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.
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.
Swim – 1:14:47
Bike – 6:47:17
Run – 5:09:54