I waddled through a maze of lines, hobbling in my cycling shoes and half blind in my right eye. My right eye was so messed up from the sunscreen that had gotten in it, that it was like looking through milk. I couldn’t see anything clearly out of that eye and was really worried that I had scratched my cornea (haha race day brain blowing things way out of proportion!). I made my way to the transition tent, again calling out my number, was handed my bag and went inside the tent to change. I asked a nice volunteer to get me some water so I could rinse my eye out and changed as quickly as I could.
My eye still burning and blurry, I headed out of the tent and onto the run course. There I saw my mom and pointed to my eye, saying I hurt it. I needed to unload on someone. Apparently she didn’t hear me correctly and told everyone in my family that I had two black eyes. Haha! They didn’t find out what really happen until my second loop. Ooops!
About 3 miles in, I found a paramedic at one of the aid stations and stopped him. I had been worrying about my eye and wanted someone to check it out. He looked at it and told me I was fine, it was just red. I continued rinsing it at every aid station and by the end of the first loop I had regained most of my vision. It took 2 days for the irritation to go away and for me to fully regain my vision, what little vision I have anyway.
With that off of my mind, I focused on the run. I calculated my pace and knew I needed about a 14 minute mile average to finish under 16 hours, which was my goal. I kept plucking away at the miles, 12 minutes here 13 there. Making steady pace.
On the third and final loop my hydration issues caught up to me. I no longer wanted to eat my gels, I didn’t want the rest of my NBS, my stomach was starting to feel queasy, I had a god awful case of blisters on my left foot (I could feel the liquid squishing from one side of the huge blister to the next with each step) and my left hamstring decided now was a great time to start cramping up. I made my gait smaller, if that was even possible and trudged on into the night. Anytime my heart rate went over a certain threshold, I’d have to hold back the urge to vomit. I desperately wanted some chicken broth and finally got some about halfway through my last loop. The broth did help my stomach a bit, I’ll definitely pack some Tums next time.
It was dark and silly me had forgotten to pack a headlamp. The run in Santa Rosa is actually quite nice on a pretty flat trail, covered in trees that run along a little stream, but at night it was nearly pitch black. I stumbled along for a bit and then decided to bring out my cell phone to use for light. I knew we weren’t supposed to use them, but hoped an official would take pity on me and not bust me if they saw me. I unzipped my aero top, stuffing it in the secret pocket of my Coeur bra with just the flashlight part sticking out and moved forward through the dark lit up like Ironman. Fitting that I’d finish my Ironman race with an Ironman type light coming from my chest. #nerd
My run devolved into a fast walk with 5 miles to go and I made a run buddy. I gave up on my sub 16, knowing I’d finish just a few minutes over 16 hours, which was okay with me. We finished the last 5 miles together, sharing our misery (we were both in a decent amount of pain and really just wanted it to be done). With a half a mile to go, we made it out of the trail and onto the street. I decided I could run the last bit and took off towards the light of the finish line.