In case you missed it…
Overall, I had a great run. I suffered through some low points that was due to poor nutrition, but I have learned from my mistakes and know what to change in the future. The course was a lot of fun and after I got my nutrition straightened out, I powered in for a strong finish.
Pace: 9:36 min/mile
Overall Place: 297/2097
AG Place: 18/83
Finish Time: 10:49:27 (maybe?)
After a super successful bike ride it was time to knock out a quick marathon. No big deal right?
I started off the run feeling super strong. I will still riding pretty high from the bike and left transition with a huge smile on my face.
On the way out of the transition, I finally got to talk to Jennie for the first time all day. It was actually kind of funny because as I ran down the chute, I saw this guy waving his arms like crazy and pointing down at Jennie. Apparently he and Jennie had been talking; he asked what my number was and said that he would help look for me and make sure that I didn’t miss her.
A Hoka hug! We have a new convert to the Hoka nation!
About 2km in, I spied an unoccupied port-o-jon and jumped in to empty the bladder. I’m hydrated, I thought. That’s a good sign. I jumped out and kept going strong. The first portion of the run is actually pretty hilly, but I was feeling good in my Hokas.
The feeling didn’t last long though. All of a sudden my stomach flip flopped on me and it felt like I had done too many crunches. I eased up my pace a bit and took some walk breaks through the aid stations hoping that it would go away. I was burping whenever I could to try and relieve some of the discomfort to no avail. I popped a couple Maalox and that helped a little, but not nearly enough. My pace slowed down and while I didn’t get too down on myself, I was a bit frustrated that the nutrition I had practiced all season long wasn’t working.
I managed to keep the pace under 9:00 min/mile for the first 15k, but after that I was hurting. Not only was my stomach upset, but I was starting to bonk. In hindsight, I knew I was bonking but was too stubborn to do anything about it. I knew that the Coke would probably help, but I was worried that if I started taking it too soon, I would be dependent on riding the highs of the Coke and fighting through the lows as it wore off. For that reason, I was making myself wait until the 2nd half to start drinking it. Lesson learned. Listen to the body and do whatever is necessary.
This is the face of a bonk.
The course itself was fairly challenging. There were a few rollers at the beginning of each loop, but they weren’t that bad. The course was more mentally tough than anything. On each loop you have to do an out and back on a narrow trail going 5km in each direction. It is flat, straight, and seemingly never ending. There was a few spectators out there, but it was pretty quiet except for the aid stations. It was hard to chat with other runner’s as well because of the language barrier.
One of the cool things about the race is that it was marked in KM instead of miles. So instead of 26 signs, there were 42. That may sound demoralizing because 42 > 26, but it actually kept my mind busy doing the conversions in my head. Also, one of the cool things is that I completely missed the 20 mile wall. Generally, during a marathon, I will dread the 20 mile mark. However, with KM’s, I hit the 34km mark, calculated that I only had 8km to go and realized that I blew past the 20 mile mark without even realizing it!
At the halfway point, which is totally demoralizing by the way because you can see the finish line as you start the 2nd loop, I finally looked at my watch for the first time. 2 hours. Sweet! Much better than I thought. I wore my Garmin but I had turned off the autolap feature and was determined not to constantly look at it during the race. Seeing the finish line while starting the 2nd loop is always hard, but at least I got to see Jennie again before heading out.
Like the bike course, there were a lot of out and backs and turnarounds. This allowed me to keep an eye out for everyone. I saw Jon at nearly every turn around and was convinced that he was gaining ground on me. It was one of the motivations that kept me moving. I saw pretty much everyone out there at least once and it was great to know everyone was off the bike and that much closer to the finish line.
