Posted in Ironman, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Running, South Africa, Training, Triathlon, weather

Race Day – The Run

After handing my bike to a young guy in transition I ran into the tent.  I was not changing again, except my shoes, socks, sunglasses and hat, but I wanted covered in sunscreen again.   I also needed to go to the loo.  The volunteers in the tents are awesome but besides the sunscreen I did not utilize them that much.  I think I should have let them help me more.  I was so worried about how smelly my socks and shoes were to let them touch any of my stuff.  I felt it too gross to put other people through that. Ugh, they were horrid, especially as I kept throwing water all over myself so everything was sopping wet.


As I ran out of transition I felt good.  My plan was to run as much as I could, but to walk all the aid stations.  On the first lap I walked a bit more than I intended to, but not so much that I was worried.  I was loving it, but it was still hot.  I was still worried about trying the Infinit but realized I did not really have much choice.  I did not have a sports drink with me, I did not have enough GU’s to keep me going and I don’t like Coke when I run, which was the other drink on offer.  So I grabbed a sachet of Infinite and a sachet of water.  Most of the water went over my head, and holy crap, why have I not tried Infint before?????  That stuff is fantastic!  It was not at all sweet, which after my vial tasting drink on the bike was a blessing.  The flavour they had on the run was lemon and lime or something like that.  From then on at each aid station I grabbed a sachet of Infinit and a sachet of water. 

Me - on the run.  Last lap!
Me - on the run. Last lap!



By the end of the 1st lap I was running more and settling into a good rythym.  I was watching my heart rate, and if it went up I would slow down.  I ran all of the second lap (except for the aid stations) and most of the 3rd lap. 


Once again I was doing calculation in my head.  I could not really work out what my time would be as I could not figure out how fast I was running.  I knew I would beat my 14 hours 30 target though.  I was happy and loving it.  At the point where I had 10km left to run I worked out that I had 1h15 to get in under 13hours 30.  It looked so do able. 


Of course I should have remembered from the bike that ANYTHING can happen.  Although I was really not expecting what did actually happen.  This time it was not me that bombed though. 


As I turned off Beach Road and headed up Admiralty Drive I was feeling great.  8 km left!  It had cooled down slightly and there was a spectacular thunder storm going on around us, with lightly crashing.  Then out of nowhere this huge gust of wind came up!!!! It blew me 3 steps backwards.  Wow, I know that we are the “Windy City” but that was something else.  I could not run as we were head on into the wind now.  I tucked in behind a guy and tried to walk behind him.  He stopped for a bit, so I found somebody else and tucked in behind him.  We were all walking as it was next to impossible to run into that wind.  All I kept thinking was that as soon as we turned the corner the wind would be behind us which would be great.  As we went into the University grounds and turned the corner there was this HUGE crash of lightning pretty close and then all the lights went out.  I said to the guy running next to me “well this is going to make it interesting”  It was pitch dark and we could not see anything.  A car was coming towards us and it’s lights were so bright in nearly blinded us.  Thankfully once it passed we got a bit of night vision and could make out the markings on the road.  I started running again – and then it started to rain, really bucket it down!!!!.  So PE was living up to it’s reputation – all 4 season in one day!!!  I was run / walking and had just over 2 km remaining and was still wondering if I could make a sub 13 hours 30 when I spotted my husband and a friend running towards me.  They said I had better get a move on as there was talk of the race being cancelled!  WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I only had 2 km’s left.  They could not call off the race.  Apparently the freakish wind had blown the huge marquee tent down and right into the sea!  There were quite a few injuries and they were worried about other things being blown away.  They were making a call to the Met Office to see what the forecast was. 


Instead of making me run faster it kind of took the wind out of my sails.  I walked – a lot – during that final 2 km!  They just could NOT call of the race.  I did not really think they would but still.  With about 1 km to go I picked up the pace again.  As I was about to turn into the finishing area I saw my brother.  He said “Pamela, you smoked that”.  After he said that I could not stop grinning.  As I was running down the finishing line I did not look left or right.   I heard my mom screaming but did not at her. All I kept thinking was “I smoked this.  And these people are going to think you are an idiot with this HUGE grin on your face” but I carried on grinning.  I was watching that finishing clock above the finish line.  13 hours 32 minutes and 7 seconds when I crossed under it.  It was the most spectacular feeling ever.  That finish line just has to be one of the most special.  The red carpet, the grandstands next to it, the dancers, and of course Mike saying “Pamela, you are an Ironman!”  What can be better!!!!!!


I got my medal, a bottle of water and a space blanket over me.  It was still drizzling.  With the marquee having been blown down spectators were able to get behind the finish line and the first person I saw was my husband.  He came rushing over, gave me a huge hug and said, “I am so proud of you, next year sub 12”  I should have gotten it in writing…. I thought I was not allowed to do it again???


So, that was my race.  I loved it.  I can’t believe how much of it is mental though. To think that at one stage on the cycle I wanted to pull out.  As soon as I got over that I was fine.  Just shows you that your body can do so much more than you think it can.  If I was really battling as much as I thought I was there was no way I would have been able to finish the way I did.  It is now more than a week later and I am still grinning. 


