OK, here comes the suck. This was the part I had been dreading all along. Although I was thrilled to be off the bike, I knew I was still in for a long run ahead of me. So let's dive into it starting with T2.
This went well actually. I racked my bike, grabbed my bag and changed clothes once again and tied up my Brooks Glycerin's. This time I knew to throw my bag into the right bin, so I did not have to go back to my bike. I simply grabbed something to eat that was already in my bag and then I was off.
The run at Redman consists of four loops. Each loop was somewhere between 6-7 miles long. The majority of the run goes right along Lake Hefner, so it's a great place to run, but 4 loops is mentally tough. Lap 1 was hard, lap2 was harder, lap 3 was harder than lap 2 and lap was ridiculously tough until I saw the 26 mile sign.
As I left the transition tent and got onto the run path, I remember thinking "I am 26.2 miles away from being an Ironman!" My original plan had been that I was going to walk the first 10-15 minutes of the run, just so I could get my legs under me and get myself going. I started the run at 4PM, and knew I would be running into the night, so what was the hurry right? This plan lasted maybe 8 minutes because I was feeling pretty good and the photographer was coming up, so I started my run. I went with a run 10 minutes, walk 5 minute plan for awhile, cause I was spent already. I also thought I would rather have gas in the tank to run when the sun went down instead of trying to run in the warmest part of the day. I was stopping at all the aid stations to drink, and grab something to eat. On the first lap, I did get a little nauseated, so I stuck to water and saltines. I did get a surge of encouragement as I ended the first lap when I saw my wife and son. I had told them to go on and have fun in OKC, but asked them to be back by 8:30 or so to see me finish, so it was a nice surprise to see them. I got a quick kiss form my wife and kept moving forward. This was the first time I learned I went under 7 hours on the bike officially. That was also a huge confidence booster for me because I was totally expecting 7:30-8 hours.
Lap 1 1:35:03
Not a whole lot to say about lap 2 cause nothing really stands out to me looking back. I do know that this is when the blisters on my right foot started and I was worried on how that would impact me later in the night. I stopped by the special needs area (which was right next to the turnaround) and switched watches because my Timex Global IM Trainer was running out of battery and I was afraid to be without a watch!
Lap 2 1:38:52
By this time, it was getting dark and there was about 2 miles of the run that was really dark. My feet were killing me, my legs were cramping up and my only goal was to keep moving forward. It was dark and lonely. At this point, I bet I had done the math a hundred times to ensure I would make it, and even had thoughts of hitting 15:30, which was doable. As I got closer to the final turnaround point on lap 3, I was praying that the blisters on my feet would just pop, cause I could not run! I finally discovered that I could run in the grass without too much pain, so that is what I did when I could. I knew my wife said she was going to be back at 9PM to cheer me on the final lap, but I hit the turn around a little before 9 and started on the final lap
Lap 3 1:52:50
The final lap. Let me say it again. a 4 lap course is very tough mentally, at least for me. It was dark, late and I was drained. I felt like I started this lap off better than the previous two and it was my intention to run it harder than ever, as I still had a shot at 15:30. Once I got into the dark sections of the run, I could not see my footing and I did not want to run in the grass when I couldn't see. I had visions of me tripping and ending my race, so I walked a lot of the darker areas. I made sure to thank all the aid station volunteers for all they did, they were awesome. My pace had slowed and I can only say that I was moving forward. At the last aid station, they asked me what I wanted, "I would like a coke and some mints for when I kiss my wife at the finish line" was all I remember asking for. Once I got to the sign that said 26 miles, I knew it was going to happen! I knew I could crawl the .2 miles to the finish, nothing was going to stop me. I was going to be an Ironman! Finally!!! I took a second to let that settle in and then made my way to the finish chute.
Lap 4: 2:02:26
Total Time Run 7:09:09
Coming down the chute was awesome. I heard my wife cheering. I saw my son cheering me on and I heard the announce saying my name and some other stuff. The song Home by Phillip Phillips was playing over the PA. Some random guy was standing on the side and stuck his hand out for a high five, which I gladly gave him! I had done it. The journey was complete, I had joined the club!
I sat down (with the help of the assistant director) and it was still sort of surreal to me. I had my medal on, was given a finishers shirt and was sipping chocolate milk, and feeling bad. My legs were thrashed. We made our way over to the medical tent where I got an IV. (Best decision ever I think). Even while I was on a gurney getting the IV, I knew it had been worth it.
There is something to be said about having a goal, working towards it, sacrificing early mornings and late night. Yes it was a long day, but it was also a great day.
There will be one more post about Redman coming up form my wife's viewpoint. I know how hard it is on the athlete's but I cannot thank my wife enough for her support and her patience in waiting on me! So stay tuned for that and race pictures!!!