I can’t believe it took my 5hrs 35 minutes to complete Ironman 70.3, but over a week to actually recap the damn thing! 🙂
So, it’s now Sunday evening, November 19th, and the race was over a week ago. I’m just now getting to actually recap the running portion of the triathlon. Damn, it seems so long ago. Let’s just say it was hot and difficult but I finished the 13.1 miles…the end! Moving on…
Oh, I wish it was that easy. As I alluded to in my previous post, this was the first time I wasn’t looking forward to the run. I knew I would finish, but I honestly didn’t think I was going to meet my goal time of 1:45 (8:00 min mile pace). For whatever reason, the thought of almost 2 more hours of hard physical activity was almost unbearable. And then I thought about them…my running partners. I swear. I knew they would check on my time at some point and they were expecting a 1:45 run. I couldn’t let them down. After all the training I’d done, I couldn’t have the run be my weak link. At that moment, that’s all I needed.
I started running like everyone does—stiff and awkward since my legs had been doing something completely different for the last 3 hours. They were used to spinning at a high cadence and now I was forcing them to stride out and pound the pavement. At one Mile, we climbed the Memorial Causeway Bridge. It was the same bridge we started climbing on the bike. Now, here I was three hours later doing it again on foot…In this race, I would have to do it still again…and again…and again. This was a two-loop course so you had to climb both sides of the bridge twice. Four ascents. Now, I’m not smart or scientific enough to have timed each of the climbs, but I’m pretty sure they got slower with each progression. Like always, my first 4-5 miles were too fast. You know when you get off a treadmill and immediately start walking and you’re still walking at that fast funny speed? Well, I guess that’s how the first few miles of the run are for me. I clocked them at 7:40-7:45 (with the first bridge climb). I had immediate thoughts of, “This will bite you in the ass later! SLOW DOWN…” I thought I was slowing down, but each mile was still coming in at a sub-8:00 pace. I was still running through the waterstops at this point and trying to alternate between water and Gatorade. Volunteers were passing out power gels and I also remember seeing Coke, pretzels, cookies, bananas and other goodies at each stop. (note to non-athlete friends: Races have some kick-ass food). When I wasn’t climbing or descending bridges, I was running through neighborhoods and even a paved trail for a portion of the run. I was passing people left and right and it’s always good to hear encouragement from the other athletes. “Looking good…Great Pace” Everyone is so positive out there. I’m proud to say that I was not passed by one person on the run…woo hoo!!
I was finally surrounded by mass groups of people, although I couldn’t tell if most of them were on their first or second run loops. It was pretty discouraging to see the really fast people finishing as myself and so many others were simply starting. Shawn swears he was cheering for me and shouting at the turnaround point. I didn’t believe him until he showed the pics that proved it. I was totally in “the zone” and gearing myself up for bridge climb #3. I was still ahead of pace, but fading fast. I was there, but I wasn’t. I stopped at the Mile 7 water stop and walked for about 15-20 seconds. I did that at every other Water Stop. I think my slowest my was an 8:26. I was still getting “Wow—great pace” remarks from the crowd and the participants, so I knew I must not have been looking too bad. I was just starting to feel that way. The last bridge climb at Mile 10.5 was tough, but it was also such a relief knowing it was done and I could enjoy the last downhill and straightaway back to the finish. Once again, as if I was air-lifted, my pace began to quicken on the other side of the bridge. I knew I was pretty much right on pace and I wanted to finish looking strong. My last three miles were in the sub-8:00 range and the agony and self-doubt of two miles ago turned to an abundance of self-pride. I felt like a champion. The atmosphere made me feel that way. The volunteers made me feel that way and the crowds made me feel that way. I remember another competitor yelling at how fast I was going and how good I looked. I also remember the announcer calling my name and saying something to the affect that I was “representing Austin, Texas!” I found it silly even as I was running towards the finish line because of all the other elite athletes and pros from Austin who had crossed the line hours before. I was hardly “representing” Austin. I just happen to be fortunate enough to live there.
My run goal time was a 1:45. My run split?
A volunteer was assigned to me immediately after I crossed the line. In the blink of an eye, I had my medal and some shells draped around my neck. I had a towel and a bottle of water immediately. The volunteer literally takes you by the arm and leads you to wherever you need to go. For some people, it was to the medical tent. For others, it was to the food tent. Still others wanted to sit down or find the restroom. I wanted to be led to Shawn who was waiting for me on the other side of the fence. He seemed so proud and it meant so much that he “gets it.” He knew what this race meant and he knew how hard it was since he’s done two half-ironmans as well. He also new immediately that I has set a Personal Best.
So that’s it. That’s my Ironman 70.3 Recap. I’ll be posting both candid and official photos at some point.
Now—it’s on to the Dallas Marathon on December 10th. I ran 15 miles on Saturday, but felt pretty crappy the entire time. Ummm…yep, I need some rest and a big fat massage. I’m also in Turkey Trot Hell this week, but it’s going to be an awesome race. We did packet stuffing today and it went by so quickly. Thanks to all who showed up to help! We stuffed over 4,000 bags in two hours. Rock on!!!!!!! Also, our on-line entries are up over 25% year to date. As scary as that is, it’s also very exciting. This is going to be a great event.