Since Wisconsin the number one thing people have been saying to me is: “Does that mean you qualified for Kona?” (Or some variation.)
Yes, when you’re the second woman overall, it kind of guarantees that you’ll get a qualification spot to Kona. And yes, I handed over my credit card on the spot and signed up for next year. I’ve never been before and so, of course, I’m interested and I want to see what it’s like and I want to race the World Championships — even though I totally agree with the assessment that when you have the world championships in the same location every year it doesn’t so much decide who is the best Ironman athlete period, as it actually decides who is the best in those very specific conditions, but whatever.
So, yes, I bought into the Kona hype. But I have to say, I don’t understand the hype.
Maybe I’ll change my mind after I go. Maybe it truly is the most important and only worthwhile goal in triathlon. But I doubt it.
It seems to me like people chasing Kona qualification, trying to find the races that’ll be easiest to qualify, signing up for another and another and another, focusing only on that one thing as some kind of measure of their worth are missing the whole point of why they’re doing triathlon. They’ve lost the reason that they made Kona qualification a goal in the first place. It’s like none of these triathletes have ever read Moby Dick.
My goal at Wisconsin was to have a killer race. This was loosely defined time- and place-wise in my head, but rarely did that loose definition focus on how I would stack up in my age group. There was a point when I was running as the third woman overall and I was pretty sure I was third in my age group too (though it turned out one of the women ahead was actually in the 35-39). And that would have been fine, annoying but fine, because I’d rather have done a sub-10:30 and come in third overall than worry about winning my age group.
And that fundamentally is the part of the Kona qualification obsession that is weird to me: Who cares how old the people ahead of you and behind you are?? It doesn’t change how well you did.
If I had been six months younger I’d have won my age group at Wisconsin by over 30 minutes. If the woman ahead of me was three years younger, then the woman who was third overall wouldn’t have qualified for Kona. Does that change what we did in any way? Does it change how good or bad we should feel about our performances?
I’m a big believer in you race who shows up on race day and that’s that. Sure, I 100% get that the 60-year-old woman isn’t really competing with the 25-year-old, but the lines between 34 and 35 or between 28 and 32 are arbitrary. And we’ve let the weird structure of triathlon convince us that they’re not, that they mean something. We let Ironman lie to us that it somehow makes us more or less deserving of being at a world championships. We lie to ourselves.
Steve won Tahoe 70.3 last weekend. It was a big deal, and his first half-Ironman ever. And when I told people he won, every triathlete asked if I meant his age group or overall. I will probably never say that someone won something unless I mean that they fucking won. He WON, as in he was the first to cross the line, went the fastest, no one else went faster. Period.
The other thing people kept asking me about his race was if that meant he qualified for Kona too. Because, you know, that’s the only thing that matters.
– Imodium – that shit (heh) is amazing
– Vorgee goggles – seriously the only ones I wear, which I recognize is weird since they come from the UK, but whatever
– Drinking your calories – specifically in the form of high-calorie doses of Infinit and Gu Roctane (this comes with the ‘don’t be an idiot’ caveat — you still need to drink water)
– Trucker hats – do not even care if they’re not cool anymore; they’re basically ideal for not getting too hot or too sunburned
– Hoka Clifton 2 – I actually am not 100% nuts about these shoes for pure runs, but for long or hard runs after rides, when your legs are already trashed, any cons are totally outweighed by the pro of how much less awful your legs feel
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This was the short version of Ironman Wisconsin. Here’s the long (seriously long) version:
When I wanted to do a fall Ironman, part of why I picked Wisconsin was that my parents live in Chicago and my aunt and uncle live in Madison. I spent a lot of holidays in Madison as a kid and knew it’d be a fun race. And, man, it was a lot of fun. But, on the other hand, when people keep saying ‘everything went right’ for me, I want to be like: Sure, the weather was great, the course is good for me, nothing too bad happened, and it all came together. But of course things went wrong. You just deal with it. That’s how it goes.
