Author Topic: An Ironman  (Read 2469 times)

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Offline PTSD

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An Ironman
« on: September 20, 2012, 07:56:02 PM »
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  • An Ironman

    The physical miracle that is Ironman is

    still pretty daunting even after completion. I’m in awe of the total
    140.6 mile race. The distance alone in a perfect vacuum is almost
    impossible but when you throw in the countless variables of real world
    conditions it crystallizes humility.

    The 2.4 mile fresh water swim in the bathtub hot, 85 degree, Ohio

    River was not too bad if you don’t think about the organisms that can
    proliferate at that temperature. I half-joked to the volunteers that I
    wanted mouthwash after the swim. The other half of that joke was
    deadly serious. I swallowed some water and it tasted very “Organic”
    but not in a good way. I swam the distance not the race. My
    thoughts linger on that. I should have taken a chance and pulled
    myself forward more aggressively but it’s an Ironman, aggression has
    its consequences. I didn’t want to gamble on my first time out.

    The 112 mile bike portion of the race was brilliant. I trained

    for it, I was ready. That said, some things just can’t be trained for;
    variables are everywhere. As I proceeded down a very fast hill I felt
    a tickle in my chest that was followed up by a few intensely sharp,
    almost electrical pains. An unhappy wasp got into my shirt and tried
    to drill itself out. Smacking my chest like a wild man until I no
    longer felt those stings helped in two ways, most people on that
    descent kept clear of me and the wasp was in a bitter-better place.

    Other than that and the countless KentuckyHills and the mercury spiking up every 20 miles,

     I really enjoyed myself in horse country. I raced the bike course but I was very
    controlled. I know I have a better bike race in me but I hedged.

    The run, the 26.2 mile odyssey was the real challenge. I’ve done

    marathons, I actually like them but this was different. After so much
    other activity; A Marathon, Really? I felt hints of fatigue that would
    haunt me for the remainder of the day and into the night. I looked up
    (a mistake) and noticed the time and temperature on a bill board.
    Maybe I was hallucinating; 3somethingPM, 93 degrees. Did I
    read that right? I knew it would be hot but dam.

    Keeping track of my heart rate, I hydrated and focused. I did all the

    things I know to do to maintain my relentless forward progress. But
    then I drifted. My mind got away from my head at moments and those
    moments are hard to track. When engulfed in fatigue time is much
    more of a geographical dimension then something linear like one minute
    after another. I crept forward but forward in a Salvador Dali way.
    Things melt in the heat, they bend, they bleed and merge.

    The 6th mile marker isn’t very far from the 18th mile marker on a loop

    course. I remember passing mile marker 18 with joy in my heart only to
    stumble on to the 7th mile marker in another room in time. Joy
    evaporates fast and burns like steam, this I know. “Mile 7, only mile
    7”!

    I grab water when I can. I take every sponge I can get my hands on. I

    thank the volunteers profusely at every water station. They are the
    good luck charms. The ‘Magnetic North’ of the course. The prophets,
    healers and nurtures of this enduring adventure.  The more you thank
    them, the more you smile the more you express your gratitude, the
    stronger you finish. It’s almost as true as gravity. Their arms
    extended for hours at a time, their feet soaking wet and voice chords
    strained after the hundreds of repeated reminders “Water!, Coke, Ice!
    Chicken Soup!” The unsung heroes of Kentucky are the volunteers and
    everyone of them give you strength.

    You take what they give and you move forward, fast is an option but

    not one I choose. At about mile 14 a competitor urges me on. He’s so
    eager, honest and interested in my wellbeing. I tell him I will catch
    up and at about mile 16 I do. I make a point of letting him know “I’m
    still in it”. He’s running with another guy and I join the mix. We
    walk the water stations together, they talk, I mostly listen. Another
    person joins the mix, more talk, more listening.

    The sun sets. My heart rate drops to a comfortable 131 beats per

    minute. At 131 I know I can go forever so I assert myself and pick up
    the pace. I like running in the dark. It keeps my mind from wondering
    too far. We lose a guy at that pace and another at about mile 21. That
    wasn’t my intention it just happened. My new buddy and I check in
    on each other, “this hurts, that hurts, I’m beat, lets walk a bit”
    that went on for a while. We talked wives, kids and about how fat we
    got after becoming dads. The guy was still so eager, honest and
    genuine. Then he hits ‘The Wall’ at mile 24.

