Like my actual Ironman race, these posts about my race are taking longer than I thought.
At fifteen minutes and 20 seconds my second and final transition took a lot more time than it should have. I changed socks, changed sunglasses, put on a sweatband, put on my running shoes, got my Garmin, applied more Chamois Butter to a sensitive area, got sunscreened, and used the port-a-john. Maybe all of that does warrant fifteen minutes.
Thus I began to run a marathon. A marathon!
Any time you have to do anything, and then you say, “Then you run a marathon,” it’s going to be epic.
Well, I have to mow the yard, then I have to run a marathon.
I have to write a blog post, then I have to run a marathon.
I have to eat breakfast, then later run a marathon.
Adding a marathon to any activity automatically makes everything harder.
So I swam my 2.4 miles. I rode 112 miles. Why not now run a marathon?
I fully expected to jump off my bike and run nine minute miles over the course of the marathon. That, my friend, didn’t happen. The first mile or so went OK. Sure, I was feeling it, but my Garmin said I was at an 8:30 pace. Whoa! Let’s slow this bad boy down. We got 25.2 more of these to go.
Shortly after that I began to crash. I’d staved off dehydration and a sick stomach all day, but it was catching up to me. I carried twelve more salt tabs and I wanted to spread them out over the entire course, but it was like they were having no effect. I got sicker and sicker. Additionally my legs were getting weaker and hurting more and more with each stride. The marathon was going to be a sufferfest.
There was a lot of carnage out there on the course. I saw a dude in the fetal position lying on the grass. Again, there were volunteers on hand so I didn’t need to stop. The most disturbing part, however, was that I had to intersperse walking with my running. I planned to walk the aid stations, but it was so hard to get moving again when I did. Also, when I did run it was so slow I probably could’ve walked just as fast.
Yes, it was hot, in the 90s, but there was actually quite a bit of shade from the buildings and one particular street was tree-lined, so it could’ve been worse. I finished in the dark so there was no sun to deal with then. The course is also about as flat as a pancake. The course is two out and backs. Of note you go through the University of Louisville’s neighborhood and you run by Churchill Downs. The finish line is at 4th Street Live, an entertainment section of downtown Louisville.
I didn’t puke, but I did stop at a port-a-john and left a number two. I didn’t want to but was willing to try anything if it would make me feel better. Afterwards I only felt marginally better.
If there is anything I would do differently getting ready for this race it would be to add some longer runs to my training. I signed up for Louisville in October 2013. That same month I ran the KC Marathon, but the longest run I’d done since that day was about 13 miles. I think I could’ve finished a little stronger having done a couple longer runs leading up to the race.
Finally I’m at the finish line. The crowd is cheering. I feel elated, and I decide I don’t need an IV after all (I was prepared to ask for one). My wife hollers at me from above. She and the kids had found a vantage point on an overhead walkway. I look up and wave. The volunteer handling me is trying to make sure I’m OK. He then escorts me over to the photographer, then he gets me my finisher cap and tee-shirt. Another volunteer hands me some chocolate milk. What a day!
Swim 2.4 Miles – 1:16:55
Bike 112 Miles – 6:58:00
Run 26.2 Miles – 5:11:16
T1 – 00:09:29
T2 – 00:15:20
Total – 13:51:00
There were just over 2000 athletes that day. Overall I came in at 985. Of the males age 40-44 (my division) there were 303 and I came in at 156. My goal was 13 hours. I’d love to have that marathon back.
In a lot of ways I’m surprised I even signed up for this race. I never could imagine myself having the patience to train for an Ironman. Honestly, I think I signed up and did it just to say I did one. Now I did it, and surprisingly I don’t feel any sense of a let down. Though there is nothing noble about finishing an Ironman I still feel a great sense of accomplishment. No one can say I didn’t have the fortitude to finish an Ironman that day.
What’s next? The Kansas City Marathon is October 18, 2014. That’s my next and final race of the season. Six days removed from Ironman Louisville I ran four miles. Though my legs felt fine before the run, they were still sore during the run, but nothing horrible. The next day I ran six miles and felt even better than the day before. It feels weird training for a race that doesn’t involve goggles or a bike.
Well done. Great effort.