In classic fashion, some things had to go pretty wrong in the days before the race. I flew into Chicago on Thursday and then drove my mom’s car up to Wisconsin on Friday afternoon. The only problem was that I didn’t realize the driver’s door handle on her car doesn’t work right. Or, rather, I realized once I opened it at a rest stop somewhere outside Rockford, Illinois and then it wouldn’t close and latch again. I was fiddling with it, pulling it, pushing it, hitting it, and swearing. Nothing worked. Eventually, after about an hour, because I had to get to check-in by 5 p.m., I bungee-corded the door closed and drove the rest of the way with the car beeping to let me know it was still technically open. Yeah, thanks for that reminder.
I made it to check-in with 45 minutes to spare. But then things were so backed up with some to-do about missing gear bags, and I had a work thing I needed to finish (which was why I had stopped at a rest stop in Rockford anyway), that I just sat down in line and opened my computer. The second big problem was that my derailleur hangar had been weirdly loose that morning when I built my bike, so I stopped at the expo mechanic to see if they could check to make sure nothing was wrong. They spent an hour taking the derailleur on and off, fiddling with screws, trying to fine-tune the shifting, which they said wasn’t great, but I said was basically as good as it ever was. Until eventually they decided I probably needed to replace my whole cassette and chain. The day before the race. Uhhhhhhh. No?
Saturday, I went to the regular bike store, which was a really cool place btw, and they agreed the shifting was fiiiiiiiiine, but not great, and I shouldn’t replace all that stuff right before a big race. Then I bought a new aero bottle, because naturally I had ordered a missing part for my old aero bottle, but that part didn’t fit because the bottle was too old and now there was a new model. Naturally. I also hadn’t realized that it was going to be that cold in Madison, and I had packed no pants. So we had to make a trip to the thrift store across the street. Basically, I just kept handing people my money. And eating. And trying not to freak out about the fact that my stomach was NOT happy on Saturday.
My stomach was still not super happy Sunday morning. After dropping off all the different things in all the different places, I was down by the swim start in my baggy thrift store sweats, trying to swallow an Immodium, when all of a sudden I was throwing up off the side of the road median. I thought about that later, when I was in 2nd (spoiler alert) and the crowds were screaming for me. Because there were definitely some people in the morning who saw that and were not sure I was going to last the day.
The swim is still an old-school mass start, which is fun. But it was weirdly aggressive, more than I would have expected for an Ironman. I lined up near the buoys, but far enough on the inside that I wouldn’t be in the crush. I thought. And I swam hard at first to get slightly away from the crowds, but they never went away. The problem, really, was that I kept getting sandwiched between large guys. They’d come in on both sides of me and then try to just ignore the fact that I was there. I definitely threw some elbows and kicked some people. On the way back, it opened up a bit. I was swimming with a group of guys, and saw no women for 20-30 minutes. (It’s weird, when you think about it, how different the women’s race is from the men’s race. I never was by myself all day, not really. But if there had only been women in the race, I would have spent long, long amounts of time alone, which is what the front guys experience. It’s weird. That’s all. How different those two races, that are supposed to be the same, actually are.)
The swim seemed like it just went on and on and on, and I just wanted to be finished and I kept convincing myself that the next buoy was the last turn buoy, but it NEVER WAS. When we finally did get to the last turn buoy, I came around the corner and got kicked in the face so hard that it knocked my contact out. (PSA: DON’T DO BREASTSTROKE RIGHT AFTER TURNING A BUOY!) I came up yelling a string of swearwords almost immediately. I was worried my race was over right there. What do you do with one contact? After 10 seconds or so, I realized the contact had rolled up in my eye, so I treaded water (and swore a lot) and spent about a minute getting it to come back down and settle, so I could see again. In that time, I realized where all the women had been — in the large pack right behind me. Sigh. When I could see out of both eyes, I put my head down and swam hard to catch them back, and eventually we were done.
I wasn’t wearing a watch and there was no clock at the exit, so I had no idea what I swam. I got my wetsuit off faster than the wetsuit strippers could even get to me, then took off up the ramp — which was the first time during the day I started spontaneously laughing, because the crowds were just so nuts and screaming so loud and I felt like the biggest rockstar. By the time I got through the long transition and all the way down the parking lot to my bike, the clock at the exit said 1:05:40-something, so I thought ‘Holy shit, I must have swum a sub-hour.’ Nope. I swam 1:00:01. Actually, originally the tracker said I swam 1:00:00.1, so, you know, got to save some goal for the next race.
