I grabbed my bag, headed into the women's change tent, and found a chair. Unlike after the swim, there were only a handful of other women in there, and it was a lot less stiflingly hot! I dumped the bag out on the floor, shoved my helmet, shoes, and bike socks inside, and then spent an inordinate amount of time pulling my compression socks onto my sweaty legs.
It was worth doing, though - with the problems with shin pain I'd been having the week before the race, I knew I'd want the compression if only to feel psychologically like something was holding my leg together!
I got my shoes on, shoved my gels in my tri suit pockets, got my hat and sunglasses and spibelt organized, and was on my way. Unfortunately the change tent volunteers were busy helping other athletes so I didn't get any help with my stuff, but no big deal there; I managed. And then it was out into the bright sunshine to face a marathon. And also find a porta potty because OMG I had to pee so bad.
First step out of transition, I spotted my husband waiting for me and rushed over to grab a hug and a kiss (while he was all, um, go keep racing!! go already!). Then the sweet relief of a porta potty. No, I have not figured out peeing on the bike and frankly I'm not sure I ever will. Triathletes are disgusting but that seems to be my limit.
Whew. OK, physical needs sorted out, let'd go run! Except, boom, there was my parents and kids so another quick stop for hugs and kisses there. So worth it.
|My cute butt heading out for a little marathon, which is a totally normal and sane thing to do after already spending almost 8 hours exercising.|
But this is what I came for, after all! So I jogged easy and quickly came to the Red Bull arch, where I immediately grabbed a cup and downed it, because CAFFEINE. And then came the first significant incline, which I walked up while I sucked down an Endurance Tap gel. My run plan was to walk all the inclines, walk the aid stations, and run everything else for as long as I possibly could. So although there were lots of people lining the hill cheering and encouraging us to run, I stuck with walking.
And so I continued for the first few km, which seemed really fucking hilly. Jogged the downhills, walked the uphills, and then when I got to the first really significant downhill at around 3k ish I realized I was starting to feel a whole lot better. From that point out to the turnaround is a long very gradual downhill, and as I worked through the rest of that first 10 k, I was feeling better and better.
(at some point early in the run, a lead moto went past the other way with Lionel Sanders looking even rougher than he usually does on the run. I hadn't seen the cyclist with the placement sign, so I wasn't sure if he was leading or not, but then the next pro I saw had the 3rd place cyclist with him. I was looking for Cody but when I didn't see him I started to wonder if he'd won the race. Gave me something to ponder for a few km! As it turns out, I must have just missed seeing him running into the village on the way to a massive victory and completely stunning 8:10 Ironman debut. Must have been because of my being such a great babysitter all those years ago. Obviously.)
|Must be feeling good if I'm making that face|
(Also, Pepsi?! WTF? I mean it worked out for me, but damn it I wanted Coke!)
I was ignoring my watch and paces and focused on running comfortably and watching the people coming back from the turnaround for people I knew and offering up high fives. I couldn't get over how good I was feeling. I could tell the temp had risen significantly but it wasn't bothering me at all (and fortunately, a large portion of the run course is nicely shaded). When I got out to the turnaround they were playing Lady Gaga and a enthusiastic volunteer was trying to get people to have a little fun with him - he was thrilled when I joined him for a few seconds of what might be loosely called dancing on my part.
1-10k: 8:57 (porta potty & hugs and kisses!)/6:38/6:58/5:50/6:03/5:46/6:19/6:09/5:51/6:20
I figured the way back would feel harder because it was now a long gradual false flat back to the hills, but it really didn't feel any more difficult. My paces slowed a bit but the effort level felt good. I saw Fab heading out looking like he was running strongly and told him to hurry up and catch up (not sure he appreciated that much, ha!). Soon I was back into the hills (walked them) and then up into the village to finish up the first lap.
Coming through the village I saw my friend Lara and her family cheering for me and telling me I looked amazing, which was wonderful, and I kind of marveled at just how great I was feeling. As I passed by the turn off to the finish line, I knew with confidence that I would be back there soon.
Into run special needs, where a volunteer was holding my bag open for me, I glanced at the contents and was like, ugh, I don't want any of this, but thanks anyway (it was just a couple of gels and a can of Pringles - I'd packed light). At this point I figured I'd take a quick look at my total elapsed time and see how things were going - since I hadn't really been looking at my watch much, I didn't really know how fast I was running.
I flipped the screen and saw something like 10:0x elapsed time (can't recall exactly) and had a freaking Moment. Like seriously wondering if I'd accidentally cut the course or something.
When I'd thought about finish times, I was thinking a good day would be 13 hours, and if things went extraordinarily well, I could maybe break 12:45. Maybe get close to 12:30 in my wildest dreams.
And here I was with less than a half marathon to go and only at 10 hours.
If my leg could hold together...
I was excited. And motivated.
|Focused. No idea where this picture was taken.|
|Pretty sure this is the start of the second loop from the Red Bull tent and since my tri suit is clearly soaking wet. But who knows. Nice ski hill in the background!|
*shortly after that I realized it wasn't my stomach hurting, it was my skin hurting from all the ice I had shoved into my tri suit. SO MUCH ICE. At some points I sounded like a maraca with it all rattling around inside my bra. It really worked, though, the heat just wasn't even an issue for me. I guess this long hot and humid summer really was good for acclimating!
Out at the turnaround the dancing volunteer had disappeared, which made me sad. Also they were playing Take Me To Church which is...not exactly a motivational song? And then I was heading back towards the finish still feeling really good. I was passing a lot of people and getting a lot of 'Are you on your second loop? You look amazing!' comments from people.
I was definitely slowing down, though. From about 32k on things were hurting, but in a 'whoa this has been a long day' sort of way, not a 'your back has decided fuck this shit it's exiting the building' kind of way. It started taking a little bit longer to start running again after walking through each aid station. But I was still passing people and my mental state could best be described as euphoric. I just couldn't believe it was going so well!
Back into the hills again, where my legs really started to hurt but I was getting so close. And I had some extra motivation - namely my Garmin kept sending me low battery messages and goddamnit I needed to finish before it died. Strava or it didn't happen, am I right?
The last hill up into the village to the hotel is just cruel, but I could hear the finish line. Then it was circling around through the cobblestones and starting the final downhill. Saw Lara again and John Murray cheering for me. John had sworn early that morning that I was going to surprise myself when I told him I was hoping for 13 hours. He was right!
|Pic via John - heading towards the turn to the finish!|
And there was the finish arch ahead of me and those Magic Words.
There's no feeling like it, really.
TWELVE HOURS FIFTEEN MINUTES.
Overall time: 12:15:43
Age Group: 28/131
That run. Where the hell did that run come from? I mean, I know, it was the hours and hours of hard work to improve my swim endurance so that I could come out of the swim feeling fresh, the hours and hours on the bike so that I could do a strong 180k and still be ready to run, and the many 5am run starts to get in the run volume to have the base to run a marathon.
|Getting the medal. I wish I knew the name of my volunteer catcher because he gave me the best hug just before he let me go into the finisher tent.|
(oh, and my Garmin ended with 3% battery life. Just barely made it! 24 hours in training mode, yeah right, Garmin)
|Hugs for my mom and kids after the race. Mom also picked up my gear for me because she's awesome.|
|Day after feels|