Vineman marathon and finish (aka because an Ironman isn’t painful enough)

It felt good to be running… really good. I was comfortable, heart rate was doing well, and I was moving fluid. I passed a number of people, just keeping a smooth and easy pace averaging about 10:30 min/mile. There were 3 loops, and at the finish of the first I was feeling like I was getting close. It was definitely a tough course though — like the bike, it was constant rollers. Happily my knee and foot were just fine, and I just kept cruising. There were great support station crowds that I smiled through and joked with, and the last mile was full of cheering crowds that would call out my number. The best of course being my family section — complete with Holly and Lisa as well. They had hand clappers and screaming and banging and clapping and just generally making me feel loved and well supported.

Lap 2 began much like lap 1, but it only started that way ** WARNING: TMI included — not girly related but bathroom involved **. I started to feel like I needed another portapottie pee break, so I took one a few miles from the turn around, about 15 miles from the end. I didn’t feel so great — in fact, I remember thinking it was like hell had relocated it’s fires and burning pain to my bladder. It feel awful to pee, and the jolting of running had me in tears. I was still moving as best as I could, and when running my pace was still about the same, but there was much more walking needed. I was hurting — perhaps worse than I ever have. The Southern NV 24 race was tough and scary, but I was never in that extreme of pain (other than my feet, which are easy to deal with). I constantly felt I needed to pee worse than I ever have, yet each time I stopped and did I was only peeing blood. Shit. 15 miles to go…

My dad and Wendy found me mid-return of that lap, and surprised me while I was tearily in pain and in a walk/jog combo moment. In my stress I told them vaguely why, not realizing they’d call back to my cheering squad and my mom would know (I didn’t want her flipping out). I kept moving, that lap being more walk-heavy than any of the others. My body, other than the lower gut, was feeling fine, and I had energy. It was just a matter of overcoming the pain and getting to running. About a mile from the end of that lap, a random guy cheering on the side was jogging the sidewalk to the end, and encouraged me to join him for the next flat section. Not wanting my fans to see me walking or know I was in pain, I kept it up for about 2 miles — through the start of the third lap and to the 8 miles to go point. My dad asked from the side if I was sure I wanted to keep going, and I had to let the stubborn little kid in me out a bit, which helped me keep moving.

Lap 3 was a bit better, mostly because I knew the faster I went the sooner I would be done. I managed to run more than I did on lap 2, and in fact ran in the last 2.5ish miles. Just focused on the distance left to cover, and how long it would take me. It was all about playing numbers in my head, ignoring and blocking pain, and just moving. So I just moved. I didn’t drink anything the last about 10 miles because it just made my body hurt more, and I knew it was bad but that I’d rehydrate soon enough across the line.

I was definitely upset here by the amount of cheating. So many people (I’d guess as much as 1 in 5) had a friend or 2 running with them! Keeping them on pace, talking with and distracting them from their pain, and also blocking the narrow area we had to run in. I had to go around multiple groups running 3 or 4 across with only one racer in it! I understand it’s a small race, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to cheat. It really bothered me that people were ok with that, and then calling it their own accomplishment. At the awards the next day, Holly mentioned “aw, she’s cute” to the young girl who won the age group below mine. And all I had to say was yes, and her dad ran most of it with her giving her tips and helping her with nutrition the whole way. But I ran my race, and did it myself, and as much as I think they lost out and weren’t fair to others in the race, I’m proud of my own work and toughness. What is also sad is that I believe the overall women’s winner cheated — she had no bike or run splits, and the announcers kept telling a different lady she was winning. Oh, and her partner also placed and lost his chip. They were the only lost chips of the whole race that we heard of. To me it is sad when my gut feeling after what I saw on a course is that it is likely the winner was cheating, but that is how this race felt and seemed — and yes, she did also have a drafting penalty. One of the few that were given. To her credit, there is a race she has done at a 10:48 (IM France last year) at and a 5:19 half (St. Croix this year) that did have split times. So her 10:32 isn’t unreasonable. Just felt sketchy to me… especially since no one was aware she was in the lead and kept telling the 2nd place woman that she was winning. You’d think that they’d notice the first woman to start on the run loops since they were announcing from next to it.

I felt like I was flying the last mile… easy but fluid, and able to ignore the screaming of my body. I entered the finishing shoot, and saw a new face in my cheering crowd — my baby sis (Becky) had made it! I was so proud to have her see me finish (she thought she wouldn’t make it, and she moves to NYC and a new life as a college girl in a couple weeks), I high fived my crew and felt like I was running on clouds as I crossed the finish line, hands in the air.

Then got help to a chair, handed a water bottle and a finisher shirt and medal, and told where the medical tent was. My family took me over and stayed with me as they made sure I was ok. I was feeling good except my bladder, and the staff there was great. Although chunky chicken soup is hard to drink through a straw, the cranberry juice Holly shared with me was AWESOME! And my birthyear wine finished off the day with a pleasant taste (ok seriously it was awful and bad, but the thought that counts). My mom had a bottle for each of me, my sis, and my brother from the year we were born and to be opened at our high school grads, and had forgotten mine at HS grad, Mudd grad, and my first IM. She finally remembered, and we shared it in the medical tent with the whole family, the great nurse and doc, and I have no idea who else… and I have no idea who else bothered to taste it after the “vinegar mud” smell and look, as my mom called it. Then we dumped out the bottle so I could keep it.

But I made it — 26.2 miles in about 5:03 with about 1000 feet of climbing (for a full GPS version see Motionbased). My slowest marathon ever, but not by that much. And my swim and bike and transition improvements brought me to a final time of 13:49:35 — about 2 minutes faster than the 13:51:26 of IMAZ! Wooo personal records (swim, T1, bike, T2, and total time! 6th of 12 in my age group, and 30th out of 58 women that finished (and there were a number of DNFs that day). Probably the most physically painful race ever, although also some of the highest points in terms of comfort over the earlier parts of the day.

Yesterday was the awards (where Holly won me a swim kit! wooo magic butt for the envelope in the seat!) and the long drive home. Complete with a fire since it was Holly driving between SF and LA. Dropped Lisa off, came home and unpacked. While unpacking, Mike came by and helped and then helped me feel a lot better with a massage, cuddles, and of course a kiss or two 😉

Yesterday was spent on the couch and returning the wheels to the bike shop. Feeling mostly better — although my bladder is still a bit worn out, most of the rest of me is fine. I’m please with how my race went, although of course I wish Lisa’s had been better (turns out she cramped up badly during the swim). Not sure if I’d do that course again, as a few parts of the organization were a bit sketchy (few people at registration knew what was going on, lack of portapotties, and road quality all contributing). But ironman #2 is done, and it’s at least a while (and maybe a bit longer) until the next one!

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