Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ironman Florida Race Report: Swim Bike Runs Part 3 of 3

Check out the earlier posts (1 & 2) for instructions on the MAD LIB set-up...

1. Another word for poop.
2. A famous genious.
3. Another word for problems.
4.Something that comes back - and you don't want it to.
5. Another word for expert.
6. A huge accomplishment.
7. Adjective for the message in a Valentine's Day card.
8. Describe crazy sorority girls at college football game.
9. Describe either a drunk guy or a post-dentist toddler.
10. Something you yell at a rock show.
11. One last word for poop.

The Run and the Finish
I saw Heidi and her mom again as I made my way out of T2.  Sort of.  My vision was still blurry, despite my attempts to quickly rinse and wipe my eyes out.  But I felt great, except for you know - the [1]__.  My legs were remarkably fresh and the quick cadence I'd held for the final stretch of the bike had my turnover rockin'(...relatively).  I had heard from veterans that no matter how good you feel on the first miles of the marathon, it is imperative to throttle back or you run the risk of having no legs left by mile 14.  And so I settled into a steady pace.  My original plan was to try and stay between 9:30 and 10:00 miles - which (stomach permitting) was quite doable at this point.
The first two miles went by pretty smoothly.  It was close to the 3 mile board that I remembered seeing a medical tabel back in transition.  And then I thought, "Ya know.  I wonder if they had any kind of medicine that might have helped with these stomach issues?"  Great idea, [2]__.  Where was that idea seven hours ago?
And around that time...just when I was thinking that vertical posture and enough time had alleviated my [3]__, that same old feeling came back like [4]__.  My stride chopped back to a walk, but only for a few steps.  After a quick recovery, I was able to get back to running.  But it was clear that pit stops were going to be a major portion of the run as well.  13 hours?  Not gonna happen.
By the end of the day, I had become a bit of a pit stop [5]__.  These port o' lets were like my own explosive T3.  I could strip off a race belt, take care of business...oh, wait, check for toilet paper...then take care of business and be back on my way in no time.  A discipline I had not practiced prior to that day.
As I made my way passed the eight mile mark I looked forward to reading the digital message that my wife and mother in law had prepared for me.  (As you pass that point, a sensor reads the chip on your ankle and displays a pre-programmed message up on a digital board.)
I sped up as I passed by the sensor and looked anxiously at the board.  (You have to keep thinking of the next little thing to look forward to during a 140.6 mile day - and this little message was my next mini-[6]__).
I smiled to myself as I saw the blurry message over my name and race number: "You are my HERO."  What a wonderful thing to say - especially from a wife who already knew the toll of this race - after finishing her first IM on the same course just one year before.  I ran a little bit faster for the next few miles, stopping only to squat and never to walk.
(Side note: I thanked Heidi for the message the next day and told her that it meant so much to me when I was struggling out there on the run course.  She responded by telling me that she had not entered anything about being a hero, and that her message..presumably the one over my name...said, "Suck it up and move your ass."  [7]__ as well, I guess.)
Miles ten through 13 were chilly.  I was an hour later on the course than I planned on, and the sun was getting low.  My next goal was to get to the long sleeve shirt in my special needs bag.  I paced with a fellow from a local NOLA triathlon team for a bit of the way, keeping a good stride and helping him feed off the energy.  As we neared the turnoff for the home stretch, I could tell he though I was about to head towards the finisher's chute with him.  Nope.  I had one more lap to go.
A ran into Heidi and her mom right next to the special needs bags and said a quick hello as I threw on some warmer clothes.  They looked [8]__, cheering on everyone that passed by.
Then I headed out for 13 more miles.
Soon thereafter, Heidi zipped up beside me on a mountain bike to offer some words of encouragement.  I told her thanks and warned her that "These next 13 might be a little slower than the last ones..."  She told me that was okay, and that what was really cool - was that I had a neat glow bracelet! 
It wasn't until I saw some pictures my myself that I realized why she was talking to me as if I was a [9]__.
Yeah, I was a little loopy.
The sun was down and the lights on cars combined with my blurred vision to block out pretty much anything.  I kept my head down for a large portion of the second loop - picking out cones and potholes in the dark.  I was still making pit stops, but with slightly less frequency.  The second time around the course was better than the first.  I tapped each milage sign as I went by. 21...22...23...
With just a 5k left, I finally felt good.
I kicked in as much as I had for the last three miles, partially hoping to beat the 14 hour mark - though that would require an 7:00 pace.  I'd see how close I could get.  As I passed by folks during that stretch, I'd spare the breath to say, "We're actually going to do this."  Most would smile back and say, "I know!"
The crowds started about a quarter mile from the finish.  They were made up of spectators ringing cowbells and yelling [10]__, as well as earlier finishers covered in space blankets.  Even a dead man would feel ashamed to walk through here - you have to run. 
My pace maintained as I neared the finisher's chute.  Because of the lights and my eyes, I couldn't see a thing.  I barely made out the arch over the finish line and hopped up to give it a smack as I crossed.
14:05:20.  Not the time I'd planned on.  But it was my time.  
(Another quick side note - a look back at my Garmin data revealed that I spent 22:03 of the bike and 19:27 of the run "squatting": combined with un-timed stops in each transition of approximately 3:00 each - I added at least 45 minutes due to my early morning saltwater diet.  But the clock times from when you start to when you finish.  There are no time outs.  No exceptions.  I took spent 14 hours, five minutes and twenty seconds out there on that course.  14:05:20 is my time.  And I'll take it.)
As I knelt to "Tebow", a volunteer approached quickly - thinking I was about to "go down."  I assured her that I felt fine and then I took a quick, standing, momnet to thank Jesus Christ for the strength to endure and enjoy such a tremendous day.
From there it was back in the assembly line.

