Monday, October 22, 2012

70.3...I'm a Finisher!!!

SOMA 70.3 miles
I am a finisher!!!
So is my husband Robert.
The medal is a great beer bottle opener.
After an evening of use it is now hanging on my medal rack.
We swam 1.2 miles, biked 56 miles and ran 13.1 miles.
Sorry to disappoint some of you, but we did not end up doing this together.....though we both ended up at the finish line and in transition together!
This was my first half iron distance - that's what it says on the back of the medal - and it was a LONG day.
Mine was certainly longer than some people who can go fast!
We had dropped our bikes off in the transition area the day before as was required.
They assigned bike spots by alphabetical order and mine was right next to Robert's because our last names are the same.
Photo: OMG....Robert and I are right next to each other in transition. He better not hog transition like he does our bed.
Do our bikes look REALLY close together...kind of how our clothes are smashed into our closet at home.
After dropping off our bikes, we checked out the expo, which was small, but Robert picked up some extra electrolyte tabs and I picked up some honey stingers.
I handed out some Aquaphor to several people and they were happy to take a handful out of the bag I was carrying.
So Sunday morning we did not have to worry about our bikes....or did we?
When we got there (after a hectic drive where I did not listen to Garmin's directions, instead having a sight-seeing trip, but still managing to get to the event at the time we had planned) we found our bikes in the same spot, but turned in different directions.
Another athlete said officials came through during the night and turned the bikes they way they wanted.
I must have been nervous, even though I didn't feel as if I was.
I had a hard time setting up my transition area. It was dark, but I had brought my headlight.
Even so, I spilled my coffee all over my transition mat, my bike helmet, my bike shoes, glasses, and who knows what else because then the batteries on my headlight went out and I was in the dark.
But it was light enough to see the horror facing me when I pulled out my running shoes.
They didn't have any GUTS!
Yep, they were gutless.
I know it is hard to see inside of my shoes, but they do not have anything in them.
My specially made inserts were not in my shoes, nor were the regular inserts that came with the shoes. I was facing a 13.1 mile run in barebones running shoes. My guy offered up a big pair of socks. I turned him down. Someone else said they just read a story about a guy who ran a marathon in flip-flops and maybe I should try that.
I thought about that for about 2 seconds.
I decided that when the time came I would just suck it up and run in my running shoes and pray for my knees and hips to survive.
I put the problem/solution behind me and went to get "marked" with my race number and age and when I got back to my transition area Robert wasn't there. They were closing transition so I quickly smeared myself with Aquaphor, grabbed my wetsuit, goggles, noseclip, earplugs and cute swim cap with American flag they gave the "old" ladies and first-timers and headed out to the cemented edge of the lake.
I looked all around for Robert.
I waited in the "blue" cap wave area where he would be, but he wasn't there.
 FINALLY, he turned up!
Quick kiss for good luck and he was in the water.
I had to wait about 20 minutes for my wave to take off. I looked down at my hand and said, "Shit."
In the dark chaos of the morning, I did not write "MBYS and broom" on my left palm (for Michael Bring Your Sword and broom) or "I love swimming" on my right.
So I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and mentally saw those words written on my palms and I was calm and happy.
The water was great!
I loved my swim. Never once was I scared. Never once did I worry about fish. A fist hit me in the head, but it wasn't too bad, so I just shook it off and swam. I swam slow. I wanted to keep my breathing easy and never once feel as if I was out of breath. I did that. I sighted using the cemet wall, the condos, the Silicon (something) bank, the park, the stadium and then it was time to turn around. I sighted on the bridge and focused on my swim technique.
At one point I laughed while breathing out underwater.
"HOLY MOLY...who would have thought I would swim 1.2 miles and enjoy it?????? WOOO-HOOOO," was my thought.
I reminded myself to enjoy the swim because it was going to be over before I knew it.
At the second to last buoy, which was under the bridge, I stopped and just kind of floated in the water. I really wanted to pee before I got out of the water.
I was kind of hiding behind the buoy when all of a sudden a kayak came up on the other side.
"Are you okay," the girl in the front of the kayak asked me.
"Yep," I said.
(come on and just pee, I thought to myself)
"Are you sure you are alright?" she asked me again.
"Yep," I said.
(please don't talk to me anymore, I am trying to pee)
"Uhm, ma'm do you need help?" the guy in the back of the kayak asked me.
"No. I am just taking a pee break. Thanks," I said.
They both laughed. I peed.
Then they followed me the rest of the way to the finish.
It was great to have wetsuit strippers.
Wham, Bam, here's you wetsuit and thank you ma'm!
(okay, I tried to get an image to post of wetsuit strippers, but the only things that showed up on my Internet did not involve triathlon or wetsuits......if you know what I mean).
I had to stop in T1 and change the bandaid on my infected heel. Luckily, my coffee spill had dried up some. I got on my shoes and helmet, grabbed a banana to eat, and WALKED out of transition. I was trying to put on bike gloves, when a guy tried to tell me I wasn't going to need them, but all I could think of was, "Yeah, I do. I am riding my bike 56 miles. Definitely need gloves."
Dang it! I hate it when I am wrong and other people (especially men) are right! Five miles into my ride I was pulling my gloves off with my teeth and shoving them in to little bento bag.
When I shoved them in, it was hard to get the Velcro to close all the way....and at the first big bump in the know the one where the guy is standing there pointing to the road yelling, "HOLD ON!!!!" I hit the bump and my canister of electrolyte tabs flew out.
Should I stop and pick it up or go on and suffer and hope the aid stations have stuff.
By the time my mind wrapped around an answer I was too far along to go back and my decision was made for me.
The bike course was 3 loops, 18 miles each.
My goal was to ride 15 mph. I know that doesn't sound very fast, but since this was my first 1/2 iron distance, I wanted to make sure I had something left for the run, especially since I would be running a half marathon in half-ass shoes.
I was scared on my first lap.

