Riding with the wind. When I'm sad, she comes to me.
With the thousand smiles, she gives to me...

Fly on my little wing.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Run: The Rebel Alliance Suffers Heavy Casualties

By this time I had to pee pretty badly and my plan was to go through transition and then hit a porta potty on the way out so I could pee and eat a GU at the same time. I come into T2 and get off my bike checking my split- 5:08 faster than anticipated pre-race-sweet! I grab my bag and enter the tent, which isn’t as crowded and again calmly get ready for the run. In an effort to help my still healing calf I had purchased compression calf sleeves, which I put one on my right calf. I got some more sunscreen and ran out of the tent, looking for a porta potty. There wasn’t one so I figured I’d stop at the first aid station. The first mile felt okay, not great and my stomach felt crappy again, but I figured it take me a few miles to find my rhythm like it had in the past. My split was 6:27 and I told myself I needed to slow down a bit and get settled in. I got to the first aid station and the porta potty was in use so I continued on. As I mentioned in previous posts, the “cool” triathletes manage to piss themselves on the bike and run. I can’t. I’ve tried. Gross I know.
Second mile split 6:44, a sweet pace in my dreams, need to settle down more. Stomach still not feeling great I approach the second aid station where I spot the porta potty…as someone goes into it. I really got to pee and I also spot a dumpster behind a fence in a parking lot. Despite the fact it’s technically against the rules, it’s rarely enforced and sometimes you just can’t help it. I ran behind the dumpster and had another good 90 second steady stream break while I dined on a delicious blueberry pomegranate GU-all behind a dumpster-super classy. Feeling relieved I continued on my run, hoping my stomach would feel better. 

Runners that had already hit the turnaround were headed back at me and I tried to see who was in my AG to see what place I was in. I didn’t think I was near the top, but didn’t know how close I was and still considered I had a chance to run them down for a decent place. It was difficult to tell though and I couldn’t really tell what place I was. I continued to run around 7 min miles for a few more before the proverbial wheels started to come loose and I realized this was a survival marathon. There was no more “racing”, no more “what Place can I be” it was “get this done. I want to go home.” That is not exaggerated at all. The splits on my watch say mile 5- 6:57, 6-7:35, 7-7:50 8-8:02 and then stay right around 8. I don’t have an exact explanation or reason but those running legs never kicked in like they have in the past. I have several theories and explanations. I felt this run going downhill and the only thing I could try and do was to get some more calories and fluids on board. My stomach didn’t feel like I was going to throw up, but it didn’t feel like it wanted more PowerGels. My legs simply felt like crap, heavy and unresponsive. I was in for a long painful marathon.
Don't I look like I'm having fun!
The first 10ish miles of the run are an out and back along Alii drive along the water. The only problem is there are houses and trees between you and the water so there is little breeze. I was feeling pretty warm, although it had clouded over somewhat. My cooling strategy was the usual water and sponges on the head and upper body and the less traditional cups of ice down my pants. This strategy works fine for me, the only issue was my shoes were soon soaked and they didn’t have any drain holes in them; something I’d thought about ahead of time but hadn’t done anything about. As you head out of town there’s a two block hill of pretty decent grade to climb on Palani drive, before heading north on the Queen K again. It wasn’t a fun hill to climb. As I was headed up the hill I saw Chris McCormick in the lead and another athlete right behind him. Craig Alexander was somewhere near the top of Palani as I was getting there. As I headed out the Queen K more pros were headed toward town and I tried to recognize them or read their names on their numbers. I recognized a couple but somehow missed Andy. Just another way to keep my mind thinking about something other than my legs.  
On the Queen K there is much more of a breeze which was nice. But the sun also came back out in that time. The only way to get through this was to take it one aid station at a time. Each aid station was like an oasis in the middle of the desert, where I afforded myself the luxury of walking through each one, dumping as much water and ice on myself as I could and sucking down fluids and Gel as much as I could. I had been doing the math in my head once I was off the bike. A 3:15 marathon would put me around 9:35 and that obviously wasn’t happening. Thus a 3:30 would get me under 10 for sure and at that point I was trying to convince myself that 8 minute miles are a piece of cake. I got to the 13 mile marker at 8 hours I think so I had a good “buffer” for under 10, but it just kept getting harder. At this point it wasn’t my stomach at all it was just my legs, worse than they’ve ever felt before. My calves felt wrecked my quads felt wrecked, like they were seizing every step. A few times I tried to stop and stretch them out.  It never works but there’s not much else to try. 


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