Tuesday, March 25, 2014

First Quarter Report: What am I Doing????

I finished the last blog with........        
So without further ado.... What's next??
and In short on the grand scheme of life.....What's Next is to build and develop myself and my spirit, my mind and my body.  To continue to search out and explore and experience life.  To live life in the present and appreciate everything that surrounds me.

That was the last week of December of 2013 and just about rolling into 2014.  We are now coming to the end of the 1st Quarter of the year, 3 months later and where have I been?  Have I held true to my words and desires?  The answer would be yes, no, maybe and a little bit all rolled into one.  I've had some great experiences, fully appreciated life and my surroundings and lived each day like I know how......with deep belly laughs and keeping connected and in the present.  Allowing my soul to grow and feel and love.  It has't all been a ball of laughs as I also have felt pain, dissapointment and sadness.  At times life has been a rollercoaster of emotions and I still dont understand the "why's" of it all but I do know it was all meant to be.  To put me on this path, my journey.

 I started my 2014 racing journey with a return trip to Arizona...where it all began for me in 2011.  And I was...

......there was an unexpected 7 month build up for this trip that made it extra special. Although my knees might not have agreed that road racing just a month after IM Cozumel was the best idea.  I certainly felt some aches and pains.  
Subsequently I cancelled my marathon in New Orleans in February and recently backed out of running Dallas in March.  My knees moved into my head and I now feel like I am running weak.  Meaning not since before I started training for that Arizona Marathon in 2011 have I had so little confidence in my running.  Head games that have now physically hampered me.  I'm working on it though.  Well, what else have I worked on these 3 months???

I worked on getting out on my board and put more days on the hill than I have since I moved to Boulder and celebrated a few Beer:30's Apres Ski.  All along, I have continued to swim and date and bike and renovate the hotel and run and host Full Moon Soirees and see a nutritionist and a trainer for stability/core work.  My physical fitness goals I set for myself was to get in there and make time for myself.   It is my intention to get to a  12% body  composition at 165-170 pounds.  That is what I feel good at and to be satisfied with my own body image.  But almost a 1/4 into the year and these goals did not seem to be occurring.  They are not lofty goals, to me they are very real and achievable.  But I have learned some lessons and realized a few things that I have known all along but forgot.  My diet was shit.  Not meaning I eat bad food but my habits were all over the place.  Eating my first meal at 1pm some days because I get so busy in work.  Or after sitting all day in meetings and leaving work at 7pm to then work out for 2 hours and eat Carbs for dinner at 10pm but be so wired from working out that I wouldnt fall asleep till 2am and then I was up at 5am starting the day all over again.  I went through a bout of sadness and was depressed after Valentines Day Weekend.  I then went and reluctantly put mysef back at there on the On line Dating Scene, which I really dreaded.  But how else am I going to find my Miranda?

I leaned on some great friends and had some wonderful conversations with people I care for more then they will ever know.  (Thanks Mom, Hal, Colin, Rachel & Janice)

So mix a ton of stress at work (shorthanded, renovations, flood damage, employee issues, behind budget), with the stress of daily training, with the stress of not sleeping right, with the stress of poor eating habits, with the stress of being a Vegan and needing all the nutritional values for an endurance athlete, the stress of life, the stress of feeling like I am being a bad father to my Ruggerboy, the stress that I am not getting the desired results out of my body, the stress of wondering when/if she will realize I am right here patiently waiting, yadda yadda yadda I can go on and on but we all can to a degree.  All at different levels.  Well, there you have it, I've created another Demon for myself....
The Demon of Stress...Cortisol
Now I typically handle stress pretty damn well but all these stressors along with my bad eating habits and some nutritional deficiencies and it is easy to see why my physical fitness goals are not being reached.  The Demon of Stress, "Cortisol", is public health enemy number one. Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease... The list goes on and on.   The nutritionist suggested possible Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.  But that is such a vague/broad term and it is not even clinically proven to exist nor are there any current tests to run to see if this is even the case.  Though the symptoms I am showing certainly can fit into that box.

