Things you say to yourself during an IRONMAN®
My husband finished it in its first year – 2007. My training buddy finished it twice in 2011 and 2012. Now it was my turn.
There are so many things you can write about this kind of physical endurance event, but those can be hard. And folks keep asking me why I haven’t written anything yet. Frankly, it’s because I am still processing the experience in various ways. I’m sure a chronicle of the day will come, as well as something about the mess of feelings you go through after completing something like that. But in the meantime, let’s instead focus on the funny. Looking back at the various thoughts that went through my head that day, well, they make me chuckle.
So, let’s take them in order, shall we?
The Swim (2.4 miles)
Jumping off the dock: Whoa, I’m swimming now. This is really happening.
In the water: Oh, I really hope that water I swallowed doesn’t have cyanobacteria in it.
Still in the water: So, this is the Ohio River. I can’t see my hands. I can’t see anything past my elbow.
Yep, more water: [Thump thump, thump thump.] Someone is getting ready to kick me.
After rounding the buoy to head downstream: [After the umpteenth time being T-boned by someone not sighting the buoys.] Seriously people, sight a buoy once in a while.
Still more water: Where in the @#$%@# is the next buoy? And this #$&#* current that’s supposed to be so great?
The water continues: Ooooo, cool, bridge. And there are cars on it.
More water: Whoa, that buoy rope nearly knocked my arm off. So THERE IS a current.
Yet more water: THAT. THAT. Is. the. Swim. EXIT.
The water is never ending: Oh, yes, this is a river. That nice current. Hmmm, swim TOWARD the EXIT, swim TOWARD the EXIT. Do NOT go past the EXIT. That would be bad.
At the exit: Yes nice volunteer, you can totally help me out of the Ohio River. Please.
T1: Don’t go into the men’s changing tent, don’t go into the men’s changing tent . . .
T1: OK, people are totally getting naked in here.
T1: Wow, this saint of a volunteer is going to touch my cyanobacteria-coated body and help me put on my arm sleeves and everything.
T1: Wow, the people working in this tent have to be like the nicest people ever.
The Bike (112 miles)
Mile 1: Hmmm, my sock is bunched up. Should I stop and fix it? Nah.
Mile 10: Seriously, they better not cite any of us for drafting, there is no way not to draft.
Mile 11: This course is packed.
Mile 20 something: Wow, I’m apparently not a bad climber.
Mile 20 something: Wow, lots of people really don’t know how to climb.
Mile 30 something: Hmmm, a banana sounds good [trying to eat banana whilst balancing on aero bars and watching last bit of banana pop out of the peel and drop on the road] . . . oh no, I lost the end of my banana.
Mile 50 something: I love my bike! So fast . . .
Mile 60 something: I wish my bike would stop spitting Gatorade out at me. So. Sticky.
Mile 70 something: Putting potato chips in my special needs bag was brilliant.
Mile 80 something: Only 30 miles to go!
Mile 81: There are 30 miles to go.
Mile 91: That’s the furthest I have been on a bike!
Mile 92: This is too long to be on a bike.
Mile 100: This is really too long to be on a bike.
Mile 105: Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to bike this long?
Mile 107: Was it too much to ask for them *ouch* to pave *ouch* these potholes?
Mile 109: I am so ready to be off of this bike.
Mile 110: I’m almost DONE. I’m right on my targeted bike time!
Mile 111: Wait, wait a minute. I am not almost done – I have to do a marathon now? This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.
Mile 112: MY FRIENDS ARE HERE! AND THEY HAVE SIGNS! I LOVE THEM!
Bike finish: Ms. Volunteer, can you have my bike? Why yes, you may have my bike. Please take my bike. I never want to see my bike again. Ever.
T2: Don’t go into the wrong changing tent, don’t go into the wrong changing tent . . .
T2: People are getting naked in here.
T2: Thank goodness, I finally get to fix my bunched up sock.
T2: Wow, seriously, the people working in this tent have to be like the nicest people ever.
T2: So glad I put potato chips in my transition bag. Anyone have any dip?
T2: Why is everyone in such a hurry?
T2: I have enough time to walk the marathon.
The Run (Marathon, 26.2 miles)
Mile .2: My training buddy was right. I brought too much food. It’s bouncing all over the place in my pockets.
Mile .5: I don’t want to eat ANY of this food I brought with me.
Mile .6: When I make it to the first water stop, I’ll start running.
Mile .7: If I walk this whole marathon, all the people who came to watch me will be here, for like, ever. Start running. Now.
Mile 1.5: Should I try the chicken broth?
Mile 1.7: Chicken broth is the nectar of the gods!
Mile 2: Just make it to the next water stop.
Mile 5.5: What’s wrong with my stomach? Do I need to go to the bathroom?
Mile 5.5: Nope, didn’t need to go to the bathroom.
Mile 7: I have the best friends and family ever! Unicorns! Unicorns!
Mile 7.5: How do I feel? I feel, well, blobby. I’m not sure what that means, but I feel blobby.
Mile 8: My husband told me to drink the Coca Cola.
Mile 9.5: Ok, I’ll try the Coca Cola.
Mile 9.7: Coca Cola is the nectar of the gods!
Mile 13: I have the best family and the best friends ever!
Mile 15: Chicken broth is the nectar of the gods!
Mile 16: [Emotional response from thinking about lost friend whose memory drives me, start crying.] Too soon. Focus. Just focus.
Mile 18: Hmmmm, not so sure I’ll be ready to run my legs during the Bourbon Chase [a 200 mile relay race] next weekend . . .
Mile 19: Why. Won’t. The. Sport. Beans. Come. Out. Of. The. Package.
Mile 19+: Why do I feel really warm on the front of my tri suit? Oh. no. I’m spilling chicken broth down the front of my tri suit . . . now I smell like chicken (and river, and cyanobacteria, and sweat, and snot, and whatever else).
Mile 21: Every. Single. Fiber. Of. My. Body. Hurts.
Mile 22: Whoa, that feeling in my head is weird.
Mile 23: I can’t believe this entire day is coming down to a 5K.
Mile 24: You cannot train for how you will feel during a run like this.
Mile 26: The last corner is ahead, I’ve escorted so many pros around that corner, now it’s my turn. My turn. [Sobbing ensues.]
Mile 26.1: Don’t forget to stop and look at the finish chute.
Mile 26.18: [Pausing] The finish chute is awesome! Wait, let this guy go by so I have my own space in the finish chute.
Mile 26.2: [“MB, you are, an IRONMAN!”] Those are some of the sweetest words I’ve ever heard.
What are you thoughts during an IRONMAN®???