I love running. I always have. I asked E (Coach) for help on my bike this Spring. And that's what he provided me. He also helped me on the run and the swim, but mostly with the bike, both in terms of comfort level and speed.
After getting sick, my track sessions and my long runs took a back seat. Most of my runs were 45-60 mins. And my longest of the recent season was 2 hours 20 mins. That is not marathon distance training. Other than that one long run, I only had a couple others, all two hours or less (is that even considered long?). My body just couldn't seem to handle the stress. This concerned me pre-race. E was worried I'd go out on the marathon too fast. I told him I wouldn't because I worried about making it through the whole thing, let alone going out at lighning fast speed. He assured me my run legs would be there.
I ran out of T2 and my legs felt a little tight, but there were Holly and Sarah and Mike and ton of other training buddies all cheering. It lit me up (as seen below, and don't miss that sweet bike short tan line) and I'm not sure I quit smiling from that point on.
I saw Ryan, who had passed me on the bike, going the other way as I made the little jog over the bridge. My stomach cramp had begun subsiding by then and hunger was taking its place in my belly. I'd made the decision before the race to walk through every aid station and take in fluid. I did that last year at Great Floridian and it left me feeling not so horrible. And well hydrated. First aid station, jsut water. Second...water. And a cookie. And it tasted so good.
Within the next mile or so, I was coming up behind Ryan. He just shouted, "Will you hurry up and pass me so I can walk?" This is a picture of Ryan and me. He's like 6'7" or something. He's a giant. I am not midget, as appears in this picture.
There were spectators galore through this part of town. It was amazing! The streets were lined with people cheering and carrying signs (the best one i saw was "Run like her husband is chasing you") and holding out their hands for high-fives.
Then it's out on the road for the first real "loop" part of the run. I was mostly distracted by other runners. I love cheering other people on. The run didn't take much focus because it tends to come fairly naturally to me. I watched the faster people coming into town as I was headed out. I knew my teammates would be coming in soon for their finish.
At mile marker four, I checked my watch. 30 minutes and some change. Oops. Better slow it down. Legs won't last at that pace. At the next aid station, I took a gel. My legs were magically revived.
I kept watching for familiar faces. I saw Coach E first...and I think he blew me a kiss. I shouted "you're my hero, Eddy!". The guy right behind him shouted back to me "no, you're my hero!" and a guy running next to me shouted "you're both my heros because you're both kickin' my ass". (this is coach on his way to a 3:18 marathon. and a 9:35 IM)
I also saw Missy, who went 10:28 and is Kona bound...
And Squirrel, who Pr'd by four hours with an 11:06 finish...
And Kevin, who did his first IM in 11:14...
And Pete, who finished his first in 12 something...
And Judi, who I hadn't seen the entire weekend until out on that run course. And she was ALL smiles! We stopped to hug and then kept going, in opposite directions.
And Jess, who raised money for Girls on the Run during IM training...
And Mark, who probably has the most inspirational story of us all...
My dad was out on the course with Clubber. And the first few times I saw them, I stopped and gave her a kiss and pet her soft little head. She was pretty dazed by that time. I mean, she'd been out and about all day long!
E had directed me to take it easy for the first ten miles and then see what I had left. At ten miles, I still felt great, but I wasn't yet ready to push the pace. I just ran comfortably. One foot in front of the other. And i took in a gel every 30-40 mins. I also ate a few cookies in between. And at one point, I reached my hand into the fruit bin and ate some grapes (it wasn't until I stopped a few miles later at the port-a-potty that realized how germ-infested that fruit bin must be...UGH!!).
I just kept chugging along, back into downtown, which was about 14 miles. That's where the crowd was! It was loud and just incredible. And under my sunglasses, I had tears in my eyes. Because there was only 12 miles left. And I knew I was going to make it. Some people find it frustrating to have to go by the finish chute and out for the second loop. I found it inspiring. Mom was there in town and the CE crew was there and a million other people, cheering and shouting. And then out for the second loop. I just chugged along, cheering for others as they passed for the most part. I felt fine, and surprised by it, actually.
And then it hit me. Around mile 18-19. My legs started to feel like lead. My walks through the aid stations began lasting a little longer. My mental state? FREAK... but I held it together on the outside. I continued to take in gel or maybe it was a cookie then...and water. I kept moving. And at that point, it was just about getting to the next mile. My liner in my shorts were chaffing areas that were irritated from peeing in my tri shorts on the bike all day. Every little irritation seemed like it might be the thing to make me stop. And that's when the real focus had to kick in. Run on the side of the road for the shade, tuck my butt, belly breathe, relax the shoulders...
At the aid station just before mile 22, I stopped to pee again. And I came out of the port-a-potty with brand new legs! Who would've known an adjustment to the shorts could make me feel a million times better?
There were only four miles remaining. So, i just hit it home. Again, coming into downtown, I was overcome with emotion. I didn't know my exact time for the whole day, but I knew it was around 11:20 and I'd gone 3:55 for the marathon.
My second IM distance in 10 months and I'd pr'd by 48 mins.
Swim - 1:15:38
Bike - 6:01:59
Run - 3:54:35
Total - 11:21:59
Good enough for 12th in my AG, 55th amateur OA. I'm happy with that. Especially since 4 days later, I've already been back to swim practice and I feel really good. We're using this week as rest to put the hammer down for ITU Long Course World Champs at the end of October. And I still have training partners since E and Missy are going to Kona!