So yesterday was the day. (7/26/2010)
Well, where does one start but at the beginning.
So, when the doctor mentioned getting this done I was like sure, let’s do it! Then when the time came to pick a date, without thinking (that’s how I normally operate) I said Monday would be fine. Never stopping for a minute and thinking about the whole process of having to stop eating and drinking only clear liquids would impact my weekend.
(Tip: Do the procedure during the week so: 1. Working will keep your mind off of how hungry you are. 2. I don’t normally drink anything through the week so having to abstain from liquor is not a big deal, BUT weekends were made for Michalob!)
So Sunday was tough: Couldn’t eat anything. Couldn’t drink wine or beer. Couldn’t relax cause I kept thinking about all the food and drink I was missing and I was SOOOOO STINKING HUNGRY! GOSH!
Starting at 1:00 I took two “special” pills: Laxatives I think, and a 10oz bottle of magnesium citrate which is more laxatives. Then at 5:00 I started 8oz shots of MORE laxatives and every 20 to 30 minutes another 8oz shot. UGH. The drink tasted thick…like heavy water…strange stuff and the only way to drink it was just to down it as quick as I could. If there was a good side to it, it was you could pick any flavor you wanted: Pineapple, Strawberry…etc., I chose Lemon Lime from my wife’s recommendation. Didn’t help, it still was horrid!
Somewhere around 9:00 or 9:30 my stomach started to rebel. It was tired of all this flavored saltwater, wanted food, and by durn I’m going to get rid of all this stuff to make room for FOOD! So up came most of all the mix that hadn’t already made it’s way down past my lower stomach.
Now most things don’t bother me too much, water off a ducks back, so the saying goes, but throwing up I absolutely HATE and I fight the urge as hard as I can! But there was no stopping it this time. My stomach had had enough and it wasn’t going to take it lying down, so up I went and up it came as I headed to the nearest bathroom. UGH.
So that was it: I had finished close to 3/4’s of the gallon, about 96 oz’s and things were “running clean” so I figured that’s good enough and went to bed. Then I had dreams of the doctor being angry at me for not getting cleaned out enough so when I woke in the morning I hit the “juice” again to make sure things were running clean and green, ah, I mean, just clear.
Finally the time came and to the hospital I went. Once I was changed, and ready to go I was rolled into the room where the procedure was to be completed. There was a cart with one box on it that monitored my O2, pulse and heart rates, and a large screen above used for the camera.
When the doctor came in I asked about the options for sedation and I was told I could choose anything from none to being completely knocked out. Since I was “on-call” I thought I would be too loopy afterwards to function as an on call guy, so I opted for a light muscle relaxer, so I could stay awake and watch the entire procedure. With that out of the way, he began.
I won’t go into all the details but I will say it was not bad. I mean, I don’t plan on making a habit of getting this done, but really, over all, it was pretty painless minus two instances when he “had to turn a corner” and although the pain was substantial it was brief and bearable.
It was so cool watching as he proceeded to invade my privacy, so to speak. The instrument had a camera, light, suction, water sprayer and a way to cut and collect any polyps he found.
Basically, on the way in he’d spray and clean up any thing that didn’t get flushed out, which was very little. I mean, I was CLEAN! My colon was a healthy pink and nice clear red blood vessels could be seen.
Once he got to the upper stomach he showed me the triangle where it met with the lower stomach and that’s where he started to really look and explain things. Pretty cool. As he slowly backed out the instrument he would explain what we were seeing: “See this dark area on the side? That’s your liver on the other side of the colon.” “WOW! Amazing”, I said. (I said that A LOT!). Then he’d continue and point out, “See here, you still have your appendix, right?” Sure enough, there was an indentation of the appendix, although I had no idea what it supposed to look like, still very cool.
As he went along he pointed out a polyp and to my eye it looked like a piece of lichen growing on the side of my colon. When I think of polyps I’m thinking of something round and big, but this barely had any size to it and certainly very little height. But soon enough something came into view and then a stainless steel noose (on screen it looked to be the sized used for hanging people!). The doctor maneuvered it into place and had the nurse pull the other end, and as quick as you can say “ouch” it was snipped! The nurse then pulled out the wire and bagged her catch and will send it off to have it biopsied I assumed. They did that one more time and we were done!
For the most part it was painless and to be able to watch the whole thing was just amazing! If only I could get the movie!
Whew..didn’t mean to go on, but I have to say, the whole thing wasn’t too bad and I can’t wait to do it again….HA!
PS: Video at 11:00..HA!
Yeah, well, I was SOOOO disappointed from my 1st attempt at qualifying for the Boston Marathon I never posted my ‘true’ feelings. Why now? Well, I’m just about to sign up for the Portland marathon for my 2nd attempt and it got me thinking about the 1st one at the Windermere marathon and all these angry feeling started come out. I know, I know, let it go, let it go….and I have..somewhat. But really, 3 minutes? I missed my time by three minutes? And it sorta kinda wasn’t exactly ALL MY FAULT? Okay okay..I’ll calm down. Anyway, I thought I should at least include it in my collection of blog ramblings so when I’m gone my kids can get mad for me….ha!
