So, what I didn't tell you in the last installment, and haven't really talked about enough, concerns the people of Iron Team. I may have mentioned in the last installment that the folk who own the compound up at Clear Lake are TNT alums from a while back who have chosen this way to show their commitment to the cause. But, I've probably not talked nearly enough about everyone else.
On the team there are the Coaches, Mentors and Captains. These people are working out with us and providing support-- they get volunteers to come out to the course; they mark the courses; they spend countless hours away from their families; they listen to us complain ("do I need to call the WAHmbulance?"); they make sure we have food and beverages out there and basically the team wouldn't be able to function without them.
There are our Honorees. These folks are living with blood cancer. They train with us; they staff water stations; they tell us about their struggles with the disease. Basically, they give us the inspiration to keep going when we want to stop.
There are the volunteers that come out for the heck of it to drive SAG on the bike course; to man water stations, to throw those water balloons down out back (see the last entry), to keep out spirits up and help us change our tires in an emergency.
Then there are our teammates. Given my family situation, I don't ever feel like I get to know all my teammates. However, the ones I've had the pleasure of getting to know well this season have been amazing. I just couldn't ask for more. BK who jumped behind the wheel of the Tahoe (he drives one as his primary vehicle) to back it down the 60 yard driveway; Shep-- who I've ridden with in the past (and now I think is too fast for me to keep up with) Iron Mel, M-dot Afan, these people struggle with me and keep me smiling and laughing when the pre, during, and post workout Turrets sets in.
Back to the weekend. After the 2 mile swim and 100 mile bike ride it was time for a BBQ. Dinner and stories about survivors and connections to the cause completed, it was time for BED. And I mean BED. We were pooped. That being said, there was still time for some laughs with my hotel mates Margaret and Mel. (think-- who would be on your "list"? And what does it say about us that we could come up with a woman on the list before we could come up with a man?) To bed we went.
At 2am the phone rang-- it was John. Will's ear was hurting and he needed advice. Advice given, I tried to get back to sleep. Tried being the operative word. About 2 hours later-- I was asleep.
The lack of sleep, however, was the least of my problems. 9 hours of Carbo-Pro followed by a turkey burger washed down with regular Coke was my problem. To say I was having trouble, eh hum, getting things moving, was an understatement. I just couldn't get my system going. That and I was tired. Dog tired. But not sore.
We woke up at 5 and packed up our room to head back to the compound for our 16 mile or 3 hour which ever comes first run. Reaching the compound (and parking in a spot it would be easy to get out of), it was time to run before I was ready. Off we went at 7am. It was already getting HOT out there. Now, I'm a girl who LOVES hot. That being said, after 2 years living in freezing cold Mill Valley, HOT was a surprise-- a not all together unwelcome surprise, but it definitely made it hard to get moving.
I started out the run feeling pretty strong. Simon, our run coach, had asked us to go out slow, super slow, at our IM marathon pace. So I was supposed to run the first 1 1/2 hours at 11:39 pace. I was also supposed to take walk breaks. Needless to say, I couldn't do it. While I was able to take the walk breaks, I wasn't able to hold the slow pace. I found myself drifting upwards towards 9:30 or 10:00 minute pace. But On I Went.
Passing the second water stop, I again wished I'd been able to use the potty. I started cramping in my belly. But On I Went. I think I started slowing down but it was hard to tell since Garmin (the one I wear on my wrist) went dead--effectively leaving me without a pacer and without a chime to tell me when to take my walk breaks.
I saw Coach Simon at the top of the hill-- he commented that we were about an hour and 10 minutes into the run and I should hit the water stop "about a 1/4 mile down the hill and turn around." Well, I have to tell you, Coach Simon LIES. That water stop was about 2 miles from where he was standing. I kept going, and going, and going, always saying that I'd stop when I hit that damn water stop but it never showed up. At this point I was crampy and THIRSTY so I knew I had to find it before I could turn around and head up the hill back towards home.
When I was finally approaching the water stop, I saw that our coaches had moved the motivational signs: they were now down there at the bottom of the hill leading into the water stop. I must admit, however, that this water stop was 1/4 mile away from the turn around spot on the course. . . and, despite Coach Sedonia's parents telling me that they'd let me continue on to the actual turn around, I turned around at that water stop. I just wasn't feeling it that day. And I figured that I could add the additional 1 mile that we biked yesterday for the 1/2 mile I didn't run today.
The way home was excruciating. It just was. I was crampy (still couldn't get things moving); I was tired; I was hot; and I just wanted to get back to the compound and get home (to fix Will's ear). At one point Coach Dave came by on his bike--- I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't even recognize him. . . in fact, as he said "how you doing" I thought "Jesus, just what I need right now, an annoying dude." Anyway, after he laughed at me for my "eh hum-- difficulties" he reminded me I was on the flats and on my way home.
I made it. Even passing a few of my teammates on the way back. I have no idea how long it took me to get back. It felt long but I think I was home in the allotted 3 hours. Then it was down to the lake to ice the legs (again). The nice thing was I was done with the weekend: 2 miles of swimming, 101 miles on the bike and 15.5 miles running. For those of you keeping score that is 118.5 miles-- or, in english, a really f-ing long way. What is even cooler about that: it leaves with 42 miles to add (.4 on the swim; 12 on the bike; and 10.7 on the run) to finish a full Iron Man. For the first time, I feel like I'm actually going to be able to do it!
Now for the drive home. Iron Mel (who had had a good run) and I were on our way home by 11. She had a fundraiser the next day and I needed to hurry home because Will's ear was still bothering him. I still needed to use the potty. We listened to the Garmin this time and, timewise, it was better. BUT we had to drive over this Mountain that twisted and turned and scared the crap out of me--ok, that was wishful thinking at that point-- as we went up and down the mountain. As we twisted, we kept up a constant pace eating our Pringles (read: salt delivery system) and washing them down with regular Coke. You know you are are Iron when the only pace you were able to hold all day was your post race Pringle consumption. We finally met up with Route 101 where we pulled into the gas station to use the potty and get gas.
We were followed into the one bathroom station by some of our teammates and, unfortunately, it was NOT the cleanest or nicest potty I've ever seen. That being said, both Mel and I had never been so happy to see a potty and I must admit, after my tribulations of that morning; that potty was worth its weight in gold.
On the road again, still hungry for lunch and making an appointment for a doctor's appointment for Will's ear, I caved into the pressure and stopped at In-n-Out Burger. Now, my teammates, including Iron Mel, rave about this place-- as do most Californians (or Westerners, not sure which it is). They say it has the best hamburgers and fries EVER. I've been here 2 years and still hadn't been (who needs fast food burgers anyway?) That being said, having finally eaten at an In-n-Out, and being famished when I was doing so, I don't have a clue what they are talking about. The burgers are no better than McDonald's, Burger King's or any other fast food burgers. Yet again, the Californians have no idea what they are talking about.
Finally we were home. I dropped of Mel and ran home to take Will to the doctor. He did have an ear infection and we were able to get him some antibiotics. Both he and I were feeling great by Monday-- I was surprised. All that mileage and I wasn't even sore. In fact, I felt great. For the first time, I felt like I was going to be Iron.
So what is (was) next? I had Dipsea coming up in 6 days. . . 7.4 miles of quad and hammy busting trial running from Mill Valley over Mt. Tamalpais to Stinson Beach. Did I make it? You will have to wait for the next installment.
In addition, I'm still fundraising: I need about 700 dollars to reach my goal. If you can help me out by helping out those who are suffering from blood cancer, please do so now. I only have 15 days to get the fundraising done.