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 any one'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 empty.  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 acknowledge 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 completing an 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 themselves 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 they 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, ¿qué 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 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 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.

Monday, December 9, 2013

IM Cozumel Race Recap ~ The Bike

So going into the bike I had a real solid game plan.  I knew what 70% of my threshold was and I was going to ride my Garmin to that number no matter what.  If it was a easy section, I would eat and or drink but I'd keep my power meter from moving.  If it got tough, No powering through it instead, I would drop down my gears and keep those numbers constant.  Trust your training and believe.

Pulling out of the swim/bike transition
I got out of the transition area and felt great.  What a beautiful swim.  My right hamstring felt a little tight and I immediately started running through the roledex of my mind of what to do how to do it and when to do it.  One of the great surprises for me in this race was how Cerebral it was.  I was constantly thinking and analyzing and checking in and making decisions that I knew would or could effect me 10 minutes, or 10 hours from that point.  Some of those turned out to be great decisions, some I was not so lucky.  What's next??? was something that was always on my mind.  I decided there was nothing I can do about my hammy at that moment but keep checking in.  See if it would loosen up and perhaps try to stretch it out while riding.  About 5 minutes into the ride I came across a female rider, without any shoes on.  I had to look to see what kind of peddles she had. maybe like running, barefoot peddling was a new craze.  Nope, she undoubtedly forgot her shoes.  Hotel room? Car? Who knows...I never saw her out on the course again.  I kept thinking about her along the course and was sending her as much good chi as I possibly could.  I realized again how the slightest wrong decision can dramatically change the entire outcome of this very long journy of 6+ months training and the race.  I felt really bad for her and peddled on.  Vamos, vamos, vamos cried the locals.  We go, We go, We go.  The community on the island was soo supportive and came out in droves during torrential downpours and blazing heat and humidity, in remote areas and blasting salsa music in their driveways and dancing in the neighborhoods.  Whenever I heard Vamos I fist pumped the supporters.  Then I wondered, they are not going anywhere it is me that is going.  Should they be screaming Vas, vas, vas.  You go You go You go.  Hell, if they want to come they can but they need to push or peddle or do something to help me along.
The fist pump!

Riding the southwest section of the Island was my favorite.  A slight favorable wind and never a bad experience for me on this side of the Island.  I had to ease off at times as it would have been easy to over peddle and ride harder than I was supposed to.  Many riders were drafting.  It got crowded on the course at times but I always seemed to managed to ride wide or get out of others way.  I definitely didn't see this from everyone and drafting seemed to be a way for many racers.  I felt annoyed at times and then I felt sad for them, having to cheat or flirt with the rules to attempt to finish their goals.  I would have nothing to do with this and am proud no matter what, that I did this race completely on my own.  Mistakes and all.
The "You da Man" point.
The race then turned gentlly south and east.  Lush green covered the road like a canopy at times almost luring you into a false sense of security because soon therafter BAM you were at the southernmost part of the course, became completely exposed to the elements and WIND.  This first pass saw a very heavy rainstorm.  I was pleased as it cooled me off and wondered how much of the day would be like this.  Riding the island for a few days I new that it could be raining like crazy in one section and absolutely beautiful in another.  I thought of my feet and how wet they were.  I hoped I had dried and put enough glide on them.  The first lap flew by and I was right on my numbers and feeling great. I was singing along to the Star Friends...Heeeeeyaaay baby, I wanna know oh oh will you be my girl?"   Chatting it up with other racers and just loving being a part of this great event.  Vamos, vamos, vamos.  Fuel...yep.  hydration...yep.  Head down through the wind...yep.  Make funny faces at the cameras....yep
The "Rock On" Pose

Then it happened.  The moment, in my eyes, that makes an Ironman race the daddy of triathlons.  And what separates those that cross the finish line from those that don't.  I had peddled 3.5 hours approx. 65 miles into the 112 and was turning into the north east stretch of the race where the wind felt a bit insane.  I watched riders huddle in packs to try and protect and shield themselves from the wind and I crashed...........       Hard.           I didn't hit anything or get hit like Katie (fellow boulderite racing here) but something inside just stopped.  I had nothing.  The needle was well below E.  I went from crusing at 70% threshold to like 25% in one second with no gradual decline.  And I didn't know where it went or how I lost it.  I mean I had nothing.  Zip, zero, nada, niente, nichts, ništa, גאָרנישט.  I tried my thinking, my checklist, my what's next and there was nothing.  I had despair because I had no clue what was happening or why it had happened.  I couldn't peddle fast, I couldn't peddle slow.  I dropped all the gears to make it easier.  Nothing mattered.  I had no answers and I thought....I'm just over halfway on the bike there is no way in the world I can ride another 10 minutes like this let alone another lap and half in this state.  This is the separator and I am cooked.  Oh wait, then you have a marathon to do Mister.  How did I get here?  And how am I going to get out of here?  The only answered seemed to be to wave the white flag and call it a day.  My Ironman journey has ended.  I'm done.
I thought that my hotel is closer if I turn around and peddle back.  I could just go and hide in my room for the remaining 6 days of the trip.  No one has to know.  No one except your family and your friends and yourself has to know that you are a quitter.  Perhaps I could get off the bike and walk it.  Though I'd never make the time cutoff walking my bike another 45 miles or so.  At least I wouldn't quit and I can tuck my head between my legs a little more respectfully.  No one would be too upset.  "Hey it's your first Ironman, you just started training a few months ago."  "What a gallant effort!"  I could see the sympathetic stares and hear the words ringing through my ears of those that I care about trying to consol me.  But under it all I would have quit and nothing can make that better or go away.  Nothing.  The Goblins, as Coach E would have described to me, have caught up to you.  He says it is not a matter of if they catch you but when they catch you in an Ironman. AND you better hope it is later in the race so you can muscle it through to the finish and grin it out.
We got this Newbie!

