The 1st turn came fast I was headed back into town were Anne and the crew was and I was again really excited to see them. I had just been passed by Peter Atwater who was looking to have a good day and it was fun to see one of my training partners out so strong. Anne was loud and gave me the boost that I needed to carry me into the next 40 miles of hills.
The hills again were pretty funny since I had to keep my HR down and sometimes that was a REALLY slow speed. It allowed me to cheer on the Pro’s and the really fast Age Groupers. A few of the Colorado crew would podium the next day and to see them in action was great.
The first lap went pretty quick if 3+ hours can be considered quick and I was getting excited to see Anne again. I passed her with a great smile and was off to the small out and back starting lap two. The second send off and my last 40 miles on the bike was pretty hard. I hit a low spot until I was able to see my coach Beth and chat it up with her a bit. OK, I did not chat I sang the “Red Solo Cup” song and made a few people around me smile. The hills on the second loop seemed to be higher than the first and the down hills were shorter but after a long time I was headed back to town and getting my arms wrapped around the run that I had a head of me. The last climb the sun decided to finally show up and the temperature started to rise. Usually not a good sign for me but I had done such a great job keeping to my goals that I was thinking I would be OK.
Coming out of transition I had the sun block girls lather me up and I was headed out the run shoot onto the course. The crowds at Ironman are RIDICULOUS. They spend all day cheering for everyone and to feed off that was very helpful. We had a climb right out of the shoot and I had to slow down like 4 times to get my HR down to my goal effort. I saw Anne and the crew again at the same area and felt a jolt of power. It was at this point that I realized I had been going for over 8 hours now and had a marathon to run. My HR spiked when I started to think about the time and the effort it would take and I was even able to cry until I pulled myself out of it and focus on 1 mile goals and not the total distance.
My spirit was low, my body was hurting, I had been moving for over 11 hours and now I had 13.1 miles to go. I did not want my day to end this way but still wanted to finish. Coming down the gentle grade where Anne was gave her time to cross the road and as I approached her I stopped, turned and put my head down on the fence. I felt like stopping. I told her I had burned up and was going to have to walk the rest of the day to finish and had a pretty low spirit. She told me she loved me and I would finish and would be an Ironman just as soon as I walked the second half of the run. That sparked something inside me and I stood up and the idea of stopping never entered my mind again. I had a quarter mile to the turn-a-round which seemed like a mile and then I was back to where Anne was. She gave me a cold bottle of water and told me to take little sips and to keep walking. She started to walk with me and had the intentions to walk the whole way until I told her it was not allowed. She is my rock and understood what I was going through and was going to help even if it was walking next to me. I gave her a quick hug and told her I would be back in 3.5 hours. That was what my mind calculated the walk time would take me. The next thing I remember was looking at the front yard of one of the houses on the run course. The grass was shaded and looked so inviting so I laid down and closed my eyes. Someone asked if I was OK (NO I WAS NOT is what my mind was thinking) and all I could say was “yep just taking a rest”. I think I could have stayed laying on the cool grass for a long time but I had to get up and keep going. My feet hurt and my toes were swollen and so I had to loosen up my laces to stop the pain. One by one all my friends would pass me as they were headed to the finish with what every positive comment they could give. They were all in the last push of such a long day and anything they gave was huge. I passed the next aid station and they offered warm chicken broth and it tasted great. The comments that I was getting from the crowd stopped bothering me and I really felt that they were genuine. I was going to finish this race and regardless of when I crossed the finish line I would be an IRONMAN. The next few miles were better and I was able to start thinking clearly. I picked up my walking pace and started to look at my watch. I realized I could walk a pretty quick mile if I tried and if I really pushed my walk I could finish under my goal time of 14 hours. The next aid station I took coke and chips and within a minute of drinking the coke I felt strength return to my body. The next aid station I drank two cups of coke and more chips and again I felt more strength return. I looked at my watch and determined that I needed to run a bit to get under 14 hours. I decided that if I kept feeling better I would run the last 3 miles and if I was lucky I would cross the finish line just under 14 hours. I was trying to walk fast and feel good when I saw Beth on her way back to town. She actually stopped and talked to me for a minute and gave me as much positive MoJo as she could. She took off again and went to finish her first Ironman having a pretty good day. I had 1 mile to the bottom of the big hill were the run turn-a-round was and I decided that I would try to run just a few block. I picked up my head, put a smile back on my face and started to run very slowly. It worked, I could run again so I decided that I would run just a few blocks but that turned into many more. I was able to run and so I did not want to stop. I kept running all the way to the bottom of the hill.