My third Ironman finish is the books. And even though it was a rough experience at times, it was satisfying overall. So much has happened over the last few weeks that I am going to relfect back in snippets. Love that word: snippet. As defined in the dictionary, snippet is a small collection of fragments.
My first snippet then goes back to the run portion of the race and specifically at Mile 10. This is where I had trouble in 2007 and again in 2009. Why start here? Because I think this is what has defined my IM racing career. Mile 10.
In 2007, I had trouble with the Orange Gatorade Endurance on the bike. It just didn't sit well and ended up tying my stomach in knots. This year, even though they were giving out Lemon-Lime, I decided to use my own nutrition plan. I replaced the Gatorade with Heed. Heed is made by Hammer Nutrition and contains no High Fructose Corn Syrup. I thought this was the answer. Everything seemed to be going well nutrition wise on the bike. At Special Needs, between the two loops, I replaced my three bottles of Heed with some new olcd bottles from my bag. But it was getting hotter and hotter out. There was some humidity in the air and on the 2nd bike loop the wind seemed to kick up a few notches. I was still drinking a little Heed but slowing down. I kept with the water and was getting some Powerbar gel tabs down. I thought I was ok. I thought this would work.
But when I started the run, I was hungry. This alarmed me because you just can't replace everything at once. Plus, how was I going to get 200 calories per hour into my system? They were giving away orange Gatorade at the aid stations and I avoided it. If it had been Lemon-Lime, I would have ventured to try it with a cup of ice and watered down. But no such luck. I started to sip water and take in some grapes instead. They were good and filling the hole in my stomach. I continued this for the first 100 minutes. But then suddenly the next grape I ingested broke the camel's back. This one evil grape launched my stomach into violent dry heaves. I walked, bent over, walked and then stopped. I couldn't control it and I thought I was done. I crouched down with my head over my knee and waited for it to stop. I remember many people prior to the race advising me that if you were suffering from stomach distress to stop and wait. What's 5 or 10 minutes in an Ironman? Let it pass. My plan was to start drinking cola the 2nd loop but I was thinking that I might have to start earlier. Just as that thought entered my mind, someone ran by me and asked if I was ok. Then he shouted, "drink the cola. It settles the stomach, you know." I knew but I appreciated the reminder. The decision was made and it saved me. I started moving again.
Even though my run time was not what I wanted it to be. And even though I walked more than I wanted to, it was still a good race. I picked up my pace the last 4 miles and actually felt good coming in.
Tomorrow, I start at the beginning.