Recent Club News & Ramblings

October 23, 2012

B2B Iron race report by Brad Stone

I wasn’t going to write a “Race Report”, I’m not a very good writer, but I figured there is no other better way to say “Thank You” and to show my appreciation to everyone who made the impossible dream possible.

My story begins about 8 months ago When Wade Davis said “Let’s do B2B this year “! I remember completing my first ½ iron distance and thinking there is no way I could possibly ever do a full. I immediately agreed to doing it before I fully grasped what I was about to get myself and my family into. As the months, miles and 4am workouts continued, I was fully committed. I would try and tip toe around the house, in the early mornings, trying not to wake up Sherry, but it never worked. She was in this with me, even though she never agreed to it but still fully supportive and never complaining a single time! As I would leave the house she would say her usual “I love you, be safe, have fun”. I’m not exactly sure what drives us all to do this but having the support of family who understands our need to complete this task is overwhelming.

12 days out to the biggest race of my life and everything was going great. It seemed like I would peak perfectly, right on schedule, for the swim, bike and run. I woke up on that Monday morning with a slight sore throat and thought maybe it was just the change in weather. I went out for the scheduled run and that afternoon my sore throat was slightly worse. I woke up Tuesday feeling about the same. I thought for a second maybe I should take a rest day, but I kept thinking you can’t take off a day now you worked so hard for this! That afternoon, I wish I had! The doctors are calling it a bacterial-viral infection a friend told me. I’m not sure if that is what I got, all I know is, it was in my throat, chest, head, nose and ears. I couldn’t believe it. I had worked so hard and worse, my family sacrificed so much. I decided to take the next two days off hoping I would get better, but it just got worse. I woke up in the middle of the night on October 12th sicker than I had been in years. I’m sure the stress on my body from the last training block knocked my immune system for a loop. I looked over at Sherry who was also awake from my coughing, our eyes met and without a word we both started to cry. I think she was crying because she knew how much I had sacrificed and how hard I had worked for this and I was crying because I felt like I had let her down just as much as myself. I got up and paced the floor for a while in disbelief. So much invested, how could this happen? Then it came to me. I have hundreds of fellow MBTC members that would have to know what to do. So at 1:32am Friday morning, I sent out a message for help! At 1:34am, just 2 min. after my post I got my first response. It was the day before his Ironman in Kona but Pete Politis responded with, “go get a Z-Pak”! Anyone who knows me well, knows that I hate taking any kind of drug, but at this point I would try anything. As the day went on the suggestions kept coming in. What a great group I am a part of, I kept thinking. Once I made the decision to try the Z-Pak, my hopes were lifted and I felt a little better. I was the first in line Friday morning at Beach Urgent Care, as Pete suggested. I quickly popped the first two pills in my mouth and hoped for the best. I took the whole weekend off and by Sunday night was already feeling better, I was so excited. I had taken 5 days completely off from training and so when I woke up Monday morning feeling even better I decided to go for the scheduled 7 mile run. I figured I would go real easy and it might actually help to get the blood flowing. I was also thinking if I didn’t run I would start to lose all the fitness I had worked so hard to attain. That afternoon I felt a little worse but was still feeling like everything would be ok. Tuesday morning came around and I decided to do the scheduled bike ride, can’t lose that fitness, I kept thinking. That afternoon I was so mad at myself. I actually got a second chance and I blew it by doing too much. I felt awful again. My hearing was muffled and I couldn’t breathe through my nose. How would I be able to swim I kept thinking? That evening around 5pm, I got a text from my Trismarter Nutritionist Regina Hammond asking what the heck was I doing running 7 miles sick? I felt like an Idiot! She said “YOU NEED TO REST! I know it’s hard to trust that, but you had consistent training all year. You can only negate the piggy bank by training but by resting there is no negative”. I felt better hearing that from her and I assured her I would not do anything until Friday, the day before B2B, and that would only be a few minutes to get the muscles firing.

As the week progressed I started feeling better each day. As Friday morning came around I was still coughing a little and had a slight sore throat but I felt I would be able to start the race. Wade Davis and I went for a short ocean swim that morning in the rain. I came home and got on the bike trainer for a few minutes then went out and ran, Just enough to stretch things out.

As Sherry and I were packing up and about to leave for Wilmington, my daughter Ashley who was out of college for the weekend came by for what I thought was a hug and kiss good bye. She walked us out to the truck and I noticed an extra bag! What in the world, I said! Sherry and Ashley had been scheming for weeks to surprise me! Ashley was coming with us, I couldn’t believe it. She said she wouldn’t miss it for the world, yes, I started to cry!