 My legs did NOT want to work. I don't know if it was because I had been sick with an infection in my foot, or because of the horrible cold I couldn't shake, but I just did NOT have any energy in my legs.
I had NO power in my legs.
I just put it in an easy gear and spun at a high cadence, something I got really good at when I was nursing my knee back to health a few months ago and couldn't put any pressure on it. I had spent weeks on high cadence spinning, so I knew what to do.
My legs were going fast, but they were not going strong. I figured since I was not pushing it, it was a good time to get some nutrition down, I ate half a bar and drank.
I kept a look-out for Robert, I thought eventually he would pass me on the course. Never saw him.
About mile 14 life was starting to come back to my legs, but then it was uphill.
Whoever said this course was flat is a big fat LIAR!!!
My GARMIN has it on record that there are several 4 percent, 5 percent and 6 percent grade hills on this course.
While the majority of the course is relatively flat, it is not ALL flat!!
18 miles down and I had managed to spin 15 mph/average that first hour.
I had hope.
Do NOT read any further if the talk of vomit or poop bothers you!
It was about mile 20 when I first I threw up in my mouth.
About every 5 miles, I had the pleasure of revisiting everything I had drank or ate.
Every time I drank, I burped.
This was not fun.
And then I would vomit in my mouth.
That was less fun than the constant burping.
But my legs were starting to work.
At mile 30, my stomach started getting cramps. I was still averaging 15 mph.  At mile 35 I had to stop at the aid station and poop!
So now, I am biking, burping and talking to my stomach about containing itself.
My neck and shoulder muscles started to ache around mile 45. My toes were going numb and I kept moving them around to get feeling.
By mile 50 I knew I had to do something!
"You are rocking," I started yelling out to people.
"You have so got this," I told one lady as I passed her.
"Come on and let's kill this thing," I told a guy as I passed him on the "flat" 6 percent grade hill. "Okay," he said," I am just getting my legs for the run."
I told myself to enjoy the rest of the bike because it was going to be over before I knew it.

This was NOT my transition...our bikes were so close together that I had to try 2 times to get my bike back on the rack.
T2 - I had to change my bandaid again and my socks (uhm, let's not talk about my pus heel)....and put on my gutless running shoes.
I WALKED out of transition while I ate a honey stinger and drank down some electrolytes. I walked about 1/2 mile before I started to jog. Really, I was scared what it was going to feel like to run in my gutless shoes.

