Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ironman Arizona - Part 5 - The Run

The run, also known as a marathon, which by itself is an impressive endurance event. So after being in 60 degree water for over 90 minutes and on the bike for over 6 hours, it was time to start the marathon.

I came off the bike and felt OK! I ran through transition to get my run bag.
about to get my  run gear bag
This time when I made it into the changing tent it was more like what I anticipated. A volunteer asked if I wanted help and I said yes. So she dumped it all out and I got what I needed. She filled my UCAN bottle with water (I had already opened the packed into the bottle earlier in the morning.) I used aquaphor on my feet to help prevent blisters and put on my fresh socks, tied my shoes, put a couple more gels in my pockets and was on my way. Sort of. Quick stop for some more sunscreen and then I needed to make a stop at the port-o-potty to take care of female business. Unfortunate timing, but as least I was prepared! I had to wait for one to open, but it wasn't long before I was running.
T2: 7:10

The Run of 26.2 Miles:
Lap 1: As soon as I started running and first priority was to start getting in some electrolytes. The first aid station was just a little ways up so I took a few of my endurolytes with some water. I had 1 packet of chocolate UCAN in my handheld bottle, Hammer Gels in my pockets, and I tried to go slow, which was harder than you might think! Just past the first aid station I found I was running pretty much the same pace as a guy so we started to chat. We both were hoping to start at a 10 min/mile pace or slower, so when our first couple miles were sub-10, we had to focus to back off. It was a challenge to run that slow but we knew we wouldn't be able to maintain that for a full marathon. I believe his name was Mark. We stayed together for most of the first lap. His knee was bothering him (ITB issues) so around Papago Park I showed him a quick stretch that seemed to help. After a while he wanted to stop and stretch and I kept going. I didn't get his race number so I hope he finished OK! I grabbed some pretzels every few aid stations, sipped at my UCAN and aimed to take in a gel about every 45 minutes or so, depending on how I was feeling.

another good race photo from Dad!

Lap 2: Each time I came through the park the family was there and I got to see the Swim - Bike - Run - Cake sign. Made me look forward to each lap. The sun was setting at this point which made the temps really comfortable for running. (Lap one I used water and sponges to help keep cool.)  I believe it was this lap when I chatted with a guy who told me he was diagnosed with leukemia 3 weeks ago. The doctors OK'd him to start chemo after this race. The more I'm involved with TNT, the more reasons I get to stick with it.
When I hit the aid station between miles 10 and 11, I decided to stop a port-o-potty because I had to pee again. I figured it was a good sign of hydration. And geez - it seemed after this I had to pee several more times and opted not to stop for those. (it's an ironman thang, you wouldn't understand. hahaha.) I was feeling pretty good coming back over the Mill Street Bridge. TNT cheerleaders were everywhere! Just before mile 13 I got my special needs bag and refilled a UCAN, took a maalox that I had in there (thought it might help with some of the gas, although I was feeling fine, but still a little gassy...and to note, it's normal for me to get gassy on an empty stomach. My energy levels were good)  I kept up with the pretzels, endurolytes, GenUCAN, and a gel every so often. When the chicken soup came out, I gave that a whirl. Salty goodness! I saw Kelly go by and guessed she was about 3-4 miles ahead of me. I also met up with Ron (@PunkRockRunner). He was hurting, but was hanging in there to rock this thing. Near the top of the hill around Papago Park I caught up to Pam Schuckies, a triathlete I know from Boulder. (She ended up 3rd in her age group!). Sarah and Darby were at the Cops & Robbers aid station and this lap I stopped to give Sarah a hug to thank her for volunteering. Charley (a TNT coach who was one of my coaches for my very first triathlon in 2006) was in the park area near the Mill St bridge and cheering as I was coming around to start my 3rd lap. Great to see him!

form is a bit sloppy here, but I am still smiling!
Lap 3: Things get a little fuzzy...I ran this one on my own, mostly. I think.Chatted around mile 19-20 with a guy from Canada who told me I was doing great. I was happy to be running the entire race and only walking aid stations. My body was definitely starting to hurt and I was slowing down. But I still stuck to the plan of going aid station to aid station and they did come up pretty quickly! I saw Kelly Ping one more time, pretty much in the same spot as before. I ran the Papago Hill with a gal from the LA Tri Club, although she was run/walking. She'd pass me running, and then I'd pass her while she walked. But at least I didn't have to walk up the hill! The downhill hurt a bit, but at this point there were only a few miles left! Once back on the Scottsdale Rd/Rural St. bridge I was soooo close. Team In Training supporters were cheering. The crowds were pretty thick and very encouraging on that last stretch. Charley was still there and I knew I'd see the family at the finish. The I heard someone yell, "Is that Nicole?" and it was Kelley Hess. Nice! I made the left hand turn to head towards the finish line and was greeted by more cheering spectators. A TNT person handed me a LLS/TNT flag to carry down the finishing chute. So now I had something to wave. My arms went up and I waved the flag. I was yelling at and waving my arms at the crowds and getting them to cheer even louder. An epic day requires a very enthusiastic finish!

I think this photo just about says it all.
Run Time: 5:00:49
run data
don't believe the HR for the first lap!
And the official finisher photo...

Link to official finish video and race photos
So I did it! I completed an Ironman in 13:09:59! I stuck to my plan as best I could, felt pretty good the whole time. Never did I question that I wasn't going to get this thing done. The weather cooperated, I had an awesome support crew there, I trusted the preparation I had done (thanks Coach Matt!) and really was out there to enjoy the day. I danced to the music at the aid stations, thanked the volunteers and probably felt as good as I can expect to out there! Huge, huge, HUGE thanks to everyone who helped me get here!


Terry Odell said...

And we're still proud of you! I'll have the spectator's POV Tomorrow.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Nicole said...

:) looking forward to your take! especially since i think that was your first triathlon!

lively_linds said...

you are so awesome! and i know this was probably more difficult than reading this post was... ;)

Jonny said...

Well done non-evil twin! :D

Nicole said...

Thanks Lindsay & Jonny!

Jason said...

This whole story was awesome. I loved every moment of it and seeing you cross on Ironman Live was incredible. I was cheering for you the whole way.

Way to rock it!

Nicole said...

Thanks Jason! It was definitely an amazing adventure!

Andrea said...

Congratulations! I am glad I got to "hear" about your experience! You are an IRONMAN! So cool...

Nicole said...

Thanks Andrea!!