So I realized that I am in a battle with Demon Cortisol.....and he/she is in the way, preventing me to reach my physical goals that I have set for myself 3+ months ago.  What am I doing about it??  I went in for a check up today, I've sought help of an Nutrionalist, I've hit the Slopes, I've engaged in conversation and sharing, Im releasing those things in which I can not change at work.  I'm altering my eating habits I had the best Bikram Yoga class yesterday that I had since 2010.  I am finding my way back onto the cushion and meditation and making time for myself and my boy as we ran around Coot Lake on Sunday.  This demon like the ones put before me on my journey to IM Cozumel is real.  But with that knowledge I can respect him/her and get by and step by step go beyond Demon Cortisol to a place where he/she can't touch me.

Its simple really....I've rededicated myself to my training and my eating & sleeping habits and most importantly being happy.  It's just another one of lifes experiences along my journey. 

What am I doing???

Last Night with the help of Coach Eric I finalized and tonight I registered for all my training races leading up to my "A" Race Boulder IM in August.

My Spring Summer Race Schedule is as follows:

May 10th ~ BTC Duathlon (Boulder, CO

May 17th  ~ Summer Open Triathlon (Longmont, CO)
May 18th ~  Colfax 1/2 Mary (Denver, CO)

June 1st ~ Boulder Sprint Triathlon (Boulder, CO)

June 8th ~ 1/2 Ironman (Kansas)

July 13 ~ Boulder Peak Olympic Triathlon (Boulder, CO)

August 3rd ~ Iron Man Boulder (Boulder, CO)

I look forward to blogging about this next part of my journey as we prepare for Ironman #2.  And all the silly, wonderful, sad, unknown, exciting experiences that I will encounter along the way.

And in the end, it'll all turn out as it should....as it always does.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

I Wonder......What's Next ????

Lost.....for a guy that thinks he has it pretty together, how can one feel lost?  I set a personal fitness goal like an Ironman and I do it.  I sign up, I show up and I do it.  Pretty simple.  I throw my hat into the ring of the unknown and have been extremely fortunate to have always come out on top.  When questioning if I was ready for the Ironman my Iron Buddy Hal simple stated to me, "you always succeed in what you do.  It's always been that way. No way you aren't gonna finish, that's not who you are."  I'm paraphrasing but that was this gist of what he said.  It may not always be pretty but I succeed, I get it done.  Some people, maybe most think finishing an Ironman is some incredible accomplishment but I think every and anyone can do it.  It is just a simple race that anyone can enter.  That's it.  I didn't save anyone's life or help shape someones life because of the race.  I paid an entrance fee and completed the task.  No more, no less.  So what is next????  

I don't really know.  I recall after running my first marathon, sitting alone on the airplane and heading back to Colorado.  I silently wept.  A few tears just trickled out from my eyes.  I hadn't a clue why.  In the aftermath it makes sense to me.  There is this depression that people experience after working hard for something, after putting in so much time, energy, nurturing, love and sacrifice and then it suddenly comes to an end.  What's next?  Similar to post pregnancy depression I would imagine.  The registration, the training, the hours, the build up, the event then.......nothing.  It is over.  What's next? There is this void.  This gap, this space that was continually filled and now it's empy.  My first marathon was also  a completion of a big  circle for me.  Jen owned a home in AZ, we had spent time together there and all that I knew about AZ was with and through her.  This was the first time I had returned since after she ended our engagement.  She was an elite marathon runner and this was my first marathon.  We were to run around the world, competing in these types of events together.  I ran the roads of the restaurants we dined in and passed the stores we shopped in.  I looked a lot of demons in the eyes that weekend in the airport, in Scottsdale, at South Mountain and in all the cactus along the roads.   I felt a lot of sadness and emptiness in my heart.  But I paid that entrance fee and I completed the task and I ran my first marathon alone.  I took advantage of the opportunity that was put in front of me to experience something wonderful and join the less than 1% club.  Things like this just don't go away.  You need to be present and aknowledge and live the life you are meant to live.  You need to get up in the morning and look at that beautiful sunrise and experience what is next.  So after completeing a Ironman there certainly is this void and although there wasn't the added demons of an ex fiancee, I was/am still alone.  Do not get me wrong, it is absolutely invaluable to have the support of friends and loved ones and coaches.  With each mile you log in the pool, in the saddle and on the roads and when the goblins are catching you on the course and you sit in the airplane on that long ride home it is still yourself with just yourself.  Your demons, your fears, your triumphs, your accomplishments, your blisters, and your struggle for what is next.  This is one of the reasons Ironman races sell out in less than a day.  All those racers desiring a what is next and needing something to fill the void.

