Part #3: The Run

Getting rid of the bike felt like locking a demon in a bolted chest and casting it away to sea. The idea of then needing to then run a full marathon was like having realized I dropped my wallet in that bolted chest and needed to dive in after it (and of course releasing the demon).

Going in to the Ironman, I thought the run was going to be easy. After all, I had done a marathon and I knew what it was about. Well, kind of.  To clarify, I finished the NYC Marathon in 2008 sub 4 hours however I could not walk properly for days nor play soccer for a week. I forgot that part!  (But I had only knew I was running then 10 days before!)

Saying that my legs felt like rubber after the bike is a gross understatement. I could not even feel my legs and therefore would not have known if they were rubber, glass, or paper mache. I managed to walk around a bit, take in some food, throw some water on my head and depressingly walk towards the start line.

I was hesitating when some female witch-doctor , standing on the sidelines, blurted out, ” Hey Kid, what are you waiting for? Get going!” I thought: What am I waiting for? WHAT AM I WAITING FOR? I was waiting for some sort of divine intervention that made my legs 100% again. But I responded, “That bike took a lot out of me, I need just a moment to get going.” The sorceress , not caring in the least, barked back, ” Well take your time. Oh hey, by the way, my husband is 45 years old and an hour ahead of you. I hope that makes your legs feel better.” (while erupting in a laughter that reminded me of the lunch lady from Billy Madison)  Instead of taking anymore badgering from that witch, I started running.

2 days later my feet hurt me more than the muscles in my legs. This is because during the run the soles of my feet absorbed all the shock in each stride instead of my muscles. My legs were shot, dead, over – I stuck a fork in them after mile 5. But I jogged the whole way aside from some downhills towards the end.

On its own, the run was not terrible, relatively.  However, I did have a couple qualms with the course.  Firstly, the course was 3 laps that looped around a lake on a nice trail.  One had to run 3 laps before crossing the finish line.  The problem was that in order to run one complete lap you had to pass by the finish line.  To put it differently,  on each lap you looked at the finish line while it teased you, laughed at you, taunted you, for thinking you were close to finishing.  In reality, you had to run 2 more laps (each lap was ~9 miles give or take)  and needed to keep chugging along.  It would be like starving a hyena for 3 days, then putting him on a 3 foot chain, and placing an enormous amount of desirable food 4 feet away.  The sadistic, twisted course designer deserved a firm kick in the groin for doing that to us. 

The best part of it was the fans who ALWAYS thought you were finishing.  “WHOO HOOO! you’re gonna do it, CONGRATS!!”   My response, “NO you fools, I have  18 more miles to go, I’m on lap 1…but thanks for jerking my chain.” 

My other qualm with the run was the part where the trail led us through an unlit wooded area.  This was fine when it there was sunlight, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that it would not be fine for when the sun set.  Another brilliant idea by our esteemed course designer.  I guess that was his indirect way of encouraging us to finish before it got dark.  He is 2 for 2 so far on the world’s dumbest marathon course ideas.  (Maybe he should write a book?)

Another qualm I had with the course was the fact that the turnaround points consisted of either a small sign or having to run around a tent.  How official!  I must have asked 5 different people when we needed to turn around (since I obviously did not have a watch that measured my distance) and race volunteers and spectators were clueless.    Only by following other racers did I realize you had to go around the sign and around the tent.  I’m sure the race organizer was mulling the below idea around instead :

“To complete each lap racers must run around the tent twice (blindfolded?), do the macarena dance, and then  walk over hot coals (hmm I may be on to something) Only then will a lap be complete.”  What an idiot.

I grinded through the run thinking solely of how it would feel to cross that finish line.  I had a great view of it, having passed it 6 times before I was actually allowed, and each time it pissed me off more and more.  Mentally, there was no way I was not finishing with everything in my control (meaning I did not have to worry about a flat tire etc).  Even if my legs were numb and my stomach cramped it was one of the best feelings I have ever felt crossing that finish line.

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2 Responses to Part #3: The Run

  1. paul chevannes says:

    With all the doom and gloom in our world today we can’t have too many of these types of stories. You are a hero. Rock on Brian!


  2. brett says:

    Great story. Very inspiring. Well written.

    P.S. It’s “qualm”, not “quam” 🙂

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