Sunday, December 15, 2013

Race #8 of the Season: Ironman Arizona - Part 3: Post-Race

We continue our tale (what I can remember ...) on Monday, November 18:

It's a little surprising.

You'd think the night after an extreme endurance event, you'd be able to sleep like a baby. Not so. In my case, it was probably a bit due to the massive amounts of chafing as well as an extremely sore body. I will have trouble finding a comfortable position to sleep in for about the next week or so.

We woke up relatively early; I forget exactly when, but perhaps 7ish? A bit before? We struggled to get out of bed - moving was difficult. Walking? Barely happening. I might have squished myself into compression gear if I'd been able to bend that much. As it was, getting dressed was an adventure in itself. Sure, due to crippling stiffness, but more due to the insane amounts of chafing. Let me tell you about it:

- back of the neck. Dang wetsuit. Blueseventy, if you want to either a.) send me a new wetsuit or b.) figure out how I can avoid this in the future (remember, I BodyGlide'd/TriSlide'd/Vasoline'd before the start ...), I'd appreciate it. Or any other wetsuit companies. I can (probably) be bought.
- back of the arms (few inches under the armpits. can be seen in photo of me stopped on run just above arm coolers). Happened somehow during the swim. Completely new experience. Completely miserable.
- side of the boobs. Went with a new bra - SkirtSports! - which I had run in no problem and I think ridden in once no problem, but something happened during the course of Ironman that made it chafe me something fierce. Giant band-aids were my friends and aided me in actually wearing a bra.
- side of body. Still have a mark from that one. Still have no clue how it happened.

I will say, though, that one perk of me stopping an insane amount on the bike was that I was NOT chafed in the lady-bits area (woo hoo!) and I was NOT sunburned. Had I had those two injustices on top of everything else? I dread to think of it. *shudder*

In any case, we got dressed and shuffled (literally shuffled) outside for breakfast. We figured we'd eat first and then check out the merch. We went to NCounter for our second meal of the trip. I wasn't feeling great, but shrugged it off, thinking I just needed food. I forget what Brandon ordered, but I got eggs and strawberry French toast. The eggs were EXACTLY what my body wanted - inhaled those in about 10 seconds flat. The French toast? It was tasty ... but I could barely eat it. I maybe managed a third of it.

It was good that we ate first, as the line (practically non-existent when we got there) was out the door as we finished up. We saw Corie in line and chatted with her for a few minutes. We saw our teammate Mike as we started heading to Tempe Beach Park (his mobility appeared to be much greater than ours).

We saw Richard as we hit the park - he was walking just fine. He also said that this was the first Ironman that he got a massage after he finished and also the first one he was walking just fine. Things to keep in mind for next time ...

The volunteer line was long; we were glad we weren't in it. The line to get in the merch tent was long; Brandon hopped in it while I went down to collect our special needs bags. I was initially going to get mine and then hop in line while Brandon got his; turns out, no one was checking bags like they did the night before, so I grabbed his as well. I could have in theory dug through all the bags, seeing if there was anything I wanted out of there (I had some nice arm warmers and coolers in mine ...). But that's shady and immoral and I don't roll that way.

By the time I shuffled back up the hill with our bags, Brandon was almost in the tent. I joined him and we went inside.

Oh god, the finisher's merchandise. It is GLORIOUS. And it is EXPENSIVE. And WTC knows we'll all buy it, because we want people to KNOW what we have DONE, because it was a FEAT of GLORY, goddamnit. I know that they're suckering me in with it and I hate that I'm a willing participant.

I will say that I spent a lot less money than I could have, though. $220 still sucks, though.

I got:
- the coveted finisher's jacket
- a coffee mug (to match my Boulder 70.3 one)
- a picture frame (on sale. only justification)
- a finisher's visor (I run in visors, not hats)
- a sticker for my car (so everyone can always know what I did)
- a water bottle (we're triathletes. we can NEVER have too many water bottles)

I COULD HAVE gotten:
- a plaid faux-western shirt cycling jersey (sort of regretting this one)
- an M-dot ornament (okay, they sold out and I bought one after the fact. it's on the tree as I type this)
- a finisher's half-zip running pullover (like my Run CO one better)
- an IMAZ toque (with how cold it's been, kinda regretting this one too)
- an IMAZ cycling kit (gonna wait for this to go on clearance I think)

After shopping, I felt kind of blah (recurring theme for the day ...) and we shuffled over to the picnic tables to sit down.

 photo 11-18_expo_zps907d27ac.jpg
 photo 11-18_expo2_zps951d2e19.jpg
Do we look dead? Because that's how we feel.