    I saw a lot of wall hitting that night. Some people went down hard. I

    watched out of the corners of my eyes but I never over invested in
    anyone else’s sorrow. To witness broken heaps of bone and flesh
    crumpled along the course waiting for a medic, a sign from God or both
    was too much ‘raw’ for me to carry in my head. I kept thinking “that
    could be me at any moment. I don’t want to see the future” I moved on.

    But with Ari it was different. I liked him more now. Not so eager, not

    so open, a live wire sparking; leave it alone. He told me to keep
    going but I stopped. Some words were exchanged but we both knew we
    would finish so there was no tension in them. Somehow I convinced him
    we would walk mile 24 to 25.  We did! At the 25th mile marker I
    congratulated him, “Dude you are an Ironman I just wanted to be the
    1st person to tell you that!” He smiled, we broke in to a trundle that
    built up to a jog and at about mile 26 a run.

    Ironman at my level is 90% mental toughness. My body is now the

    physical miracle vase of my mind. Dust settles, it cakes; it builds up
    over time. My body, my vase, was encrusted in beer, whiskey, cigars,
    television, red meat, white meat, countless desserts, too many to list
    and worst of all idle time. I gave up. I stopped weighing myself at
    230 pounds. Maybe I got bigger but I have no evidence of it. I didn’t
    want to know. Now, I’m on the scale 3 to 4 times every morning and
    twice in the afternoon. Many of the things on my old playlist are off
    or very limited. I have to care for my vase with great affection
    because I’m an Ironman now and another challenge is on the horizon.

    BB
    Ironman

    Offline nycwipeout

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    Re: An Ironman
    « Reply #1 on: September 21, 2012, 11:36:21 AM »
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  • Sorry to make more work for you Seacliff but you definitely need a LOVE button.

    Beautiful Pete! I mean IRONMAN!!!!
    New t-shirts available, check em out at
    http://www.gotham-surf-club.com



    Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

    Offline snaggletooth

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    Re: An Ironman
    « Reply #2 on: September 21, 2012, 01:19:03 PM »
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  • incredible. thanks for that

    Offline moses_is_crowded

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    Re: An Ironman
    « Reply #3 on: September 21, 2012, 07:09:18 PM »
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  • Awesome race report. You are an ironman!


    Offline ez_ed

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    Re: An Ironman
    « Reply #4 on: September 21, 2012, 09:03:48 PM »
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  • That's freakin' rad!
    "Live like you're dying."

    Offline PTSD

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    Re: An Ironman
    « Reply #5 on: September 21, 2012, 10:07:31 PM »
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  • Thanks guys. It's hard to believe that was just under a month ago. The 2012 winner of the Kentucky Derby was "I'll Have Another" needless to say 'I'll have another'.


    Ari and me at the finish line.

    Offline Mark E

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    Re: An Ironman
    « Reply #6 on: September 22, 2012, 10:04:03 AM »
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  • Great stuff! You are an inspiration.
    "Take care of your knees, you'll miss them when they are gone"

    Offline ankleslapper

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    Re: An Ironman
    « Reply #7 on: September 22, 2012, 11:36:16 PM »
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  • amazing BB...thank you for sharing.  you look strong in those shots...kind of unreal after what you achieved/endured.  though the experience really is kind of hard to fathom...you give some awesome perspectives here!
    the A is a small price to pay

    Offline waveslider

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    Re: An Ironman
    « Reply #8 on: September 27, 2012, 12:43:10 PM »
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  • epic epic epic epic epic. great story and congratulations!

    Offline parker drive

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    Re: An Ironman
    « Reply #9 on: February 14, 2013, 01:05:27 AM »
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  • May be we should from this story and do a screen play.

    Offline jscottk

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    Re: An Ironman
    « Reply #10 on: February 14, 2013, 01:11:34 PM »
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  • Really nice, amazing..
    ..Whore it to death then sell the corpse on Craigslist... (used to be Ebay but eff Ebay and Paypal)

    Offline Shacky

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    Re: An Ironman
    « Reply #11 on: February 14, 2013, 04:17:12 PM »
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  • Re-reading this today got me inspired for 2013. 
    You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.

    http://www.condotheband.com

    Offline carmenblanco

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    Re: An Ironman
    « Reply #12 on: January 06, 2014, 12:56:48 PM »
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  • This is a fantastic post. Thanks for sharing this with us Shacky. I have always wanted to do the ironman, but the truth is that I have always been a little intimidated by the idea of it. I have done 5K races for a number of years now, and over the past five years or so I have been building to larger and longer races. Maybe one day I will have the guts and the gusto to do the ironman. I really appreciate the post though. It is awesome to hear about accomplishments like this. I don't know about the biking part though, that is an incredible distance to ride a bike.