Seeing my hubby as I entered T2 was a huge boost for me. It was hard as I rolled in knowing that I was the "lanterne rouge" of the race. I always feel bad when I'm in last place, not so much for myself, but for the race organizers and volunteers. Its like, "I'm so sorry I can't go faster so you can go home sooner".

T2 was a lot easier than T1, but when is it not? I changed out of my bike shorts and back into tri-shorts. I also through on a white running top and a reflective vest knowing full well that I would be run/walking well into the night. I re-emptied my bladder (again) and went on my way to the applause of my hubby and a few remaining volunteers.

T2 goal: 5min
T2 actual: 7:51

The day ended up being hotter than predicted, so I started off the run by walking the first little bit to try to cool my body down from the bike. I had planned on walking the first mile anyways just to walk out the crud. If I could maintain my 15min/mile walking pace, I would finish under the time cutoff. As I walked, the first four miles flew by and I was feeling pretty good, other than hot. My game plan changed from walking the first mile and then running a few minutes and walking a few minutes to walking as much as I can and running only if I have to. Looking back on it, it was probably my biggest regret about the whole thing. I should have just stuck to the plan. Well after I cooled down, I just wanted to conserve energy for the remainder of the race. The next four miles seemed particularly long. Then the last 5.1 miles of the first 13.1 mile loop was when I really started breaking down. My legs started cramping. My feet hurt like none other. Every person I talked to on the course were finishing their second loop and were on their way to being done. I was going to be one of the only people on the course as I was doing my second loop...and it was DARK! I don't mind working out on my own, but in the dark in a strange place? Hell no! I kept telling myself that it was no big deal. I was going to be an Ironman if I could conquer the dark shmark. But my legs kept getting exponentially worse. I tried everything to calm them down...more Gatorade, more water, GU's, even chicken broth.

I began getting jealous of the folks who were disobeying the rules and running with other non-athletes who were trying to pace them to finish. I was jealous of the folks who were running with other athletes. I had no one and I was in sooooo much pain.

I figured that I would finish the 13.1mile loop and quit. It was way more than I had expected to do that day. And it was a huge accomplishment in and of itself. My pace and slowed to about 20min/mile over the last 4 miles that I would have had to run a good bit of the second half to finish under the cutoff anyways.

I was nearly crying as I told hubby as I finished the loop that I would be quitting. I wanted to finish 13.1miles just to say I did half of the run, but then I was done. My legs hurt so bad I could hardly move. He had to pretty much drag me to the car.

Even worse, I was looking forward to my post-race extravagent meal, but there wasn't much around that was still open. We went to Subway to get my favorite seafood sub, which apparently is only sold in Ohio these days, and I took two bites and was done. I normally can't eat after races, but I felt particularly full after all of the nutrition and hydration I had taken in during the day.

Run goal: 5:30
Run actual (for half): 4:36:33

I don't want to make excuses for why I didn't finish, but I do have a list of what to improve upon for next time:
1. Eat more leading up to the race. Although, I tried to eat as much as I could, but my stomach virus was not helping.
2. Bike more. Our longest training ride was 80 miles which is nowhere near the 112 miles that we had to do in the race. I had to push myself so hard to finish the bike under the cutoff that I think it took a lot out of me for the run. Sure, every weekend for the last month of training was hurricanes, moving, going places for interviews, etc., but there were plenty of times earlier in the year where we skipped or shortened rides just because we felt like it or wanted to do something else or "we have plenty of time to catch up later".
3. Learn to pee on the bike. I could probably take at least 15 minutes off my time if I didn't stop 8 times to pee.
4. If you train to run a marathon, you should run it. I think letting myself walk more than I had planned also really screwed me over. Walking and running are two completely different things and use completely different muscles. I had not trained to walk 26.2miles, but rather to run them. I wonder if I would have been able to finish had I pushed through the mental wall and at least tried to run.
5. Continue to work on nutrition. Although, nothing particularly bad happened other than leg cramps (which could also be due to #4...walking when I wasn't trained to), I still feel like this needs work. I felt so full, particularly on the run. I wonder if I over ate, or maybe ate things my body didn't want. I know some people get calories from drinks and GU's alone and maybe that's something I could try. Although, I starve on the bike without food, so maybe eating early on the bike and transitioning over to a liquid diet towards the end in preparation for the run.
6. Not get sick with a cold and diarrhea days before a big race. And if I do, hydrate twice as much!
7. Races of this distance should be taken more seriously. I didn't take it that seriously in my training. I was terrified to death of it mentally, but didn't force myself to do the necessary work to finish it. Moving and job searching just gave me more excuses not to, but I won't let it happen next time.
8. If we can afford to financially, I would like to get a coach the next time I do an Iron-distance race. Someone who knows what it takes to finish. Someone to hold me accountable.
9. Another regret of mine was letting my mind get the best of me. Who cares if you are the only person on the course? I didn't realize it until later, but had I finished, no matter my time, I would have gotten third in my age group. I hope its not the only chance I get to place in a triathlon, particularly a triathlon of this distance. I hope I can improve and get really good at it, but I got to start putting in the work.
10. I don't know. I figured if there was a 10th point, I can make up for not having my Ten for Tuesday yesterday. My goal: Blog more often. Its hard when I'm working 10-12 hour days...and the Cardinals are in the World Series. Priorities. On the triathlon side, I have been running again this month and swam once. Its still kinda my off season or rest time, but I plan to amp it up in November, work permitting.


Ben said...

I paid a lot of money for that bike. Youre not going to start peeing on it.

Bonnie said...

Can bikers wear Depends® diapers?

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