Mental Musings of Ironman Florida 2010

posted Nov 23, 2010, 7:34 AM by James Cass   [ updated Nov 23, 2010, 7:54 AM by Team Psych Triathlon ]

Ever wonder what an athlete thinks about all day long during an Ironman? I should clarify...do you wonder what an "age-grouper" thinks about all day long? I'm sure the pros have much more meaningful
banter going on inside their heads but I'm pretty certain by the time I get to the finish line the prize purse will be long gone, so I have the luxury of letting my mind wander where it wants. No ipods, no music and no conversations while biking unless you want to get slapped with a blocking penalty. Ok so maybe you can talk on the run, but I wasn't the best company at that point so I basically had to talk to myself. I thought I would write down what I could remember before Ironman amnesia sets in (you do know this is the reason we continue to sign up for more of these right?) Here is a sampling of my random thoughts that entertained me all day.

Swim sample dialogue:
" I wonder if I will be able to flag a kay-aker for help in the split second it takes to pass out after being clobbered by one of my newest 2500 friends. This is by far the longest I have ever gone where every single stroke I take I have either touched a body or been slapped, hit, grabbed by someone. Why are they grabbing my ankles? who swims like that anyway? Are they doing it on purpose- I don't care if he's a clydesdale I'm shoving him back.. that didn't help..ok try again...I need some space! ok just guard your face and keep the goggles on." With the exception of a few pockets of swimming solitude on the second lap this was the dialogue that looped over and over. So basically survival mode.


Random thoughts on bike:
1. I don't want to hear or feel the wind again unless it is rocking me on my hammock....hmph!
2. Five hours into an Ironman is a lot like PMS. Very strange and seemingly benign things make me want to     cry. I still don't know what it was about that cowbell...
3. This impressive mind- body control ability that allows so many athletes to pee on a moving bike still eludes me. My only advice to those of us who have not mastered this technique is to pass REALLY WIDE. (this bought me at least 30min of calculating how much 4 porta potty stops cost me)
4. Are we there yet??
5. Sorry Hammer nutrition, but the next time I have espresso I want it hot and in a cup....no scratch that.. make it a hazelnut soy latte loaded with whip cream in a big gigantic mug. How could I not have been prepared for a 37 degree IM morning in Florida!?
6. Wonder what Sam is posting on my facebook page?
7. The best sign I have seen all day- "Your butt looks really small today!" ahhh... why thank you. Wonder if a male or female came up with that one??
8. FINALLY!!

Run bargaining:
Spent the first 20 minutes preoccupied with an elastic shoe lace malfunc-tion. The rest of the time I spent lying to myself. In other words ......pain management. Apparently I must not be a good liar because my legs just didn't believe me when I told them that they were actually fresh and feeling good. I think my stomach ratted me out when that espresso gel started to make its way back up. My pace was all over the place depending on whether I bought the lies or not. IF I was able to convince myself that my legs didn't hurt THAT bad then my pace picked up and all was right and good in the world. As soon as my quads screamed louder than my mind then the pace slowed down and the pity party resumed. And so it went back and forth for the entire marathon. At this point I was off my run and total time goals but I still had one more opportunity to do something I had not been able to do before....
Happy Ending:
The last goal was not finishing. That was not negotiable. It was to finish like all those happy people with their arms over their heads and big smiles on their faces. I have struck out many times in this area. The last race ended with a vomit so it really just wasn't prac-tical. My first Ironman I tried it and only got as far as putting my hands on my head like I was suffering from a migraine. This time I finally did it! Hands over head AND enough en-ergy to smile and thank God! Sometimes you find your victories in the smallest places but you do have to find them since that IS what keeps you coming back for more.
The next day on our drive home we stopped to eat at the Apalachicola Diner. One of the employees asked me if that blue ( Ironman) wrist band was for the Annual Catfish Festival. Well.... not exactly but I still feel like I caught a really big fish that day and am going home a happy camper.

Lisa Sandusky
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