But surly sucking it up and muscling it out for 45 miles more on a bike and then 26.2 running isn't possible.  At the end of the day I would have to look myself in the mirror and to hell with everyone and everything else and I would have to sit with myself and reflect and ask myself, did I give it my all and did I take the easy way out my ending the race.  Those last two questions would haunt me.  My answer at that time would have been no and yes respectively.  There was more fight in me.  I wasn't sure how or where I was going to find the strength but I was not going to allow myself my own personal humiliation of calling it quits.  I was proud that I didn't beat myself up as that can happen.  I just needed to find a way to make this work.  So I kept peddling one crank at a time and I cursed the winds and I cursed the peleton of riders that stuck on  each others wheels flying by me and I wondered where those people were that were cheering vamos vamos vamos cause we aint going no where right now.  And I kept turning the peddles over and I wobbled and zig zagged not much unlike when you go up a very steep hill on a bike but there was no steep hill on this road.  Only the one I was fighting inside my head.  And then my neck started to hurt, I couldn't even lift my head to see when I was down in my aero bars and this was dangerous.   I could only look straight down on the ground.  And then I sat upright with my body acting as a flag or kite and riding into the wind.  I kept saying to myself that I was actually working harding by riding upright because of all the wind rather than down in the areo posittion cutting through it.  But I couldn't help myself even though I knew it was not the smart thing to do.  I tried to go back down in the tuck position when I noticed my black tri shorts were almost white.  What the????  SALT!!!!!  I had exhausted my bodies electrolytes and salts.  I had changed my food and water bottles around and was trying something new for this race.  (NEVER TRY SOMETHING FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A RACE)  I know this.  I knew this but I did it anyway.  Although I was ingesting plenty of calories and fluids, I had not nearly taken in the amount of electrolytes needed to compete in this heat and humidity.  After the race I had a conversation with Suzanne and learned that she had more than doubled her electrolyte in take then what I had.  I believe I had finally found the answer.  But was it too late??  I was carrying some endurolytes and nuun tablets on me.  I immediately swallowed down an edurolyte and dropped a Nuun in my water.  I still had another lap + to go and I was worried I may run out but needed to start filling up.  There was no tomorrow do the best to get back in the game now.    Soon enough I came to my special needs bag.  I got off my bike for the first time sat on the floor and I wolfed down a hummus on whole wheat, another salt tab, reworked glide on my soaked feet, stretched out my neck best I could and I was off.  My neck was still killing me.  So much so that I rested my elbow on the aero bar and forced my chin to sit upon my fist so that I can look up and straight ahead to see where I was going.  I started grabbing water bottles at every aide station and poured the cold water on my neck.  I grabbed the ice out of it and iced down my neck.  I tried everything I could think of because I was not quitting now so I better find a way to make it more bearable.  And so I went on.  Riding straight up and attempting every once in a while to tuck back down.

Swallowing Endurolytes.  Plopping Nuun tablets in my water.  Fist pumping to vamos vamos vamos This lap around I heard cries of "Tu Puedes, Tu Puedes "....."You Can, you can".  I started to feel maybe I just can.  I was gaining some power back now riding at 50% threshold.  I was in such a deficit and now I was starting to climb my way back out starting to get stronger.
The "I'm Peddling to the Gun Show" Pose
"Hello my Old Heart" seemed to be my revival song as I kept singing the chorus over and over.   I don't know why songs come and go but they always do whenever I race.  I also kept coming up with different poses for the camera guys. Such as left thumbs up or right thumbs up. 
 I rode passed the special needs bags area again but without stopping this time and made the left out of the wind for the third time. The last ride through town the heavens and skies above opened up and the torrential rans came down again.  The roads were extremly slick as we made a few tight turns.  I could barely see ahead as the rain was coming down so hard and fast.  But I knew I was almost home.  Moments later I handed Bella off to a drenched volunteer and gave thanks to her for carrying me through my lowest point of the race and for staying with me through it all.  I made my way into the safety of the changing area and T2.  I took my time a little more in T2 than I did in T1.  In T1 I almost left my gloves behind because I didn't heed the words to be smooth and slow, I wasn't going to make that same mistake twice.  I attempted to dry my feet as best as I could they were as white and as wrinkled as can be.  I put on a fresh pair of socks, downed a gu, put on my visor and hobbled out of the transition area and set off on the run.
Bike: 7:56:40
T2: 14:41