My official time was 13 hours 32 minutes and 8 seconds!!!  I am over the moon with that result, it is so much more that I could have ever have hoped for, and I know that I have been saying this quite a bit lately, but who knew that training paid off so much.


Me - Finishing!!!
Me - Finishing!!!


Swim – 1:14:47

Bike – 6:47:17

Run – 5:09:54

Overall:  13:32:08

Posted in Cycling, Ironman, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Training, Triathlon, weather

Race Day – The Bike

I got my bike out of transition and headed for the road.  My goal for the bike was to average about 26 km/hour.  The course is 3 loops each of 60 km.  The first section is a “gentle” climb to the highest point on the course.  There is then a very nice down hill, and the rest of the course is relatively flat. 


I was feeling great!!!!  The first two loops of the bike went fantastically well.  I saw quite a few spectators along the way that I knew and it was awesome to get their support.  My heart rate was higher that I would have liked, but nothing to cause too much concern.  My average speed for the 1st two laps was just under 30km/hour and I could not believe it.  I had never been that quick before.  I did help that there was NO wind, which in Port Elizabeth is unheard off.  The only problem with having no wind was there was nothing to cool you down and it was HOT!!!!!!  I was enjoying myself though, and was making sure I drank LOTS of water.  At every Aid Station I would grab a bottle of water, drink some of it and pour the rest over myself.  I also had 3 bottles of sports drink on my bike, but for some reason it tasted too sweet?  I did force myself to drink it, because water alone was not going to work.  The drink on the course was Infinite, but I had never tried it before and had heard that if you weren’t used to it, it could cause problems.  I steered clear of it, just in case. 


I stopped a couple of times along the way.  The first time was on the 2nd loop.  I pulled over and covered myself with sunscreen again.  The second time was also on the 2nd loop.  My feet were burning!!!  It felt like I had a whole swarm of bees in my shoes and I could not figure out what was wrong.  Eventually I realized that it must be the plasters I put on my toes to stop blisters during the run.  With the heat and stuff my feet must have swollen and now the plasters were too tight.  I pulled over, took my socks and shoes off and pulled of all the plasters – what a relief!!!!!!  The 3rd time was at the Special Needs Station.  I had put a meal replacement shake in my special needs bag so I stopped to drink it.  I am not confident enough on my bike just to grab it and carry on cycling, so I stopped to drink it.  During both of these laps I was feeling confident.  My average speed was excellent and I was starting to do calculation in my head.  What would my cycle time be if I could keep this up?  What would my overall time be?  I did say to myself to calm down, it was a long day, and I still had 60km left on the bike. ANYTHING could happen.  I must just be thankful I am where I am so if I get a puncture or something at least I have time to play with.  I was not really expecting what did happen to happen though. 


As soon as I headed off up that hill for the 3rd time I hit the wall.  I had been feeling great and then suddenly I just could not climb.  It did not look like I was the only one though.  I think the heat was beginning to get to most people.  I put my bike in the easiest gear and tried to not to stop pedaling.  All I wanted to do was get off and push but I knew it would not help, and I could not push my bike up that entire hill.  I just kept saying to myself, just catch that guy in front of you.  It did not help that almost every time I caught the guy in front of my he would stop, get off and throw up!!!  I have never seen so many people throwing up in my life.  I think on that hill alone I saw about 8 people.  There were also people lying next to there bikes at the side of the road in every shady bit? 

My internal dialog went something like this;  “Just catch that guy, yay, crap, what’s he doing stopping, you just keep peddling!  What the hell are you doing?  You have nothing to prove, you have done this before.  Don’t kill yourself, just get somebody to call Andrew to come and get you.  Don’t be a woes, you can do it.  Just get to the top of the hill.  If you still feel this bad at the top then stop.  Just get to the top then stop.”  At the top of the hill there is a large FNB sign, and I have never been so happy to see one of those blowup arch things in my life.  I got to the top of the hill and pulled of the road.  I put my bike on the ground and sat down next to it.  I got out some food; I had packed a honey and peanut butter sandwich which I ate.  I also had a GU, some of my energy drink (which I think had gone off in the heat as it was disgusting), lots of water and 2 salt tablets.  I also poured two bottles of water over myself and then covered myself in sunscreen again.  I spoke to one of the guys at the aid station and they said they measured the temperature there and it was 38ºC.  BLOODY HELL, no wonder we were all battling.  My average speed had dropped from just under 30km/hour to just over 26km/hour after that hill.  At least I was still on target and the rest of the course was pretty flat.  I got back on my bike and headed off…..  I was VERY glad that I had stopped though.  I think it did me the world of good.  I felt fantastic for the rest of the cycle, and managed to get my average speed back up to just over 27km/hour by the end of the cycle leg.  It did cross my mind at one stage though that if I slowed my cycle down I would not be running in the heat of the day?  It was only a brief thought and I did the cycle to the best of my ability. 


So that was 2 legs down and just one leg to go. Once again the internal calculations were starting.  It looked like I would make my goal of 14 hours 30 if nothing untoward happened on the run.  I had learnt from the bike that you just never can tell though.


So my time for the bike – 6:47:17