After the race, I sat on the beach and watched several beautiful sunsets.

I filled my time creating race reports and answering many wonderful supportive texts and emails.  I popped countless numbers of blisters on my feet and I played the race over in my mind a billion times on what I could have done differently.  And I got on the plane and I prepared to head back home to Colorado and I remembered my time on the plane after AZ and how much happier I am now then I was then.  But that same feeling of leaving the accomplishment behind and knowing I would go back to the real world with a void was still there.  What's next?  Why does there have to be a what's next??  Why do I do these things?  What am I looking for? What am I searching for?  Is there some magic out there? Some High?  Some Passion?   Larger than the question of what's next I am always curious as to how people don't ask what is next.  And why do people just settle?  Why do people become complacent?  Why do they work in jobs that they can't stand and complain constantly?  Why do they marry someone and then bitch about their spouse and think of it as something that is disposable and casually throw it away?  

Why do we live like The Dave Mathews song Ants Marching....He wakes up in the morning Does his teeth bite to eat and he's rolling Never changes a thing The week ends the week begins.  

Don't get me wrong I'm just like the next guy and get caught up in the day to day and just getting by mentality.  I allow things to slide and forget the vision and lose sight of the passion.  I get caught up in paying bills and searching for happiness rather than creating it.  I hide beneath my covers rather than facing the world and continuing to move forward.  I allow my void to be filled with emptiness and routine and I become stagnant, then restless and then I remember those two words that form a question....What's Next?

So I come home from Cozumel and a week later I am back in the pool.  3/4 of the class passes by and Jonathan turns to me and says "OK Marty. you are done for the day."  "Huh?  Wait...what?" I reply.  "You just got done with a race time to get out of the pool" his reply........"How could you kick me out of this warm pool and back into the cold cold world?"  I say knowing damn well of it's multiple meanings as I state those words.   Such a metaphor for folks just completing a task.  These are my peeps of Sunday morning swim and I have to leave them?  It's -5 degrees out and I have to leave the warmth and security of this womb and for what I have been training for for months and be casted out back into the real world and friggen cold.

So for the next few days I find myself tending to recovery of my legs and feet and slowing getting back into training.  I meet with Coach Eric.  I go on line and look at races.  I check out exotic lands and surf and yoga camps.  I think about the holidays coming and how progress is at work.  I plan snowboard vacations and ponder about if where and when will I met that special someone to walk besides or have I already met her and just don't know it yet.  I think about the lyrics to Hello my old heart.....
and I wonder if I have set my old heart free.  And I get a massage and visit Heather for her to check out my legs and feet and work her magic.  I am able to attend full swim sessions, I pick up Bella from the bike shop after not seeing her for weeks.  I spend a lot of time with my Boy and get the opportunity to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends and take in a show and go out for dinners.
And I realize that it is now over 3 weeks after the race and I am back in the routine.  I'm part of the cattle just going to work and doing what I do every day.  And I realize I kinda have forgotten about what's next.  I mean I am plotting and planning but not really living and doing.  Oh I also I check out the drying blisters on my feet.

The what next is not just about what adventure is next in my life.  What race or physical/mental/spiritual test will I put myself through.  This what next is within each phase of my life.  A demon I have talked about in the past is the ability to put out there into the world your intention for all to know and hear.  This is a scary proposition because what if you don't come through?  What if you fail at it?  Then everyone will know you are a failure.  What about those people that shout everything out to the roof tops but never do anything?  No one heeds their words or believes in them.  They are just talkers.  I certainly don't want to be put into that category as a person as well.  So it is a difficult thing to do, in my eyes, to set something out there in the universe for all to see because of potential failure and then to have the knowledge that you must be accountable for actions to follow up with those words.

