ok so 5 days to recover and here's what I did:
- gingerly stuck pins in the blisters beneath my toenails and slathered them in Polysporin so I could wear shoes (and kick my feet in water) without being in weird toe-based agony.
- ate my fruits and veggies, drank water and took all the vitamins and minerals.
- kept moving: swimming, hiking and yoga just to keep moving. A lot of stiffness can creep in with even just a few days of inactivity.
- put my legs up the wall. This has never happened to be before but after this particular ironman my legs got SO swollen. I had cankles with creases in them. CREASES!
- I broke out my new HOKA ONE ONE claytons because the toe box is roomier.
On race day, because I was runner number 12, I had the majority of the morning and afternoon to do whatever I wanted. Around 6pm, I'd be starting my first run near Hawi so at some point before that I'd need to track down the race vans which I did roughly 1 hour before I actually needed to run. Before that I got a massage to offload some of that IRONMAN stress and in anticipation of living out of a van for a day or two.
That's the other part - the van. I feel pretty equipped to run any number of distances in various climates whether I really feel like it or not but the van part was my real concern - what would it be like to run, then get back in a van and sit for hours and repeat?
Run one: 7km downhill
I kid you not! Downhill is normally awesome but for tired joints and angry toenails it wasn't. The one great thing was that I got to run high up on the Big Island watching the sunset. Honestly wind, toenails, and no road shoulder aside it was really amazing and went by really quickly.
I pass off to runner #1, hop back in the van and we go for dinner in Hawi. At this point we realize we have almost 4 hours before we run again so we go to one of our teammate's friend's homes (an women who can only be described as fiery, so alive and kind - who lets random sweat people lie all over your house for a couple hours AND stocks the fridge with run friendly snacks without notice?) to sleep for a whole 2 hours. I don't even bother changing out of my running clothes and we pile on air mattresses and pull-outs for a "good nights sleep". We wake at 11:00pm get in the car and hunt down the other van and we trade with. (Our van was home to runners 7-12 and the other had 1-6). I blur between awake and dreaming until 4am when its my turn!
Run two: 12km downhill
SERIOUSLY?! more downhill.
pros: I get to watch the sunrise, downhill running is relatively effortless, I passed tons of people and the wind had died way down.
con: twice I thought I was going to have an episode of shit pants (downhill really jostles!) which led me to duck behind what little shrubbery was around. Here I felt pretty inconspicuous but looking back I remember that if you have a "night leg" for a run you essentially have to be lit up like a Christmas tree with blinky lights and a safety vest AKA the world definitely saw me drop my shorts and pop a squat
pro: false alarm
I hop back in the van and we go for breakfast. I naturally make the choice for something a little easier on the GI tract after my ...situation and order coffee because no matter how upset I am on the inside, coffee just makes me so happy on the outside. We hop back in the van and drive to the energy lab where we'll meet the other team in a few hours. We get there really early and get to have a NAP(!!!!). We of course only have run clothes so we spread towels out in what little shade we could find and become dead to the world for 3 hours dressed as we are. Trade off happens, we fill up with water and water and more water and get back in the van.
Run three: 10km along the Queen K highway in the heat of the day
I get to start at around 2pm to do the final leg of the relay. 10km. JUST 10km to go, finishing at a beach resort. I gotta say, this was tough. Unlike in IRONMAN there aren't aid stations every mile, in fact there aren't any at all. I just truck along with my little water bottle, hat and SPF 100 and hope for the best. 6km was a mental low. Not because I was tired yet, but at the time 4km seemed un-imaginable, but I did it. Not fast, but I did it and the best part was that my teammates/strangers turned friends ran in with me because we're a team.
200ish miles of Kona split amongst the group. There were definite times that I REALLY didn't want to run again and there were times I REALLY wanted to be asleep but overall it was awesome and a very cool way to see Hawaii and finish my last days there. We laid on the grass, ate pizza, ate ice cream sanwiches (I took 2), high-fived and that was the end. We were a team for a good time, not a long time and we did it.