IN the photo on the right, the cast of characters, which I referred to in my part 1 run post are in this photo, which was taken by Duane.
From left to right are the Ironmen/Ironwomen and their respective Ironmates
(back row:) Ironman Bones, Ironman Miguel, Ironman Me, Ironman Sweet Baboo, Ironmom Mama Baboo and her husband
(front row:) ironmate Lorna, Ironmate Michi, Ironman Wiz, Ironmate Amy and Ironman Ricky V.
So Sunday night, as I was running/walking it occured to me that there was some sort of song, a song, that I heard on an episode of Quantum Leap when Dr. Becket became Elvis. I hummed that to myself as well as muttered nonsensical rhymes and words, none of which I can remember now, except for that song, which is one of the nicer Elvis songs, and I'm not even an Elvis fan.
Well, it was on one moonlight night,
Stars shining bright...
Stars shining bright...
Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining....
The second trip out was not as fun as the first. It was dark, and quiet, and deserted. The happy chatter of people on their second loop was gone. I'd seen the screaming crowd and then had to walk away from it; we all had. I had ten more miles to go, and it was nearly 10:00 pm. It seemed to take hours and hours to get to the turn around point, and then I knew I had 5 more miles to go, and it was nearly 11:00. This out-and-back seemed longer. Much, much longer.
On the 2nd half of the run an ambulance went flying by me about 4 times, scaring the crap out of me. There were about 36 people pulled off the course for various medical reasons. I saw people whose bodies looked like question marks, they were so hunched over and tired. I felt so, so lucky that my stomach had held up.
As I figured, by the time I reached the 21 mile mark, I was pretty tired. I wanted to take longer walk breaks but my foot only hurt when I walked, and I kept looking at my Garmin, which seemed to mock me in a snotty canned female voice with a British accent, "if you stop running now, you won't make it."
Then a new development, I could not walk in a straight line. I would start to veer off to the right. I could jog in a straight line, however. Between my feet, the time ticking down on the Garmin, and the vertigo, I kept up the running.
I was So. Tired. Not just tired from running all day, but the lack of sleep was kicking in. I felt sleepy. The aid stations were packing it up but they kept out enough of everything to make sure everyong was taken care of. They offered me a veritable smorgasborg of gels, "what flavor do you want?"
Oh GAWD I'm so sick of gels. Who cares what flavor. Just give me one with caffein.
I'd suck down the PowerGel double latte and wash it down with lemon-lime gatorade. Yum.
I had another ice-cold coke around mile 22.
I figured I'd passed 20-30 people on the run, which was somewhat comforting since hundreds had passed me on the bike, but less so this time, because I knew that I was fighting the clock, which meant that every person I passed was a potential DNF.
According to coach Jimmy, I started the run ranked at 1656 and finished it ranked at 1556. 198 people DNF'd. 198. And this is considered low; at Ironman Wisconsin last year they had at least 400 DNF.
Then I was on my way back from the turnaround, and I passed people who were still working their way toward the turn around, and I didn't know what to say. I knew that I would just barely make it in, but these folks were a good 4-5 miles behind me. They were all tired, and all walking slowly. They wouldn't make it. They wouldn't be "official" finishers. One of them was Boo. I passed one guy who appeared to have his parents out on the course walking with him, getting him things.
But who was I to be discouraging? Maybe they'd find some last minute energy. So I just said, "You're lookin' good there!" to everyone I saw, even if their faces were nearly touching the ground, hunched over with fatigue as they pumped their arms, trying to walk faster.
Still about 3 or 4 miles out I saw a middle-of-the-night move out. I remember that. It's what you do when you're being evicted. Since the road was closed, people were carrying out mattresses and other household furniture in the dark, running and putting it in the back of a pickup truck.
Then there was 2 more miles to go.
A Ford Ironman Escape SUV, hazard lights flashing, passed me slowly, going the other way, and I was pretty sure I knew where it was going. They were headed out to pull chips. I felt bad for those people. Less than 10 miles from the finish line, after going over 130 miles all day long, some person they didn't know was going to say, however kindly they might try to be, "I'm sorry, but I need to take your chip."
As I headed down the last couple miles I started speeding up, worried about not finishing in time. I know the websight says I ran a sub-ten minute mile, but I didn't. I don't think the chip mats were 4 miles apart. The street was empty. My quads were screaming for me to stop. I was exhausted and wasn't sure how long I could keep it up, but it was already midnight.
I passed 3 walking guys who cheered me on, even as they headed to the finish line behind me. I could run faster, as long as I knew that it was over soon.
