Working up to the saddest Ironman story ever

Fourteen mile run today, in chill but comfortable conditions, under a bright blue sky.  I’m taking the opportunity to try out some new nutrition options for long-distance running, since the Sustain hasn’t quite been working for me at a higher intensity effort.  So, today I tried out four different flavors of Clif Shot Blocks.  The goal was simple to see a) whether they gave me enough energy to get through the run, b) whether they produced any serious stomach discomfort, and c) whether any of the flavors were just to repulsive to contemplate taking for an extended length of time.  Felt good in terms of energy level, no GI issues, and all the flavors were surprisingly good.  I think I’m leaning toward the orange (tastes just like the orange gummi chews from Trader Joe’s to which Mary and I developed a serious addiction for a while) and the margarita ones.  (A lot of people seem to hate the margarita ones, but then again, I’ve got some strange tastes.  For example, I loved this bike color, much to the horror of almost every bike enthusiast I’ve come across, including the guy who was trying to sell this to me back in 2006!).  This combo of shot blocks might actually be quite useful: extra sodium from the margarita, and a moderate amount of caffeine from the orange.  We’ll see.  If this doesn’t work, we’ll try something else.

However, I had a strange moment on the run today.  We were about 8 miles into it, I think, and I was fishing around in my belt for the shot blocks.  I found the tube, and then my hand cramped up when I was trying to squeeze them out!  It didn’t last long, but it suddenly struck me: wouldn’t that just be a nightmare? 

(Not a real nightmare, of course.  I had one of those last night with a bizarre dream where I was in this bar in Virginia where everyone was smoking.  When I commented on this, someone remarked that they had reversed the smoking ban in Virginia because they had discovered that smoking was really good for you.  I’m pretty sure this was a dream, but then we do seem to be living in a world where Republicans can win in Massachusetts and the Supreme Court believes that authorizing unlimited corporate political spending is a way of safeguarding the voice of ordinary Americans.  So it is possible that we slipped sideways into some kind of bizarre alternate reality while I was asleep).

But wouldn’t this also be the most pathetic Ironman story you could imagine?

“Well, everything was going fine until I began the run, and then I couldn’t actually get my nutrition out of the wrapper. . .”

Out of all the stories that you hear concerning the challenges that people face (equipment problems, GI issues, injuries, heat prostration, cold paralysis, plagues of locusts), what could be less dramatic, less sympathy-inducing than that?  Being unable to open the flap on your fuel belt?  Putting your shoes on the wrong feet?  Sleeping in?

Hopefully now that I’ve thought of it, this will never, ever happen.  But then I thought the same thing about the Republican win in Massachusetts (although I guess you got to remember that this is the witch trial state).  Maybe I should be checking the temperature in hell prior to my race as a precaution.


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