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.
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?
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.