Ironman Florida Race Report 2011: Part 3: the run

…if you haven’t read the first 2 posts in this series you may want to start there…click on the links below, or just scroll down this Home page:

Part 1: Swim now seemed long ago
http://www.irondaughterirondad.com/ironman-florida-race-report-2011-part-1-the-swim/

Part 2: Solid bike ride completed, right on plan,
http://www.irondaughterirondad.com/ironman-florida-race-report-2011-part-2-the-bike/

so ‘in theory’ I _should_ have running legs…only one way to find out…start running :)

THE RUN
Pre-race Run Goal – 4:40 – 4:55 (7:20 – 7:55 pm local time)
- due to temperature in low 70′s, first 6 miles at a very slow 11:00/mile, then 10:30/mile for the balance…if the legs hold up…cooler temperature max planned speed would be 10:00/mile…so need to stay hydrated and easy to have a hope

The run course is flat…good news/bad news…although no big hills to deal with, the relentless flat, wears on the same muscles in the legs, so can be _very_ deceptive…can actually wear you out a lot faster than a course with some terrain variation…2 loops, about 6.5 miles (10K’ish) to the ‘Park’ and back and then repeat…

By the first half mile, I was laughing out loud…my legs felt impossibly fresh…nice balance between quads and hamstrings…both felt a slight bit of wear, but if you had told me that I just got off a 112 mile bike ride, I would have thought you were crazy…no hot spots…nothing sore…nothing cramping…nice :)

…now I knew from my long rides followed by those 1 hour brick runs that I tended to go out too fast…and struggled to get my pace under control…so I pulled back my pace to what I ‘thought’ felt like an 11:00/mile pace…in cooler conditions this would have been 10:30…so I was accounting for the 70F+ ‘heat’…I soooo wanted to have a slow, conservative first 6 miles, and still be running the last 8 miles…something I had never been able to accomplish in 4 Ironman races so far

…first mile marker…clicked the lap timer on my watch…9:34 … are you kidding me?!?… rats… waaaay too fast…throttled it back…felt totally pedestrian… 2nd mile marker… 9:55 … what AM I DOING… pull it back more…waaaay back… so slow… that must be there… didn’t see the 3 mile marker…. 4th mile clicked at 20:49 / 10:24/mile…. geez… at least getting into range…but still toooo fast …and so it went…got slowed down even more…but

…there it was…my first 6 miles at an average 10:20/mile pace … dang … too fast… not ‘stoopid’ fast, but faster than my plan… I only hoped that my back end of the race wouldn’t suffer too much as a result… I felt great though… running smooth and easy, walking my 30-40 steps through the aid stations every mile…peeing regularly…getting the gels in…salt tablets…rolling through the mile markers

By mile 8, my quads were starting to feel the run a bit…nothing horrible, but ‘feeling’ them…and I was getting a bit light-headed…geez…this was too early to melt down…but definately a flat spot…so at the next aid station, I stopped, 2 gels with water and a salt tablet…figured I’d ‘hit’ the body and let it figure out what it needed…another gel at the next aid station…I knew from training that I had higher-than-normal stomach tolerance on the bike and especially on the run, so took the chance…

…it worked…by mile 10, I was back into a rhythm, felt good, quads still a bit sore, but not getting worse…head was back…good…so stayed where I was…let my body settle in a bit…took an extra 10 steps through the aid stations…next 7 miles at 10:45/mile average pace…nice…figured I’d ‘give back’ some of that earlier too-fast pace, and hope that the ‘penance’ now would be enough to forgive me, and not hurt those last 8 miles

Came through the 1/2 way turn in nice shape…felt great…quads complaining a bit, but felt in a nice stable place…sun wasn’t down yet, so decided to not change and stay with the sleeveless top, and just make it happen…next 5 miles at a perfect 10:31/mile pace …. very nice :)

…I saw quite a few friends along the way… both racers and support… stopped to say hello if they were standing beside the course…Ironman is a _really_ tough race to ‘watch’…you have to be a Superman of Endurance to wait there for hours for your athlete to pass by…you never know when…it’s just too difficult to predict…’thank-you’ to _everyone_ that was out there cheering along…it _does_ make a difference on a very long day

…and stopped for a few seconds if they were going the other way on the out and back course…Iron Anne was a highlight…struggling by then but determined…she had a wry smile…something about being her last Ironman…and pressed onward…geez she’s a tough competitor…wow…I was buoyant for the next few miles…her energy and determination just fed me…

So there I was…beep over the timing mat with 7.8 miles to go…entering the park again with light in the sky…unbelievable…that park had always been pitch black when I got there…volunteers handing out light sticks so that you could at least see a dim shadow of pavement in front of you to avoid the largest potholes and broken pavement…but not today…here I was…dusk coming…I could actually still ‘see’ where I was going…that was so totally great…totally energizing!

And yes…now the race really begins…everything that I’d done, all day long, was to protect the last 8 miles of the run…the entire day down to this last 8 miles…if I faded, I knew it was all too easy to lose 3-4 minutes per mile… x 8 miles, could stack on a fast 25-30 minutes to my total time…I knew that I was in great shape to come in around 12:30 at that point…but the race was definitely not over…fade out, and I’d be closer to 13:00 …and that would have been _really_ irritating.

