More Gratitude, IMLP Run, The After — Hypothermia? & Ice Cream
In her superb love letter to swimming, Lynn Sherr observes that the best of us are only about 10-11 percent efficient in the water. Energy expended compared to work done, there is a lot of waste. Sea mammals we are not. The rough and tumble of my swim may have given me poor efficiency scores in the water — there is no way I was able to turn it all the way to 11 — but the run was smooth as I could reasonably expect.
Which for me, may mean I was only 10 percent efficient but hey, who is to look a gift horse in the mouth?
To continue to use aquatic references for the terrestrial portion of the race, I was even-keeled for the run and this — more than the best time or a dramatic sprint for the finish line — was a mark of success. The splits show a few inflection points however there were no major breakdowns. After three miles, I went from a too fast starting pace (7:32, 8:00, 8:01) to the 8:35-8:40 range where I stayed for more than an hour. Excepting the split for mile eight when I stopped to pee, my splits didn’t vary by more than a few seconds until mile 10. At this point, they jumped up to the 8:55-9:10 range until mile 19 when they abruptly slowed again. At this point, more variability entered the picture from mile to mile and I was anywhere from 9:19-9:47 until mile 25.
Mile 25 starts at the bottom of a hill and ends near the top. I broke. My steady-eddy attitude gave way to “get me done with this thing NOW!” The positive self-talk turned to a blue streak of unprintables. Even though I wasn’t tallying up my splits or figuring out my likely finish time or guessing my marathon time, I was aware that mile 25 was the first time that my splits went above 10 minutes per mile. It was disheartening.
I knew I was going to finish. I was pretty sure that I was well ahead of my 2012 time and on the way to a personal best. I had just cracked — my focus, energy and ability to hold everything together had evaporated with each step up that damn hill. Worse than cracking, I was aware that I had cracked.
And then one of the many minor miracles of the day happened. I saw my little Uma. Not really. Uma died last year around Thanksgiving. She had been with us for more than a decade and it is heartbreaking still to think about her passing. However, at Lake Placid Uma’s doppelgänger was in town to cheer. There she was on the roadside and I called out to her and her spirit lifted my heart and I ran a little lighter, a little taller and a lot faster through the 1.25 miles of the course along Mirror Drive and into the Olympic Oval.
All in all, the run split was 45:59 faster than 2012. It was my best time and it was 33 seconds off of the “best case scenario goal time” for the day. It is the best executed run that I’ve ever done. I’ve run faster splits. I’ve run more even splits. I’ve run through more intense anaerobic pain. But these efforts were all inferior to the overall mental and physical efforts that I needed to run 3:56:33 at Ironman Lake Placid in 2013.
Also, I cannot remember seeing such a lovely crew at the finish line. The Olympic Oval is a marvelous place to finish a run. There is the stadium seating, the gentle curve, the fans lined up, hillsides for additional viewing and, Mike Reilly’s voice echoing off of the nearby high school. I finished well, managed a smile and although I saw the tribe on the final turn and managed a wave of “I Love You” in sign language, didn’t stop to visit or high five anyone.
The nutrition plan worked. I stayed focused on the moment that I was in and didn’t let my mind wander to the rest of the run or the people around me. I was able to see Dana Ann and several of the kids when I needed them so much after making the climb up the big hill at mile 12. Simply put, the run worked and for that I’m so very grateful.
I was wiped out. Seriously, wiped out.
As mentioned above, I folded like an accordion on one of the two volunteers assigned to help me through the chute. I insisted that we go to a table so I could sit and not to the medical tent. I did not want the kids to see me with the medical professionals. It turns out, I don’t think I needed them at that time but I wasn’t being completely rational either.
I visited with Dana and the kids and we made a plan of where to meet after I got a short rubdown from the volunteer massage people. I found Patrick and we traded notes quickly and then headed for the rubdown. At this point, the signals started to show up, but I didn’t recognize them at all. I was a mess and very soon I was going to need help.
I had trouble controlling my hand so that I could sign in for the massage. As the volunteer masseuse worked on my legs, I started to cry. There was no weeping or wailing, but there was a big release and I turned to jelly on the table. By the time I left the tent, my right arm was twitching methodically. It looked like I had a nervous disorder like Parkinsons. I went to claim my bags and could not speak intelligently to the volunteers checking race numbers at the bags.
It seems that my rack had one bag on it that was mine, and a second bag that belonged in the exact same spot one rack over. I picked up the bags on my rack without checking them and tried to walk off not realizing I had someone’s bike gear. As the guy explained the problem, which included a missing bike bag of mine, I could not form sentences. I just muttered and pointed and leaned on a fence. He called someone for help to locate my bag and gently took the other person’s gear from my hands. By this point, both of my arms were twitching and I was getting cold. I was confused. Not angry or frustrated, I just couldn’t figure out what to do next.
After what was probably only five minutes, the volunteers had me all squared away and pointed me back toward the flagpole in front of the school — my meeting place with Dana. Here I made at least one good decision by deciding to leave my bike in T2 until later. I was struggling with the bags and the maze of fences and tables on the oval’s infield. However, I couldn’t figure out the fences and finally shouted to Dana to meet me up the street in front of the Olympic Center where there is a pile of snow (shavings from the Zamboni).
I walked up the hill on Main Street to meet the tribe at the snow pile and went into full shutdown. Later, I realized from reading others’ race reports, I probably had hypothermia. Finally, quivering all over and not really making much sense, I met the tribe along with Patrick and his clan at the snow pile. Dana looked quite alarmed and she helped me out of my wet shirt and into her raincoat. We all walked back to the hotel where the warmth, something to drink and a shower helped me immensely.
The Outcome & the Gear
All in all, the whole trip, the whole race, the whole experience was amazing. I hope the kids get more out of watching the Olympics this winter from their adventures atop the ski jumps and walking down the bobsled runs. I was able to finish upright and impress the woman I love — and if that is not enough reason to do these things, I don’t know what is. And, I dropped a whole bunch of time off of my 2012 performance. Who’d a thought that I’d finish 143rd overall or 27th in my age group? I didn’t.
I swam well — though it didn’t turn out the way I had envisioned it. I rode well — and had a great experience learning a little what it is like for those who race for position. I ran well — as well as I could have hoped and without any really bad incidents. The kids had fun. Dana loved the town and the adventures of the surrounding area. Even before we went to Ben & Jerry’s on race night, I was a winner.
This is the standard point in the race report of professionals and other sponsored athletes where they list all their sponsors and coaches and physical therapists and nutritionists and such. I swim in a BlueSeventy wetsuit and was ready to rock a brand new Roka speedsuit. I wear Speedo or TYR goggles. I ride a Kuota K-Factor with Mavic wheels, Shimano Ultegra and Shimano shoes. I roll with Continental tires. On the back, I sported a Wheelbuilder.com disc cover and on the front I rode with a borrowed Zipp 808. Usually I don a Giro helmet but borrowed a Spiuk Chronos. I have a racebelt from Spibelt and wear a 2XU kit. Oakley protects my eyes and I am devoted to New Balance — currently running in 890 v.2 with some after market speed laces. I eat Gu gels and Bonk Breaker bars which get washed back by water or Powerbar Perform. I also train with Nuun and race with Enduralytes.
Oh, and I have five sponsors. My wife and our tribe of four little people. They are more than I deserve. I’m so very thankful.
NB — Corporate Sponsors Welcome. Seriously, just call me.