Wednesday, July 28, 2010

600 Miles and I'm Not Stopping In Hell

4 am is going to come early. But we'll manage.

We're charged for such a journey. I mean, players, games, camera, video camera, phones, all charged. We anticipate such a long journey will eventually charge us so that once we hop out at our final destination we will be ready and rearing to enjoy James' Ironman.

No specific plan outside of the end goal in mind. Sightseeing should be good, after all we are leaving Corona, heading through Los Angeles, going up the coast via the 5, stopping periodically along the way, charging through the central coast, flying past Silicon Valley, and prepping for a luncheon in San Francisco all before we get to Guernville area. (I have no idea where that is, just that the Russian River flows there.)

I came across a quote from Winston Churchill this morning:


I have to admit, this is a really good quote. It can be applied to almost anything in life (I say anything in hopes that the Hell isn't going to exist in the car for 600 miles; kids fighting, static stations, motion sickness, kinked necks, drowsy drivers, snack fiasco, drink spillage, traffic. )

So, the only thing I know for certain is that I will not stop for souvenirs in Hell no matter how much the kids beg and plead, hopefully James won't either.

We're all on a journey, writer's too. If you're stopped, it's not because your journey has ended, it's most likely because your checking out the sites and picking up some souvenirs in Hell. GET BACK ON THE ROAD! DON'T STOP!

First time here? James is my husband and tomorrow we are embarking on a trip of a lifetime with him. He has been training for two years, lost 40-pounds (give or take), participated in a couple of sprint triathlons and one half Ironman. On Saturday, he will be taking part in his first full Ironman distance triathlon.

What does that mean an Ironman triathlon? I mean:

  • James will wait patiently in his wetsuit for the bang, at that point he will run out into the water with 700 other triathletes (divided maybe by age category). He will, or at least I will, be hoping that he doesn't get inadvertantly kicked in the face, shoved under the water, or drowned which, of all the deaths in a full distance Ironman 3/4 will die during the swim. If he makes it out of the masses unscathed he will swim 2.4 miles looped in a river and burn 1500 calories with no intake in 1 hour and 30 minutes, before getting out and stripping down to his bike shorts and shirt (worn strategically under the wetsuit).

  • Once in the bike area, he will grab his shoes (no socks), perform a once-over check on his race bike, walk it out, clip-in and head out for a 112-mile bike. Here's what we're hoping, that as he averages speeds of 18 miles per hour, topping out at about 35 miles per hour, he won't crash, be crashed into, over exert himself so much that he falls into a numbed mental state so that he loses awareness, heighting his likelihood of crashing while leaving limited energy to complete the marathon after the bike. During his 6-1/2 hours on the bike, he will burn 5,000 calories while taking in 3,000 calories via 2 liters of 150 cal. gatorage/water mix, 220 cal. Odwalla nut chew bar, 230 cal. almond Snickers, 400 cal. Cliff shot blocks, 2 liters of 2,000 cal. worth of Perpetuem.

  • After the bike, he will stroll in and drop off the bike, switch out the shoes (for runners with socks), clip a water belt on and head out for the marathon. The run will all depend on how much he exerted himself on the bike. His body will let him know if he over-exerted himself. Over-exertion leads to G.I. tract problems, i.e. loss of bowels, vomitting or dry heaving. This won't be his primary concern however, because during the 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours of a 26.2 mile run starting at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, he will face dehydration, leading to fatigue and passing out; if he gets low on calories and salt he will face debilitating cramps and hypothermia (calories=heat, loss of calories lowers body temp.) He hopes to avoid some of these complications by taking in 1,100 calories with 400 cal. worth of Cliff shot blocks, 400 cal. in 2 liters of gatorade and 300 calories in 8 ounces of Perpetuem.

  • His overall hope is to cross the finish line even if it means swimming with a black eye, carrying his bike should he have an irreversible repair need, and walking the majority of the marathon should he have given everything and have nothing left but the ability crawl over the finish line.

It's amazing what the trained body can put itself through thanks to the mental strength required in order to do a race of this nature knowing the risks in advance.

We write, but we put our bodies through similar challenges that require specific intake for brain use. I came across a forum talking about the energy used by the brain. Rather interesting, though complicated check it out. Hitsquad, one of the responders, shows a chart graphing how much energy the brain uses for different tasks. Unfortunately, writing and imagination aren't on the list, but a study done on students taking tests tended to use more gluclose depending on their level of IQ and how difficult the questions were.

So, think about how many cups of coffee and Coca-Cola we take in while writing our books, and how many calories worth of chocolate and potato chips (among other eats) we take in during this period of intense use of imagination. It's because our brains alone use 20% of our body's energy in a typical at rest-awake state, which equals 2,500 calories per day. So, if you've done anything beyond your typical at rest-awake state imagine what your brain requires in gluclose. If you are short on the calories your body needs to create your imagination, you may suffer from hunger, G.I. tract issues, fatigue, stress, anxiety.

Here's to hoping we all take in the appropriate calories to prevent any stops in Hell.


  1. WOW! This blog is starting to freak me out.
    There will be pain.
    I will want to quit many times over.
    It is the thoughts of loved ones in my head that will keep me moving forward.
    I look forward to sharing my experience with you all.


  2. Good luck to your hubby and have a great trip!

  3. Wishing you all a safe trip. I will absolutely be sending cowboy mojo Jame's way Saturday! The preparation required for him just to compete is a HUGE undertaking, and milestone that requires dedication, passion, and toughness...good luck to ya James, I have a feeling you are going to rock it hard!

  4. Kelly and Urban Cowboy,
    Thanks for the well wishes.
    I plan on having a painful, funfilled day.
    Talk to you next week.

  5. In lieu of this Blog post, and of James successful race yesterday I picked up the book 'Born to Run' at the library yesterday. I have been enjoying it all morning. Good job Patty and James. Patty for supporting James through all the training, and James for all the preparation for the race!! Much Love!