Part 1 covers the actual race itself and this part is the adventure I had after the race.
As soon as I crossed the finish line and stopped running it felt like someone was turning the lights off. I was getting very light headed and was starting to see black spots in my vision so I sat down in the one of the chairs they had set up at the finish. Somewhere along the way to sitting down someone took my timing chip off and I got my medal, but I don’t remember any of that happening.
I decided it was time to get up and keep moving so I went to find the family and judging by how look in these pictures I was still kind of out of it.
I walked over to the swim start with the intention of going in the water to try and cool down a little bit. I only made it calf deep before I needed to sit back down on the dock. (And yes I tried to walk in with my shoes on)
I sat on the dock for several minutes until I had the strong desire to lie down again. Then the world started spinning and I was getting really light headed again so I decided it would be a good idea to walk over to the med tent if I was going to lie down. And at this point I was apparently starting to slur my words a little bit.
I sat down on a stretchers and they came over to take my vitals. I felt much better after laying down and drank lots of Gatorade and water for 10-15 minutes so I decided to sit up and see how I would feel and that is when things got kind of scary.
I got the worst cramps I have ever experienced. My abs cramped and started to spasm, which was causing me to take really shallow breaths, my calves got extremely tight, and it felt like someone was turning crank and tightening my quads and the muscles (tendons maybe?) on both sides of my knee. It felt so bad I was yelling and rolling around in pain. One of the doctors came over to try and get me to relax and stretch my calves to release the cramp. I was trying to tell him where the cramps where at but it just came out is inaudible grunting and pointing. They gave me some salt pills and told me to take really deep breaths and relax to release the cramps.
The cramps finally let up after 5 painful minutes but everything still felt really tight and like it would cramp again the second I tried to move. I continued to sip Gatorade and take deep breaths but every 10 minutes or so another wave of painful cramps would come. After about 30 minutes of they decided to give me an IV bag.
The IV worked like magic and I instantly started to feel better. The bag took about 15 minutes and after ten more minutes of laying down I was able to sit up without cramping and could wander around the med tent without cramping. I
walked waddled around for 5-10 minutes and it was amazing how tight all my leg muscles were, my knees didn’t want to bend anymore.
The medics suggest I get a light massage to try and stretch things out. The race had free post race massages so I got in line and got worked on for ten minutes and I felt much better when she was finished.
Looking back on the race I just wasn’t able to drink enough fluids to keep up with how much I was sweating and lost to much salt. Which is kind of surprising because I had two salt tablets before the race, I was constantly drinking water and Gatorade on the bike, and then I had another salt tablet at the start of the run. I tend to sweat a lot but I think the heat and humidity just took it’s tool on me and I couldn’t keep up.
I was able to make it back home safely without anymore cramps or light head feeling but I was drained. I had a couple of late flights for work on Monday and Tuesday so I still feel really worn out several days later. This is far and away the most beat up I’ve felt after a half ironman.
While I’m disappointed with my race performance and that my hard work didn’t translate into a good race I can’t be too mad. If I had somehow managed to continue running for a few more miles I could have wound up passed out in a ditch on the side of the road from heat stroke or had those bad cramps during the run.
But I do need to do a lot of thinking in the next couple weeks. Both about my schedule for the rest of this year; if I really want to do another half ironman and if I want to do Eagleman again next year. I’m thinking something like Mooseman which is in New Hampshire might be a better fit for me. Eagleman is always going to be hot and humid and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to excel at a race like that.