|Clothes Optional at Ironman CDA|
The run was two loops...so you got to experience it once and dread it once like the swim and the bike. The route wound through local neighborhoods and the town was going crazy! There were parties and people just hanging out outside their homes, and there were volunteer areas about every mile. The race directors also put a substantial uphill and downhill right before the six-mile turnaround...so you got to do that twice as well. Assholes.
I was SHOCKED how great I felt the first 13.1 miles...but that all started to fade the last few hours. My spirits were still good, but the body was...slowing...down. The road felt like molasses, my body no longer gliding...but more trudging. I KNEW I was going to finish at about hour 12...but that's of little consolation when there are still over two hours to go.
A couple of things I tried that I had never done before were sampling the coke(a cola) and warm chicken broth they had on the course. I know...I know...I KNOW you are never, ever, EVER supposed to do anything new on race day...but I was so sick of my food and I just wanted some variation. The last time I tried going off my plan, I projectile vomited strawberry Gu about ten feet...so I was a little apprehensive about straying from my nutrition plan, but I am SO glad I did. The sweetness of the coke (advertised to be flat...but totally NOT flat) and the warm saltiness of the chicken broth definitely broke up the monotony of taste in my mouth (insert Darron joke here).
I also made it my personal charge to say something odd to every volunteer I got food from...like:
- Might I try some of that mystical broth I've heard epic tales about?
- Ahhhhh, more broth, please! The giver of life!
- I don't want your crap sports drink...just coke please (said sarcastically).
The thing I didn't like is that they all responded to me as "De Soto," which was the name of the local SD brand of tri clothes I was wearing. Good for De Soto's marketing department. Fucking annoying to me:
- You're funny, De Soto.
- More broth for De Soto!
- De Soto, put your wang away.
I can tell you, it got old! I also had a bib...with my name on it...just inches, INCHES beneath the De Soto branding. You never know what will annoy you 13 hours into exercising...this annoyed the piss out of me.
It's hard to describe the feeling of the last mile of Ironman Coeur d'Alene. I couldn't believe it. I had done it...or was about to do it. And I found myself thinking things like Damn, I would have to literally die now not to finish. Just die. Not slowly die...but die instantly. I don't know if those are positive or negative thoughts...but I found it comforting that those were my two choices at that time...death or finishing seemed like all I had left to give!
(spoiler alert...I didn't die)
The last few blocks of the race were lined with people...and, in the distance, you could hear Mike Reilly (the "voice" of Ironman) crowning people with Blah-blah-blah YOU R A blah-blah-blah. But as the last mile became 1/2 a mile and a 1/2 mile became a 1/4...the closer I got, I could make out the names...and I could make out his call. So-and-so YOU are an Ironman, and the bright lights...and the stands...and the people...the cheering...and the clapping...and the yelling...and I couldn't believe it. I had done it. This thing. This moment...a moment created years ago in my mind of something to do. Something to conquer. Something to define me...but it didn't do this. It wasn't this day that really did anything.
Ironman brands itself with the motto "Anything is Possible." I usually don't go in for any of that hokey BS...but of all the things I felt...I think that is what stuck out the most. Anything is possible with enough time, practice, desire, and perseverance. Well...I might never make it as a power forward on the Lakers....so maybe "Anything (within reason) is Possible."
Don't get me wrong. There were numerous times along this journey that I questioned myself. Why? Why bother? Why keep going? It is so much easier to stop training. Stop running. And swimming. I HATE SWIMMING.
And I think one of the (many) points of doing something like this is about what you find along the way. It isn't about what's easier...I think it's about moving forward. One step at a time. And sometimes those steps are backwards (weird). Sometimes painful. Sometimes filled with failure. Sometimes steps that are out of your control.
No...none of it has to do with easy.
It has to do with what you believe you can do if you will just let yourself.
Life is all about Vaseline (you heard it here first).