Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vineman Ironman 70.3 - Run Leg: What Happened to My Beautiful Plan?

As someone who's run more than 40 half marathons, I was confident that I'd be fine on the run. Hubris! I was okay on the first three miles, but then I started to get a tummy ache from the Gatorade. That's when I did something boneheaded. I stopped taking Gatorade at the aid stations. With the broken bike, my race had gone on nearly an hour longer than I expected and you can't race unless you consistently replace electrolytes.

After awhile, my stomach ache subsidied, but the long uphill run in the afternoon sun just toasted me. By mile six I was cramping a bit, but I wasn't all that tired. For a long while, I could see a guy running behind me in the distance. When I walked he walked and when I ran he ran. I convinced myself to keep pushing for him, because I knew I was setting the pace for him. If I quit, so would he. Like I said. Moral support - rule legal and greatly appreciated.

After the turnaround, I ran into the tie-dye guy who talked me through the bike repair attempt. I'm not sure when I passed him, but he was still on the outbound leg of the run.  I ran over and hugged him.  I love you tie-dye guy!

It was slow going, but at least I was going until about mile 9.  That's when I started cramping horribly. I couldn't push off to run without my calves locking up entirely.  The last 3 miles of the course took me over an hour to walk.  I was losing so much time that I was afraid the course would close.  I decided that it was a public street and they couldn't force me off the course.  I'd finish that race even if they were done giving out finishers' medals and they'd all gone home.

Luckily, it didn't come to that.  I got to finisher's chute and there was Steve cheering for me.  Actually, the volunteers waved me into the wrong chute and it ended in a dead end.  Steve had to tell me to go under the rope and run to the actual finish line.

Ah, sweet relief and sweet victory.  Broken bike, crampy run, fear - you can all kiss my Finisher's Medal.  I did it!

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