I went straight from my bike to a porta-potty. There's nothing like the Ironman- here's my bike, thanks- the volunteers are great.
I snatched up my bag and immediately started to ask about sunscreen. After Arizona, I was determined not to meltdown. I got the direction that I could get it on the way out of the tent and this time I did go in the tent.
The bike/run transition is not nearly as chaotic as the swim/bike- people are not soaking wet and throwing around wetsuits and there are far fewer people in the tent. I got in a quick change of footwear and decided against trading my bike jersey for a singlet. I wanted to advertise Elite, but I didn't have the time. I got my sunscreen (even my legs) on the way out, and then was told to switch my number to the front. This 'rule' clearly services ASI, but that's okay, although having the number on the front is a little annoying.
I wanted to moderate my effort as much as possible. I looked at my watch, which I'd started at the beginning of the bike and I was at 5:20:20. I started running, and running well. I thought I was at about 6:44 on the clock, which meant no chance of breaking 10:00. If the clock was still set to pro time, I had an outside shot, but either way, I thought PR was probably more likely.
Too well. At one mile, I was running 6:50 pace. I went by the Elite tent, Margit and Ian. Everyone was great, encouraging me, tell me I was doing well. Ian was half-nodding off, but he's three, so he's excused for that.
I ran up past the Sunset Inn, where we've stayed several times. I have an intimate knowledge of the run course- I've been down there five or maybe six times now and run the course as many as four times in a visit. It's so different on race day, so alive. I took sponges at the aid station and some water to wash down the Cliff Shot, then focused on trying to moderate my pace. I went up the little hill across the main road and at two miles I was at fourteen minutes.
Still too fast.
I continued through the neighbourhoods where we'd trick or treated less than twenty-four hours ago and my times were still seemingly too fast- I'd be at 7:10 per mile after 6 miles.
At four miles I had another Cliff Shot but my stomach wasn't quite so happy anymore and I needed a full mile to have it settle back. I took the last of my race caps and some endurolytes after crossing the main road the second time. I was passing people, still feeling pretty good. I desperately wanted to get in the park and out to the turn around, which I did. The sun was really high in the sky thanks to daylight savings time being that night and not a week earlier. There was some car traffic in the park, but nothing too bad going out.
I ran over the mat, careful at the cones. My left calf was already a little crampy. I went over the athlete encouragement mat, but the message from Ian and Margit didn't come up before I passed the huge LED.
I was back out of the park before I knew it and headed along the sidewalk. i hate that part f the run because we're all on top of each other and was glad to get off it and run by Schooners. For those of you that haven't done the race in a few years, you end up back on the main road for a short ways because they stuck a high-rise and parking garage on what used to be the course and the road doesn't go through like it used to.
Then it was back across the road and into the neighbourhoods again. I had seen Steve and Kramer around the park- then I saw Michael and Mandy in the neighbourhood, I think. I was still running pretty well, but as I got to around 11 miles, I saw Sue. She said 'alan, you're looking great !' and then a few seconds followed this up with 'are you all right ?'
It's never good to be asked if you're all right halfway through the IM marathon, but hell, it was a legitimate question. I'd taken more Clif Shot at 8 miles and at 11 was still waiting for my stomach to settle so I could take one at 12.
I went across the road and ran back along the next stretch. I saw the Elite guys again at around 12 miles and I was still running well, but hurting. Still, it was a psyche to run through there, get back on the main road and head towards the turn around, watching people go out, many of them on their first loops. I headed down past where I was staying, past Alvin's Island, and towards the arch, cruelly knowing I'd been headed out again at a point where the winner was already done, judging by the women pros I'd seen headed back on their loops while I was headed out, now an hour ago.
I hit the turn around, listening to the announcement of someone finishing, and headed back out.
I was hurting- but still confident. I thought a PR might just be in the works....