Well, the run.
What an experience. I'll try to keep this brief but I have a lot to say.
First, a little bit on T2. I was very happy to get off the bike. I was hoping to finish in 6:30 or less and mis-calculated my time (in my favor, oddly) and thought I was right on target, which made me really happy. Had I known that my bike time was slower than I expected, I might not have started off with so much energy. The mind is a powerful thing!
Anyway, this was the big moment I had been waiting for: seeing if I could run after the bike. In IM FL, I felt horrible after my bike and could not run. It was an awful feeling. My feet hurt so bad that it was very painful to run. One of the main reasons I signed up for a 2nd IM is to have a good IM experience, which for me, meant running after the bike portion of the race. That may sound strange but that's what I really wanted to be able to do. And I could run!
I left the T2 tent on a runner's high. My body actually felt really good. On the bike, I had some strange groin pain that worried me - I wondered if I would be able to run at all. But it went away as I started to run.
The run course headed out along the lake and the sun was finally out, making for beautiful running conditions. I felt really good. The crowds were cheering and I heard Kurt's voice as I rounded a corner. I saw Katerina standing next to Kurt and blew her a kiss. So glad to see at least one of my kids! Here is a picture Kurt took at this point:
As I headed on out on the course, I told myself that I wanted to run 2 laps without stopping. In hindsight, that was probably a bit ambitious because I was really hurting by mile 16. But I kept the promise to myself and ran without stopping (not even at aid stations) for 2 laps. I grabbed water and sports drink at the aid stations but kept running as I drank it.
At that point, my legs were killing me. This is where the lack of long runs in my training really bit me in the butt. I slowed way down at this point and had so much pain in my feet (why do my feet hurt so much???) that I could hardly walk. Maybe it was all the concrete, I don't know.
Around mile 15 my heel started to hurt too. I focused more on mid-foot running, as my podiatrist-friend told me to do, and tried to run on the grass whenever I could. But it really hurt. I slowed down even further.
By mile 18 or so, I was in a lot of pain. I was walking more and more and became very worried that i wasn't going to make my goal of finishing under 14 hrs. I started to get down about it but would then pull myself out of it. It got dark and I struggled to keep going.
I kept wondering where Brenda and Kevin were. I saw Sarah once and Kurt had told me that she was ahead of me, as expected, but he didn't know where Brenda or Kevin was. I kept waiting for them to pass me, since Kurt said they weren't in front of me. I found out later that Kevin was way ahead of even Sarah but that Brenda was behind me. She somehow passed me on the course and I never saw her. Strange!
So, by mile 22, I was in bad shape. Pain, pain, pain. It was dark and no one was talking. The volunteers were great but I could sense that other runners were hurting too. We all shuffled along together in the dark.
I kept looking at my watch wondering if I could make it. It seemed like the last few miles were so long, like I would never make it to the finish line. I could hardly walk let alone run. Darn those injuries! If I was in the kind of shape that I was in before getting this hip pointer injury or the plantar fasciititis, I could have easily done the marathon. I fought hard to keep my spirits up because I knew things would go south if I didn't.
At about mile 23, I tried to run but couldn't. Then all of a sudden, I felt my body start to run. I could hear the announcer and all the people cheering. I ran and ran and when I rounded the corner to the finish line, I was in an all-out sprint to the finish line. The clock said 13:54 as I flew across the line and I was really happy.
A wonderful volunteer quickly embraced me with a space blanket and held me up. I laughed and cried with her as we waited for the finish line photo to be taken. Kurt, the kids, and my mom were waving to me from the fence nearby. I couldn't hold it in and started crying. I was so happy to be done and so happy to have met my goal!
So, now a week later, as I write this, I can say that i truly am happy with my performance this year (compared to last year). Sure, I wish I had could've run faster but I'm just so glad that I met my goal and honestly, that I was able to swim in that frigid water!
Its been a long haul this time around and I'm ready to close the Ironman chapter in my life. I'm not saying that I won't sign up for another one down the road, but for now, I'm done. And I'm happy.
Thanks for reading this blog. I know only a handful of people have read it but if you were one of them, thanks for coming along and supporting me along the way. Feel free to comment or email me questions.
I may write a post on nutrition soon, so come back soon!