So without further ado....What's next??
1) In work..... I desire to lead a team that stops thinking of paycheck to paycheck and instead creates visions and turns them into reality and stops using excuses but instead finds answers.   I will continue to enlist those who share the vision and dream and help one another to move forward rather than detracting and attempting to bring the team down.  Help make it better or move on. 

2) In my personal life I keep thinking of these three things....
   b-Honesty ~ Brutal honesty.  Not to hurt but to better
   c-Physical Fitness

Meditation ~  I know in my soul it comes down to meditating.  Being at peace and spending time on the cushion or in a church.  But it is so easy to put off or to forget or to be too busy.   I know it is the answer but yet at times I stay away.  It is my intention to get back to a regular practice of spiritual development.

Honesty ~ Brutal honesty to myself and to others.  Not to be hurtful but to be helpful.  To be truly and completely honest to ourselves is huge.  We at times are so hard on ourselves and talk and treat ourselves worse than we would an enemy.   It is my intention to be as honest as possible to all those around me out of love and respect for themsleves and myself.  It is my intention to try not to be so hard on myself if I do not achieve or do as I would hope to have.  I also will attempt to do a better job on following through on my own personal promises.

Physical Fitness ~ Get in there and make time for yourself.   It is my intention to get to a  12% body  composition at 165-170 pounds.  That is what I feel good at and to be satisfied with my own body image.

In short on the grand scheme of life.....What's Next is to build and develop myself and my spirit, my mind and my body.  To continue to search out and explore and experience life.  To live life in the present and appreciate everything that surrounds me.

What's next???  I always want to make sure that my family knows how much I love them and how thankful I am for them and all the sacrifices that thay have made for me and that I apologize for any pain or hardships that I may have created for them.

What's next????  I'm naked and I'm standing in the sink and I Dig it!

Hmmmmmmm.....what's next???
I'm not sure where or how life will take me.  But I can't wait and I look forward to every second of it.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

IM Cozumel Race Recap ~ The Run ~ The Finish

Each mile begins with a simple step.  Doesn't matter how fast it is or how long the stride.  A simple baby step is all it takes.  One after another after another enough to make up 26.2 miles worth of steps.  Finishing the bike and starting the run was during a pretty massive downpour.  As I hobbled out of the transition area, I knew I was not out of danger from my bike mishap and knew I had 26.2 more miles between myself and the finish line.  In my shorter practice races over the summer I had continually had difficulties with the run after riding.  It always seemed to take 3 miles or so untl I was able to shake the bike legs off and transition to my running legs.  Most of the races had negative splits, meaning I would get faster with each mile.  Though the longest I had done was an Olympic Distance race with a 10K or 6 mile run in it.  Would this marathon be different?  Of course it would be but how different was the question.

 The run course was 3 loops with each loop being just under 9 miles.  The loop was really an out and back of about 4.5 miles.   Run 4.5 miles and make a u-turn. So you basically passed everything 6 times.  
The first 2 miles or so were relatively uneventful.  My legs felt heavy and I felt slow.  Pretty normal I thought with the exception of splashing and slogging through puddles almost a foot deep.  The rain was so heavy at times, the city street drainage could not keep up and massive puddles were omnipresent.  Initially the streets were crowded with on lookers and people cheering but as the rain continued to come down and the night came around the spectators thinned out.  Those that stayed out or sought shelter under tents or in sidewalk bars  certainly made up a group of well dedicated and supportive fans.  I was amazed and impressed with their unrelenting cheering and compassion for us as athletes.