Because I’d thrown up a decent amount of what I’d eaten and drank beforehand, I knew I needed to get something down right away. I had half a Clif bar almost immediately and some water, then started drinking my 900-1000 calorie bottle of Infinit, but it wasn’t sitting great. I felt OK on the way out of Madison to where the countryside loop started, but not good. I passed a couple women, got passed back by one. But my stomach was bothering me and I was NOT in love with the weird bike path, sketchy turns, through parking lots, and on sidewalks at the beginning. About an hour in, I just tore the bag of Immodium off the top of my bike and threw back the two pills and I swear to God that saved my race. Around when we started the loop, I started to feel decent.
A woman passed me about then and I thought I should try to just keep her in sight. I didn’t think I could do it, but eventually I actually caught her again and passed her back. Then, on one of the longer climbs, she passed me again. That sort of set the tone for the next four hours. She would pull so far away that I’d be convinced she had finally totally dropped me, then I would catch her on a long descent and pass her. I’d pull far enough ahead that I thought I’d have pulled away for good, then she caught me when I stopped at Special Needs. It was actually really good to have someone to mentally push off. And a few of the times we were passing each other, especially on the long climbs where everything would sort of accordion together, we would talk briefly for a few seconds. Her name was Kelly too, and she had a huge group of friends on the crazy climb that was Tour de France-esque in the crowds and costumes.
It was actually sort of fun? Maybe. For some parts. At one point, the Ironman video crew rolled up next to me and asked how I felt and I said, “Surprisingly, not that bad.”
The only downside was about two hours in, my derailleur started to make this terrible grinding sound in the middle gears. Um, shit? I tried to see if I could figure out what was wrong, but I had no idea how to fix it, so I just hoped it would last. It got worse and worse as we went, so that by the end it sounded like the whole thing was just going to come apart, and people who went by me were asking about it. But it made it 112 miles, so what are you going to do. I also was not doing an amazing job of handling all the turns and downhills. Turns out, I’m still super stressed about crashing, so I was stupidly cautious. But, I made it through. So, again, what are you going to do.
At some point at the beginning of that first lap, it was evident from the people on the sidelines that the other Kelly and I were in 3rd and 4th. Then we passed the girl in 2nd. (Got passed on the second lap by the woman who would eventually win, and who was flying.) When I hit the climb with the huge crowds and the creepy clowns, who would step out of the corn fields randomly, I was the 2nd woman and people were screaming and going nuts. And I wasn’t going particularly hard up the hill, no point in wasting the energy, so I just sort of soaked it in and laughed. This is insane.
On the way back into Madison, I did start to struggle and hate everything. The other Kelly finally put a few minutes on me. I knew I was doing well overall and it was fine. I had drunk a 900-1000 calorie bottle of Infinit and another similarly caloried bottle of Gu Rocktane, plus lots of water. But I was just so tired of biking. Ugh. I pounded a gel and began the process of talking myself into getting ready to run.
When I handed off my bike to a volunteer, my computer said 5:40-ish, but I hadn’t pressed start for about a minute at the beginning, so I didn’t really know exactly what I had ridden. Whatever. I knew I was “crushing it,” as people kept yelling at me. Then I got to the part of triathlon I am best at: transitions. Ironman transitions are sort of fun (in my opinion), because there’s so many people ready to help you and it’s not like if you screw up and lose 10 seconds everything is over. I tied my shoes, while a volunteer shoved gels in my pocket and turned my Garmin on, and then I was out the door. I had come into T2 4th, but started the run 3rd. And, my total Olympic-distance race mentality took over. I needed to pee and was going to stop, but some deep subconscious part of my brain took over and was like: no, get out of sight of the other Kelly, try to lock up 3rd while you can.
Then I just started running “easy.”