…but it was just take each mile at a time…stay on pace…hit as many gels and salt tablets as my stomach would allow, and run in on sugar and sodium and caffeine :)

… I would now find out how valid my race plan was… I knew that I was out a bit fast on the run…nothing to do about it now of course…keep the legs turning over…keep ‘running’…gels at each aid station now…stopping for a few seconds to get enough fluids…multiple cups most of the time…calling out for what I wanted coming into the station…loud voice…constantly…thank you always :) … didn’t want to blow the nutrition now…

and so I ran…nice and steady…knocking off the last 8 miles going in…10:56 / 11:32 / 11:18 / 11:12 / 12:18 / 11:32

…for over 4 hours now, I’d been looking out for my daughter on the course…well at least after the first hour of the run, as the course returned back onto itself

…never did see her…hoped that she was ok…since we were pretty even on the swim, and with her probably an hour and change behind me on the bike, I _should_ have seen her on the out and back portion of the run between coming out of the Park on the first lap and going back in on the 2nd….just hoping that we had gone by when she was taking a bathroom break…that she was ok, and still working along…fatherly stuff :)

…but it was getting dark by now, so difficult to see people going in the opposite direction

…mile marker 24 … just over 2 miles to go… quads feeling the run, but legs still turning over…I was still ‘running’…unbelievable…

‘Dad’ I heard her call out from across the street…there she was…oh no…

…she was sitting in a chair, under the lights at an aid station across the street, wrapped in a space blanket…dang…stopped…ran over

…she looked ok…she told me that she had decided to stop, and was waiting for a ride back to the finish line…aid station volunteers said that yes, a ride was on the way…they would take her to the medical tent to get checked out

…yes she was ok, she said…stomach wasn’t co-operating…feeling queasy on the last part of the bike…took some extra time in T2…thought that she’d give the run a try…2 miles in, it just wasn’t happening…still an upset stomach…so that was it…with 24 miles in front of her still, not something that you want to set out on, in less than perfect condition…sounded like a really good decision to me

…I could feel her disappointment in my bones…how brave she was…she had swam 2.4 miles, rode her bike for 112 miles, and run for 2 miles…over 12 hours…gutsy…to arrive at that aid station where we were…

…loved her so much in that moment…big hugs…love you…proud of you…smart decision…tough day…glad she was ok…soooo happy to see her…emotions running in a thousand directions…tears…

soooo, with 2 miles to go, I said that I’d just run in…would take me about 25 minutes…and see her at the medical tent at the finish line

…I don’t know that I considered just stopping there to wait with her…if the thought crossed my mind, I know that there is no way that I would want her to do that in the reverse situation…and so there it was

…cruising in the last 2 miles, still running along…thinking about my daughter…hoping she was ok…still fueling through the end, and 12:33:54 under the finish line arch…so happy :)

My run ended up as 4:47:26, including the stops, and an average of 10:58/mile vs. my ‘perfect run’ for the conditions of a 11:00/mile for the first 6 miles, then a 10:30/mile average for the balance for a 4:41:03 and an average pace of 10:37/mile…so good

…medal hung on my neck…timing chip removed…space blanket on my shoulders, volunteer looking into my eyes and talking…going through the is-he-ok-or-about-to-collapse checklist in her head…pick up the finisher’s t-shirt and hat…skip the line for official finisher photos…out of the chute

…so happy…so cool…what a great race :)

Now to find and check on my daughter…

The good news was that her 2 friends that had come down to stay with us were right there…very good…I gave them the briefing…she wasn’t at the medical tent by the time we got there…yes, the staff were trying to find out when…they stayed…I went to find my clothes…it was getting pretty cold by then…circling back, she had arrived and was being looked at…

…long and the short of it, IronDaughter was indeed ultimately ok…took a bit of work to get her hydration and sodium levels back into balance…great week to finish off…her ‘birthday’ on Wednesday, back up to NC together for a couple of days, and she flew back to the west coast on Saturday

So there it was…Ironman #5…done…new PR by 24 minutes…more analysis to come :)

 

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2 Responses to Ironman Florida Race Report 2011: Part 3: the run

  1. Anne Boone says:

    Wow…what a great description of your race! Wish mine had been that painless. But I’m already thinking about IMFL in 2013. Never say never.

    I tried a run a week ago and my lower back went into a total cramp. Still can’t run, but it’s getting better and I CAN bike. I’m going to do at least 45 miles this AM. I’ve been eating like a total glutton for the last three weeks and have gained three pounds, so it’s time to get in some serious miles one way or the other.

    • Dad says:

      Iron Anne, we knew that you’d be back :)
      …I’ve been doing a little running this past week for the first time…4-5 miles a couple of times …mainly been on the mountain bike for easy rides, around 45 minutes…’walking’ with my wife for a few miles most days…still feels ‘flat’ though, so some residual tiredness there…bit of morning congestion the last couple of days, so not sure what’s going on there
      …and yes…the scale has been beckoning to me…I’m guessing that I’m up around 5 pounds or so, so time to get the calorie burn back up to a rational level with the Christmas party schedule on the horizon

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