Monday, January 4, 2010

Ironman Florida Race Report: Run (part 1)

I was just kidding about keeping my run description so short. Sorry to disappoint! Like I said at the beginning, this race report is long and detailed! My friend is doing IMFL '10 and I'm hoping all the details will help her out a bit, and they should help me next time I want to do an Ironman, since the logistics can be difficult to plan.

RUN: 5:51:52

It was so awesome to finally be on the run course!!! It was still daylight even! When you start the run, you have a very short jaunt to the west before turning around and running east for about 6 miles. Shortly after that turnaround, you run past the finish chute. I stared down it watching someone run to the finish. It was exciting! I knew I had lots of work to do still to get to the finish though. We'd only driven the run course at night since I figured it'd be dark for most of my run.

The run course is very flat, but the road quality isn't that great. I was a bit worried about stumbling and falling, but I decided not to wear my headlamp because it seemed like just one more extra thing to carry. I also figured most other people wouldn't have them and since most people seem to survive without one, I probably could too. It was a little weird in the section of road near the finish because there were lots of spectators not paying attention who kept crossing the course when they shouldn't have.

My run plan was to run easy for the first 2 or 3 miles to loosen up. Then it was basically going to be a comfortable but steady pace, trying not to let my HR drift too high in the first half of the run. My dad has run 50 marathons and kept warning me that the last 6 miles are the hardest, and my coach advised me just to push through whatever I could do in those last 6. After the experience on the bike, I was a little worried about what more could go wrong. I'd read so many race reports where the triathlete gets violently ill on the marathon, whether it was vomiting or diarrhea every mile. It didn't sound pleasant, but since I started the run at 4:24pm, I had a little over 7.5 hours to get to the finish by running, walking, or crawling (per Ironman rules).

I saw Dave and Lauren separately early on in the run. I'd seen them both at the end of the bike and knew I'd taken long enough in T2 that they'd be able to see me. It was nice to chat with them both after being out on the bike for so long. When I saw Lauren she said "see you in 26 miles" and for a brief moment I was horrified - were they going to ditch me and leave me to fend for myself for the whole run? Then I realized she'd just forgotten it was a 2 loop course.

When I saw Dave I was switching my watch to pace view and I was surprised that it showed me running a sub-11 minute mile. I figured the watch must be broken! I felt good though. My lower back was a little bit sore and it wasn't much fun having to carry all my food! I knew my back would feel better after a mile or so though, and it did.

The aid stations were in theory one mile apart, but not in practice. Even though the run course is out and back, there would be an aid station on one side of the road and then maybe 50 feet later there'd be one on the other side of the road, then the next aid stations would be 1.5 or so miles later. It was weird. (Perhaps my brain was fried and it just seemed this way....) I'd planned on the aid stations being one mile apart, and I'd expected to see mile markers at each aid station, and that would be my reminder to walk for a minute. The mile markers seemed hidden at times, and other times I would only notice the markers for the second loop runners. I kind of wondered if I was so slow that they'd taken away the first loop markers!

In the first few miles, I kept leapfrogging an older woman - at age 66 she was the oldest woman on the course! Wow, the spectators LOVED her! It was definitely humbling to be jogging along next to her and have everyone so thrilled to see her, when I was less than half her age and she'd pass me whenever I stopped for my walk breaks. I chatted with her a little bit and found out the older woman I'd seen on the bike was her friend and they'd come to Florida to do the race together. I hoped I could beat the old lady (as she called herself), I could just see my brothers teasing me about it for years otherwise. I checked on the race results later and saw that she qualified for Kona!

I'm not sure why, but I was really surprised how many people were out on the run course on my first loop. I guess I just figured more people would be done already. It was nice to see so many people out there. Most people were running which also surprised me, given how many people I'd seen walking at Ironman Arizona, but I figured it was still early. Two guys about my age kept leapfrogging me too, they were taking walk breaks every so often as well. I finally asked them which loop they were on, figuring maybe we'd be together for the whole run, but they said loop 2. They wished me luck and told me to have fun on loop 1, because loop 2 sucked.

I don't remember when it got dark, but it was definitely dark by the time I finally reached the state park, where we'd run a little loop and then turn around. The timing mat was shortly after entering the park, and I could hear it beep whenever a runner ran over it. I was so excited to get to the timing mat! I couldn't help but smile as I ran over it.

FIRST RUN SEGMENT 6 mi. (1:12:25) 12:04/mile

No comments:

Post a Comment