I was brutally reminded today that an Ironman is no small feat and your body has ways of letting you know that it's gone beyond the normal limits. Mine handed me a sinus infection this morning. Fortunately, I made it to the urgent care as well as my chiropractor and am feeling better.
On with the story -
T2 was relatively uneventful. Come down the chute, hand your bike off and go get your run stuff.
T2 Time = 3:27
Going in to the race, I had already come to terms with the idea that I would be starting in the dark and ending in the dark. This proved to be right on and mentally prepared me for the long run ahead.
It's an amazing thing to me still that after 112 miles on the bike, running a 9:00-minute mile doesn't seem that hard. I felt great off the bike. I felt more than great...I felt like I was going to PR the run. My goal was to completely run at least one loop of the course (1 loop = a little more than 8 miles) before allowing myself any concessions or walking time.
I successfully made it around 1 loop but by the end of that loop, a couple things happened - (a) I was no longer keeping a 9-minute pace and (b) I was feeling queasy and didn't feel like taking on any more Roctane. Knowing that I had to change things up a bit, I slowed down and started looking for alternative foods at the aid stations.
Grapes really hit the spot to begin with but even those were not packing the punch I needed. Cookies, pretzels, chips were all too dry and required even more water or Gatorade to get down. Between miles 8 and 12 I struggled to keep running and trying to figure out what I was going to do about nutrition.
Funny story @ mile 9 - had to take a potty break. Sat down to begin my business when I noticed there was no TP. DOH!! Improvisation and quick thinking saved my behind...
Anyway, about mile 13 I was thinking, "Man, glad to be halfway done". I was also thinking, "What am I going to eat?" I really didn't want to walk the remaining 13 miles and finish any closer to midnight than I had to. Then I remembered what I read in Joe Friel's Going Long chapter on race day nutrition. Try the cola and chicken broth...
Low-and-behold, cola and broth were my new best friend. Not only was the broth warm (as it was now dusk) but it has a ton of calories that you can just drink without having to stop running. These 2 things kept me powered up and running for the next 13 miles all the way to the finish.
I had a great surprise at mile 20 - my dad, wife and buddy Erik had all wandered across the bridge to try and encourage me on. It was such a charge to see them and know that I was only 3 miles from completing this incredible journey. With a kiss from my wife and another cup of chicken broth, I powered on until I saw that glorious 'mile 25' sign...
I thought I would be more emotional (e.g., sobbing/crying) but it was clearly the opposite. I was yelling, fist-pumping and getting the crowd all riled up at my entrance and date with Ironman destiny. The adrenaline, excitement and pride swelled like nothing I had felt before. Crossing that finish line was one of the most glorious things I have ever experienced.
Run time = 4:53
Final time: 13 hours and 3 minutes
Final thoughts and wrap up yet to come...