Friday, April 27, 2007

Ironman Arizona '07--The RUN

Only a marathon left. This day was going fast!

Right off the bat, I had to use the porta potty. Luckily, there was one just after exiting transition. I felt like I wasn’t going very fast. I stopped at all of the aid stations to make sure I got all the calories I could from their cups of Gatorade (the yummy yellow kind now, horray!) and part of a banana ever 3rd aid station.

The thought of eating another gel made me want to puke.

The course was 3 figure-8 loops, which I liked. It made it mentally easy to break it down, and I got to see my cheer squad. A lot. And eventually I got to see all of my friends, too, as I lapped them.

My mantra for the first loop? Just chill. Enjoy the scenery and sneaking up on my cheer squad. I don’t believe anything is cooler than deciding to do a crazy workout and having thousands of people around to help you do it. Strategically placed porta potties. Gatorade when you want it. Water. Food. Everything’s out there so you can get what you need and continue on your journey. When I would go for long runs in Phoenix, I’d have to wait until it was dark outside, so if I had to use the bathroom, I could hide in someone’s hedges and go. Or, I’d drive around, figure out which houses were under construction, had porta potties in the front yard, then wait until Sunday, when nobody would be working, to do my long run. No fun at all.

After completing the first loop, I decided my mantra for the second loop would be: Just chill. Yes, the same mantra. I figured I was at a pace I could hold, and considering I had never ever run more than 20 miles before, I wasn’t sure if I could ever push it and finish. Better play it safe.

My cheer squad was all over the place. Just after I crossed the bridge at Scottsdale Road, where I had to put my visor on backward since the wind was trying hard to knock it off my head and I didn’t want to loose it to the lake, I saw them. Cheering like maniacs. Then I saw them again under the Mill Avenue bridge. Then I saw them again on the North side of the bridge. And then I saw two of my friends walking together. They cheered for me.

Coachancé gave me a double “high 5!” and, here’s where biotch, well, um, “in the zone” TriDiva comes in. My thought at this point? Please, don’t let him run along side me. I will then realize how dreadfully slow I am going and be sad. Don’t let him jog beside me. Shoo!

Not a very kind thought toward the love of my life and the man who was currently carrying my ring for me in his Camelback so I could stick it on my bloated pinky as soon as I finished.

As the final loop approached, I became pretty euphoric. I AM going to be an Ironman. No doubt about it. And the coolest part? I’m going to do it before sunset just like I wanted. As long as I don’t walk.

All of that training, my cool coachancé me-specific training plans, all of those psycho runs in the Santa Monica mountains. Including that one time where I freaked out because I got dehydrated and got the freezies, but was instantly restored when I saw my coachancé cheering for me by the car as I finished. He has been cheering for me for months, and has cheered for me during every workout. I am so blessed, and all of those moments are culminating to this point, and I only have less than 9 miles left! I want to cry.

But first, I have to poo. Every time I’ve eaten a banana, I’ve gotten the most horrendous stomach cramps about 2 minutes afterward, fart a minute after that and feel better. But I don’t really want to eat anymore. I don’t want to wait in line for a porta-potty, but I can’t help it. There’s no way I’ll make it another mile without one.

For heaven’s sake! Get out of the porta-potty! I’m on a mission! Don’t mess this up for me people!

I’m in! I go to the bathroom, then I’m back out on the trail. (See the pissyness coming through?) I smile for the camera I’ve passed 2 times already. The biggest, most victorious smile I can muster.

Hey! There’s my Ironcheersquad again! They’re everywhere!

Apparently, my padre was surprised that I was still running. Well, duh! I wasn’t going to walk. I did train for this!

The little inspirational quotes on all of the mile markers came in handy now. “Pain is only weakness leaving the body.” Hell yea! And I don’t know if any of them actually said this, but I like “pain is only temporary”, and my other mantra (besides today’s “just chill”): “it’s supposed to hurt”. So no wussing out! Bring on the pain!

I was a little sad I’d never be coming back around this part of the run loop again. This was the last time I’d pass the aid station with the man with the loud speaker under the bridge. The last time I’d come over Scottsdale road and almost get blown into the lake.

All of the volunteers and other Ironcheerers kept saying, “Good pace! Keep it up!” which made me incredibly happy. Even if they said it to everyone, I was only concentrating on me now. Oh! There’s my cheer squad again! I’m too tired to smile. It takes too much of the energy I need to drive to my legs. Sorry.

A volunteer near mile 24 asks me if it’s my last lap, after saying, “Great pace!”

YES! I say.

“You’re going to finish early!”

Woo hoo! Whatever that means. But yes, I’m going to finish before sunset, darn it! Push it TriDiva, you’ve only got 2 miles to go! I haul as much bum as I can. The last 5 miles, I couldn’t eat anything at the aid stations. My stomach was sick of eating. And sick of processing everything. And probably wanted to cross the finish line more than my brain at this point.

Then I begin to cross the Mill Avenue bridge. This is it. It's all over. Unless I trip and fall on my face and break my entire body, I'm going to be an Ironman.

I kick it in. The crowd gathered around the chute is going wild for everyone. It is amazing. I hear coachancé and hairystomach screaming. This is it. I am done. It’s all over. I am an Ironman. I didn’t pause to take in the crowd. Oh, no. I sprinted down that chute. The girls at the end barely had enough time to grab ahold of the tape after the guy in front of me blew through it so I could get my finisher photo breaking the tape as well.

Oh crap! What am I gonna do to cross the finish line! Coachancé asked me about it before and told me I should think about it. I do a very generic, but empowering fists in the air pose as I run through the tape.

It’s over. Done. Kaput. I am an IRONMAN!

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