My goals: Less than 6 1/2 hours total; Under 45 minutes for the swim, 3 1/2 for the bike, and 2 hours for the run, and then whatever transitions would take.
We checked into our hotel and then began to scope out a place to have a decent pre-race dinner. Alas, the only restaurant we could find was Denny's. However, they serve breakfast all day, so I totally scored a stack of pancakes...Carbohydrates, anyone???
That night was the opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics, allowing for something great to watch and be inspired by. It didn't quite work that way, as first it turned kind of weird and then unwatchable, so I was able to get plenty of sleep.
|Here I am before the swim...so pretty, right? Ha! I am so glad I cut my hair shorter.|
|I decided on going blue this time. Orange will be for IMAZ.|
Around the point of being about three hours into the race (50 minutes from the swim, about 2 hours into the ride) I realized I was going to do much better than I thought. I was going to be done with the bike and able to start the run by the four hour race mark, which meant there was a chance I could get under six hours. Internal voice came back: "Oh, Kerry Sue, you've got to really try to do that! You will be so happy if you do! Under six hours, could you imagine?" Alright, self. Totally, let's go, legs!
I cruised into the transition area (again the racks for our race were near the back) racked my bike, changed shoes and jersey, put on the visor, the race number belt, swallowed the contents of my Gatorade pouch and took off on the run. I saw an acquaintance from my swim group, so I chatted with her while we made our way to the course. Ken was there with his cow bell, ringing and shouting away, making me run a little faster!
I did not have fond memories of this run course. It surprised me two years ago with the amount of hills it contained! There were other factors to be sure- starting a marathon at an estimated time rather than a specific start time means nutrition can be off. I had also started running at about 5:15pm and finished just after 9:00pm, beginning in heat, ending in the cold dark. This time would be different.
The course seemed, um, shorter? Yes, yes, I know I was only running half the distance (one and a half loops instead of three full), but the loop went by so fast, it was thrilling. I was going to just "experiment" with walking the aid stations and not actually take anything every time, but the heat was cranking up, so at the very least I took two water cups- one to drink, the other to dump on my head. I also acquired an affection for flattened cola. That just may be my new favorite endurance beverage (a little sarcastic, but only a little). There were some residents along the course who offered their hoses to spray you on your way if you wanted ("Yes, please!" was my usual answer, followed by turning around in a circle so I could get evenly wet). It made the hot run a little more cool and comfortable.
Around mile ten, I think I lost my smile. Up to that point I was just so happy to be out there! I had kept my mile pace very comfortable and steady. I was even running faster than I thought I was. I thought of all the long runs I had put in to be ready. I knew I could keep walking the aid stations, and to do so became a necessity. I was so thirsty all the time! Finishing the half marathon under two hours would be a reality, as would finishing the total race under six hours. But I was beginning to feel really uncomfortable. I could feel chafing happening on my sides from my sleeves, my knee was aching, my feet felt hot, and I wanted to be done. Just keep doing what you're doing, I told myself. Not that far left to go.
I was going to bypass the aid station at mile 12 and just push it in to the finish line, but the thought of a cup with ice water in it won over, and I ended up stopping and really enjoying it. Then off on my way, I had a race to finish! I cruised in the last mile, found my smile again and relished in the accomplishment of the day. I realized I had never been passed on the run by another female. That made me super excited! I knew I gave it all I had left in the run. And as I powered in to the finish line, there was this little thought that went through my mind about finishing the 70.3 mile race...
"Is that all?"
Training works. It's like making deposits in your bank account along the way, and then able to make a withdrawal and have plenty to spare.
I'm going to be ready for IMAZ. My account is open and active.