A woman was biking in front of me and after a few minutes I asked her if she was biking for me. Yes! She was! And the crowds were screaming as I came around the capitol building. This is awesome. At that point, I just wanted to hold onto 3rd and run solidly. The clock as I headed out of T2 had said 6:50 I think, so I knew I had a lot of buffer time for an OK overall finish. I also was 95% sure I was going to blow up and need all that buffer.
Here’s what was weird: All during the run and the next morning, people kept telling me how great I looked, how fast a pace I was keeping up, how I could catch the girl ahead. They really all thought that it was easy, I think. But the difference between what they saw on the outside and what was going on inside my head could not have been more drastic. I didn’t feel great; I didn’t want to try to catch the girl ahead; I didn’t think I was running fast. By four or five miles in, I was very worried about how this would end. So I took a gel. Every time I felt terrible, I told myself, “Shut up, eat a gel, keep running.” I think I ate eight gels during the run.
I divided the run up into four 6-mile sections in my head, because of course you can run six miles. You can run one, and you can do that six times. So. The first six I just ran “easy” and tried not go too fast. I did mostly 7:45s/7:50s (except for on the steep hill). The second section I tried to maintain an 8:00/mile pace. That was actually a tough section, because I kept thinking about how I had to do it all again and I didn’t think I’d make it. My legs hurt, hurt, hurt. I did not feel awesome or any of the things people kept yelling at me. The third section I just kept repeating the number one Hillary Biscay rule: DO NOT STOP RUNNING FOR ANY REASON. I think I said that hundreds of times in my head. Do not stop running for ANY reason. I told myself I just needed to make it to 18, and then the last six the rule was ‘do whatever it takes to get to 24, it doesn’t matter how slow, just keep running.’
Sometimes I was clearly enjoying myself:
And sometimes I was definitely just deep inside my own head:
Around mile 16 I passed the girl in 2nd and got a new bike lead. I did not really want to pass her. I was totally happy with 3rd, and I didn’t want to have to fight anyone or sprint for anything. I was seriously just trying to keep it together myself. Once I was in 2nd, though, I also did not want to let that go. People were screaming for me. (They get so excited for the top women.) And my name was on my bib, so they kept yelling, “Kelly!” And when I came back by again, they’d cheer “Kelly’s back. Let’s go. You’ve got 2nd now. Come on, Kelly!” And I wasn’t going to let down all these total strangers. Obviously. So I just kept running.
I slowed down that last section of six miles, from 8:00 to 8:20-30, but I kept running. I started drinking Coke at around 19 miles too. But by the time I made it to 24, it was clear that I had a big lead on 3rd and that I was going to run in the 3:30s even if I slowed drastically. Then I really started to enjoy it.
Those last two miles, I high-fived everyone I could and I kept spontaneously laughing. It was just so unbelievable. It didn’t seem like it was me. Me? I usually blow up in situations like this and trudge it in. But not this time. There were a couple section on the run where the road was deeply lined with people, some of whom were college students who had been drinking all day, and they were screaming and screaming for me. And I didn’t know what to do. You just want to jump up and down and wave your arms. Maybe that’s why everyone does the fist pump. It feels right.
I crossed the finish line laughing and laid down a few seconds later, mostly because I had promised myself that I could lay down when I got to the finish. But this made the volunteers very concerned and they swooped in. I told them I was fine, and it was agreed I was fine, but I should sit down and drink some water. I pounded the water, because I was way too thirsty, which made me start throwing up everywhere, which concerned the volunteers even more. And that’s how I ended up in the med tent. The only problem was my veins had shrunken up and they couldn’t get an IV in right, so some of it went into my arm muscles and not my veins (ugh). I got a big bruise as an extra token from the race, along with all the random cuts and sunburn and soreness.
But it was totally worth it.
The short summary is that I was the second woman overall yesterday, in 10:21:57 (and my dad thinks is hilarious I keep saying 10:21 and not 10:22, but you do not round that shit up). It was possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever done. In fact, I’m slightly worried I’ve peaked now. Yeah, it hurt and it sucked at parts and I’m in a lot of pain today, but hitting your super-secret-if-everything-goes-right-maybe-I-can-do-this A goal while huge crowds cheer for you is pretty epic.
