RFA

Slowly but surely, I am getting there. The miles are being ticked off and boxes being checked. There are days of fatigue but generally I actually feel pretty good. This surprises me and naturally brings on feelings of self-doubt. Am I doing enough? Will I be ready? But I trust in the plan, and I trust in the man who wrote it, so all I can do is continue to tick off those miles and check off those boxes.

Instead of an RFP, or a request for proposal, I am calling this post RFA, or a request for advice. As you know, and so does probably most of the population that I come into contact with, this will be my first Ironman. And as such, I have no idea what to expect. Yes, I have watched the Ironman CDA “Full Circle” video from last year’s race probably a dozen times (I wish I was kidding). And yes, I have read pretty much every race report I can drum up on Google. But I am looking for the good stuff.

What I really want to know, is what do you wish someone had told you before your first Ironman? What do you use to get yourself through the last 10K of the marathon when all your legs are telling you is to stop? Anything and everything, lay it on me.

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9 thoughts on “RFA

  1. I wish someone had told me that it hurts just as much to walk as it does to run. So you might as well run and get through it faster.

    Among other things. 🙂

  2. “Don’t go so fast in the first 10k of the run” — YES this especially applies if you feel good. You’ll have plenty of time to go fast in the last 10-15k!! 🙂

  3. You probs know all of this, but just in case…

    Be prepared to think in aid station to aid station terms. 10k may seem like an eternity to hold your pace, but 1 mile until you can have another sip of coca cola or some ice is doable. Rinse. Repeat.

    There will be some part of your day that won’t be seamless and perfect. BUT, it will be that way for everyone. It’s how you handle it and the decisions you make that will make your day. <- THIS IS TRUE

    I was very glad that my friend had suggested I pack small single-use ice packs in my run special needs bag. CdA isn’t usually that hot, but they were great to run with for a couple of miles!

    When the going gets tough remember that it is tough for all. Everyone out there worked just as hard as you did (or thereabouts) and is hurting just as much as you are (or thereabouts). When you can’t take it anymore cheer them on, smile, and say thank you.

    Read this. The milestones in CdA are obvs different than in Penticton. But the principle applies universally: http://forum.slowtwitch.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=3490356%3Bsearch_string%3Dironman+canada+tears

    My first Ironman was the fastest 11 hours and 35 minutes of my life. There are no words to describe how quickly it will all be over. Each milestone may feel like it takes an eternity to reach, but all of a sudden you will be at the finish line. So savor the pain, the struggles, the people you meet on course and the things you see. There is nothing like it.

  4. Relax and enjoy the day. Don’t look at your watch or even ever look down at all! I remember during my first Ironman run I had this fear of looking down at my legs because I thought I would see something wrong or maybe imagine that something might be wrong and jinx myself. Don’t worry about any of that. Don’t analyze anything out there. Something in your body is surely going to tell you to stop well before the final 10k of the run. Just keep smiling and don’t worry about anything except keeping on. Smile and take in the entire day. The work has already been done. 🙂

  5. Relax and have fun. You’ve done the training, believe in the plan you have for pacing & nutrition and follow that to a T. Control what you can and figure at least three things will go wrong on race day.

  6. In no particular order: Take an Immodium with you breakfast; this will help “neutralize” the effects sugar all of the nutrition you will be consuming. Take a throw away pair of socks to walk to swim start. DONT get into a bike race. Fast bikers usually blow up on the run. Ironman RACING starts at mile 100 of the bike. Write out your nutrition plan and STICK to it. It is easy to get caught up in the “feeling too good mode” because you are TAPERED and you might want to blow off taking in some of your calories because you feel *so great*. You WILL bonk on the run if you don’t stick to your nutrition plan on the bike. You probably won’t need your special needs bags–watch riding through special needs area as typically there are some crashes. Pack both tinted and clear goggles for the race. Stay off your feet as much as possible Friday and Saturday; you will be tempted to cruise around the expo and it’s really a better time for you to watch a marathon of John Hughes movies. Prerace dinner food is bad–eat your own and go for entertainment if you are interested. Lube your crotch with vaseline 🙂 Carry salt tabs in change purse football shaped holder.

  7. I’m gonna repeat what I tweeted – HAVE FUN. Seriously, you’ve put in all the work, the best thing to do is enjoy the day and revel in the hard work you’ve put in. Smile, it’ll make you feel better and the people around you too – I smiled like a goofy fool all day and it really made the day more fun, because everyone noticed and smiled back. High-five everyone that offers you a high-five, you can pick up off their energy.
    And, stick to your plan, whatever it is. If something goes wrong don’t freak out, figure out a solution and go from there. I made a mixing error on my bottles the night before – thankfully it was an easy adjustment as I made too many with extra carbo pro so I just adjusted what I would eat. I recommend writing down what you’re mixing/taking with you/leaving at special needs and carefully following that – my brain was mush the day before, I should’ve been more careful – thankfully it wasn’t a huge mistake – oh and I had it all written down, I just apparently didn’t have the brain power to get it all correct the day before the race.
    You are going to be amazing, just remember that you’ve worked hard for this day. Can’t wait to cheer you on out there!

  8. So I cut up my food for my special needs bags and for what I put in my bento boxes. I preferred ‘real food’ (almond butter & jam sandwiches on ezekial bread) over too many gus and bars. It was nice to break it up. So much easier to eat and manage when things were in smaller chunks.

    Maybe this is just me, but after HOURS of eating sugary things all I want when I finish is vegetables. I had my family bring my favorite pre-made Trader Joe’s salad which I ate when I finished and I LOVED it. I do it too for HIM distances, or at least just have vegetables.

    Although it sucks, getting up and moving the next day is great for the mind, body, and soul (this movement for me included walking a few miles to/from the train station in NYC for the awards ceremony, it certainly sucked, but again good to get the body moving). I definitely took it a little too far though after that next day and worked out too much, too hard, and too soon. I was already paying for it by the middle of September and was totally overtrained. Be careful of that.

    My favorite mantra is ‘One foot in front of the other’ or even taking it to pedal strokes. That helps me a lot mentally. Also singing songs in my head. ‘Carried Away’ by Passion Pit was stuck in my head all during Quassy on Sunday and I LOVED singing it out loud on the fast downhills (then smiling to myself like a freak). Whatever it takes to break it up and smile through the hurt!

    I can’t wait for you and for CDA. You are going to do great, and you will love it! I wish I could come out and support you. Next time! :o)
    xoxo

  9. For me it helps to take the run from aid station to aid station. Or just breaking it up into small run sections, whatever helps you. For super hot weather, I think having instant cold packs in your special needs bike and run would be helpful. I thought of this after doing IMNY, wish I had them then, because it would have helped with my overheating, lol.

    Other than that you know you can do this. You have done the training. Whenever you start to feel down on yourself or giving yourself a hard time, remember that you are able to do this. During my ironman race, I was giving myself a hard time, for not being where I thought I would be. I kid you not, every single time I had these thoughts, a challenged athlete would be approaching. That definitely shut those thoughts away. Just have fun with this, because it is fun 🙂

    I’ll be cheering for you from LA. 🙂 xoxo

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