Half Crazy?

I did it! 70.3 miles in 6:06:10. I was shooting for sub-6 hours, but given the heat during the run I am more than happy with that time.

This event was hard, but I got such a kick out of it. The run was probably the most brutal run I have ever completed. I have done some long, hot hilly runs. But this one seemed particularly hard. Half was uphill, half was downhill, and all was in full sunlight. I have never been that uncomfortable, but in the same breath, it has been a long time since I have had the mental strength to say – I’ve got this.

There were many experiences through the race that made me reach back to things I have learned along the way, whether directly through training or from previous endeavors, but all helped me deal with some of the madness I found out there.

The morning greeted me with an amazing sunrise. All athletes took shuttles from the center of town out to the race start. I was listening to music on the ride, thinking about all the work that has led to this event and wondering if I was going to be able to pull it off. Actually be able to justify all of the time I have taken from being with family and friends. I was nervous if I could actually do it.

The first was the swim. If you have never done an open water swim, it can get pretty spooky. Murky water, knowing it is deep, lots of people churning around you. It is amazing the way your mind can take over and makes a controlled event seem really sketchy. I was about .1 miles into the swim when my mind started questioning what I was doing. Thinking I couldn’t breath and I had SO FAR to go. I immediately started  questioning this endeavor. A close friend’s lesson popped into my head – a story around deep water and thinking too much about something (Thank You Jerry!). Right around this time, I saw someone swim over to one of the safety boats and pull the plug on their swim and end their attempt. I kept thinking about his story and honestly laughed while swimming and quickly got my head refocused on the task at hand. I finished the swim in 46 minutes, getting out of the water feeling elated. Now I could get onto my strong events.

Organized chaos

I have been a cyclist my whole life, and I couldn’t wait to get on the bike. There aren’t many places I feel more comfortable in than on a bike seat, and yesterday was no different. I went in with the mindset of not having to mash on the pedals all the time, just stay consistent. My comfort also let me switch my head off and just move.

This bike likes to go fast…

The heat started to increase and I knew I had to stay on top of my eating and drinking or else I would never finish this thing. There were aid stations every 14 miles and I took full advantage of them. The volunteers were so awesome. The one I stopped at (not just rolled through grabbing what they had to offer), a woman ran up to me and asked me what I needed and made sure I was taken care of. I was in and out of there in less than a minute with full bottles. I found myself doing well where others were struggling and made up time on people when going uphill. They may have passed me on the downhills,  but I would pass them on the next climb and would give me distance on them.

The other thing about the ride that was entertaining were the signs people had along the course to cheer us on. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Covfefe Faster!
  • It is called an IronMan because it is hard. If it were easy, it would be called your Mom

Leading up to the run, I was not too concerned about it. In hind sight, I should have been. It was brutal! The course consisted of two six mile loops, three miles uphill and three miles down with very limited shade in 90+ degree temperatures. That run beat the shit out of me. I drank as much liquid as I could, but did not feel like I could get anymore in me without getting sick. It was a weird balance I was trying to do…

The Town of Raleigh came out in full force and rooted every runner on. A few of the businesses set up their own cheering sections and it definitely made it easier to push on when I was feeling low. I have to admit that having your name on your race number is nice. Having people call out your name and root you on is a very empowering thing when you don’t want to continue. The finish for the IronMan is another amazing event I find difficult to explain. The cheering noise and the announcer really got my adrenaline pumping. I felt like I had nothing left in my tank, but when hearing the muffled announcements and the growing sound of the crowd I got a surge of energy to push me through the finish.

In all it was an amazing experience and I cannot wait for Lake Placid in seven weeks!

A week vacation

About a month away from the Marine Corps Marathon and I am taking a bit of a break. Might not be the best thing for training, but my body is thanking me with ankles that aren’t screaming and a belly full of cheese and swirly meat. I’ll just have to make up for it when I get back but it is totally with it!
It has been a bitter sweet week here. We got to spend an evening  with our friends and their two wonderful kids. It was the first time we had met their daughters and they warmed up to us pretty quickly. I learned all about the Gruffalo and how tough mice really are. Sandra’s health is good and her levels have stabilized and is doing everything she possibly can.

I also learned that a friend of mine from high school passed away. We weren’t close friends, but hung out with the same group of friends. More recently, I’d run into him at his music studio in the town we used to live in our grabbing a beer at the hotel.

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

Brendan Leonard

This was not the case with Terry he lived his life for music and followed his love and had an impact on so many. For me, his death puts things into perspective. There are so many things I want to do and I am lucky enough to have a wife and job that gives me the opportunity to try and achieve them. I once heard a quote that was something like:

How many times have you said that you’ll start tomorrow and look back a year later wishing you started yesterday?

Alright, enough of that…

I love to run in foreign cities and seeing the place without crowds, London was no disappointment. While running along the Thames the other day there were a bunch of sirens followed by the sound of two motorcycles twisting their throttles as hard as possible. Next came the distinctive sound of a turbo spinning up, that high pitched whine of a really fast car.

Turns out they were closing the road down to film a Porsche commercial. Thinking about that really pushed me through the last bit of my run. That driver is so good at what he does, they are willing to shut down a major thoroughfare in the center of London to drive his car as fast as he can. The only way to get to do that is with a shit ton of work. And he put it in!

I am feeling kind of preachy as I go back through reading this, but we really can do whatever we want if we put in the work. So for the remainder of this week, I am going to put in the work of filling my belly with cheese and swirly meats (and a few runs here and there) while always remembering  whose got that attitude.