Friday, July 10, 2009

Devil of a race - the Run with a Devil Marathon Report

My son is screwed! I am sooo going to be the parent who says “Do what I say not what I do!”

Everyone knows you do an Ironman; you are legally obliged to sit on your butt! Do nothing, recover, and relax. Enjoy life without training!

Do what I say…not what I do!

Run with a Devil Race Marathon Report:

Just for a quick review – the race is held in the middle of the day right when the day is at its hottest. The sun is beating down on you from every direction, there is no shade and there is no escape! There are some major hills with a few 8% going on for a mile at a time. BRUTAL!

Sounds like the ideal thing to do after an Ironman right? To be precise it was less than a week afterwards. 6 days! Could I really do a marathon 6 day after doing an Ironman? And especially one so painfully brutal?

Honestly, I had never planned on it. I know how ludicrous it is to do. You have just destroyed your body. It has worked harder than it ever has before. You just pushed it for 15+ hours! You need to recover.

But the thing is…I didn’t. I didn’t feel bad. I wasn’t sore (the first few days yes, but afterwards…). Actually I was still pissed off at my IT Band for failing on me. I think I was looking for a way to punish them. Or maybe I was just looking for justification.

Whatever I was looking for, I found myself at the registration desk at the Devil race. I know the RD and she congratulated me for the IM and the baby and then asked “what in the hell was I doing here?”. Even the RD knew that running this race was crazy. So I looked for a way out “Need any help volunteering?” “Nope! We are all set.”

DAMN! Guess that means I am racing!

The next day, I stepped on the starting line, feeling scared out of my mind. What was I doing? Would I hurt myself? Would I finish? I think I was more nervous now then my first marathon.

Right before the race started, the RD pointed out a few secrets to staying cool. These turned out to be a life saver on the course. She told us all to dunk everything we could in the water. Shirts, hats, bandana’s. Soak them thoroughly in the ice cold water. Don’t worry if its dripping wet, it won’t be for long.

And she was right. Just before the start, I dunked my shirt and while I felt like a drowned cat with my wet shirt dripping water and sticking to me, I was cool. In fact I was cold! My body had just gone from 100* to ice cold. Unfortunately, the feeling of being cold didn’t last very long. As we made our way on the course, it was probably within the first mile, that I was nearly dry already. And this is at 10 in the morning. The day was just starting to heat up!


The whole way out I kept waiting for my body to rebel. Waiting for the pain to start or my knees to buckle. I listened for my feet to complain. Silence. Hmm… so far so good. But I was scared that it wouldn’t start until I was too far out to quit easily. Knowing my luck, all hell would break loose on mile 13!

But in the meantime, all I could do was plod along. And plod is exactly what I did. There were no speed records broken here. First I was taking it easy because I didn’t want to blow up too soon; next I took it easy because I didn’t know how my body would handle the intense heat. Finally I took it easy because everyone else was too. When you are running along with a group of people and they all slow down and walk up a hill, you think ‘maybe they are saving their energy for the return. Maybe they know something I don’t. Maybe they are smarter than me so they are taking it easy’. Well, not wanting to be dumb or stupid, I slowed down too. I am not sure it was the right thing to do regarding speed, but it seemed to do the trick for taking it easy.

By mile 10, my left foot was starting to hurt. It was just a dull throb. Not like it was bruised inside, like I normally feel at the end of a marathon. When that happens, every step I take feels like I am stepping on glass. Every step is excruciating. This was only a dull throb, but I was troubled that it would bloom into something more painful.

By the time I hit the 13 mile turn around, I was feeling pretty good, except for the foot. No knee pain, no overwhelming foot pain. Pretty good all around. The race was sponsored by some ‘pain relieving cream’. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to provide any ‘pain relief’ as I put in on my aching feet. I actually talked to another racer (who was doing his first marathon…Umm…dude! This is your first marathon?? Are you crazy?). He had placed the cream on his calf. We decided that the pain relief came from the fact that the cream burned so much that the original source of the pain seemed insignificant!

