Running from a 6th Grader… Jen’s First ½ “IronMan”

26 09 2007

A wise ol’ soul told my yesterday that it shouldn’t be called a HALF ‘IronMan’.  I surely did not just do HALF of anything…I did the whole thing!  And to call my race, or any of our races for that matter, half of something else would be unfair and unjust to my efforts, training and my experience. (Thanks Ol’ Soul! I needed to hear that.)


The morning was pretty normal, my fifth triathlon this year, I am getting pretty good at routine.  When I was finished setting up my transition I sort of stood around looking for the handful of F4 guys and the ‘new’ friends I made giving out packets the days before. I exchanged good wishes with everyone and went into my pre-race zone.  Thanks to coach Bob and coach Brian for dealing with my pre-race nerves and tears.


I started in the first wave with the other Athens, Clyds, old people and Elites. The water was freezing! My feet were numb when I got out of the water and I walked to transition hoping I would regain feeling in my toes before getting on the bike.


The first 35 miles of the bike were not eventful. I heard “Go Jen” a few times from the people I knew and returned with “Great job” to whom ever it was.  I stopped to use the bathroom at mile 13 and later oddly noticed that the city sign for Bennett said its elevation was 5483. It caught me off guard because that’s higher then Boulder! (I googled it to make sure I read it right.) That was about the most excitement I had for that part of the bike. I think I got bored and a bit lonely.


I did a pretty good job of sticking to my nutrition plan which I taped to my steering wheel (I know they are really called handle bars, there is a joke in there somewhere).  I had a PB&J cut into four and ate one every 15-20 minutes at the beginning of the ride. I later switched to margarita and black cheery shot blocks and salt tabs.  I alternated between the margarita and black cherry each serving a purpose of providing a little more salt or caffeine.  Knowing that my mind would not be thinking clearly I just knew that I needed light colored blocks and dark colored blocks and tried not to mix them.


I started to get pissy over the last 20 miles.  The hills sucked and didn’t provide any recovery on the down parts. My legs and mind were feeling this.  I practiced hills over the past 2 months and even rode part of the course, but it never felt like this.  Adding to my enjoyment was a nice head wind. I hate admitting this but I had nothing but negative thoughts during this time.  I am calling this “Triathlon Tourettes”, which I define as an exclamation of obscene words and mental demons controlling thoughts.  Some of my thoughts and/or outbursts were:

            “This isn’t fun anymore!”

            “This sucks!”

            “I hate this!”

            “I quit, I am not doing the run!”

            “I am done! No more tri’s, no more running, NOTHING!”

            “F@%K, F@%K, F@%K”

            (quotes have been ‘cleaned-up’ for publication)


Finally I rolled back into transition, dismounted and threw my helmet on the ground, I thought I was done. “My god, I still have another 3 ½ hours to go if I start the run!”


Jenn D and my husband were cheering as I sat debating going out on the run or not.  Next thing I knew my socks and shoes were on and I was walking to the run start with them encouraging me to continue.


I walked the first two miles of the course taking with me the “triathlon tourettes”.   Then, like a ton of bricks it hit me…I had let that damn 6th grader I have been running from catch back up to me and it was her who was controlling my mind and thoughts.  She was way to close for comfort!


Ok, for those who need a refresher, I don’t put a number to the amount of weight I have lost.  I just equate it with being about the same mass as a 6th grade child.  And the weight of this 6th grader is only part of it.  It is who I was when she was still a part of me. I don’t like who I was then and have worked so hard to overcome that part of my life…So now you can understand that having her that close to me again scared me to death!


Shortly after reaching mile 2, a woman came up from behind. She boosted my spirits by say that I made the bike look easy and how she had tried to catch up but couldn’t. Funny how God works isn’t it? Here I am at the verge of breaking and he sends a sign like that!  My new friend suggested we run a minute and walk a minute together. I agreed knowing that I can do anything for a minute!


It was so awesome, I started feeling the 6th grader getting further and further behind.  I enjoyed this minute on minute off thing too.  I was back!  I said “good job” to everyone who passed by whether I knew them or not.  Gave hi 4’s to my F4 buddies and even stopped to share a hug or two.  I was having fun again!


My running angel had gone a head after we hit the turn around. The rest of the run was just me and the elements.  I had my nutrition plan written on my arm but was feeling sick and bloated; all I could get down was ice and 4 animal crackers with the occasional sip or two of liquid.


I had been watching the storm roll in for miles.  Although quite unsafe with the thunder and lightning running in the torrential down poor was a very spiritual time for me. As the sky opened up and started to pour I let out a huge scream that came from deep within.  I was crying, running, dodging lightning and screaming all at the same time.


At 8 hours I was two miles out and changed my plan to running the down hills and flats then walk the up hills.  It may sound funny to hear but I told myself, “just do two 15 minute miles and you are done!” At that time 15 minute miles didn’t seem easy.  But that is what I did.


Days before I begged the race director not to pull the finish line down until I got there and he was more then happy to oblige (Thanks D!). So this one counted! Wet, cold, tired and with an empty tank I finished what I had started 8 hours 30 minutes and 16 seconds earlier to do, FINISH!




2 responses

26 09 2007


great race, great report.


LOVED the wisdom of the Ol’ Soul. TRULY, you did the whole thing.

27 09 2007

Thanks! Surely inspired by your IMMOO ’07 adventures!

And I tell ya’ that Ol’ Soul knows just the right time to share is wisdom!

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