Dang, I need to finish this race report. I feel like some of the details have already slipped away. Well, this brings us to part 3 – the run.
I run into transition and am helped by the nicest volunteer ever. She dumps out my bag and is quick to hand me whatever I need. I change from bike shorts to tri shorts, load up my pockets with gu’s, change socks and shoes, and I’m off. I drink some water and hit the porto on my way out of transition. I am so excited to run this marathon I can hardly believe it.
I start slowly and am immediately struck by how good my legs feel. Wait, was I not just riding my bike for nearly 7 hours? I take things very cautiously, not knowing what to expect later in the run. I walk my way through every aid station, taking in only water. My plan is a gel every hour, and I also eat some banana pieces. I make the decision not to drink any Gatorade. I haven’t had any all day, and my stomach feels good. Best not to risk it.
The marathon in the Ironman is quite different from a stand-alone marathon. I am not going for speed, which makes things considerably more enjoyable. I am taking in the crowd support, and every time someone cheers for me, I yell “thanks!” and smile. Around mile 6 I turn onto State St, which is nuts. There are so many people and so much energy, I couldn’t help but pick up the pace. I see the Steves for the first time at the turn around on State St. They cheer for me and I smile and wave.
The run course is extremely spectator-friendly, 2 loops with lots of little out-and-backs. When positioned correctly, it is easy to see your runner at least 5 times. The next time I spot them is shortly before the half way point. My friend Cammie is here now too, having driven up after work. I get to the turn around and am taunted by the finish line. I can see it right there, yet I follow the sign leading me to the left for loop 2.
I am not dreading the second half, in fact I still feel surprisingly good. I check my watch and realize that if I keep pace, I can break 13 hours. I try not to be too excited about it, telling myself anything can happen. I see my crew again and also my mom and Joe. I yell to all of them finish between 8-8:30! I don’t want to be overly confident but I know in my head I can finish before 8:00.
A lot more people are walking. I pick them off one by one. Keep moving forward. I pick up the pace slightly to see what happens. I still feel good. Before I know it I am back on State St with 6 or 7 miles to go. I am tired, but I know I will finish strong. My face says it all here:
I do one last gel at mile 20 and hope it gets me through to the end. Countless people are walking now, and spectators are commenting on how great I look. Why thank you! I want to slow down, to stop moving, but it is not an option. I am no longer walking through the aid stations, I just want to finish. I pick it up as fast as I can with 4 miles to go. I know I am running a negative split, which I have never done in a marathon, let alone in the freaking Ironman.
With about 3 blocks to go I am back in Capitol Square. The crowds are going wild and I try to take it in. It is hard to absorb anything mentally at this point, my body is carrying me forward on autopilot. I see Joe with 2 blocks to go and he runs along side me, yelling that my mom is in the left side bleachers at the finish line. I turn the corner into the finish and as I approach the line, I hear Mike Riley loud and clear saying the words I have been waiting for, working for, all day and for the past year:
Laura C from Milwaukee, WI…You are an Ironman!!
I cross the line with my arms in the air, and two ladies “catch” me, one on each side grabbing my arms. Holy shit, I think to myself, I’m done. It’s over. I am an Ironman. I am handed an official finisher’s hat and t-shirt, and I get my picture taken. With that, it’s official.
Official Time: 12:55:51
Swim – 1:27:08
T1 – 11:53
Bike – 6:56:18
T2 – 6:56:18
Run – 4:14:15