For the century ride I had the Chrissie Wellington* Ironman breakfast: two pieces of toast with full-fat cream cheese and jam. Breakfast the next morning before the half marathon I only had an orange. I hadn't ever had more for any of the long training runs and didn't think anymore about it. I should have had more.
It was a lovely morning- the weather was crisp yet still cool, and not a cloud in the sky. We got there in plenty of time to experience the port-o-potties, stretch, chat with friends, warm-up a little.
At one point we were comparing our tan lines from the previous day's ride, which was hilarious. Ray (Who is another 'bird brother. He was on the men's cross country/track team)thought it best to wear shorter shorts than his tan line to show it off; Pat wore a sleeveless shirt to show his farmer tan line. Me, I tried to cover the line that wound around my thighs! I also got to see Mark and Sumer Jackson, as well as a mom-friend from the kids' school. Right before the gun went off I saw an old FPU friend, Dave Castro. The gun went off, we had a quick hug and started running!
|Ready to run! (Well, kind of)|
My favorite part was getting to run through the zoo! Between miles 6 and 7 the route made it's way through the actual Chaffee Zoo. I love the zoo anyway, but how cool is it to get to run by a bear, giraffes, kangaroos and zebras? Seriously, amazing!
I knew I was in trouble at mile 8. At the aid station I walked, and Pat had to wait for me. Again we checked how we were doing. Again he said "great". So I told him to not let me hold him back; if he can have a good run, then I want him to do it! Slowly I fell behind, desperately wanting to be able to keep up, but also keeping the situation in perspective. As we climbed the hill of the overpass, I lost Pat for the rest of the race. I was determined NOT to walk on the hill. Oh no, no, no...it would take more than a little overpass to get me.
At mile 10 there was finally another aid station (in my opinion there should have been one every mile, especially the last half of the course). I took out my 2x caffeine gel...this has to help, please let this help! It was getting hot on the course, so dumping water all over my body felt really good. It gave me some rejuvenation. As I was walking through the aid station a guy passed me and said, "Just a 5k left!" Oh, is that all? I can do a 5k! That's right, there are only three miles in one of those.
Fortunately the route wound us through downtown Fresno, which offered a lot of shade from the tall buildings. I was fading faster than before...what happened to mile 10's optimism? Why wasn't my caffeine-infused gel kicking in? It certainly had my permission to do so. Any minute. Really, now would be a great time. It would also be a great time for an aid station! Where was the water?
Finally at mile 12 there was another station. I was one of THOSE people...you know, the one that the volunteers feel so sorry for. The one that they feel the need to have pity for and tell you that there is only one more mile. I had my name on my race bib, so they were even calling me by name. Aw, how special I felt! I not only walked in that aid station, I stood there. I waited for the volunteer to give me the other cup she was holding after I dumped the other one all over my head. The girl with the Gatorade cups probably appreciated me standing too, this time to drink the Gatorade instead of spilling it all over her. I tried to throw my cup away but missed the trash can. "That's no problem," I was nicely told by a male volunteer. "That's what we're here for. You go get that finish!" Ok, that sounds like a great idea.
One more mile. I got this. I was even shocked I could swing the mile pace I was running. Getting in the 1:40's would definitely happen. I was having fun even though I didn't know how much longer my legs could propel me forward. A couple men on the sidelines cheered for me as I ran by, "Go, go, go!" I laughed and yelled back, "I AM going!" They laughed back, and cheered some more. This was fun. Painful, but fun! There was one more band, so I gave them a "rock on" hand gesture with my tongue hanging out as I passed by. They seemed to appreciate it.
The final straight-away, and there was a man yelling out "600 yards left, you got this!" to the two men who had just passed me. He also added, "She's behind you, she won't catch you!" Ummm...are you referring to me? I reassured the man running that I would not be making any moves to try to catch him, he was safe. C'mon, don't ruin my fun by rubbing it in that I can't pass a man who appeared twice my age!
Then a miracle happened. "Is that Kerry Sue?" I heard behind me. I turned and looked, and there was Dave Castro. He fed my ego with compliments. "Where were you a mile ago?" I jokingly asked him. "I saw you, I was trying to catch you," he replied. He kept encouraging me on the last couple hundred yards. "All the way, you're almost there!" And with that we crossed the finish line together in 1:45...not exactly the 'bird brother I was expecting to finish with, but a 'bird brother just the same! Thanks, Dave!
I found Pat, discovered that he was able to finish in 1:42! We both had a super race, hoping we would get in the 1:50's before, and doing so much better! Now off to pick up my bag and get some more water. Like the girl I am, I started spontaneously crying for relief, from exhaustion, and amazement of what we just did in two days.
Then, I had the weirdest thing happen as we were sitting on the cool ground of Chukchansi stadium. My fingers started getting tingly, as well as my lips. Hmmm...this is weird. I sent a text to my parents, brother and husband letting them know I did better than I was hoping for and I was safe. Maybe that was premature, because my fingers went from tingling to not being able to move them. And now my tongue and roof of my mouth was tingly too. My fingers went straight, and I could not bend them. Pat told me the medical tent was just around the corner if I wanted him to help me get there. He said to let him know when it wasn't just my hands. He asked if I wanted the gel that was in my bag? It would probably help. Not yet, I told him. Not long after, the tingly started going up my arms, I panicked and started crying again. Pat gave me some napkins. My mom had texted back, but I couldn't use my fingers to answer her question. Why is my whole face shaking? And my arms?
Soon it passed, and we decided I needed some sugar, fast! He helped me up (my legs were totally fine, so bizarre!) and we came upon the Cold Stone booth. "Free ice cream for runners!" I heard, and swooped up a cup. And by swooping, I mean using both hands to grab it, since I didn't yet have full function of my fingers. After the first bite I felt immediately better! We found a seat in the stadium and watched more runners come in. We even caught the excitement of seeing a guy getting loaded into an ambulance. Glad I wasn't THAT guy! Instead, by this point, we were having a good time, laughing about the past two days, and finally got a descent "selfie" (a picture that you take of yourself):
Pat reminded me what I had for breakfast that day: an orange, and some coffee. He suggested I eat more. I should totally stick with my Chrissie Wellington breakfast!
Besides ice cream, you know what you get to eat without guilt after burning 7,000 calories in two days? How about this:
Here is the link to what the Garmin recorded. Just remember...Pat ran faster! :)
*In case you don't know who Chrissie Wellington is, she is the most phenomenal female Ironman athlete ever. Check her out: http://www.chrissiewellington.org/