While placing the cream on, I decided to do both feet, even though only the left foot hurt. Better safe than sorry. Murphy’s Law struck, and my right foot that had nothing wrong with it, now started hurting. Crap! It was a rubbing pain, but I couldn’t find out why. I took off my shoe and looked at the sock, looked at the shoe, no matter what I did I could not find the problem. Finally I just gave up and just ran.

No surprise, but after the race I had a nice big fat blister.

On the way back from the turn around, I started to hit the pain medicine. A couple ibuprofen here, a few Tylenol here and before I knew it I was feeling good! Damn it! Why did I not hit the medicine on the Ironman? It takes off the edge! If only I hadn’t been so stubborn and refused Tylenol.

By now the sun was full bore and bearing down on us with intensity. At every rest stop I would drip my shirt and hat into the ice water (they had buckets set aside just for this). It would instantly cool my core down and keep me going. Right around the mile 9/15 aid station, I found a girl passed out under the tent. This is the spot that I had volunteered at last year, and for whatever reason, this is the spot that a lot of people quit at. The girl was OK, she was awake and coherent, but she was done. As I ran in, the local paramedic pulled in (The RD hires a Paramedic rig for the race). They discussed whether to go the hospital or back to the finish line and in the end the racer decided she was OK; just transport her to the finish line.

As they pulled away, I had topped off my water and was now on my way. It wasn’t until I was ½ mile away that I realized that I did not dunk my shirt! That’s ok right? I mean I’ve gone this whole way without any issues, how bad can it be right?

Let me tell you, it can get BAD!

Less than a mile from the aid station and I am dying. My core has heated up; I feel my skin frying from the outside in. My energy is gone. I am exhausted.

By two miles from the aid station, I am walking. I am ready to give up. If some SAG car drove up, I wouldn’t hesitate.

It was only by some miracle of God that a spectator was on the side of the road, handing out water. First off, how cool is it that this person is actually spectating? I mean we are in the middle of the desert. There is nothing but the heat to entertain you. Second, how freaking blessed are you to be handing out water. ICE COLD water!! Sweet mercy from the heavens!

She soaked me down and saved my race. I know she was there for her husband who was fast approaching from behind, but at that moment she was my savior.

I have done this course before. The sister twin of this race. This was the Devil, run in the middle of an inferno. I had run the Angel, run on the exact same course, but done in January, in the cold morning.

The RD does this to show how drastic of a difference the course can be. And I was fully aware of it now. My finish time on Devil was just over an hour slower than my Angel. At the end of Angel, I was exhausted. My feet where killing me, my legs were done. It was my second marathon. This time, I was still exhausted. My feet hurt but weren’t killing me and I was on my 6th marathon.

Overall, I am glad I did it. I still think it was crazy and I would still advise people to rest after an Ironman, but I am glad I got it done. I am glad I proved to myself that I could do it. I am glad that I was able to make my body suffer for punishment. And I am glad that my IT band/knees didn’t hurt once!


RBR said...

Well, now you are just showing off.


You are insane. Completely and utterly insane.

I am not sure if you are aware, but it is a little hot in Nevada in the summer and there is some sort of law against trees and shade of any sort in the whole f-ing state, so I am pretty sure a marathon there is a bad idea at ANY time, but particularly a FREAKING WEEK after an Ironman!

*shakes head*

SWTrigal said...

You are a!
(but impressed)..

ShirleyPerly said...

I am SO GLAD you did this!!

For one, it proves to me one can indeed do another grueling endurance event so soon after an IM (I had my suspicions). Two, I can now think how easy I've got it having given myself 2 glorious weeks to rest in between races. Thanks & Congrats - You're my HERO!!!

(and I cracked up reading about that pain cream. we have something similar at home that I'm convinced "works" the same way)

Anniversary Moments said...

wild - absolutely nutso wild. you do realize the hypocrisy in thinking that guy was crazy that he chose that race as his first marathon.

having said that -- i think it says a lot about your body and fitness that you were able to get through it - mentally and physically.

let's just not make a habit of it ;)