I could hear the yelling from blocks away. I'd heard it on my first trip through but now, 3 hours later, it sounded exactly the same. It was like that sound you make when you're faking a cheering noise--you know, by breathing noisily out your mouth? It was so late, that I figured it must be a recording or something. There couldn't possibly that many people still up past midnight, cheering in the last runners for Ironman Louisville. But they were. There were that many people, and right now, just after midnight, they were screaming like crazy, blowing horns, ringing cowbells.
I rounded the cornder into the bright lights in my face, the screaming crowd. Up ahead, I saw a smiling Baboo. I hadn't read his post about me at this point so I didn't realize how relieved and happy he was that I had finished.
The chute seemed reallllly long. Then I was running on the Ironman carpeting. I heard the booming voice of the announcer, and the cheering. I couldn't really see what was going on around me or understand the announcer, I was looking for a timing mat that I could cross. I saw myself on a large screen, and for some reason, it struck me how large and white my stomach was.
I crossed under the arch at the end of the finish chute and ran out of room to run, so I stopped. And there I was. The last official finisher of the inaugural Ironman Louisville, KY.
They asked me if I needed medical treatment and I said, "I don't know." Quick as a flash I was in a wheelchair and being rolled to the medical treatment place. Someone put a finisher's medal around my neck and Baboo gave me my finisher's towel (?). My muscles immediately started stiffening up. They asked me if I wanted a blanket and I said no, because I was really hot. I could feel that I was sunburned.
One or two men crossed behind me, and then that was it. They closed the finish line down exactly 17 hours after the last swimmer when into the water at 7:37 am. My time was 17:19.
I wanted to sleep but there were all these bright lights. I was in a room like a gym. Baboo gave me some pizza. Pirate called. I called Mini Baboo, and told him I was done. Mama Baboo hovered overhead for a moment - she'd been so relieved when I finished that she nearly cried. She congratulated me and then disappeared. The nurse took off my shoes and, as others have done, marveled at the insanely sexy toe socks. My feet appeared to be okay, no blisters or bruises, although I did find a small blister at the end of one toe on my left foot about a day and a half later.
As the IV drip worked its way through me, I started shivering like crazy, and they covered me with one of those mylar blankets and then a woolen one.
They asked me if I knew my name and where I was. I had to fight the urge to laugh. I was giddy at being done and being vertical and being off my feet. Sure, I knew where I was. I was in triathlon hell, but now I'm in Louisville. My name is Iron Misty.
Eventually, about 1, they sent me on my way with a liter of fluid in me, "as a precaution" even though I didn't have any symptoms of dehydration. I was just really tired. Then were told that we had until 1 to get our stuff.
Uh, okay... So, we walked very gingerly to 5 or 6 blocks to get our bike and bags. Baboo stayed behind a bit to get a pizza, but they had lots leftover and everyone was leaving so they just gave him a whole pizza, and he caught up with me at transition. I noshed on the pizza all night and for breakfast the next day.
We walked our bikes back to the hotel. My legs were so stiff and sore I felt like I had leg braces on. My right foot hurt like crazy, the worst care of hot foot I've ever had.
My right foot and stopped hurting. I think it was a really bad case of hotfoot and then, when I got off the bike, all the nerves were trying to come back online. Baboo has marveled at my marathon time, and I suppose I have, too. My only marathon in January was 6 hours, and at Ironman Louisville, it was 6:20, after 112 miles of Kentucky hills and 2.4 miles of the Ohio river.
For now, I need some time to let all this marinade. I don't think it's quite hit me yet. Sitting here at my desk, waiting for my first class to start, I'm wondering if the substitutes did what I asked them to do.
Later on I'll get a message, and then I have to come back here to open house night. I figure I'll get to sleep around 8 or 8:30, and then I'm hoping for 10 hours of continuous sleep.
I'm overwhelmed at all the comments and emails I've gotten. It made me cry. I'm overwhelmed at the love and support of my friends and especially of Sweet Baboo. But then, he overwhelms me most of all; that's why I married him.
You guys, though, you really gave me something special. I loved reading the comments as people were tracking me through the race. I've done that before for other runners, and each time I ran over a timing mat I imagined that maybe somebody somewhere had new numbers pop up on their computer screen.
I'll write something less rambling and a little more concise when I get my bearings. It's lunch and I've already had one administrator in here checking to see if I have my objectives on the boards, etc. It's back to the real world for now, I'm looking foward to laying down and letting this all sink in without immediately falling asleep.