Because there was no pro race at Wisconsin this year, I was actually the straight-up second woman period. Which was weird and crazy. I got a bike escort. And my name was on the front of my bib, so all these people kept yelling, “Come on Kelly!” over and over. That’s just insane. Basically, if you ever get an opportunity to have thousands of people screaming for you as you run down the middle of the street achieving something you’ve been working really hard for, well, I highly recommend it.
You can kind of see how much I was enjoying myself in the recap video from the awards ceremony. And that’s after I’d already been high-fiving small children and trying not to cry/laugh for the last mile. (Also, no I was not the 25-29 champion, even though that’s what it says. Whatever.)
I knew what I needed to do to win and I did it.
Obviously, I did not finish this race. But I had a ton of friends doing it. (I think I knew 1/4 of the people there.) And I watched most of the parts I didn’t do and did the other parts, so I feel like I have a pretty good sense of it overall.
Also, of note: I knew about 1/4 of the people there and usually they would be all up on the social media posting softly-lit photos about how #blessed they are and how amazing the race was. I did not see a single thing posted after the race among all my friends. Since, in the current triathlon climate, so many “amateurs” are shilling for current sponsors or future sponsors or potential sponsors, and so many people are advertising online for the life they wish they had, the fact that no one posted anything says volumes about what they weren’t saying. In my opinion.
The Expo/Goodies: Honestly, I think this was the best part of this race. Since I was “done” early, I had a few free beers in a very cute mason jar with the Oakland Triathlon logo on it that, unfortunately, didn’t have a top so I’m not sure what I can re-use it for besides drinking. I also had an OK burrito and apparently I could have had free wings. And, if I had been up for it, I would have been able to get a massage. The expo wasn’t huge, but it wasn’t tiny, and it had all the stuff you actually want. Plus, the t-shirt was cute. So, you know, A+ for the stuff that comes on the side of the race, which generally I don’t care much about, but there it is.
The Course: The swim is in the Oakland estuary. And I thought it was fiiiiiiine, but apparently other people didn’t? It tasted a little oil-y right at the start, but then it was totally good. The major reason people seemed all up in arms was because 1. it was long, like for sure definitely long, no question about it (and also people’s GPSs confirmed it was super long) and 2. it was all zig-zaggy at the beginning.
This is the course:
See that part where there’s a weird U-turn before you go straight for a long time. Yeah. Basically you were swimming back into people who were swimming out into you. Also, with the sprint waves starting first, this was around when you ran into the back of them too. Evidently, this bothered a lot of people. And, yes, I did get kicked hard in the face twice. But I also figured I’m better at weird swimming stuff than other triathletes, so while everyone else was breaststroking and freaking out, I just put my head down and swam over them.
At the end you had to climb up onto this pier — which I was doing just fine, thank you — and a super enthusiastic volunteer reached down to pull me out. But, since I wasn’t expecting that, I landed weird and hard on my thumb, and dislocated it. Which was a nice extra injury.
Then you had to run up these two flights of stairs (or take the elevator?) and across a bridge over some train tracks and then back down the stairs. Then you got on the bike.
Now the bike course was my major problem with the race. It was not safe. Period. It still would not have been safe if it hadn’t rained. The rain simply highlighted existing problems.
Those problems were:
- Way, way too many turns — and sharp turns at that
- On roads that were not entirely closed, so that you were turning in a narrow portion of them
- And on roads that were very bad, so that you were coming around a sharp turn in a narrow bike lane, basically in the shoulder and there’d be all kinds of potholes and cracks
- Plus, people of far too varying speeds trying to navigate all this at the same time — with the sprint waves starting first, that also meant you’d come around that sharp, narrow turn, avoiding the potholes, in the rain, and run right into the back of someone going drastically slower than you
It was a bad combination.
There’s a reason I saw multiple people wipe out (and I only saw those crashes on the first half of the bike before I wiped out too), and that reason isn’t that it rained, and it isn’t that it was an “urban” course. I have done lots of races in the rain. I have done lots of races in big cities. They did not have this high a crash rate.