So I wrote this on Active.com under the Winderemere Marathon Review section but I thought I would include it here. Please feel free to skip it as I was probably still a little upset.
Well, where do I begin? This was supposed to be my Boston qualifier race, my 1st attempt. I’ve run this course many many times as I work right by it; ride it almost every weekend with my wife and friends; did an ultra marathon this March (2009) from the state line all the way to 9 mile (37 miles..whew!); so you THINK I would have figured out that the mile markers were messed up. But you know, when you are working your tail off and concentrating on keeping your body together sometimes the obvious, is not.
I was attempting to run a 3:45:00 or better (Although during the race my running buddy Steve, mentioned that you actually get all of the 45th minute so the qualifying time is actually 3:45:59). So just like all BQ hopefuls I had my splits written down on the top of my hand; 5, 10, 15, 20, 25. And all along the way I was hitting my marks right on. Oh a few seconds on either side but pretty much right on. At the 20 mile marker I was RIGHT on! To the second! So I’m feeling pretty confident that I’m going to make it. Then the 21 mile marker came up and I was below the split by almost a minute. By this time I’m feeling giddy.
Somewhere along the way I noticed that gosh, that 23rd mile was a long ways! When I glanced down at my watch it showed that I had been running for 3 hours and 24 minutes, and I was like WHAT?! That meant I only had 21 more minutes to run 3.2 miles and there was NO WAY I was going to do that! That would have been a 7:30 pace which after running 20 miles at an 8:30 pace there was no way I could do that. I couldn’t believe it! I mean I hit each and every split RIGHT ON TIME! I was sooooo stinkin devastated. I just gave up.
It never occurred to me the mile markers might be off. And my Garmin was being used to give me my interval timing as I was using the Jeff Galloway method of running; 4 mile run, 30 second walk (which works by the way) so I wasn’t able to see how far I actually had run so I HAD to trust the mile markers.
I still didn’t know there was anything wrong, but since I was so devastated, I just ran and walked along until we came to the turn by Gonzaga and one of the folks at the last aid station said, ?You only have 1.5 more miles!? I stopped, turned around and said ?WHAT!?. They said “Yeah the mile markers are all messed up”. I glanced down at my watch again and it said I had 8 more minutes. 8 more minutes to run 1.5 miles. I was soooo stinking angry! Even though I was physically exhausted but even more I was mentally devastated I tried to turn that anger into energy and pushed with everything I had to try and run 1.2 miles in under 8 minutes?..HA! Let’s see, that would be a 6:40 pace. Well, long story short, I missed my time by 3 minutes and 8 seconds. 3 MINUTES AND 8 SECONDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When I crossed the finish line (which I have an issue with that, WHERE was the WORD FINISH??!!!!!) I stopped at the 1st place that had tape across the road thinking THAT was the finish line only to be prodded along by the announcer, “No, that’s not the finish, you have to keep running, come on now, let’s go!” (I’m not normally an angry man but if he would have been standing near me…..)
So I stumbled across the finish line that had no clock, that I could see, (I finally did see it after walking around and noticing it BEHIND the large speaker..DOH!) and as I passed by the volunteers handing out metals, I almost didn’t take one. I was sooooo stinking depressed. I couldn’t believe I had put all this energy into training and doing long miles, I mean LONG MILES! (Jeff?s program calls for doing a 30 miler so that the 26 doesn?t scare you at all.)
Well, I spent the weekend sort of in a slump and when they finally posted the results I saw where I had taken 2nd in my age group, so that help to take the sting away a little, but now after reading all these post the pain and anger seems to be coming back! (I?m grinning while I right these so, not really I guess).
I wrote an objective email to Bob and told him how much I loved the race and I REALLY want to see this marathon succeed, and by the way, where was ANY media coverage of the race before or even after? All I ever saw on the TV was Lilac Parade this, and Lilac Parade that! Come on! This marathon could be a jewel of a race for Spokane, why doesn?t the media want to promote it more? That even goes for Troika the half Ironman they do here in Spokane. That could be a premier race but you never hear ANYTHING on the news or in the paper about it.
I picked up the Sunday paper after the marathon and what was on the sports page? Some stupid softball game that happened in Coeur d?Alene for Pete?s sake! NOTHING about this gorgeous marathon right here in our home town.
Well I hope the best for this race and probably will do it again as I think it has the potential to be another Bloomsday like race. Well, that might be a stretch, but certainly it could grow to be much larger than it was IF they fix many of the issues.
Well, I feel better now getting that off my chest. Sorry to sound like a whiner. I was hoping to be a winner. ?
Here’s my race report from the Tiger Tri in Colville, WA.
Lodging: We had planned on camping but since we have a garden and we are watching another garden for our neighbors, we opted to stay in a Hotel for one night. Nothing too exciting about that.
Food: On the way up we realized that we would not make it in time to pick up the race packet at 7:00 PM so when we passed through Chewelah, we found a restaurant called “The Chalet” and man oh man is that a GREAT restaurant! Not cheap, but certainly worth it.
I probably should not eaten what I ate: Chicken Marsalis with a mushroom cream sauce, 3 large deep fried prawns, mash potatoes, veges, glass of Chateau St. Michelle cab, vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. But once we walked in and saw the kind of restaurant it was, I said, “What the heck…it’s only a race!” and had a WONDERFUL dinner! As we left we told the owner, “We’ll be back tomorrow!” …..and we were.