The first 4.5 miles took us out of town and towards the airport.  After about mile 2.5 my feet start to feel  HOT.  I knew what this would mean.....blisters were starting to form on my feet.  Crap, how was I going to manage this.  I knew I had a compeed bandaid on me but only one and I could feel the pain occuring under the ball of my right foot and on the inside of my heel also on my right foot.  I wondered what I was going to do.  I knew if left untreated I was going to be in big trouble as they would only get worse and I only had ohhh roughly 23 more miles to go.  I began assessing what and if any permanent damange could occur.  I truly only thought that all I would experience would be pain and if I could suck it up for 20 + mile to cross the finish.  I thought about popping them but then was concerned about running on them and getting them infected if I did that.   I started my first steps of walking.  This was against my philosphy so early in the race to walk because there is no place to go to after you cross that line.  I grabbed some soggy pretzels in the aide station as I was still trying to get back some salt in my body and cut the gatorade with some water.  My thought was to walk while eating and drinking evaluate the condition on my foot and then try to run once again.  And so I went..shuffle stepping for approx 2 miles and walking for 2 miles.  
While this was going on I was observing the conditions of other athletes.  I saw fellow Boulderite Katie with her arm bandaged/wrapped around her body and wondered what happen to her.  I heard the scrapping sounds of another gal dragging her right foot along the road as she also was on the walk a few muster enough to drag along a few.  There were those folks who sprinted by me and then virtually came to a stand still then sprinted by me and came to a stand still.  Because we had 6 lengths of this path it was tough to tell what lap each person was on and where their struggles took them.  

In my head, I was behind them all.  I had 6 GUs in my shirt and the plan was to eat one at each leg.  I knew I would need more calories as each GU contains 90 calories and I was on a 300 calories an hour mindset.  I had my secret weapon of 2~ 50mg of caffienated GUs in my special needs bag that I would get at mile 21 for that extra kick on the ast 5.1 miles of the run.  This plan was great if I was running but I wasn't.  I was doing the Iron Man Shuffle and walking.  So I knew my time would take me longer but I also knew I wasn't expending the energy as if I was on this plan.  My concern switched to my feet and the clock.  Am I in jeopardy of not finishing at this pace?  I got off the bike and believed that I had almost 8 hours for the marathon.  My initial thought was No problem, I'll run this in 5 and be happy.  That was before the blisters.  My watch was also off as I had that mishap on the bike and reset everything.  So I was kind of blind with timing.  Could I do this?  Could I actually have come this far and not cross the finish line in time?  This was almost NEVER even a thought I had while training.  I always felt I would do it.  It was just a matter of when not if.  Now for the first time I was thinking, I may not make the cut off.  And for the second time, though very briefly, I thought of throwing in the towel.  VERY BRIEFLY...because at this point I knew that......

Ironman Shuffle with a walk would be my path.  Approx. mile 7 I met up with a guy from Iowa, Speedwalker.  I had observed Speedwalker since the beginning of the race.  His arms pumping a mile a minute but legs barely moving.  His pace seemed to be about mine perhaps a touch slower as I caught up to him.  This was Speedwalkers first Ironman.  He had trained with a group of 30 or so triathletes and about 10 of them made this trip.  He has been training for over a year for this race at 27.  Speedwalker had just over 1 more loop to go while I was approaching 2 more loops to go.  But my time was occupied with our conversation and he was on top of his watch every minute.  "We are now moving at a 13 min pace"  "That last mile we did a 13:28 pace" I inquired if this was his plan to "speedwalk" his way to the finish.  It was not originally, but he was so worried about blowing up this far into the race, he just wanted to finish and to make sure nothing went wrong and would stop him from this year long dream.  And so we went.   

It was enjoyable, took my mind off of my feet (to a degree)  Yes feet, as my left foot now were starting to form blisters on them as well.  But we talked about our training and paths to get where we currently were.  We jogged from mile 8 to 10 and during that time I saw my IronBuddy Hal.  "One more lap to go??"  Called Hal.  All I could do was muster up a peace sign to signify "Nope two more my friend" as I shook my head and made the U turn to head back towards the airport for another lap.

