It went like this. Stop at mount line, get off bike, hand bike to volunteer. Take off bike shoes and run to get gear bag. [oh boy, notice how legs are super stiff and feel like bricks, go easy, work it out...] Grab a cup of water and chug it down. Run into changing tent and empty gear bag on floor. Strip down naked and put on run clothes. Put on plenty of body glide to avoid chaffing. Run to sunscreen volunteers and get more sunscreen. I got burned on my hands and part of my back during the bike so I let them take a little longer to cover everything this time. Stop at the porta-pottie. I moved through this transition quickly but steadily. I made sure to do everything I needed to do to help me be more comfortable on the run. A few seconds more here would be worth it later. I ran out of transition and onto the run course.
The first section went along the beach where the swim took place and there were so many spectators out there it was very motivational. I felt absolutely terrible starting the run. I could hardly move my legs and was doing something like run 3 minutes/walk 50 steps for the first 2 miles. My glutes and hamstrings were cramping up and were seriously painful. It crossed my mind to quit the race. I didn't know how I was going to make it 26 miles. I deliberated about this for about 10 minutes. I knew I would be mad at myself for quitting after traveling all the way to the race and training for so long. Giving up over something like sore legs felt like it would be disrespecting everyone else wanted so badly to be there and was willing to work through it to finish. I couldn't stop. I had to finish, no matter how long it took me. I wasn't going to qualify for Kona so did it really matter what my finishing time was? I would simply do my best and enjoy participating in an Ironman even if things weren't going perfectly. That was the plan.
I tried to sensibly take in as many calories and liquids as I could and after about 3 miles I began to feel better. That bike bonk was really messing with my mind. After that there was no question in my mind that I would finish. My strategy would be to walk the aid stations while getting all the fuel that I needed. This averaged out to roughly running 1 mile, walk 1 minute. I alternated drinking water and cola, finished my Liquid Shot flask, had a few gels, oranges, potato chips. The cola tasted good and was the best all-purpose fuel.
The run course was two laps with a long section along the lake. It was mostly flat but then had a big hill just before the turnaround point. I walked the hill on both laps, not wanting to use energy on it. There were three aid stations with music and announcers out there to keep things fun. I was wearing a t-shirt from the Lake Mills Triathlon in Wisconsin and got several comments from people from Wisconsin. It felt nice to have a little connection with my old triathlon community.
I started to feel really good on the second lap of the run. I was comfortable running a 9 minute pace and was having fun. It is amazing how things changed for me over the course of 10 miles. I was smiling and enjoying the day. When I got to the top of the big hill and ran down it, I was at mile 21 and had only 5 more miles to go. I can do anything for 5 miles, right? That's when things starting to get hard and I had to begin digging deep and remembering that I want it. Things got progressively darker until mile 24 and at that point I was struggling to run at all - maybe 2 minutes run/1 minute walk. My feet hurt and I was exhausted all over. At mile 25 when I was a little teary-eyed and walking, a volunteer said to me "Margo, when you get to me this is when you start running... ok? ... ok, now. Go!" I started running and people around began cheering for me. I smiled. I only had a couple more blocks until the finish chute. I was almost there.
I rounded that last corner onto Sherman Avenue, and could see it was less than half a mile downhill to to the finish line. The sides of the street were packed with cheering spectators. There were a few other runners around me but I basically had the whole crowd to myself. Thousands of cheering people. It is an unforgettable amazing experience. I broke out in a huge smile and got choked up from the emotion of it all. This moment made it all worth it. I savored that last 2 minutes of the run and felt no pain as my body was floating. I high-fived the hands of dozens of people as I ran. I was there. I did it! "Margo Baxter from Austin Texas, you are an Ironman."
Run time: 4:36
Goal time: 4:00
FINISH TIME: 12:48
[goal time: 11:30-12:00, previous PR: 12:36]