Race Morning: Two years ago I found a couple going up to the lake who had room for me and my bike so I tried to repeat that so my wife could sleep in more. I needed to be there around 6:00 so I could get my race packet and do the usually stuff. So I got up at 5:00, went to the continental breakfast, HA! Instant oatmeal…yuke!, and hoped I’d find another couple to hitch a ride with. Didn’t happen. So went back and woke my wife up and she got up and took me. So breakfast was one bowl of oatmeal, 1 banana, 1 cup of coffee and two bottles of water. Not my usual fair but since this was a shorten Olympic Tri I wasn’t too concerned.
Now normally I go through my stuff the night before, but by the time we got up to the hotel I figured what the heck, if I don’t have it, I don’t need it. So in the morning I took the same attitude. Just grabbed my gear bag, bike, nutrition and headed up. Turned out I forgot my front bottle but I had two bottles on the lower bar: one for water and one for Infinit and that worked fine.
Since we had kayaks on the back, they let us right into the starting area which they shouldn’t have. They thought we were volunteers. So it saved me a long walk from the drop off spot. Unloaded my gear, said good bye to my wife and walked over to the bike racks, then picked up my race packet.
My wife was planning on going over to the lodge which was on the other side of the lake (where the start used to be) and have breakfast and watch the start from there. BUT they didn’t open till 8:00 and she hadn’t eaten or had coffee, so she went back down to Colville.
Meanwhile, I got my race packet, body marked, and then setup my transition area. Once that was set I walked down to the lake to check out if anything had changed and sure enough, instead of going right out of the water and running on carpets to T1 we turned left, so that was worthwhile.
I put my feet in the water and it felt pretty good. They told us it was 74 which was bunk. It might have been 74 on the surface but once you got past the 1st few inches it dropped down to what I would guess was about 65, still not bad.
I was watching this kid staring at a spot in the water where all the athletes would run up and out of the water and I asked him what he was doing. He said there was a large rock in the way. And I said, let’s get it out. He said something about a fish attacking him every time he started to go out to it. I was like, “what?”. So he put his foot out and sure enough this little bluegill shoots out of nowhere and charges his foot! I’m like, “HA! A killer bluegill, cool!”. So I put my foot out but instead of pulling it back when the fish attacked I left it in. I figure how bad could it be? The doctor says I’ll never run again……..NO! Just kidding. The fish charged but then stopped inches from my feet. Just a bluffing I guess. So I walk over to the rock and tried to move it, but no way. I told the kid that they should just position a volunteer there so when the swimmers come up and out of the water they can guide them away from the rock. What a hoot!
Walked to the end of the dock and waved towards the lodge thinking that my wife would be sitting inside having her coffee and then turned and talked with a young couple. This was there 1st triathlon and they were nervous about the swim as they hadn’t done ANY swimming! (What are people thinking?? ) But, turns out they are athletes and have done hundreds of bike and run races, just nothing in regards to swimming. So they said they were going to just hang back and side stoke it in and I said that’ll work and wished them luck.
So finally the race is about to start, I took a practice swim and swam straight out about 50 yards and stopped, stood there bobbing in the water and looked around. This was a cool moment. I really felt different. Why? Well, to be honest, I think having done an Ironman has given me a lot more confidence. I know that sounds funny, but it’s true.
I was just bobbing up and down in the water, not nervous, just looking around taking in the beauty of the morning, the steam on the lake, the sound of all the other athletes talking and laughing and splashing around me, the folks in the kayaks, canoes and boats joking with each other as well as with some of the athletes…I was just so thankful to God that I am able to do this sport. What an amazing gift..health, finances, everything,…. I was overwhelmed with joy and appreciation towards God that he allows me to do these things.
I seeded myself in the middle of the swim group and as the countdown began I blew out a final relaxing breath and started at the sound of GO!
I must say that compared to the start of the last race I did 3 weeks ago, this was a piece of cake! There was a little bumping and pushing but it only lasted for a few seconds and poof I was in open water. It seemed to me that I found my rhythm quickly and settled in, although I did have to pull back a little as I had started out too fast at 1st. Which I think helped me get in front of some of the slower people. (Not that I’m fast by any means!) No one swam over me and I ran into a few people but probably 150 meters out I had open water and even going around the 1st buoy it was open. Cool!
So nothing to report. I had a good rhythm, was sighting well (that was part of the rhythm: 1, 2, breathe on the right, 1, 2, breathe on the left, 1, look up and sight, 2, breathe). As long as I did that I seemed to stay right on course. After the 2nd turn and heading into the finish I started thinking about the transition and forgot about sighting. Sure enough when I did finally sight I was off, not a ton, but more than I had been. So I have to learn to not get distracted during the final leg of the swim as I did the same thing at IM.