Speaking with Speedwalker, it was determined that we were moving at about 1 hour per 4.5 miles.  The quick math in my head showed 6 lengths at 1 hour a piece equals 6 hours.  Tadaah!  I had 7+ hours from the start ofthe run.  I got this with an hour to spare.  I can't even believe I had to think that and I shake my head right now as I type these words as I can't imagine I was in that scenario.  That little 2 mile jog with Speedwalker was my last and the pain on both of my feet picked up.  I was now walking on the sides of my feet and doing whatever I could from directly landing on the blisters that were on the underside of my feet or from rubbing the blisters that were on the sides of my feet.  My pace slowed down.  I bid Speedwalker a congratulatory goodbye and appreciation for our time spent together and he was off.   Leg #3 of 6 saw me slow down to approx 1:15.  Quick math...3 hours in at 3:15 3 more legs to go maybe 4 hours if I continue to slow.  We are now looking at a 7 hour Marathon and starting to cut the potential time to finish even closer.  CRAP!!!!!  I was not a fan of the turn around point by the airport as it was isolated and 4.5 miles from town and the finish and crowds, and lights and civilization. You were truly within your mind and thoughts in this dark stretch.  But every mile there was an oasis of volunteers.  Mexican School Children...."Aqua? Water? Pepsi? Gatorade?"  They would ask.  I was so appreciative of them lasting through the rain and dark to be out there for us.  It was endearing as during those laps, I witnessed a budding relationship form by two of the teenagers.  They were flirting and shy and giggling and talking and by the end of the night they walked away hand in hand.  Very sweet.

Then in front of the El Cozumeleno Beach Resort.....I stopped. For over 3.5 hours, I was toying with what do I do about these now fully formed and multiple blisters on each foot.  My right heel and ball of my foot were pretty bad.  I had my one compeed pad and had to do something.  I sat down and attempted to open the wet bandaide.  A spectator ran over and undid the paper that I could not and I attempted to put the sticky pad on my foot.  Problem was the adhesive hit two other blisters while trying to cover the one most painful.  Hell I'll worry about that later.  Wet sock back on wrinkled white foot and insert into wet running shoe and off we went again.  More than halfway through with the run.  The course at this point in time was dark as night had descended on us.  It was emptying out as those doing laps in front of me had crossed the finish line.  It was also completely filled with walkers, people sitting on the curbs,  people crying, people exhausted and fatigued.

My spirits on the other hand were that of a worried for my time and very happy and light.  My feet were done but my soul was lifted.  I threw the clock and dreams of my time out the window hours ago.  I felt blessed and alive and thankful.  I endured the Iron man moment when I wasn't sure if I had it in me to finish.  I was hit soo hard by the wall but kept peddling and would not be denied or say "Uncle".  I wanted to make sure at this moment that I enjoyed and took in and appreciated every minute of this second half of this marathon.  In my mind the victory lap started at approx mile 14.  I was there in spirit and mind, I just needed to make sure I was also there in body.

About mile 16 I came across a tent of people Salsa Dancing.  I dipped in for a spin of an elder lady and my best Vicor Cruz impersonation grabbed a hug and I was off.  Past Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Fist pumping and the turn around in downtown at approx mile 18 where this time I walked through, saw my Iron Buddy Hal for a second time and gave a high five and a hug.  I asked him how much time I had left.  He told me 2:45.  That set a little time panic in me as I did that last leg in 1:30.  I had 2 more legs to go.  If I kept that pace it would be 3 hours till finish.   I needed to suck it up and get on my giddie yup.  Immediately after that I saw Karen.  Karen was crying and walking or wandering on the course, more like it.  She was exhausted and ready to give up.  She like myself had hamburger for feet and was having trouble taking steps.  I put my arm around Karen and walked with her.  We talked about how she got here.  This was her 2nd Ironman.  She had done her first in 16 hours and wanted to beat that.  I didn't think she was going to make it but I believe she could finish and we walked and talked and I pushed the pace trying to keep her attention off her feet and the pain she felt.  Then the rain came down again. And I laughed and laughed out loud up to the heavens and loved every minute of it. What else could this race possibly have for me???

