AG - 49th; OA - 186th
Firstoff...D, here is your abridged version. Fulfilled my two goals of finishing happy and strong and an ironman PR. Happy with the result but not satiated, I'm going to go under 10 hours at one of these things. For those who need details, here you go. The day started so promising. I got out of the water with the third pack of swimmers in 49 minutes and some change. It was the easiest feeling 2.4 miles I have ever swam, it took no mental energy out of me. As I rolled out onto the bike, I heard the announcer say I was the first international competitor, right on. I just kept telling myself, hold back, not yet big guy, don't race. I checked my watch a couple of times up to the 45K mark and saw that I was averaging 36 kph, about 2 kph faster than my goal pace. As I was about to slow down, the Bondi Brats boys (Jason, John, Andrew) come up on me as we are about to start the hilly section back to complete the first loop. The combination of hills, the Bondi boys around me, and the crazy Aussie fans did me in. I was so freakin' pumped, I charged on the bike like it was a 40K time trial. Deja freakin' vu, will I ever learn? But I have no regrets, every time I think back to that section, I get so pumped. I was still averaging a bit faster than 36 kph (22.4 mph) up until the 70K mark. And then I slowly felt it come on, the bad patch. If there is one thing that is reliable in an ironman, it's the bad patch. You will have a bad patch at some point in an ironman, and you're lucky if it is only one bad patch. I put myself in crisis management mode, and I tried to minimize the damage until the good patch came along. At 80K, I tried to take a gel and I wanted to hurl. This feeling, combined with the bloating, told me my stomach shut down. For the next 60K, all I could take in was water and a couple of sips of gatorade. The lack of calories put me in bonk, and I saw my average pace drop to 35 kph, and then 33 kph. I had no idea how I was going to finish the last lap and then all of you popped in my head. I knew you were tracking me and there was no way I was going to disappear from the splits. Finally, at the 140K mark, I had the sensation of hunger. And just like that, I had me a picnic of 800 calories or so. I basically ate everything on me. Coming into T2, I really stopped worrying about time goals and I just focused on how I was going to complete a marathon feeling this crappy. As I started the run, I didn't feel that bad, so I did a pace check on the garmin. I was holding 4:30's, and then I leveled off at 4:20's per kilometer. Seeing the splits, I felt hopeful again, and focused on my time goal of going under 10 hours and running a 3:30 marathon. And then at the 4K mark, my head felt like it was going to burst. Did I mention it was hot? Well, the heat dictated that there would be no 3:30 for today and it was back to survival mode.
Let's now leave the race details and talk Aussie fans. I have never experienced anything like the Aussie fans. I think I either heard go Kiet or go San Fran for the entire run. When I stopped to walk, they wouldn't let me. They would keep shouting at me until I started running again, and when I started running again, they would go nuts! The Aussies propelled me to the finish line. Every competitor I talked to related the exact same experience after the race. I can see why people love this race. And now let's talk serendipity.
Peter, my Austrian training mate, had decided that if we were both having a perfect day, we would get off the bike together and duke it out on the run. Well, my day was less than perfect so Peter passed me on the second lap of the bike. Onto the run, I knew I was pulling Peter back in slowly because his less than perfect day came during the run. With about 5K to go, I was resigned to just keep my pace and jog it on in. At the the last turnaround, Peter shouts to me to pick it up and we can finish together. Something clicked in me and I got up on my toes and I was ticking at 3:50 per kilometer. It felt so freaking amazing. Just at the last turn before you hit the straightaway to the finish, I see Peter. I was STRONG! Goal #1 complete. I was HAPPY! Goal #2 complete. I was that idiot running side to side hi five-ing all of the fans, all the while Peter was right next to me. Finish time: 10:27:32 and a new ironman PR. Goal #3 complete. But like I said in the abridged version: I'm happy but I'm not satiated. I'll be back.
Monday, March 29, 2010