Again, just as Coach Scott told us, keep swimming until your hand touches the ground then get up and run. That’s exactly what I did. As I was running up the ramp someone passed me on the left and I heard someone say, “Go Haley!”. “Haley? Haley Cooper?” Sure enough there was Haley passing me on the left! “WOW!”, I thought, “I got out of the water BEFORE Haley Cooper, NO WAY! WOW!!!!!! I’m sooo impressed!!!”. I finally controlled myself and realized that I had a 5 minute head start over Haley and ALL the women, so my 18:31 minute swim was actually Haley’s 13:30 swim…oh well, for a moment I was a stud…at least in my head. (BTW: Haley took 1st in the women’s overall and is ranked #1 in the NW)
Got to my bike, did a so so transition (26 seconds faster than last year) and took off. My heart rate was pretty elevated so I tried to get it under control as soon as possible. It’s sort of tough to do though when everyone’s passing you like crazy. I saw one 51 year old pass me and I was a little concerned so even though I was trying to go steady and recover a little I also didn’t want to lose sight of this guy. But, he had HUGE legs and I knew I wasn’t going to keep up with him. My hope was that I’d catch him on the run. (He finished his bike in 56:28, OUCH! to my 1:06:53, UGH. BUT his run was 49 and mine was 40, still he beat me by 1:34….errr, NEXT YEAR!) BTW: He had the strangest bike stoke I’d ever seen. It looked to me like he was sitting too low on his seat as his knees stuck out past his pedals but yet you could see he was amazingly powerful and would just crank up the hills. Wow!
I was tooling along pretty good and taking nutrition and water and I got to thinking about the race director Debbie. During the mandatory meeting they do and say all the usual things and we’ve all heard it a million times, but normally near the end they say things that kind of get you going, and usually you respond with a big hoot and holler and clapping and grunting like crazy…well at least the guys grunt. So when Debbie finished there wasn’t a lot of noise so of course I yelled and hooted and hollered and tons of grunting and finally folks joined in.
So I was thinking about what I would say to help get people motivated if I was the race director. And as I was composing my speech I happen to look up and the next thing I knew I was off the road and onto the shoulder and in the dirt! WOH!!! WOH!!!! HELP!!!!!!!!! I’m screaming along and all of a sudden I’m wobbling all over the sand and trying to stay upright, and still peddling and the dirt is spraying all around me and I can hear rocks tinkling off my bike and I’m like, “Oh shoot! (yes, I said shoot!) Help me Jesus, HELP!” and I knew I was going to go down and it was going to hurt so I tried to unclip my left foot and when I did my arms must have followed my twist and the next thing I knew I twisted hard in the sand to my left and onto the asphalt in a hard U turn! OH MY GOSH! Now I was heading in the opposite direction heading right towards two other riders! There was enough room that they were able to zoom by and they both yelled “Good Job! We thought you were going to crash for sure!”. “Me too!” I yelled! As soon as I could I did another ‘controlled’ U turn and headed back the direction I was supposed to be going thanking Jesus the whole time! I was SOOOO thankful there wasn’t a car passing at that moment. Lesson? “STAY FOCUSED!! No more day dreaming about motivational speeches!”
Nothing eventful happened after that. People passed me, I passed a couple. I did notice that one guy would pass me going up hills (both of them) and then I’d pass him going down. Guess I need to work on that a bit. Finally you come to the last hill and you can see the high school where the run starts off in the distance. I knew this was the last downhill so I gave it all I had and got up to 40 MPH and flew into the high school and T2.
As I was starting to brake I noticed I was going perhaps a little too fast and had to REALLY apply the brakes and just in time before I ran into a guy….with a 55 on his left leg! Durn! Another in my age group! So I threw my bike at the volunteer and grabbed my T2 bag from the other volunteer and sprinted over to the benches. (I may not have said thank you, but I dropped a lot of them before I got to T2 so I hope I’m close to even) I dumped the bag onto the ground and had one of the quickest T2’s I’ve ever had, :59 seconds! I tore out of there and glanced back and the old guy was still sitting there! (oh wait…old guy? Well you know what I mean)
I normally transition pretty well from the bike to the run, (That might be because I don’t work very hard on the bike!) so I tried to let my heart rate simmer down a little and did an 8:00 minute 1st mile. I thought that was okay and at the 1st aid station walked while I took a gel and two cups of water. I know if I do a short walk during the aid station my legs get a quick recovery, and my next mile will be quicker and that proved to be true with a 7:32 pace for the next mile, which is what I was hoping to do for all 5 miles.
I continued to stay around 7:30 and 7:45 and tried not to look over my shoulder too much as I didn’t want to let on that I was worried about being caught. I got to the same aid station at and was trying to decided if I should walk or not, but my legs were starting to feel the burn so I thought I should. So, two cups of water, one in the mouth the other on my head as I was starting to feel the heat and I wasn’t all that thirsty and there was only 1 mile left.
I didn’t look back, but tried to get back to the 7:30 pace but just wasn’t able to do it, so just tried to keep out of the oxygen debt mode and try and sail in without being caught. Finally the turn to go onto the track came up and as I turned right I did a quick look-see over my right shoulder….and he wasn’t there! WOOHOO!!!!! So I took it easy and let my breathe come back a little and as I turned into the home stretch on the track I still didn’t see him and crossed the finish line in 2:11:04.