I forget how, but we somehow realized the people at the table across from us were Layla's friends, so we chatted with them and waited for Layla to get off her shift from registering people for next year. We then talked with her for a little bit before leaving to head back to the hotel.

We detoured to Starbucks on our way back to the hotel - I felt like absolute ass and thought that maybe something bland would help calm my stomach. I got a croissant and a San Pellegrino and nibbled/sipped on both while flopped on the bed in the hotel room. Eventually, it worked, and I felt a tiny bit better. Better enough to head to lunch, at least.

We picked up Mike and headed to In-N-Out - that's what Brandon wanted post-IM - for some food. I ate my burger, but struggled through it. Like on the bike the day before, I consumed food knowing I needed the calories. Mike's fries, however, ended up becoming mostly my fries which is weird, because I usually don't like In-N-Out's fries.

We dropped Mike off after that and I think just hung out with Corie - she was on the patio of the Irish bar near our hotel. I know we also stopped at CVS so I could stock up on giant bandages.

That evening, we went to Hooters (fairly standard post-race dinner for us). The salad and fries were once again a struggle; wings not so much. It might be that my body just really wanted protein and not much else. Mike met us there and then we met my parents back at the hotel - Dad had some super expensive cigars that he brought for celebration - not only for Ironman, but for Brandon's upgrade, too. Dad, Mom and Brandon smoked; Mike and I just sat there. The cigars got smoked, the night wound down, we said our good-byes, we went upstairs to bed.

Tuesday, November 19:

We woke up relatively early once again - too ingrained habitually to do otherwise - to pack up all of our assorted stuff and head on out. Brandon went down to get a luggage cart and realized that the voice of Ironman, Mike Reilly, was in the hotel room next to us ... which brings me to the first time I cried all weekend.

We were loading the cart and Mike Reilly was doing the same. Brandon called over to him, said that he never actually said the magic words to me (in my video, he just says, "Theresa Geist, from Denver"). Mike asked me what my name was; I told him - he then boomed, "Theresa Geist - You are an IRONMAN!" (if anyone was still sleeping, they weren't after that.) I thanked him, and went back inside the room. I thanked Brandon, hugged him, and for the first time since starting the race, cried. I think a little part of me needed that phrase to make it official. I know Mike doesn't do every Ironman and has in fact cut down on the amount of races he does and I feel very fortunate to have done one of the few races he works. Makes it that much more special.

It took way too much time to load the damn cart, but eventually we got it loaded and somehow finagled the very full cart, our last few bags as well as our bikes and ourselves downstairs to check out (it did take two elevator trips, though). Brandon checked us out and we got my car from the valet.

Amusingly enough, we were parked next to Mike Reilly and we were packing our cars together. He asked if we were from Colorado (saw the plates); said yes; made various small talk. In the midst of the car packing process, I dug out the chalk pen and made an adjustment to the message on the rear window:

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Mike saw and gave us a thumbs up.

We then both got on the road and at Mill, turned our separate ways. We stopped at Starbucks for coffee and at Dunkin' Donuts for doughnuts (mmm, munchkins) and breakfast sandwiches. Final stop on our way out of town was Bernie and Judy's - we still had their house key and we wanted to say goodbye.

The next day and a half would be spent driving home. We went a new route - up through Four Corners with a stop in Durango, Colo., for the night. It was a nice change of pace, though some of the Indian reservations you drive through are downright depressing.

At some point Wednesday, I noticed I got another Ironman rite of passage:

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Yep, cankles.

We saw Norm on our way back home as well.

Normal mobility started coming back on Friday in Boston - we were walking mostly normal, but the amount of walking we did ended up being a bit much - we started getting random aches and pains in other places.

Final Thoughts:

- Ironman was an amazing journey. It was tough, a ridiculous amount of work (and I know I could have done so much more) and consumed almost the entire year. At the same time? I know I'm not one and done. I know it'll be a few years before our next - probably 2016 and probably Louisville - but I can't wait until I can do it again. I know I can do so much better. I can probably easily chop at least an hour, if not two or more, off my time.

- I feel so rudderless now. This entire year has been in preparation for Ironman. This month is the first one of the year that I haven't had a training plan of some sort and it feels so weird.

- I don't know when the above is going to change. Nothing big is on the horizon. Our next scheduled race is probably going to be the Dino half-marathon in Utah in May, but we don't need to start training for that (well, that, and I'm not running currently due to IT band issues).

- I wish I had the money/time to be able to do an Ironman every year. Without the structure, I don't know what to do with my time.

- Seriously, can I do another one???

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