Shortly after the halfway point, I hit a low point in my bonk. There is actually one point where I remember seeing Jon and I remember him saying something to me, but couldn’t comprehend what he said and just mumbled a response. I was a bit delirious to say the least. At this point, I started to drink Coke and chicken broth at the aid stations to combat it. Holy crap is that stuff good! It was sort of chilly out and we had a few briefs drizzles so the warm chicken broth tasted like heaven. In the future, I really have to be less stubborn and start taking the good stuff earlier in the race.
One crazy thing that happened was on my second loop of the course. I was out on the 10km out & back stretch. At that point there was a steady stream of runners going in both direction. All of a sudden, about 50 yards a head of me, a deer leapt out the woods and jumped across the trail narrowly missing a pack of runners. Yikes! I think I would have shit myself had I been just a little faster.
I started to pick it up a bit with about 11km to go. My stomach was still lurching on me, but I was determined to fight through it and finish strong. Finally with 8km to go, I got myself to puke. Not much, but enough to make my stomach feel 100 times better. It was like I was a completely different person after that.
Thanks for cheering and not throwing rocks Beth!
With my stomach feeling better, I was determined to finish strong. I picked up the pace and realized my legs still had some speed left in them. I got my pace down to under 9:00 min/miles again and was even flirting with some 8:00 min/miles. My watch died just after mile 24, but I think my last couple miles might have even been sub-8 pace with the way I felt.
What an amazing finish! The course wraps through the village and the last .5km is completely lined with spectators 3 deep on each side of the road. They basically carry you to the finish with their cheering. I really wanted a good finisher’s photo this year (unlike IMWI) so I eased up a bit in the finisher’s chute and made sure that I was going to have the last 100 yards more or less to myself.
I ended up crossing the finish like in 10:49:27!!!* That is a 1 hour and 5 minute PR over IMWI last year!!! Woooohoooo!!!!
*Officially my time is 10:49:27. The clock in the picture shows 10:49:17 but apparently runners where reaching up and slapping the clock as they crossed the finish line and they had to reset it a bunch of times.
High fiving the crowd as I made my way around the final stretch. I threw my arms up when I realized that I was going to finish sub-11. I had been trying to do the math in my head, but I wasn’t positive what my run time was after my watch died.
Enjoying my finisher food. Beer, fries, subway, chocolate milk and Coke.
So happy to be reunited with my biggest fan and supporter.
We hung around at the finish line for a bit hoping to see Jon or Jeff who I knew were just behind me. However, as we waited around, the skies opened up and it started pouring. We couldn’t get back to the hotel room quick enough. Thankfully our hotel was super close to the finish line but we had to walk about twice as far as normal to get around all of the barricades. By the time we got back, I was shaking like a leaf. So, what better way to solve that than to jump into an ice bath right? Jennie had been making ice in the freeze since we arrived so we had a giant bag of ice just for this purpose.
It hurts, but it is totally worth it.
After my ice bath, we noticed that a rainbow had formed seemingly ending at the finish line.
This is a picture I grabbed off Facebook of runners finishing up the course under the rainbow.
How cool is that? (source)
After showering it was time to refuel and catch up on FB. I parked myself by the window so that I could watch the finisher come in.
After everyone was finished and cleaned up, I headed over to Jeff’s hotel to have a beer with him and Dave (who completed his first IM).
It was cool that they left the finish line completely assembled until Monday afternoon so that you could get your picture taken under it. I got with my friend from high school Rebecca who completed her first IM and then with Steve (Steve’s first IM as well) and Rebecca for our Striders Team.
And finally, I leave you with how I concluded the evening -heading back down to the finish line to meet up with Jon and Beth and Jeff and Annie to watch the final finishers come in. It was awesome because the winner of race, Romain Guillaume, came back out to hand out medals. When the last finisher crossed, they snapped a picture of first to cross and last to cross under the finish line together.
|Overall Place:||297/2542 (2097 finishers)|
|Age Group Place:||18//94 (83 finishers)|
|Bike Pace:||33.32 km/hr (20.7mph)|
|Run Pace:||5:57/km (9:36/mile)|