One of our Ironman champions shares his race day experience.It was a day to remember and I just loved every minute of it! again
I came into ironman week never feeling that "snap" in the legs, which
made me a bit leary going into the race. I guess one needs to look at past training and gain confidence from that - which is what I did. I got into the water with plenty of time to warm up but my teeth were chattering as I treaded water(tired of warming up) waiting for the cannon. I had a tough time getting started in the swim, as I was
second line back from the front, and should have been first line. Felt like I was riding bodies, and could not get going for a while. But, hey we're all in the same boat.
Finally got some clear water about 15 minutes or so into the day and swam with a pack. drafted a bit, which was very easy and then after 1-lap I could see the next group ahead of us. I took off trying to bridge the gap, but heading out into the chop made it tough. It took me a while and finally another swimmer from my group helped, and we bridged up to them. Turns out it was Chris Legh - so here I was swimming shoulder to shoulder with Chris for the last 10 minutes, with Beth Zinkand off my feet. Not a bad position to be in.
My watch said 50:31 as I hit the ramp and I used the wet-suit strippers and headed to grab my shoes, and suck down some gel. I ran to my bike and was off. Fun to be biking up with some pros, and passed
Nicole De Boom and chatted a bit, when she went by soon after. So I decided to stick behind her(good choice with legs like that!) and was very comfortable with my pace on the first loop. Keyed off Nicole for about 48 miles before I went by as she was going through a low spot. I had no idea how fast we were going, because my computer on the bike wasnít working. Probably a good thing.
Beth Zinkand went by but she came back to us, and then Natascha went by like I was standing still. It was amazing to watch her spin up the hills in the saddle, as we were out of the saddle. Thought
about going with her, but figured that I needed to be conservative on the first lap and I did just that. My heart rate was pretty low except for the climbs. Made it around in 2:33/34 and kicked the effort up for the second lap, but apparently not the pace. I felt great cardio wise, but the legs were feeling the miles of the day, as I continued to push forward. The wind began to pick up somewhat the second lap, especially the last 10 miles of the loop.
Things were going great and to my surprise the places where my group was riding away from me was the hills, but I would catch them very quickly on the flats. I had a very low spot around mile 80 or 90 on the bike and felt like I was going nowhere. My front tire had a slow leak as well. I'd be out of the saddle on the hills and could hear the air squeeze out with each stroke of the pedal. But if it wasn't flat, I wasn't going to stop. Anyways, decided to take it easy the last 10 miles and really relax,as I stretched out the legs for the run.
I was perfect for nutrition- maybe took in too much early on, as some of it I spat back up, but luckily kept most of it in. Came through very comfortably into t-2, with the second lap 2:40/41, so I was very happy with 6-7 minutes difference in laps. Can't beat that! Grabbed my shoes, gel andIi was off for the run, after laughing at myself as I got off the bike. Somewhat surprised at that feeling. Very happy with my bike-stayed well within myself and let others go, as I knew where I was age-group wise and that's all that mattered to me.
I was clicking off the first two miles in under 7 minutes and realized that I should hold back. Just loving the day, and really concentrated on being in the moment. Listen to the body and figure out what it needs. It was certainly good to have some friendly faces along the course as well. The air temp seemed to heat up on the run, unless it was just me as I was getting hot in the face. Yaking sponges and such helped cool me down. Pretty comfortable for the first half marathon, 1:40. Soon after I could feel my quads getting fatigued. Kept it easy asIi did not want to explode and run "above myself". In the back of my mind was Hawaii, and winning my age-group.
With nobody near me, I kept it comfortable and as Newby-Fraser went by me around 16 or so, I had a very quick thought of going with her- but believe me that didn't last too long. Everything added up and that last 5-6 miles was honestly the hardest thing I have ever done. Even though up to that point I had saved energy, I was living in the moment, drawing strength from above and just honestly loving the pain. I really thrived on that, and its hard to put the emotions on paper, but itís a feeling that I want to get back to, very soon.
I was looking at the finishing tape and finally heard the anouncer telling me to turn my number around, so they could figure out who I was. Crossing that white line in the road was a beautiful moment. Emotions were flowing through my body and I was able to share it with my family, as my mother and sister held the finish line tape, and my father was nearby.
A nice 45 minute post-race massage did wonders for my body and
mind, and then it was off to dinner. When all was said and done, I ended up 9:40:53, 44th overall, 42nd men and won my age-group as well. Very happy with the day, everything was great, volunteers, aid stations, only thing was that I had to dig for my special needs bag on the run(had some much needed gel in there). But the day would not be what it is without the energy of the volunteers.
Now I'll be living my dream running down the historic course in Hawaii where so many great ones have been before. Thank you all for your support and encouragement through the process!