I think/I hope that the race organizers realized this, because it was sort of a mess. And I think/I hope that they’re planning to change the course some for next year. You could have a good triathlon in Oakland, you just need to plot the bike course better.
Then the run, which I clearly didn’t do, went around Lake Merritt before finishing back over those same two flights of stairs and back across the train tracks. Lake Merritt is a nice park with a nice running path and lots of races go around it. Like, apparently, another unaffiliated 5K race on the same path at the same time as the triathlon??
The Organizational Details: I had been genuinely excited about this race, because I like local races and I like the Morgan Hill race these organizers put on. I also missed the inaugural Oakland Triathlon last year and everyone did it, so I felt like I was missing out. And I usually like wacky race courses, so the fact that this sounded all kinds of crazy was a bonus. Plus, since everyone was doing it that meant good competition on a fun course right near home. What could go wrong.
So I was a little disappointed that it was not super well-organized. Even before the race started, I was annoyed about things not being marked well. The expo is in a different place than transition, which is a different place than the start. This is annoying, but fine. Lots of races are that logistically annoying, but they all have signs and clear maps and directions. Instead, nowhere would tell me where packet pick-up was on race morning. I eventually had to ask another random racer. Actually, asking people where things were was kind of the operating procedure for everything before the start, but since opinions tended to vary you had to take more of a general crowd poll.
I think if things were a little more organized with people not being directed the wrong way on the bike, with lots of clear signage, with full (or at least heavily partial) course closures, then it would have been a lot better. There just seemed to be a lot of little details that were missing. Like, after I crashed, there was no system to get me or ALL the people who were crashing back to the finish/start, no SAG wagon or race support or anything that I saw. (It’s entirely possible there was and the volunteers by me just didn’t know about it or it was coming much later. I don’t know.) That seems like a bad plan. The volunteer who gave me a ride back was very, very nice. And the med tent people who cleaned out my cuts with “the only antibiotic cleansing wipe they had” were very nice. But there should have been more antibiotic wipes, you know.
Because we’re so close to Ironman Wisconsin and because I’m so tired — tired past the point of being able to explain it or even care if people understand why I’m too tired to care about them — I’ve been waiting for something bad to happen. It seemed about time for some kind of accident or emergency room visit. And then during the Oakland Triathlon on Saturday, it was such a mess of a race — the roads were bad, the course had dozens and dozens of sharp turns, there were too many people of too varied ability on that not totally closed course, plus it was raining — that I just kept waiting for something bad to happen. So many people were crashing on the turns, and I was taking them so carefully and so slowly, so naturally I crashed on the straight downhill.
I hit a pothole and then I hit two more potholes. I knew I was about to hit the first hole too, but it was too late to really swerve in those conditions; I thought I’d just ride through it. And that worked fine, but then I hit the second one and the third and my hands came off the bars and the wheel turned and I was skidding across the ground.
I knew I was crashing too as I crashed. I’m pretty sure I yelled, “Fuck” multiple times as I rolled and my bike rolled over me. Actually, I’m pretty sure I said, “Fuck” more than 100 times in total on Saturday.
It was this odd thing, because fairly quickly I was sure that I was “fine” in that sense that I wasn’t going to die or have any permanent damage. I wasn’t sure, though, that I wasn’t going to pass out or that I didn’t have some pretty bad temporary damage. So I was trying to self-asses, and swearing like crazy, and bleeding all over, and then focusing really hard on not passing out (which is a super special skill of mine). But when I eventually stood up to get out of the road, so I wouldn’t get hit by people still racing, I couldn’t really use my right arm to get up, and that hurt a lot, so then I really was about to pass out. Which meant I had to lay back down on the sidewalk. And I was laying there curled up on my non-bleeding side on the sidewalk somewhere in a commercial part of West Oakland, muttering “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck” over and over and trying to focus on one thing so I wouldn’t pass out. I was staring at my foot and part of me was looking at the rain and the dirt everywhere and thinking how much this was going to hurt later to clean out, and the other part of me thought ‘my ankle looks really skinny, that’s weird.’
