So, in T2, I put on my injinji socks, running shoes, running hat, RaceReady LD compression shorts, took some SportLegs, my bottle of hydrade and headed out. I was looking forward to the run. I assumed it would be flat.
I assumed wrong.
The race numbers they gave us has one with our first name on it, which I wore on the run. The result was that total strangers read it and cheered calling out my name. It was awesome, like being a celebrity. I highly recommend having your name somewhere on you when doing an endurance event. When you feel like you haven't got anything left, hearing someone call your name is a real shot in the arm.
I headed out onto a brief 2-3 mile out and back on the first loop and came upon a screaming group of Bloggers, including Duane, Di, and many others. That was pretty awesome! Then I came up on Sweet Baboo, who gave me a big wet kiss. Then I saw Mike, Maria, and several others throughout; since each part of the loop was an out-and-back I had many opportunities to see all my friends (who are, quite clearly, much faster than I!) including SW TriGal and Bigun.
The run wasn't that bad for a marathon, but when that marathon comes at the end of an Ironman any hill you encounter is pretty unwelcome. The big hill was at mile 8 on the first loop, and mile 21 on the second. It is long and steep and banked sharply so you feel unnervingly like one of your legs is shorter than the other. So, you march up the hill to a timing mat, watching your average pace climb as you climb the hill.
On marathons, I hit the wall around mile 16 and recover around mile 21. I'm tired, my stomach is feeling funky, and I'm sick of PowerGels. Then, a new sensation: Around mile 16, I suddenly felt like the ground was very far away and that I was very tall and running on stilts. I started giggling and realized I was a little delirious so I started taking salty broth and an ice-cold coke from every other aid station. That lit a fire under me after mile 21, and then I started running 2 minutes and walking 1. By now it was getting dark, and I took the glow-necklace they offered me.
Did you know: people late in the night at the back of the pack in an Ironman marathon are surprisingly un-chatty. This I've discovered. I would run up on someone, and start talking to them, and they grunt and just continue forward in a slow, shuffling walk. Then my watch would chime and I would run away.
My marathon time was 6:05. My Kentucky marathon was around 6:20, so I took 15 minutes off.I wish I had more drama to add, but I had a great run. I got a little tired and slow during my crash but came right back after the coke and broth. I never reached the dark, dismayed and lonely places that I reached in Kentucky. All the little nagging thoughts about how much I suck came out to play a little while I was on the bike, but then they went away as I cruised into T2, and they never came back.
As I came in toward the finish, I decided I wanted a good, strong finish, and a decent finish picture. I tried spacing myself between large groups of people who that I would be coming in by myself.
A mile out, I was choking back tears, because I was so happy...it was only about 11:00 and I knew that I would definitely make my goal. I slowed down a bit to save up for a run at the finish line. Then as I approached the arch, I saw Duane, who was yelling that I was going to beat the moon! Then, I saw Baboo with a big grin on his face running along the side with me, yelling at me that I had killed it.
Then, I was in the finishing chute running like crazy and I slapped hands with all the people leaning out and sticking their hands out and cheering. I knew that I had bested my time at IM Louisville by a little over an hour. I knew I had a big grin on my face. I couldn't stop smiling. It was an awesome moment!
Pirate and 21st Century Mom were there to catch me, and I was all giggly. I'd used up everything I had left, so when I stumbled a bit they walked me to the medical tent. Pirate said I was "loopy" but I remember just being just really, really happy. There was no more pizza (dammit) prompting me to create Iron Misty's new rule:
doing an Ironman, they will not expire at Midnight.
You can spend some the next day, too.
And maybe the day after that.
And yes, in case you were wondering, this one "took". The naggy little voice is gone.
So do I do this? What do I get out of it?
Well, for me, part of it is the brush with greatness. I have to say, when you're doing an Ironman event, they make you feel like, well, like a pro. First off, what other sport is there where you can race side by side with pros? And have them pee on you?
Sure, everyone is passing me, and I'm at the back of the pack. But then there's the cheering crowds: One is reminded, even if slow, that s/he is still doing something that few people ever try to do. And, even when your family even forgets what day the Ironman is on, after all the hard work there are total strangers standing around screaming like crazy, acknowledging your effort.
I have to say, well, it's quite a rush.
And then there is the boost to my self esteem that comes from knowing that I worked hard for it. Yes, it pays to have nice equipment, but even the nicest equipment won't make up for bad training. I know this from being left in the dust by guys riding mountain bikes wearing baggy t-shirts and shorts who were better trained than I.
Of course, it goes without saying that I couldn't have done this without Coach Baboo, Cindy, and all the people who've been encouraging me all this time.
But it's back to reality now. I jogged slowly down the hall this morning about 10 am to get my free hotel breakfast, and my legs and feet were like, ARE YOU MAKING US JOG? NOW? ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?
Sadly, I didn't make it. The hotel had stopped the free breakfast at 9:30.