The finish of the race is never the end of the day. Believe it or not, I not only need to keep walking, but usually spend an hour or more at the finish area. Standing up. And, we walked almost a mile back to the hotel! I am so grateful that Ace and Sunshine were there as soon as I walked through the finish area to pick up my medal, my tee, my hat, my aluminum foil cape and get my picture. I'm pretty sure that Sunshine jumped the barrier before I crossed the line. I hugged her and kissed him and made my way out of the barricades. I got a hug from Boss and Yoga Spice and they took care of me - wrapped me in warm clothes, found me a port-a-potty and followed me to the food tent.
The finish of the race is never the end of the experience. Hours later I remember what the lake tasted like, what the sun felt like on my shoulders on the bike, what the dirt tasted like in my gum on the run, what the finish chute sounded like. Days later, I am content and satisfied and wearing my medal everywhere I go. Weeks later I am giddy and proud and amazed (at even myself). A month away, I will dream of the hills or the peace at the swim start and I will relive my favorite parts of the day. I still dream of biking in France and running across the line with my two best friends - one in 2013 and one in 2016.
I get lots of questions as I return from the MDOT bubble. Here are a few, plus the replies.
WHAT DID YOU FEEL LIKE AFTERWARDS? Immediately after this race, my right shin was sore and both of my lifters (my hip flexors) were tender. But, I have never felt stronger after a race. I will say that I was I was too uncomfortable to get a good night's rest. My quads were puffy and sore to touch and my neck and shoulders hurt. And I was sunburnt. And chafed by the zipper of my tri top down the front of my body. And mini Wrunder Woman had scratched a hole in my spine from my back pocket.
HOW MANY CALORIES DO YOU BURN? AND WHAT DO YOU EAT ALL DAY? My Garmin showed that I burned 6000 calories that day. I was in an aerobic heart rate zone most of the day and was probably on target. Once the race started, I ate: seven GU or CLIFF gels [Caramel Macchiato, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter, Raspberry (which eaten together is a PB&J), Mocha, Vanilla and Root Beer), 400 calories worth of my Infinit Custom mix (named GUSTO GRAPE), three packs of CLIFF chomps (new Gingerale is AWESOME), two bananas, one packet of Justin's Vanilla Almond Butter, 1/4 cup of Cola Gummies, at least two Red Bulls and some cola.
WHAT DO YOU EAT AFTERWARDS? I am always so hungry right after the race. I crave salt. Usually, I want a ChickFilA sandwich. This time, I filled my plate with delicious local pizza (which I gave to hubby), french fries, pulled pork tacos and two chicken sliders. I ate about 10 french fries and maybe an ounce of the chicken. And it took my 30 minutes just to get that down.
The next day I was able to eat a full breakfast including scrambled eggs, potato wedges, a bowl of fruit, bacon and sausage. I also downed a whole bag of my new favorite chips.
And I drank some wine (#toomuch) and had a normal lunch. And I've been eating ever since. My sweet tooth has been off the hook since the race. I joke that I left Whole Foods last week with only junk food: two boxes of pop tarts, banana muffin mix, chocolate cake mix, coconut milk ice cream (two flavors) and fig newtons. [But hey! They were gluten, soy and dairy free!]
ARE YOU NAKED UNDER THE WETSUIT? No!
WHAT WERE YOUR MANTRAS? I mentioned in a previous post that I tried to think of a new mantra for every four-minute interval on that last loop. Here are a few I remember:
I AM ONE WITH THE FORCE AND THE FORCE IS WITH ME
I AM STRONG AND FAST. OUTRUN. OUTLAST.
YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU BELIEVE. YOU HAVE GREATER POWER THAN YOU KNOW.
I AM STRONG NOT FAST. I'm BUILT TO LAST.
I AM MOANA OF MONTANUI. YOU WILL BOARD MY BOAT.
MENTALLY TOUGH. FAST FEET. STRONG LEGS.
SCOOP YOUR BELLY. TUCK YOUR TAIL.
NO MORE RHYMES NOW. AND I MEAN IT. ANYBODY WANT A PEANUT?
DO YOU GET THE IRONMAN BLUES? Yes, but not yet. I actually think this gets better each time. WHAT DOES THAT FEEL LIKE? I miss each race after it's over. I miss the experience and the challenge. I miss the training. I miss the interaction with other athletes. I feel relief - which wears its own sadness. I am relieved that I am safe. I am relieved that my body faced the test - and passed. That we traveled to and from a land Far Far Away. I am grateful. Which doesn't make me blue but does fill my heart to overflowing. I am grateful for my life. For my husband and his support and encouragement. For my friends who traveled 3000 miles. And for my friends and family and training buddies who cheered from home.
I mentioned in a previous post that on the bike I had to avoid at all cost thinking about how far I had to go in the race. I caught myself in those hours after the race thinking about how far I'd come. One hundred and forty point six miles. In one day. It put me on the verge of being emotional in those days following but, it it has actually taken more than a week for it to finally hit me that I did an IRONMAN. Again. It's a feeling I want to hold on to. It's clarity and happiness and holy-cow-ness and power and love and joy. I want to feel that and put that out in the world. Because these days, we sure do need it.
DID YOU WIN? ..............
WHAT'S NEXT? HOW SOON DO YOU START THINKING ABOUT YOUR NEXT RACE? ARE YOU DONE YET? I am not done. I have already started thinking about next year. I have several ultra distance tris on my bucket list and I can't wait to get them on my calendar. Mt. Tremblant. Boulder. Copenhagen. These are the dreams of those who will never qualify for Kona.
I am also not finished with 2017. But, I will save that for next time.