I stayed with Karen until about mile 20 and she was in good spirits.  And off I went.  Running and walking.  Something I hadn't done in about 10 miles but I had a race I needed to finish.  I noticed the locals were yelling at me but this time is wasn't vamos, vamos, vamos (we go we go we go) or tu puedes (You Can!)  it was  "ANIMALE"  which translates to Animal or Beast.  I loved it!  Their admiration for us at the twilight of the race still going at it.  This was a pretty awesome feeling.  English speaking people were cheering and commenting on my "pace" that late in the race.  I knew I had turned it up a notch and it was the difference between crawling and walking.  I went back to 12 min miles but compared to the rest of the competitors on the course I must have looked like Flash Gordon.  I came up to the final turnaroud and my watch was dead.....battery dies on me.  HA!  "Amigo....que hora??"  I asked.  "No se." was the reponse at the turnaround.  I had no clue how much that leg took me or how much time I had left to finish.   I came to the special needs area with my bag of Caffeine GU.  Sorry no time to stop.  I can't loose these precious minutes I thought to myself.  It would take at least 5 minutes. Pepsi it is from the aide station people.  I downed a pepsi or two and pick it up to the best pace I could muster without sprinting and winding up like on the curb like Melissa.  I had seen her earlier as she was ahead of me and now she had nothing left.  Dejected sitting on the curb with her head between her knees.  I approached and asked if she was ok.  She looked up at me with a complete glaze over her eyes.  I extended my hand and she took it.  I helped her get to her feet and we walked together.  I put my arm around her waist for support and for what felt like about 1/4 mile we walked.  Then there was a medical station.  I gave Melissa a hug asked one of the medical personel  "Que tiempo?"  10:15 he replied.  Huh??  No way.  I thought I only had 2:45 back at the last turnaround.  I can easily finish this race in 1:45.  Something had to be up.  I got back to it.  I passed my Salsa people again for a quick dance.
I ran through a human bridge.  I was called a beast and an animal a dozen more times.  And every time I passed an police officer I would shout. "Disculpe, ¿quĂ© hora es?"  10:20.....10:30...10:45....were the different reponses and all was right in the world.  As this was an out and back course the final few miles I would see people that were 4, 8 , 10 miles behind me and I clapped and whistled and cheered them on.  Shouting words of encouragement to one another. Some of them I had the pleasure of seeing cross the finish line after me and some sadly did not make the cut off.  Once last time through town and I see a tall guy walking to the finish line.  He had finished the race, showered, changed and was heading back to the finish line to cheer on the racers for the last 1+hours of the race.  I recognized him as one of the pros but do not recall his name....."You are my Hero!"  He shouts in my direction.  I pivot my head looking to see who he was talking to thinking his buddy might be behind me.  "You, yes you...you are my hero!"  He was talking to me...."No way man, You are my hero I respond" "I may be bigger and stronger and faster than you and I do this for a living but you have the heart of a champion and never say quit attitude.  So for that...you are my hero." We give a handshake and a hug and I am off.  I've got a date with a finish line.

I pass the turnaround point that I visited twice before and ran towards the lights.  The music and DJ were blasting and people are screaming and yelling.  It gets louder as I get closer and the wings go up.  I start my flight to fly to the finish.  I hit the corner and see a sign proclaiming I am an IronMan.

Not yet I think.  I have about 50 yards of this carpet to the line and continue my flight.

I look for my IronBuddy Hal but don't see him.  Too much going on.  I figure he must see me though.  I'm gonna enjoy every last moment of this runway.  There will never be another first Iron Man for me.  I stop flying and raise my arms and give a few fist pumps to the crowd.  I was stoked!!!

And then it happens..........I cross the line and I hear....

  Marty Rosenthal from the USA ......Marty you are an IronMan.

The following link is a video of the race finish for me.

My goal when I first thought about entering this race was to finish.  To finish with a smile on my face and a beer in my hand.  And although there was no beer in my hand there was a huge smile in my heart.  I look at this race as a comedy of errors and I could have should have about a billion things.  From my first day in the pool showing up in Board Shorts and the lessons, patience and advice that Coach Eric and Jonathan shared with me, to climbing up to Jamestown or peddling to Carter Lake for the first time and all those late Friday nights in the pool and missed time spent with Rugger from starting the race in the women's room of the hotel to having almost a breaking point while riding my Bella Nera on the course to hearing my name over the PA system and clicking my heals over the tape to hugging my dearest friend Hal of 41 years to cheering on the last racers as the clock struck midnight, I am very humbled and proud for seeing this journey through.  I am very blessed and thankful to have the strength and support and love of all those in my life.  Physical wounds will heal and the aches and pains will go away but the wonderful memories leading towards and of this race and all along the course will last with me for my lifetime.