The path I ran on was run was NOT!
I started running and I knew this was going to be ugly. It was hot. I threw up in my mouth again.
First aid station, I put ice in my hat, in my shirt and ate an orange.
I walked 50 steps, ran 50 steps.
Over the bridge and then along the river bed. It was a pretty walk/run. There were several information boards about the animals and floral in the river bed area. I didn't have time to stop and read it. I was looking for a bathroom.
My friend

Walk 50 steps/run 50 steps/repeat
Between the picture above and the picture below, I think I stopped in 4 bathrooms.
This was very pretty through here and I was imaging what it would be like just to stop and hang out in the park on the bench. A couple were throwing Frisbees for their dogs. The dogs wanted to go with me. I had to stop while their owners came and get them.
50 steps walking/50 steps running.
Stop at all bathrooms.
I don't know why some of my hardest races involve horses. But there were the horses. Tempe's Papago Horse Stables.
Why am I tempted to trade in all my tri gear and buy a saddle at the toughest part of my race?
I ran on.
50 steps walk/50 steps run.
Bathroom to poop.
 My friend even if there is no toilet paper.
I was now running by the condos and the bank I had used for sighting during my swim, and then I was back at the beginning....but that was only 6.5ish miles.
The path divided - the left to the finish, the right to hell, I mean, the second part of the run course.

  My feet were slopping around in my no guts shoes. My shoes were wet from all the water I had poured over myself to try to keep from overheating. Blisters were forming on the bottom of my foot and toes. I stopped squirted my Aquaphor lip balm on my feet and toes. 
I whimpered just a bit before starting my second lap. At the first water station I stopped and put two cups of ice in my hat.
50 steps walking/50 steps running, then run a little more to get to the next port-a-potty!
 We are best friends, Mr. PP and I!
I saw a guy lying on the grass in his underwear. He was a college student, I think. Or a smart model because he did have some books next to him. He also had a mountain bike. Sorry I don't have a picture.
But the image in my brain got me to the next bathroom.

I kept thinking I would run into Robert along the route, but I never did.
This run was getting monotonous and my knee was starting to hurt. I had some Biofreeze packets in my pocket and I put some on my knee. I also had some KT-tape and taped up my knee, but it fell off from all the water I was pouring on myself. I thought how my chiropractor was going to be so pissed at me for running without my inserts.
I started to chat people up to kill some time.
"Have you done this run before?"
"Well, we are going to finish this," I said.
Okay, how come I am the only one who gets chatty when the going gets a little tough?
And then magically I was by the horses again.
I had to duck into the bathrooms by the stable. But when I came out, I put them behind me.
My knee was starting to hurt and I wasn't setting any records, so I was down to 25 steps walk/25 run/repeat.
I just wanted to finish with my body somewhat intact.
I had passed several dog waste dispensers and at one point thought it might be a good idea to grab a bag just in case I couldn't 50/50 or 25/25 to the next meeting with Mr. PP.

I didn't grab a bag, but maybe I should have.
I was over the last bridge and had about a mile to go.
I skipped a little, I walked a little, I jogged a little.
I went off course and danced in some sprinklers.
I told myself to enjoy the last part of the run because it was going to be over before I knew it.
And it was.

How wacky would I have to be to sign up for IMAZ?

I think I'll train-n-tri.


  1. Great job! So sorry about your stomach. That is never fun at all. I hope it went back to normal quickly after you finished. BTW, loved the picture of the doggy poop bags :)

  2. Candy! so glad to have remembered your blog name after a long day out on the soma course. i had the pleasure of meeting and walking with your wonderful husband, robert. he spoke so proudly of you and now that reading your blog, i can see why! congrats on your finish...such fun--dont you just love the bottle opener/medal? anyway, just wanted to say HI from san diego. if you are ever in the area racing or whatever, send us a line, my husband phil and i would love to get together with yall. PS "been there done that" regarding the POOP during the race. my family is very tired of me blogging my troubles in that area. it will get better. as a matter of fact, i had the best year for belly issues...

    anyway, enjoyed your blog and will try to continue to follow. phil and i have a blog also, however i rarely blogs. check it out:

    tell robert HI and glad he met up with you at the end, he was looking for you the whole time! and, make him tell you the beer on the course story, if he hasnt.

    1. Thanks Paula.....yes he did mention that he drank before (the night before, during (and he blamed it on you - LOL) and after (we had a beer afterward). I'll check out your blog. Let's keep in touch.