BUT…I didn’t know what the time was since they didn’t have a clock. So I had to wait around for them to finally post the results. As they put up the 1st sheet, I scanned the page and looked for my name…nothing. The time stopped at 2:10:00. So I started looking for people in my age group and saw two, DANG! I thought what are the chances that someone else passed me? I was REALLY hoping that THIS year I wouldn’t finish fourth AGAIN!
I looked around and found Kevin from Team Blaze and she looked great and I think she knew she had taken 2nd in her age group! (GREAT JOB KEVIN!!!) I on the other hand, still didn’t know. I kept waiting and pacing and waiting and pacing and FINALLY they posted the 2nd page. I quickly scanned down and saw my time and was happy because I was hoping to beat my 2:15 from last year. Then I started to walk away and thought, wait a minute, did I get 3rd? Went back, scanned again, and low and behold, I DID!! I FINALLY MADE IT TO THE PODIUM! (Too bad they don’t actually HAVE a podium, but still!)
Whew, what a relief! This is my fourth time doing this Tri and I really enjoy it but had wanted to finally break out of the 4th place slot and you know…kind of have something to show for it. I would have to say that even though my preparation for this race was nil, I think the Ironman training carried me over. Once IM was over my wife and I traveled to Florida to visit my Dad and my training regime consisted of body surfing and donuts, so to have pulled this off really speaks to the miles and hours I put in getting ready for IM. Just think what I might be able to do if I actually TRAINED for this race! Maybe next year!
It was great to see Kevin out there and I know Tia also ran but I somehow missed her, (Sorry Tia!) I had a number of people yell positive stuff for “Team Blaze” when I went by and I wish I had thought about placing a sign out on the course like that ‘other’ team did, and in the future I will!
Well, sorry to be so long winded, hope some of this made sense.
Here are some pictures from my good friend Terry Jett during and after the Ironman. Gosh..I look so old!!!!!!!!
Well, 1st off I have to say, Congrats to all the Ironman finishers in Team Blaze, “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” Wow! Amazing!
2nd: I want to say I’m glad you’re okay Steve…whew..that was a close one.
3rd: To all the Team Blaze members, “YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!!”
I mean it! Ironman would not have been as the same without the incredible support of all the TB members and of course our amazing coaches! (Let’s hear it for Coach Scott & Tristan, WOOHOO!!!”)
Well where do I begin? Well at the beginning of course!
So, I was born in a ……oh, not that far back. Sorry, skip ahead to the germane stuff:
Basically my quest started 5.5 years ago, and I knew at some point I would be doing an Ironman, and I knew it would be CDA. So when Steve & I signed up last year it was all part of the plan but I had no idea how much work and fun it was going to be!
On Friday we did the race packet pickup, walked through the expo, twice, added our inspirational messages to the reader board (didn’t see any of them during the marathon…did anyone see any messages?), went to the Welcome dinner (YUM! That was some good food and great motivational stuff, don’t miss it!) and of course the mandatory meeting. (Less fun, but still a must do)
On Saturday we dropped off the bikes and did an actual walk through of all transitions: (Both Steve & I have a flare for the dramatic so we actually videotaped us running from point to point….Hollywood, look out!)
Before we actually started the walk/run video we had talked with Jay at one of the stores at the Expo and he was so generous with his time. I told him I was unclear on how all the transitions would work and he laid it out so clearly I felt like I had actually done them! Thanks JAY! YOU RAWK!
So, back to the video: We actually ran from the edge of the entry from the swim (if that makes sense) and ran over to where the wet suit strippers would be, dropped down on the ground, threw up my legs and pretended that someone was pulling off my wet suit.
Once that was completed we each ran to where we had placed our T1 bags earlier according to our bib numbers, and then ran over to the tent. (BTW: The video wasn’t really that helpful as it mostly contained a lot of jigglying and laughing!) We continued this for all the transitions and I have to say it really helped during the race. It was so clear I never worried where I had to go even though I was a space case.
(Wow, how long is this going to be? I haven’t even got to the race yet!!!)
So, after all that we headed back to Spokane and Steve dropped me off at my house and took off. My wife was working outside so I went over to her and she said, “So, did you see it? See what? The sign. The sign? (Thinking perhaps God had finally given me a sign) The one in the yard!”
I turned around and looked where she was pointing and there in our front yard was a sign saying, “Go Paul, you RAWK!” SOOOOO STINKING COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously! Just that morning as we were pulling away I looked back at my house and thought, “Hmm, if the kids were home they’d put up a sign. Maybe I’ll do something when I get back”. So I couldn’t believe it when Sandy told me someone named Al had come by and stuffed a sign in our lawn!! THANK YOU Al and TEAM BLAZE! Just another reason to love this team!
Saturday night was a challenge: Making sure everything was setup for the 10th time. Making sure my wife was going to be ready to roll at 3:30 the next morning. Making sure everything was setup for the 20th time….whew..what a night! But honestly, I did get about 5 hours of good sleep so I felt fortunate.
3:30 – Alarm goes off: Time for a quick wake up shower then downstairs for breakfast.
3:40 – Oatmeal, walnuts, raisins, & honey. Half a bagel. Lots of water.
4:00 – Personal Time
4:15 – Out the door and to CDA! WOOHOO!
