzels that were standard run course fair. Unfortunately, I am not in the mood to eat and just grab a quick bite before heading out.
Security is good in Oceanside, In order to get your bike you have to exit through one exit and they inspect you and match your race number with the bike. Very secure.
(I appreciate that. These bikes (not mine) can cost a lot of money. It would REALLY suck to have someone walk off with your $3000 bike, while you were getting a massage! At Silverman, you were completely cutoff from the bikes and the only way to get yours was to have a volunteer retrieve it. Nice! Of course it helps not to have some high school kid who couldn’t care less. I got my bike and then asked if Stef’s bike was there (because I hadn’t seen her on the bike/run course) and he comes back WITH her bike and gives it to me! Dude! You just gave me my bike, how many bikes do you think I rode today?!!)
After the bike security check, it was a LOOONG walk back to the car (no shuttle??) and then the long drive back to home. But not before JT and I stopped at an awesome BBQ place. True Texas BBQ! Now that’s recovery!
After Rage, we stuck around and cheered on everyone. This was nice because I was able to soak in the lake a little bit for a nice ice bath. JT came in only a few minutes behind me (I ‘knew’ he was right behind me!). After that we cheered in the finishers until near the official end. We are waiting for RBR and LA run buddy to come in and we are getting close to the end and I am worried that they’ll shut down before they have a chance to finish.
I go and talk to the RD and the announcer and get their assurance that they’ll stay open until they come through the finish. Right around then the announcer sees someone way in the distance and starts cheering them on.
“Come on Sally! Sally you are going to the last official finisher and I have a bag of goodies for you but you HAVE to hurry. You have 5 minutes to be official.”
Now Sally is WAY up the hill, she looks to be almost a mile away. There is no way she can make it.
But we all (including the volunteers) start cheering her in.
“Come on Sally. Hurry Sally. Hurry!”
And to my surprise, Sally is running. I mean Sally is RUNNING! This is the end of the race. This poor girl has been out there for almost 8 hours. It’s hot; she’s got to be tired. She has got to be exhausted. But here she sprinting for all she is worth.
And the crowd is going crazy!
But the race clock doesn’t care. It’s still ticking down. 4 minutes; 3 minutes; 2 minutes.
“Hurry Sally. Hurry!”
She is almost full sprint now. There is a small dust trail behind her. She is giving it her all and it may not be enough! I feel for her. If it was me, I would have given up a long time ago. I would have walked it in and been satisfied with finishing, but Sally is trying. She is pouring her heart out.
And it’s not going to be enough!
1 minute left!!
She is on the flat now, just the long, straight path left. She can almost see the clock.
She is so close, less than 100 feet to go and I am waiting for her to collapse. She has just ran down a hill full bore, she is sprinting hard.
The crowd is so full of tension; you can cut it with a knife.
By the grace of god, she finishes with seconds to spare!!
The crowd goes wild with cheers and hollers. She gets more applause than the pro’s.
I am near tears. I can’t handle this. Finishing the race was hard enough for me, now watching a made for TV drama has me near a breakdown!
And that is nothing compared to RBR’s finish. The RD and the announcer have made true to their words and are waiting for RBR to come through. But not only have they stayed behind but so have the volunteers and their families.
Everyone understands that Rage is not about finishing in a certain time, it’s about finishing! RBR is out there, fighting against the desert heat and the sun. It is nature vs. woman and she is about to prove that she is the victor!
The whole crowd has come out to join her. She is surrounded by all the volunteers and my family. They all run with her down the finish line and through the arches. Everyone is cheering and calling out her name!
If it was load for Sally, it was nothing compared to this!
Congrats to RBR. She showed true spirit and finished strong, where many would have given up!
Much later that day, we all meet for dinner and exchange war stories. We are sun baked, sun burnt and exhausted.
It was a GOOD RACE!
Oceanside – 6:31:06
Rage – 6:52:51
I would have to say that each was great in its own way.
I learned so much at Oceanside. It was over an hour faster than Silverman! It was my fastest half marathon ever (closed or open) and I felt great the entire time!
Rage was so hard. The sun and the hills were real killers. When combined with the run, I think Rage was harder than Silverman (although, it’s very close). Yet, I was able to smash my bike time. Way faster than I have ever done on that course and faster even than Oceanside!
I loved the volunteers at Oceanside. There was so many of them. And I think that is where Ironman races really have their power. In the people who support them. The people who come out to volunteer for them, the people who come out to watch, the people who permit the races to even happen in the first place.
Would I do them again?
Well, I mean I liked them a lot, but I may need a little break! Oceanside sucked the life out of me and whatever was left, Rage swallowed whole!
I loved each race, and I would definitely recommend either race to anyone. Oceanside is beautiful, with the beaches and the mountains. And Rage is beautiful with the desert landscape and the lake in the distance.
Neither is a cake walk, so before you come, make sure you’re ready!
Did you know that IMCDA is only a scant few days away? In 58 days away! As in 37 days when you take away taper.
Are you listening? 37 DAYS!
That doesn't leave much room for me to run.
I figure, I could run the marathon like I always do.
(that would be on a hope and a prayer!)
I can make it through like I always do. With my feet on fire and my knees about to buckle. Its a struggle, its a fight.
Right!... So I could do that or...
I could follow a actually training plan and slowly work my way up to a marathon distance.
Every week build slowly. Make my body stronger and more ready.
But of course, need I remind you: 37 DAYS!!
That's 5 weeks. 5 weeks does not leave much time for me to build up.
In fact, it only leaves 5 weeks!
Not that I am counting or anything, but...
Everyone is always talking about "At Ironman they do this" "M-dot they do that" "Ironman is the greatest" "Once you do an Ironman event, you can't go back" blah, blah, blah!
OK I get it! Ironman organization is great! But I don't believe it, I don't understand what makes it 'so cool'.
So I signed up, I'll see firsthand what makes these events 'the best'.
First, I had to sign up almost a year in advance. For a 70.3! Not a full Ironman, but a half. A half, people!
Apparently, I was the only to sign up but 2,681 other people signed up with me. Let me say that again
2,681 people! For a half!
I love Vegas races. They are tough and draw an international crowd and some of them are big, we even had one sell out.
At 700 people!
OK. So perhaps I am in for a rude awakening. If I think 700 is big I can't even imagine what 2,600 feels like.
Washing Machine?! Chaos?! I wonder what it feels like to come in last with 2,600 people in front of you?
Let me remind you....
This is a half!
It seems that the pro's love it too!
We have 40 male pro's and 30 female's.
That's a crap load of pro's. Hell, I am didn't think there WAS that many pro's!
Matt Reed (Olympian)
Michael Lovato (Ryan's secret crush)
There's even a rumor that Macca is going to be here (or New Orleans).
Is there any one not here?
I was originally worried that I would hate being lapped by that mean people, but then I realized that they'll be done (and showered and napped) before I am done with the bike (maybe the swim!).
I'm on my way to the expo now, so I'll you know what 2,600 people shoved into one room feels like.
Oh by the I don't if this race is broadcasted on ironmanlive.com, but my number is:
If I don't talk to you again:
See you at finish line!