I felt good all day Friday until about 5pm. when I started feeling dizzy and my muscles started cramping. I said to myself, tomorrow, just go out and start swimming, if you make it out of the water, go for a little bike ride, once that’s over, go for a little jog. I decided not to pressure myself. I had a goal in mind that I came up with a few months back but now I decided I just wanted to finish. I couldn’t let down Sherry and now even more so with Ashley coming along. As I woke up Saturday morning with only 3 hours sleep due to noisy pillow fights in the room next door and people talking right outside the hotel window, I actually felt pretty good. Once I got down to Transition and started seeing fellow MBTC members the adrenalin started kicking in. At the swim start even more members were around, all of which were amped and ready to go which helped even more. Lonnie was talking about Hector Picard and I too thought what is a little cold compared to what he is dealing with. It’s amazing how one man can affect so many others! Before I knew it and without warning the horn went off and we were all running for the water. I was able to exhale, out of my nose so I knew I wouldn’t drown. I stuck to my plan and just went easy. As I made the turn into the channel, I heard Paul Walker in the back of my head, giving me the instructions of what to do next. I rounded the bend and saw the ladders; I knew it was going to happen. I started to smile, all the hard work, for just one day, was going to happen! Running to T1 I was blown away by all the support of the MBTC. I kept smiling, I was on cloud 9! I saw Sherry and Ashley and gave them my love as I was leaving for the bike leg. I started the bike feeling really good but what really lifted me up was thinking about that support group waiting at mile 35. I kept counting down the miles! It was great to have that as a goal! At mile 35 the cheers were overwhelming, I wanted to stop to soak it all up but I knew I had to go on. I knew I would see them again though at mile 95. That was my next goal. I kept counting down the miles. I knew if I made it there, I would only have 17 more to go. I was so glad to see them! I kept thinking, what an incredible group we have, to come all this way to support us, it’s just unbelievable! It was just what I needed.

As the city came into view I was actually a little surprised. My legs felt better than they ever had after riding 100+ miles. I actually thought the Z-Pack might have given me a little extra boost. Could I actually still make my original time goal? Rounding the final corner I again saw the two familiar smiles of the two most precious girls in the world, my Sherry and Ashley! I was so happy to see them! The love was so overwhelming, I couldn’t stop smiling! They could have stayed home, but they chose to come up here and stand around all day, for me! So awesome!

As I sat down in T2 to put on my running shoes, I started feeling a little cramp in my right hamstring and was a little confused. Just a few minutes earlier my legs felt great, better than ever. I exited the building started running, got through the first aid station, rounded the corner, then wham! My legs locked up. I couldn’t believe it! What did I do wrong? I had done this many times during training, even harder and faster, with no cramps at all. I started beating my quads and hamstrings with my fists and they slowly eased up. Just go slow I said to myself. Just start moving. It doesn’t matter how slow just move! I started running slow and finally the cramps went away. I was so relieved. If I went a little too fast or bent slightly the wrong way the cramps would remind me they were right there waiting for me to make a mistake. I took Pete’s advice once again, and drank a lot of water. Others on the course said I needed salt tablets and even offered me some of their own, so I started taking them as well. It seemed to be working but again and again the cramps would remind me they were right there, waiting! I think I drank too much and took in too much salt because my stomach started painfully hurting and cramping as well. I decided not to drink for a couple miles to see if that would help. I believe that was what the leg cramps were waiting for. At around mile 16 of the run they came back with a vengeance! My legs locked out straight, the pain was excruciating! I thought my Ironman was over and I started to feel sad. I thought of Sherry and Ash and all they had done. How could I let them down? I was so close I could taste it. I started thinking about what Pete went through in Kona and also Cliff in his first Ironman. Again I tried punching my legs with my fists and slowly I was able to start walking. If I would walk a little too fast they would lock up again. I started drinking water and salt tabs again and even ate some bars and bananas at around mile 20. Only a few more miles, just keep walking and you might be able to finish. I must have said that a million times during the next 5 miles. Passing fellow MBTC members and their positive reassurance every so often really helped to push on. As I got closer I remember reading a message from Regina saying no matter what happens on the run you need to run the last 3 miles in. I knew there was no way I would be able to do that but what about the last mile? That became my next goal. At about a mile out I tried to do a little shuffle where I barely raised my feet of the ground and it seem to be ok! I think the water and salt tabs started working again. I began to realize I was actually going to make it! I started thinking of Sherry and Ashley and all that they had done to get me here, and yes, I started to cry. As I turned the corner and ran, well shuffled down the last hill, I knew I was really close. A woman that was running beside me looked at me and said “Your about to be an Ironman”! The chills went up my body like never before. The noise of the crowd in the distance became louder and louder until people were actually yelling my name, that’s when I knew I was home! At that moment I felt like I could do anything. The pain was gone; it was like floating on air. That feeling at that moment is something I will never forget, I will take it with me forever. As I ran through the finish line I again saw my two favorite girls, smiling from ear to ear with tears in their eyes, and yes, I cried too.

So that is my story, I didn’t make my original time goal but I’m ok with that. I accomplished something I never thought was possible with the help of some great friends, great training partners, and a wonderful family. I am able to call myself an “Ironman” and that is something that no one can ever take away from me!

 

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