The run course starts with a pretty good downhill, and that along with the cheering crowds can trick you into going out too fast. I looked at my watch - 8:30 pace! I forced myself to slow down. Turning right and onto the really big hill I saw Michelle, Farrah and Ch, and not left and Christine. Great to see familiar faces and so nice to have people cheering for +me+ :). I did a pirouette as I passed them. Thats how i roll.
After I jogged out of their sight I tried to walk some, and I stopped at the first portapotty, even though I dint really need to. Anything to get my pace under control.
I ran and walked now, stopping and walking through each aid station, taking water and gatorade at each one.
At run special needs I stopped and changed my shoes. I had planned to do this, and even though my first shoes are dry and my feet feel fine, i change them. This turns out to be a mistake. I do also take a good handful of vaseline and slather my crotch and nipples. The volunteers avert their eyes.
The first loop was challenging, and as i ran down Lake Placid Drive toward the Olympic Oval my mind looked for a way to turn right for the finish line. I guess thats probably not a workable solution, soldier on, left turn and back down the hill.
Its around twilight now, the sun is down but its still light enough to recognize faces. I saw Nathan and Kristine running back into town. Nathan looked at his watch and quickly calculated that I would have enough time to beat the cut off. I still have no idea how he was able to do that, but thanks!
Food selection at the aid stations was starting to get sparse. I pulled a pack of sports beans from my pocket, but realized i was going to need to start eating or else crash and burn. I found the power bar vanilla crunch was palatable enough, for now, but i was becoming concerned about the rest of the race and nutrition.
It was pretty dark now. Turning left past the equestrian center I saw a man vomiting on the way back into town. Across the street, on my side, a state trooper turned his back, his body language said he couldn't help that person and didn't want to watch him in misery. I carried the image of the sick guy with me, to reinforce my need to eat, and to eat the right stuff. I did not want to be him. (I later found out that guy was Brian Brode - Triboomer)
Turning onto the River Road out and back, doing some calculations with distance and time remaining and expected pace. It seems I am in a position to finish before midnight, as long as I keep moving. I met a young woman there who did the math along with me, we were both surprised at our ability to do these calculations. We talked a while, then she ran off ahead.
It gets very dark on River Road. The aid stations are well lit, but in the mile in between you can barely see the road in front of you. They hand out glow sticks so that as the road begins to open to vehicular traffic the runners can be seen.
I reached the turnaround and the 20k timing mat. This is the start of the race, not i start pushing and counting the number of people i pass. I did a Blaiseman Roll over the mat and took off.
I started taking the chicken soup at the aids stations now. And coke and pretzels. The chicken soups is really good, and MAGIC! I am having fun.
You can hear Mike Reilly announcing new Ironmen, even this far out. Sound travels far on clear dark nights like this, and there was a super-gravitational pull at work now.
I saw strange lights on the road. Green and Orange and Yellow, sprites bobbing and weaving in front of me in the distance. As I got closer I could see, these were runners still heading out and away from the finish line, clearly having difficulty even walking in a straight line. God Bless Them, but someone should tell them they have no hope of finishing before midnight. Do they know? God Bless Them.
I'm turning right, done with the out and back and heading up the hill by the ski jump. Run-walking, looking for the next chicken soup and coke. Right turn again at the airport and I'm heading back to town. Up the hill by the IGA and a left turn onto main street. The crowds are still there cheering, very much needed and appreciated.
Up the hill on this final out and back, I am really pushing, although it may not look like it. I'm walking and running. Ive got a bad blister on the ball of my right foot. Its not going to stop me but it does slow me down.
A spectator is yelling at the top of his lungs for someone to run. "Dont walk, run you'll feel better, run, RUN, RUN!!" As I end my walk segment and break into a jog, I hear him scream "Thats it! RUN! Doesn't that feel better? YOURE LOOKING GREAT! I told you it would be better, run, RUN!".
He's screaming at me. I look over and make eye contact. He's stopped yelling now and just smiles. I say "Who the hell are you?".
A guy running just in front of me chuckles and says "He's your coach, didn't you know?".
I really appreciate all the support from the volunteers and spectators, but after almost 11 hours on the road, i am not going to react well to screaming, and I am pretty sure I dont look great. A sincere "Nice job, way to go" will be sufficient thank you.
I am running faster now, down the hill. I can see the lights from the Oval. I can hear Reilly louder and louder. Im running 9:30 pace. At the bottom of the hill I give the volunteer a head fake, as if I am heading out for another loop. Always leave them laughing. I turn right, past the cheering people and into the oval. I'm fying.
8:00 pace, around the oval, and I go under the first inflatable ironman arch, look around and realize, really, where I am and whats happening. I am sprinting now, probably 7:00 pace around the curve, doing the airplane thing from side to side, high fiving the crowd. I hear Mike Reilly say "Wait, Wh.. LOOK AT THIS!". The people in the grandstand are on their feet and roaring. Mike Reilly does the low five thing and I cross the finish line.
Run 5:54:55 13:33 pace