Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Recap - Run

I have mixed feelings about the run during an Ironman.  Running is probably my strongest individual sport (not that I actually have a strength in it!), but for some reason I can never put together a great run in an Ironman.  My goal is always a 4 hour marathon, and I am yet to accomplish that goal.  I have gotten better each time, but still haven't figured out the formula for a great run.  I was hoping that Ironman Coeur d'Alene would be different.

I finished up the bike feeling great, got off and jogged through transition.  My T2 time was 4:09, which is much better than the 14:00 that I had in T1.  My total race time at the start of the run was 7:26:01.  My goal was to start the marathon by 7:30:00, so I was now 3:59 ahead of my goal.  My plan for the run, which I was actually going to follow this time, was to run each mile, and walk for 45 seconds through each aid station.  We were told that there would be aid stations at "about every mile", so I trained walking at every mile.

I came cruising out of transition and ran my first mile in 7:49.  My goal pace for the marathon was 9:09/mile, so I had already put 80 seconds in the bank, but I knew that was way too fast of a pace.  I walked through the first aid station for my planned 45 seconds, and then continued my run at about an 8:30/mile pace.  Mile 2 ended up being in 8:23, which was much closer to my goal.  It was a pretty casual pace, and one that I felt I could keep up.  I had passed The Music Man and Old Wise One on the bike, so I knew I would be seeing them at some point after the turnaround on the run, which occurred at about mile 7.  I still had no idea where the rest of the group was though.

I made the turnaround, and was feeling pretty good all the way back into town.  I saw The Music Man, Old Wise One, Iron Husband, and Iron Wife on my way back into town, and they all were looking great!  I was at about the halfway point (13ish miles), and getting ready for the end of lap one, and beginning of lap two, and already starting to rely pretty heavily on the aid stations.  I reached the special needs bag area and kept on running, since I hadn't packed a special needs bag for the run.  It was somewhere around miles 12 to 14 (12.3 to 14.3 according to my Garmin) that I was in dire need of an aid station, and there were none to be found.  Yeah, there was no aid station for mile 13.  Let me tell you how much THAT sucked.  Had I known there would be a 2 mile gap in the middle of the marathon where there was no aid station, I would have grabbed an extra cup of water at the mile 12 aid station and carried it with me until mile 13.  But, there was nothing I could do.

I kept on chuggin' along, hoping to see an aid station around every corner, until I realized where I was on the course again and knew that the closest aid station was still a long way away.  It was at this point that the wind in my sails died down a little.  I could tell that missing that aid station had taken it's toll, and it was time to re-evaluate my plan.  I had stuck with my nutritional plan and pacing plan pretty perfectly up until this point, which was to drink water and Ironman Perform at every aid station, and a Power gel at every 4th aid station.  I decided to continue this plan through mile 16, and then I would remove the Power gel, and start using the Coke.  At mile 16, I took my final gel (and almost puked).  At mile 17 I added the Coke, and tried an orange (and almost puked).  At mile 18 I stuck with just the Coke, water, and Perform.  I ended up sticking with the liquids for the rest of the marathon.  I could tell that I was definitely getting tired, but I was on the home stretch. 

During one of my planned walks through an aid station, I decided to re-evaluate my time goal.  I was able to conclude that I could average 12:00/mile for the remainder of the race, and still set an Ironman PR.  So, I decided to walk for an extra fifteen seconds at each aid station.  Doing this seemed to help mentally, but I'm not sure that it did much for me physically.

I came around the last turn and saw the finish line down the road.  The beautiful thing about the Ironman Coeur d'Alene finish line is that it is downhill for the entire last straight away, allowing you to really put on a show (like you were running strong the whole run...ha!).  I turned that corner and immediately forgot about any pain that I was feeling and really opened up my stride.  Coming down that last straight away, I got my pace down to 7:05/mile!  I looked over my shoulder a few times to make sure another athlete wasn't going to pass me in the last few hundred yards, and slowed down so I didn't overtake the person in front of me right at the finish.  I was able to spot my family in the stands and veered over to them to give my daughter a high five on the way in.  I came across the finish line in a time of 11:26:22, which was a new PR by about 13 minutes.

Now that I've talked way too much about the run, here's another visual assault, only this time it is on the run!

Feeling great on the first lap!

Lap 1

Running by my family on lap 1

Old Wise One on lap 1

The Music Man, happy to be off the bike and running strong!

The Music Man

The Music Man

The Music Man

The Music Man

Iron Wife

Coming in at the end of lap 1, feeling great!

High fives for Team IronClan!

Feeling good!

It's always good to smile during the Ironman

And another high five!

Team IronClan!

And back to the race...

Coming around for lap 2!

Feeling good, but not as good after not having an aid station in mile 13...

The Music Man finishing up lap 1

The Music Man!

High five!

The Music Man passing by his mom

It's a's a plane...

It's Old Wise One!

Feeling great after 1 lap on the run!

Stopping by to check in with Team IronClan

Nothing but smiles for Old Wise One

And back to the task at hand

One lap down, one lap to go!

Starting lap 2!

Still excited after 13 miles!

The classic "thumbs up"

A random competitor with an M-dot shaved into his head!  Awesome.
 And tomorrow, the final portion of my recap...the aftermath!

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