5:00 – Arrived CDA, drop off bike, drop off special needs bags, load up bike with water and nutrition, look for Steve, go into changing tent, notice the “no smoking” sign….huh?, put on wet suit (forgot to apply gel around neck and am still paying for it as I type this..OUCH!), look around at all the other athletes and notice some are smiling and laughing, many are not. Sat there for a few minutes and looked around and thought about where I am and what I’m about to do. This is cool. I’M FINALLY HERE! Finally I meet up with Steve. STEVE!!! We’re DOING THIS! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!! WE’VE BEEN LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS FOR OVER A YEAR AND WE ARE FINALLY HERE! AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
6:30 – Get down to the water, and forget everything coach said about lining up to the left. We came down the steps and said, “hmmm, looks like a straight shot to the orange buoy from here, let’s just start here!” So we did!
SWIM: After the gun went off, just slowly walked out with the other crazy’s and looked over at Steve and next thing I knew we were in the water. I would swim a little then lift up my head, try and find some open water and then swim a little more. Saw Steve a few times but as we started catching up with the crowd I lost him. Wow..talk about bumping and pushing and shoving…Whew! That happened a LOT, so when in Rome…I didn’t do it out of anger but a few times I had to push people off or away from me as they started to run over the top of me. At one point my right hand found someone’s butt. I wanted to apologize but what can you do? Finally after about 300 meters it seemed like it thinned a bit as I had moved over to the left side of the buoys and finally had room to swim. Then as I approached the 1st turn, yikes! Where’d all the people come from. It was basically stop and go, and people really weren’t swimming, they were treading water with their heads up and swearing at people to get moving! Ah, the triathlon spirit in full display! HA! I had to laugh. We’re just like anyone else when we’re in a hurry! It was a little busy between the two turns and just had to bump and push until we turned the 1st corner. I looked at my watch and I think it showed 24 minutes. No idea if that was good or bad, but I just went back to work. For the most part I had open water till we came out of the water on the 1st lap. I remembered what Coach Scott had said about not stopping until your hands hit the ground and I did that. Popped up and immediately took a gel. Handed the empty packet to a volunteer as I didn’t want to get a fine. (Wow..I was actually clear headed..a first!) Headed out for 2nd lap and actually felt pretty good. Heart rate was low and my arms felt fresh. 2nd lap was pretty uneventful except on the stretch coming in I was thinking about what to do to get ready for the bike and I got out of my rhythm of right stroke breathe, left stroke breathe, quick right stoke and breathe then sight, and I wound up heading towards the resort. Finally a kayaker yelled at me and I got straighten up. Cruised in fairly straight the rest of the way and came out at 1:30:30 which was just where I had hoped. Not fast but I felt very fresh. Saw the Team Blaze group and then my wife, stopped and waved at both. Whew, I was VERY glad the swim was over. Although I knew I could do the distance I was very concerned with the start and all the pushing and shoving, and of course now that it’s a distance memory it really wasn’t too bad, but I did get kicked in the face and had my goggles knocked around, but very little water leaked in. Not bad, not bad.
T1: I ran over to the swim suit strippers and there was JAN! Woohoo! Said hello, and next thing I knew my wet suit was off and they had helped me up and I was off to gather my T1 bag. Doing the walk through really helped as I knew exactly what I was going and where I was going. I had even made my bag more visible by making sure the towel stuck up outside the bad so I could see it as I ran by. Inside the changing tent I was excited but stayed focused and even joked around with a few people. I took my time and made sure everything was done properly: Feet dried; glide applied and all things in their place. Both Steve & I decided the day before to not put on our shoes, but to carry them to our bikes so we wouldn’t have to run with them across the basketball court and the grass / dirt. So I carried my shoes, my helmet with my gloves and glasses inside, and then my bag with the two bottles of gel. (I should have loaded them on my bike but I had mistakenly put them in the T1 bag…DUH!) On the way out of the tent I stopped to get sun screen put on and it was awkward while holding all that stuff! Ran over to my bike, dropped on the ground, put on my socks, shoes, helmet, glasses, …..uh oh…where’s my gel? WHERE’S MY GEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dang it! Ran all the way back to the sun screen appliers, “ANYONE SEEN MY TWO GEL BOTTLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Here here! Someone had found them and put them in my morning clothes bag…whew! THAT would have been a VERY big mistake! Ran across the basketball court with my shoes a 2nd time (Jeepers what a dork!) and FINALLY grabbed my bike and started running to the start line. Even though I had to run back and forth I was really focusing on keeping my heart rate down and not letting the excitement get me too crazy. I took my time hoping onto the bike and when I started off my bike was in the low gear just like Coach and told us so I was peddling very easy. Waved at all the Team Blaze folks as I headed out to Higgins point.
As I was heading out there I was paying very close to my heart rate and I was careful to not let it get too high. I was relaxed, thanking all the police and volunteers as I went by and being very careful to make sure the pressure on the bottoms of my feet were very light and I keep repeating as I went along, “go easy, go easy, the 1st lap HAS TO BE EASY!”. So that’s what I focused on and then next thing I knew Higgins point was in view and I was heading back towards town.
