First, click here to read about Mike Ciazzo (Mainer, 4th and first American) and Ange at Lake Placid.
And now-- About ME.
All Smiles on the Run. Mile 2.5
Far Less Happy on the Run. Mile 15.5
Really Hurting So Bad on the Run. 100 Yards to Go.
Finally Done and Ready to Collapse on the Run. Mile 26.2
This is how the run went:
And it also SUCKED.
When people talk about highs and lows in IM, they should clarify that these highs and lows come almost exclusively during the marathon.
Wow. That's all I have to say.
I always talk about how nothing can compare to the pain of giving birth. This is true: nothing can. What I know now, though, is that comparing childbirth to the pain of the marathon in IM is like comparing apples and oranges, cats and dogs, yellow and purple. Neither is easier than the other--they are just really different. What they have in common is that they are both life-altering painful (in a physical sense) experiences.
I had a fast T2. You know, I didn't really want it to be fast. But they took my bike from me, so I didn't have to do that, they helped me with everything in the tent, so it took like two seconds to get ready for the run, and that was it. When I was done and the volunteer was packing my bag for me I said, "Oh please, I'll do that," because I didn't want to leave. The volunteer smiled, "You'll do great! The exit is over there!" and she pointed to the far end of the tent.
Damn. I jogged off.
I saw Andy and Mark when I left the tent and they cheered wildly. I smiled. Not so bad. I could do this.
At my first mile I clicked my Garmin and nearly shit myself. (except I didn't. more on that later.) 7:00. Fuck!
Okay, the first mile went straight downhill, but also, I believe, I ran a 7:00 because I was on autopilot. In a race, after the bike, that is what you do. You run a 7:00 mile. In a sprint, in an Oly, in a half--and now here. That is the always my first mile. Why, you ask? No fucking clue. Obviously, it's something to work on.
I slowed down. To 8:00 pace. I was still going downhill.
And then it came on.
My body was like, nope. We are done, Mar. Sorry. No Go. Time to call it a day.
My brain said, Ummm. You have 25 more miles, Mar.
My body said, That's a funny joke. If you're lucky I can run another five and then I will keel over and die.
My brain said, Ummm. Does that mean we are DNF?
My body said, You got, Mama! That's what I'm talking about it!
My brain said, No. You are running another 25. You must. I will hate you for eternity if you don't.
My body said, Fucking fine, Brain! Hate me all you want. I'm done, and you can kiss my sweet little ass!
My brain finally told my body that we could stop at the porta-potty at mile three to collect ourselves and unify.
We got to the porta-potty. My body REALLY needed to pee anyway, so my brain thought that stopping was a good plan. (It seems all I talk about his peeing, huh?)
Me and the Porta-Potty. BFF.
I sat. I waited.
A little background:
You may have noted that although I have thoroughly indulged talking about PEE, I have omitted talking about shitting. Why, you ask? Why, when I so enjoy talking about all matters excretory have I omitted a detailed discussion of pooping?
That would be because I did not poop.
Not at 4 a.m. Not at 6 a.m. Not during the ride.
Not. At. All.
Right. So you tell me, how do you think the old stomach felt at this point?
I sat there. Come on shit! Come on pee! I know you're in there! If you'll just come out we will all feel so much better! Let's go let's go let's go!
And then I peed.
OH MY GOD.
It was like fire.
This was not right. I looked in the toilet.
It was yellow--just like dehydrated pee is supposed to look like. It also had dots of swirling red.
A little tear made its way into my eyes. poor me poor me poor me! Brain and body, unified at last, having a massive pity party. It was moving.
Then I left the porta-potty. Well. Here we are. There is definitely something wrong if it burns when you pee and there is blood in your urine. But what are we going to do?
Just keep running. Brain and Body were in agreement.
I preceded to stop at like every porta-potty for the next 25 miles. Why? It was kind of this sick desire to confirm what I had seen earlier. Plus, I felt I needed to pee. Even thought I didn't. Finally, at about mile 10, I figured it out. It burns, you feel you need to pee but you can't, you had a fever this morning. UTI.
My brain and body continued to spat through the whole first loop. My brain agreed that walking through water stops was fine. My brain somehow got my body to run again after each stop.
Actually the very best moments of the day--maybe even this week, month or even year--occurred during the first part of the each water stop. First I would stop running, which was heaven. Then I would get two cold sponges and squeeze them over my head and shoulders. It was the best feeling, because as I mentioned in a previous post, it was really hot. Those cold sponges made me infinitely happy. THIS was fun. THIS was pleasure, my body told my brain. Then I would get some water. Then some Gatorade. Then some ice, which I would chew for a few feet, and then more water, and then more sponges.
And then I would start running again, totally despondent that the fun was over.
When I got to the turn at the end of the first loop I saw Cait, my former coach and the most up- and-coming athlete in the tri-scene, running her way to a second place finish. She was ahead of Sam McGlone--and that is all I have to say about that. She was moving, that quick cadence so fast and strong, but her face said it all. She was hurting. She was facing the pain demon. I got strength from this. Everyone hurt--even Cait. I could do this.
Coming through town again I felt, actually, pretty good. I had managed to get down a few gels and I think that helped. Seeing everyone also helped. "You look great!" they all screamed.
Umm. Right! Liars. Still, it was nice sentiment. Chrissie, Jesse's wife, passed me and shouted encouragement. I could do this. I could do this. I could do this.
Going downhill onto the second loop I hit another really low point. On a normal day, 12 miles would be no big deal. Twelve miles! Freaking nothing! But my Brain had to concur that today 12 miles was a big deal. A really big deal. I slowed down further. and further. My walks on the rest stops started a little early and ended after I had long passed the last volunteer holding out a cup of water. I took in gel, I took in chicken broth, I took in Coke.
I would get there. It just might take me the rest of my life.
At mile 19 or so I found my friend Mike. He was hurting too. It was GREAT to find someone I knew who was clearly suffering just like me--wanting desperately to finish strong, and struggling to run at all. We walked up a hill together. Then he slowly began to trot off. I began to run too. He got six minutes on me in the last five miles. He did finish strong. Awesome.
I walked up the big hill. I walked into town. Then I began to run again. I stopped to walk again at mile 25. I could do this. I could do this. One more mile never had seemed like so hard to achieve. And then I was coming down the last little hill, and then I was going through the arches into the oval-- the same arches I hadn't jogged through since 8:04 that morning. And my friends from Nor'Easter were screaming and I mouthed, Thank Fucking God. A girl passed me sprinting. She had a 37 on the back of her leg. Damn! I kept going. I kept running. And then I was done. So happy. Passing through that finishing arch was one of the best moments of my life.
11:45: 20. I got 11th in my AG out of 104. Jill, the girl who passed me, beat me by 20 seconds. She beat her time from last year by an hour she told me later. How can you begrudge her that?
I saw Andy and waved. I saw my friend Tim, who said he dropped out after the bike because of hyponatremia. Oh God. He hugged me and moved me on. Andy followed me on the side, not allowed into the finish area. I wanted to get to him. Right then that's all I wanted. Dennis, the volunteer, helped me walk on. Then I saw Ange screaming from the side. It was awesome to see her. She had gotten her slot, 2nd AG, just like I knew she would.
I got a piece of pizza and then left to see Andy. I didn't think my stomach couldn't handle it, but I ate the pizza anyway, and it was actually awesome. I sat, and we called home so we could talk to the kids.
God. What a day. What a last two hours. It was amazing and horrible--both thrilling and despairing.
And I can't wait to do it again in 11 months at Couer d'Alene.
I can't wait.