Family is what gets you to the starting line and what makes the finish line worth while.  In what seems like a strictly individualistic sport, it is the family that is perhaps the most important thing.  "Family" in a literal sense, yes.  But also the friends, mentors, and even people you met on the internet who have encouraged you the whole way.  Without them - even if the race is possbile, I don't know if it would be worth it.
And so...THANK YOU, HEIDI, Kim, Chloe, Christi, Dustin, Donna, Pati, Mack, Meg, Steve, Kurt, Hard Inc., Dan, Becki, Matt, KC, BDD, Emz, Suz, Jon, Bree, The Hand and Feet Project, Frayed Laces, Christina, Cynthia, Ben, Laura, Jeremy, Chad, Libby, John, as everyone else who made even an incredibly frustrating 138.2 miles one of the best days well as Newton Running & H2O Audio - for donating goods for the HAF fundraiser.    

Over the course of 140.6 miles, you have a lot of time to think.  You do a lot of math.  You reminice.  You plan ahead.  You pray.  You cuss.  You [11]__.  You cringe.  You smile.  And hopefully, like I enjoy every minute.
Thanks, "Coach." 


  1. Loved it! Thanks for a great race report. Congratulations on a great race. Way to go! You're the man!

  2. This was so great to read. I appreciate your honesty about your experience as I try to determine if I will tackle a full in 2012! Congratulations on your finish!!

  3. You did such a great job on a difficult day. Thanks so much for sharing your journey! Congrats!

  4. That finish line is a beautiful thing isn't it buddy? Slapping the finish line is a great shot. makes for a great pic.

  5. Nice work Scott. it's not what you do when the race is going as planned, it's the other times. those are the times we really remember and draw strength from when we ARE having a race when it comes together! VERY PROUD of you AND your wife! Talk soon Ironman!!!!

  6. awesome finish line picture! and way to make it through such a tough day. And thanks for the heads up to not drink the salt water in Cozumel..I am going to try and not use the porta potties as much as you! No "explose T3" for this girl.

  7. congrats again babe! you DID IT!!!! i like that you compared me to a college girl :)


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