Somewhere on that return loops I saw Steve and he wasn’t too far behind! “Yoh Steve-o, looking good! WOOHOO!” Alright, won’t be long before he passes me, I thought. So I just kept my head down, and was listening to my heart rate, and kept saying, “go easy go easy”. I was drinking my Infinit, and water on a regular basis. Taking salt tabs about every hour, things were feeling good, and the hills came and went with no problem. No problem meaning, I took them easy. I have a 3rd chain ring and I used it on the step places and made sure my heart rate was nice and low and steady. No busting up hills for me! But, doing downhill’s, WooHoo! Look out! HERE I COME! I have an 11/30 cluster on the back and on those downhill’s I just flew! I didn’t even have to push hard; it just was a steady push.
On the Ohio Match turnaround, on the way back I saw Steve again and he was looking great! I thought for sure he would be passing me before we got back to CDA. (Little did I know).
So got through town waved again to the Team Blaze group and headed out to the Higgins turnaround and my special needs bag. I noticed when I stopped my stomach was a little funny but didn’t think too much of it. My special needs bag contained chicken broth (unopened in a can), a PBJ sandwich, my 2nd Infinit bottle with no water, so I had to fill it there. I even packed my own water. (Didn’t know if leaving it in the bottle in the sun was a good idea so I mixed it fresh there.) Saw a good friend of mine from my last job, so I yelled over at Allan and he came by and held my bike while I did all the switching around. He was pretty excited about being there as he was planning on signing up the next day for his 1st IM! WOOHOO! Once I had everything together off I went.
I was sort of expecting that Steve would have caught up with me by now so when I didn’t see him at Higgins I started worrying about him. I was afraid he’d had a flat. (He had TWO last year in Troika) I was like, “Okay, if he had ANOTHER flat then it’s time for a new RIM!) I pushed on to the 1st aid station past Higgins and stopped to use the potty. Since I never saw him again I figured I must have missed him while I was using the facilities.
As I was coming into town after the 1st lap and I did that little stub before you can actually finish, I heard a commotion behind me as I headed out towards the turn around. Next thing I know I’m passed like I was standing still by the top 5 or 6 pro’s! OH MY GOSH! I WAS RIDING WITH THE PRO’S!!! Well, for a second anyway! Man those guys are fast! So fast they were finishing their 2nd lap while I was just starting my 2nd!
The 2nd lap was pretty much the same as the 1st. There are places on the route in the hills where I knew the course so well that I would fly down the hill, know there was a sharp corner coming followed by a small hill so I would position myself on the outside, sweep down low during the turn and come flying out of the turn and up the hill, push just a little on the short hill and then a pretty hard left onto a downhill and I was flying! That hill/corner and one more on Lancaster were the only two places where I really pushed because I had practiced it so many times I knew it by heart and I knew I would pass a LOT of people and I did! OH YEAH BABY!!!
So coming back into town I’m really starting to worry about Steve. I know he should have passed me by now even if he did have a flat. Each time I saw a Team Blaze member I would asked if they had seen him and they’d say no. Hmmm, something’s wrong here. I even had a thought that perhaps he had been in an accident but I dismissed it. NO WAY! I just kept praying for him.
RUN: Got off the bike and ran over to pick up my T2 bag and I knew something was wrong with my stomach. I felt like everything was sitting on top of my stomach and not getting into the belly. I noticed it on the bike and stopped drinking so much Infinit and started drinking only water, but I was just getting more and more bloated. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I knew I had taken the bike easy as my average speed was just over 15 which is just what I practiced. When I got to the changing tent I sat down and tried to figure out what to do. One of the volunteers brought over a cold wet towel and I used that on my face and head and man oh man did that feel good. Just like Coach said it would!
Next thing I knew someone was kneeling down in front of me asking how I was feeling. IT WAS MASON! WOH! SO COOL! He gently asked me how I was doing, so I told him. So he told me to relax, take some deep breathes and start the run very slowly. It was so good to see him there. He was like a ministering angel. Thanks man, your calm spirit really helped me relax!
So I headed out for the run and my legs felt great but my stomach felt terrible! It was like trying to run with an 8 or 10 pound water bladder sitting on top of my stomach! Every step I took was painful and I wanted to throw up. I did eventually stick my fingers down my throat a couple of times and all I got was the dry heaves. One athlete saw me do that and told me if the race officials see me throw up they’ll follow me and if I do it again they might take me off the course, so I started doing that only in the bathrooms.
So, needless to say my run stunk. I was so disheartened. I had planned on being able to do a 4:30 marathon or 5 at the slowest and here I was walking and running and walking and running and all I wanted to do WAS RUN!!!!!! But each time I would run my stomach would say, “no you don’t!”
Finally my wife came by with ginger ale, saltines and peppermint mints but I told her I could not take them or I’d be disqualified. So she biked ahead and gave the bottle of ale to an aid station worker and he handed a glass of it to me as I came by. Then I noticed saltines and mints on top of the fence post by the lake after the 13.1 mile turn around so I started eating those and sucking on the mints. I think they helped a little as I was able to run a little bit more. A big thank you to my wife for doing that!
So, by this time I know I’m going to make it but I was still worried about Steve as it appeared something happened. I kept asking my wife and finally she told me he didn’t make the cut off on the bike. I’m like, “What? Didn’t make the cut off? NO WAY!” She’s not much of a liar so she would just shrug her shoulders and would ride off.
