Monday, July 18, 2011

Ironman Texas 2011 - The Run

The run course was set up with a short run from transition onto the main loop, followed by a 3 lap run. The 3 loop course made it easier for spectators to maneuver around which made for great crowd support, although running by the finish line twice and seeing mile markers that you are not going to hit for two more laps can be a bit depressing.

Happy to be running ... I started the first lap strong, trying to control my pace. I didn’t want a repeat of Cedar Point where I went out too fast. Around the 3 mile marker, I realized that I had messed up my Garmin buttons so my average pace and total time and distance were not right on my watch (so I couldn’t use it as a crutch to help me figure out how fast I needed to be running without doing a bunch of math in my tired head).
The first lap was hot – really hot, with no real shade for the majority of the run. I carried my hand held water bottle and used EFS liquid shot for calories. I put ice down my top at every aid station and took cold sponges as well – all in the name of attempting to not over heat. The heat was hitting me hard and I too quickly mentally gave up on attempting to break 12 hours.

I was struggling to hold my pace and I told myself that I had left it on the bike course. I saw Doug and Ryan at the end of the first lap and was feeling pretty down. You can see how I feel in the picture progression throughout the run – it is so obvious by the look on my face. I gave Doug a kiss and then I gave Ryan a kiss too (what can I say, I was tired and confused) and I told them that I left it on the bike course and I didn’t have it in me to break 12 hours.

Not feeling as good - end of lap 1 Another spectator commented to Doug after I ran off, “Did he (Ryan) just kiss your girlfriend?” and Ryan responded, “Even better, I just kissed his wife!”

I took my first walk break around the aid station about 10 miles in and used the reduced speed to refill my hand held water bottle and take in some extra calories. I extended the walk break just a bit past the end of the aid station and then started running again. I immediately felt like much better – like a different person almost. Unfortunately, this told my mind that the occasional walk break is good for me rather than “you feel better, get back to only running and you can still break 12 hours”.

Looking back now, my only disappointment in the race is that I didn’t have a stronger mental fortitude to come back from that dark place and run at the pace that I know that I can run. I do believe that I was physically fit enough to run a 4:20 Ironman marathon, which was roughly what I needed to break 12 hours. I took the “easy” way out by slowing my pace and taking walk breaks. In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with walking, but for me, I know that I could have pushed harder to hit my dream goal and I mentally gave up. That mental block is something that I need to work on before Ironman #4 (which is still TBD at this point – more on that later).

Despite feeling much better, the second lap was still very hot, so I continued the ice / sponge routine and walked the occasional aid station and then some when needed. As I approached the end of the second loop, the crowd support in the mile or so leading up to the finish line (and the turn to start the next lap) really picked me up and as I made the turn, I was so happy to be starting the third and final lap! I also knew that I was about to see my support crew, which had grown to include my children, parents and in-laws.

As I made the turn to the stretch of road where my crew was waiting, the first person I saw was my 4 year old son, Tyler. He immediately ran to the side of the road, put his hands in the air and started jumping up and down. The feeling of pure joy that came over me when I saw Tyler and then immediately the rest of my crew can be seen on the huge smile on my face in these photos. I gave everyone a sweaty hug and a kiss and then took off, it was single digits to the finish line! Andrew, my 6 year old son, ran alongside me for a couple of seconds to send me off, which was so sweet.

Pure joy ...

Every step after seeing my family reminded me that I was that much closer to the finish line and seeing them again (and keeping them from waiting!). I was feeling good and my pace picked up – adrenaline does that for you. I saw a few familiar faces on the course too, which is always a nice surprise. I ran with my Trakkers teammate off and on during the second half of the third lap and we encouraged each other. I took a couple of quick walk breaks at aid stations, but kept them very brief. I was READY to be finished!

When I hit the two mile to go mark I found my inner Forest Gump and picked up my pace again, running well sub 9s. The crowd was great and the faster I ran the more crowd support I got with random people cheering me on. It felt so good to be finishing strong. With about a quarter mile to go, as I entered Market Square, both sides of the street were lined with people. The crowd was great, but a bit subdued, so I raised my hands like a football player does when trying to get the crowd to make noise … and make noise they did!

I continued this while running my heart out towards the finish line. As I entered the finisher’s chute, I high fived lots of people on the left side and ran with my arms up. I saw my mom but missed my hubby and kids because they were on the right side. Mike Reilly, rather than saying, “Anne Moore you are an Ironman”, said, “Annie, get your gun!” and that was alright by me. I’ll take a personalized announcement any day!

Run Time: 04:42:44
Average Pace: 10:47
Overall Place: 474 / 2156
Gender Place: 104 / 537
Division Place: 18 / 78

Overall Race: 12:20:02 – a PR by 3 minutes and 55 seconds!

Overall Place: 586 / 2156
Gender Place: 109 / 537
Division Place: 17 / 78

I loved this race – I had so much fun and despite the hot run conditions, I felt relatively good because of my nutrition plan (thanks First Endurance!). I would do this race again in a heartbeat (local race, great crowd support, nice course, good aid station support).

A huge thank you to my amazing family who rarely complain when I am gone for long training days weekend after weekend and who offer endless amounts of love, support and encouragement. I couldn’t do it without you!

Check out those super cool support shirts ;)
I have also been very fortunate to be a part of Team Trakkers for three incredible seasons, and have been blessed to have fantastic sponsors -- First Endurance, Avia, Tri Swim, TYR, Kestrel, All 3 Sports, Recovery Pump and Canari -- who give me what I need to train long and race hard.

Now, the big question … what’s next? Stay tuned.


Matthew Smith said...

What a great race, and a PR too! That's just awesome. It looked like you had such great support from friends and family. Way to go Anne! Way to go!

Jeff Vanis said...

Great RR, I got tired just reading about you pushing through it. Be proud of yourself! It is a heck of an accomplishment, looks like you had a great support network!

Velma said...

AWESOME report!!! Love the pictures of the kiddos

Love and Puppies, Christy said...

Congrats! I love reading people's race did awesome!

tribirdie said...

Awesome job getting yourself through that run!! You did great!! Love the pictures of you with the kids, so very cool!! Congratulations on the PR!! Great race!

Meredith said...

I enjoyed reading your race reports. Congratulations on finishing and getting that PR. I was watching online all day long and I have no idea how I missed you and Jeff (right?) cross the finish line. I hope to see you and your cute family again!

Janet Edwards said...

Very funny with your kisses! Huge kudos to you on your PR and awesome pics!

Kacie Darden said...

What a great report!!!!

I understand having to overcome that "easy way out." I have been dealing with that since IM St. George. Sometimes this sport is more in the mind than the legs.


Anonymous said...

Awesome job!!!! Nothing better than to have family to support you and those little ones jumping for joy to see their mommy! Well done. :-) Nice new PR