Run This year I knew I was in much better shape coming out of T1, I ran the first mile and mentally I was thinking just get to the first aid station and see how I feel. At about 0.9 cramps in my thighs started and I wondered if this was to be where it all went to pieces again. I made it into the aid station before it flared up though.
Downed 2 gatorades, and a gel and the walking cleared the cramps, and I started running again, each time just before the aid station the cramps would start to return but the gatorade seemed to be working and after about 5 miles the cramps stopped coming.
Mentally I was thinking, wow I'm five miles in, I was 15mins ahead after the bike, and I'm still running, therefore even if I walk from here I'm beating last years time. I just kept going from aid station to aid station and it felt great, no cramps and my legs felt great. Saw Gemma and the girls motivation sign and felt really positive. Finally saw Gemma at around 10 miles and gave Caitlyn a big sweaty kiss and kept going (Emma was asleep). Yep I was hurting but pain I can deal with, its cramps that stop me and so far the cramps had not set in so I was taking every mile as it came. Through half way in 2hr 17mins and I knew I was on for a good time. Wasn't sure of my actual time overall as I had reset my garmin at the start of the run. Headed back out onto the second loop saw Gemma and the girls again and this time Emma got a kiss! Before I knew it I was through 15miles and I knew there was no way I was walking the marathon now. By this point I was passing tons of people and actually enjoying the race. At 19 miles the blisters burst, but nothing was stopping me now.
The final turn around came and I saw the clock and knew a sub 1hr 40 for the last 6 miles would mean a sub 13hr IM and that would be fantastic. As before I just kept going (taking on gels, gatorade, broth and coke as needed) averaging 11min miles I was still not exactly sure of my final time, but felt great through mile 25 aid station so I didn't stop. Started to seed myself with the other runners around me to get the finishers straight to myself. Wasn't really conscious of my time and enjoyed every minute of the finishers shute (couple of fist pumps etc). Realised my time after crossing the line and over the moon did not even come close, I was estatic!
Marathon time of 4hrs 45.
Its an amazing feeling when you set what you think is a lofty goal (to beat last years time) and you blow that goal away! I PR'ed by almost 2 hours.
I am now sat here reminising about my perfect day, and enjoying the feeling of stiffness in my legs. The future.. I have prompised Gemma no Ironman next year, though I need goals in my life or I get lazy! So next year will be the Chicago Marathon (I want to go sub 4hrs), plus maybe a 70.3 (plus the usual local tris), and maybe an Ultra Marathon?
Next IM.. Depends where we are living.. If we are back in the UK then IM Austria or UK. If we are still in the US then maybe IM Wisconsin, I certainly feel more confident about the distance now and I could do Wisconsin alot more easily as it is just up to road.
Cycle Because I didn't go through the tent in T1 I forgot to get sun block for the ride! doh! realised this about 5 miles in. There was no way I was going 112 miles in florida sun without the block and luckily the aid stations had some.
The bike went well and I stayed easily within my limits (average heart rate 130bpm). The bike has been something I have suffered on, up until my last century ride I had always finished feeling shattered. At IM florida last year I ended up walking the marathon as I felt terrible (cramps etc). Now I knew I had to drink drink and keep drinking. This time I drank 7 bottles of Nuun over 5 hours, and then for the last hour switched to a bottle of gatorade, on top of that I had 7 powergels, 2 bananas, 2 powerbars and 3 PB&J uncrustables, plus 18 salt tablets.
As you can see I pretty much ate and drank continuously. But it worked! I knew I was well hydrated, last year.. zero pees over the 6hr 30mins, this year 3 big pees (zero stops ;-) )
As ever though you never quite know how well you will feel when you leave T2. Time 6hrs 16mins, 15 mins faster than last year. Max speed 34.4mph, with an average of 18mph.
T2 I entered T2 feeling great, changed my clothes and ran out of T2, last year this is where the death march started! I was about to find out if the same thing was going to happen.
The Swim.. I seeded myself closer into the bouy line this year and it certainly was a more physical swim (the usual kicked, punched, swam on etc). Don't know whether it was me but no one seemed to be swimming a straight line, only had a few periods on the outbound leg where I had any clear periods where I could concentrate on my swimming.
First turn was clogged, people shouting to stop kicking and only use arms. Return leg again was clogged and this time my nose clip was knocked off and disappeared forever into the gulf.
I hate swimming without my nose clip, last time I lost it was the Chicago tri and I suffered for the rest of the race. Though my mental attitude was stronger today and the first thought was "sh&t" and then it was well not much I can do about it. So swam on, yes the missing nose clip frustrated me but physically I was fine.
First loop was completed in 35mins, same as last year. My mood was certainly lifted at this point. Having been concerned about my swim I realised my swim fitness had not dropped too much.
Second lap was a bit more open, I was one of the few that went outside the first buoy. The instructions before the start weren't particularly clear on this, and I only remembered as I heard Mike Reilly's voice reminding everyone to go outside the first green buoy. A large number chose to ignore this reminder! Far turn and my goggles got knocked off my eyes on but stayed on my head thankfully, other than the salt in my nose I was doing fine. Swim completed in 1hr 17, only 2 mins slower than last year.
T1 Wetsuit stripped off slowly.. wheres Tac when you need him! Also saw Di and Bigun and got a big cheer from them :-).
Last year I did a complete change in the tent and had a really slow time, this year I wore my cycle shorts under the wetsuit to try and speed up my T1, didn't even go into the tent. I was going to wear my cycle jersey as well, but with temps low I decided to go with a dry top. Out of T1 in 6mins (and most of that was me having to go collect and unrack my bike :-( ). Certainly faster overall than last year though.
Over the past 6 months I have, swum less, biked a bit more in the past few months but less overall for the year, run far less, due to a niggling injury that I haven't wanted to inflame, with my longest run being 15 miles. I also missed most of September training while we were all in Europe.I certainly didn't feel prepared and was hoping my training from last year was still partially there, and my experience would make a big difference (nutrition especially).
Pre Race everything was rushed, travelling with the girls is hard work, and we arrived on site Thursday PM. Managed to get one 10 min ride on the Friday and a 10 min swim.
Morning of the race nerves were definitely there, I really had no expectation of how the race would go. In my mind I had hopes, but I really had no idea if they were widely unreasonable. Expectations, were to finish and I would be over the moon to just beat last years time.
Things didn't go well from the start, walking down to transition at 5am I realised I had left all my water bottles in the fridge (that was one of my pre-race nightmares!) Gemma ran back and got them for me and whereas in my dream it was a disaster, now it was only a minor hicup.
Standing on the beach, I started to get mentally prepared, quick swim as the sun came up. The sea had calmed from the previous few days, not as smooth as last year, but still very flat.