So I decided I needed to let go of worrying about Steve, forget about messing up the run, and try and enjoy the last mile of the marathon.
I ran past a bunch of Team Blaze people in the dark and somehow Bill noticed it was me, and ran next to me and told me congratulations on finishing. I thanked him for waiting there forever for me, and was sorry I had taken so long. I was struggling with my feelings. On one hand I had executed my swim and bike exactly like I had planned. But something went wrong, and my run….well, to be frank, sucked. So I was struggling with my attitude. I had been thankful the entire race. I made sure I smiled, relaxed, had a ball, and thanked all the volunteers and my friends that I saw. I reached out to other athletes who were struggling on the run too; I’d put my hand on their backs and give them an encouraging word, so really I was having a good time, staying positive, but here I was less than a mile from the finish and I was feeling down. Like I had let down…well to be honest…I felt like I had let down Coach and Team Blaze by doing something wrong and it had affected my run, and now I’m just another typical first time Ironman doing all the rookie mistakes! BUT WHAT WAS MY MISTAKE? At 1st I thought perhaps I had gone out too hard on the bike, but the more I thought about it the more I thought no, I didn’t, I kept checking in with myself and making sure my heart rate was low and my effort was easy. There’s wasn’t one time where I went, “Oops..pushed too hard there”. No, I was SURE I had done the bike right. So what happened?
I finally told myself to let it go. The finish was coming up. I needed to be happy and thankful that I was going to finish my 1st Ironman. I could hear the announcer as I turned the corner onto the finish. Okay…this is it. I’ve been building for this for 5 years and training for it for the last 6 months. Steve and I had logged so many miles together we could finish each other’s sentences. Dang…where’s Steve-0? Focus…this is your moment…enjoy it. Whew…wish my Mom could see this. She watched all my baseball games….was there at each one….Wish Dad could have made it, but, I’ll see him in a few days…focus…this has been a long long journey. Did I have fun? Oh yeah…a BLAST! All those early morning runs with Steve..20, 25, 30 milers. 90 miles of Hayden hills, wow…those hurt….man I am sooooo glad this is going to be over shortly! Wow! Can’t believe it! I MADE IT, I MADE IT! DANG! Hey, there’s My WIFE! HEY SANDY! I THINK I’m going to MAKE IT!!! WOOHOO!!! TERRY! MARGO! Wow! Where did you guys come from! FLASH! “Ouch! My eyes!” Terry’s taking a LOT of pictures! FLASH FLASH FLASH! “Thanks guys! Thanks soooo much for waiting for me! Sorry I took so long!!! LOVE YOU HUN!! LOVE YOU TERRY!! See you in a bit!!”
There it is…the finish line. Wow…man…look at all those people! MAN, that is one bright light! Okay, listen for it, listen now, “Paul Mooter from Spokane, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!!!!!!!” “YES! YES! I AM! I’M AN IRONMAN!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I DID IT! I FINALLY DID AN IRONMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Finish Shoot: When I crossed the finish line Jay was there to catch me and that’s exactly what he did! He gave me a great big bear hug from a great big bear! It was so cool! Thanks man! Even Mason was there! Can this get any better? Wow! Thanks so much Jay & Mason for getting me all set for the camera!!
Epilog: At the end, Steve finally found me and told me the story. I couldn’t believe it! I hugged him, then pulled away and looked down, and there both his ankles were wrapped and swollen and here he was, 10:30 at night waiting for his bud to FINALLY finish. He said he kept ducking out of sight each time I would come through on the bike or the run as he didn’t want me to know or worry about what had happened to him. What a guy. Got hit by a car 40 miles into his 1st lap on the bike and he waited the entire day with this family (thanks Brenda, and kids!) for me to finish. No finer training partner could one have than Steve Warrington. In my book Steve, YOU are an IRONMAN!
As I write this, I’m sitting in my Dad’s living room in Melbourne, Florida listening to fire crackers going off outside. Yeah, it’s the 4th of July and I’m a little late in getting this race report out.
On the flight out here to Florida, the plane was so full that I wasn’t able to sit by my wife but instead picked a spot between two guys across the aisle and one row behind my wife. As I sat down I noticed they had a blue wrist strap that said IRONMAN. I had a great flight!
PS: So what happened on the run? I’m almost 100% sure that I mixed my Infinit drink too strong. I had been using it in practice but the 2nd time I practiced with it I mixed it strong but we didn’t complete the full 112 mile practice ride so I didn’t find out if my stomach could handle it. So the night before the race when I mixed it I thought well, I’ve used 7 scoops in a 24 oz bottle but I have to have enough to last for 65 miles (to Higgins point) so I used 9.5 scoops. I had also upped the protein on my last two orders so I think that might have affected me as well. I think because the mix was so strong my stomach just shut down. It couldn’t handle the strong mix. And even when I thought it might be the Infinit and I switched to just water, it was too late. The stomach had already shut down and I noticed I wasn’t passing water very much when I stopped for bathroom breaks. To further confirm this, I noticed after the race when I was supposed to be sleeping, every 45 minutes I was up and peeing like a race horse! Rookie.