An ambulance came and there really wasn’t much they could do, because if it’s not broken and it doesn’t need stitches or surgery (which it was decided it didn’t) then there’s honestly no real point in going to a hospital. As a professional ER-goer, let me tell you: most of the time, you don’t need to go to the ER. Are you going to spend $15,000 to drive in an ambulance so that some people, who may or may not have more experience than you cleaning out cuts, can clean out your cuts? And then you’ll still be wet and cold and stuck like that for more than a few hours, and they won’t have dry clothes for you and they won’t have food, and you won’t have a way to tell anyone where you are or how to come get you. No, that’s just dumb, and also a misallocation of resources.
Since the ambulance definitely wasn’t going to give me a ride back to the finish and I was starting to shake from cold or shock, and there apparently was no race support to pick up all the people crashing all over the place, and I debated trying to bike it but threw that idea out pretty quickly since I couldn’t use one of my hands or my other arm, eventually one of the totally freaked out volunteers went and got her car to give me a ride back. Which was really nice of her and I hope I didn’t bleed all over her car — but, also, how was that the official system?
Now I have cuts all down my right side, lots of skin gone across my shoulder/back, and a nasty cut/bump on my elbow. I also apparently landed on top of the bike with my knee, so that’s starting to swell too. And I managed to dislocate my left thumb earlier in the race, getting out of the swim. It’s all stuff that should heal. Hopefully, soon. Hopefully, before Wisconsin.
There was this weird part of me too that was relieved a tiny bit that the bad thing happened and it wasn’t that bad. I was like ‘this is fiiiiiine.’
But now I’m tired again, so tired. And cleaning out the cuts across my back was more painful than actually getting the cuts across my back. (I found myself wondering if you can pass out from pain. I think you can, right?) And now I’m in that part in between when you’re busy just dealing with a problem, and the time when that problem is actually better. It’s the part where everyone else is like ‘Wait, you’re still complaining about that?’ And you’re like why is my shoulder still dripping ooze on the floor?
Yesterday, after my swim workout, I got in my car and started crying. There wasn’t any particular reason. I had totally done the workout just fine and everything was fine, theoretically. The reason was simply: Ironman Training.
Last summer, I was busy with so many other things—like moving to L.A. and my car trying to kill me—and I was arguably undertrained for IM Canada (though not because I’m lazy, just because I was as trained as was smart and made sense at the time). So I never really had the full-on Ironman weirdness happen, where your body just sort of isn’t sure what to do with what you’re putting it through.
Not this time around. This time I’m pretty sure my body isn’t sure what to do, so I’d like some corroboration that weird things happen during Ironman training and also, if you were wondering just how healthy being fit is, well here you go. These are some weird things that have happened that we’re just chalking up to Ironman training:
- Can you micro-fall asleep? Where you’re pretty sure that you fell asleep for the second you closed your eyes and then you blinked and woke back up? Because I think that’s happening.
- Also, I can’t really sleep after hard or long workouts. Which is fun.
- One day, after a really long weekend, I fell asleep on the couch and woke up and couldn’t figure out where I was. Not just for a few seconds, which happens to everyone sometimes. I straight-up walked around the house, took something out of the oven, and still wasn’t sure where I was.
- Not being able to breath all the way. It just keeps catching in my chest. But then it goes away. Except for the other day when I forgot how to yawn.
- Freezing-ness. Lots of that.
- Am I starving? Am I going to throw up? The fun is in not knowing.
- For a little while, I was convinced I was sweating way more than usual, just buckets and buckets. But that’s stopped. So I’m not sure if I imagined it or if something was actually wrong with me.
- Sure, I’ve been to the doctors for both my ankles. I think they’re both within the realm of ignorable twinges, though. I have, however, lost the ability to discern ignorable twinges from non-ignorable ones.
- I also have so many cuts. I’m not even sure how you get this many cuts training for an event that is largely by yourself. But there you have it.
Oh, and yeah, things are a mess. Don’t come visit our house right now. I’m not thinking straight and sometimes I write stuff that doesn’t make sense. Good thing that’s my job.