I came out of the transition area, and quickly saw Donna and Oaks on the sidelines holding a sign and cheering me on! It was great to see them! A great pick me up!
The first mile or so of the run is on a bridge that crosses the Ohio River. This is the biggest hill on the course. You run up to the middle of the bridge which is halfway to Indiana, then turn around, and run back down. This was very cool! There was an aid station on the bridge, and I grabbed some cookies. I ate one, and just wasn’t hungry for the other so I dropped it down a drain grate.
I think I saw Donna and Oaks at the bottom of the bridge too before I headed out on the road.
I trained as if I were going to run a 8:00 pace, without ever intending to run that fast. I had debated about trying a 8:30 or 9:00 pace and maybe try to run a 4 hour marathon. But I decided to take it easy, and just finish. I figured I could finish under 14 hours which I was more than happy with. I decided to run at a 9:30 min/mile pace and walk 1 minute every mile. I was actually having trouble keeping my pace at 9:30. I would look at my Garmin and find I was running at 8:30 pace, and force myself to slow down. I probably could have run at 8:30 pace, but I didn’t want to risk blowing up. I had a friend who ran this race the previous two years, and DNF’d during the run. My primary goal was to finish.
The metronome on my hat was beeping away at 90pbm, and I would try to match that cadence with either my left foot or right foot hitting the ground on the beep.
After the bridge, most of the run course is pancake flat, with the exceptions of an underpass that you ran through four times. There were lots of racers running, jogging and walking out here. The aid stations were spread out evenly about every mile. They all had water, Gatorade and cola. They also had stuff like gels, and cookies. You could also get sponges soaked in cold water. I had heard about the chicken broth, but they didn’t have any early in my run. Apparently, they don’t bring the broth out until later in the day, figuring the people that will be running at night will need it more.
The finish line was reachable! I could walk the rest of the way and finish. I would tell people along the way stuff like, “only 19 miles to my tattoo!!!” Along the course I had plenty of time to think about the tattoo, and decided to get it on Tuesday as I would be home Monday night, and I had Tuesday off.
I just kept up the running and walking. At the aid station at mile 8 and 9, I saw Bob from IAmTri.com, and he gave me encouragement. Somewhere along here, I saw Shannon on his bike, and he told me all my friends were following me on the LVM board. That made me feel great!
At the aid stations, they would call out what they had. Sometimes you would run through asking for stuff, like cola, or water, and they would point you to who had what you wanted. Sometimes I would ask for cheeseburgers, but none of the aid stations had them. I would always for the cola. I would also often grab a wet sponge and squeeze the cold water over my head. That felt good. I continued to take gels every hour, along with water.
At about mile 12, I saw the message sign. I was curious as to what message would pop up for me. I crossed a mat shortly before the sign. And when I got to the sign it said something like “R Jacob, you Rock –Terry” Terry? I have no idea who Terry is. LOL!
I kept on running. Somewhere about this point, I started taking minute long walk breaks every half mile. I talked briefly with some people, but not for long. Everyone was going at different paces. I did see a guy with a crazy looking tri suit that look sort anatomical. I told him it looked obscene, and said I liked it. I asked if I could take a picture, and he posed front and back. Nice!
At the halfway point, I stopped and got my special needs bag. I got my room key, I think I grabbed a snickers bar, and maybe a gel. There was a long sleeve shirt I put in here, in case it got cold. But I didn’t need it. I told the volunteer there was a nice Rochester Marathon shirt in the bag if anyone wanted it. He told me I could pick it up when I passed on the second loop. I said cool.
Around mile 14 I passed near the finish line, and then turned to start my second loop. I was excited to see the finish knowing that was where I was going. I heard other people had a hard time seeing it, and knowing they still had to run more. But I had no problem with this. If I had seen it a mile from the finish maybe.
I was starting to get some nipple chafing, and also under my left arm. One of the aid stations had a piece of cardboard with gobs of vaseline smeared on it. I ran my finger across it, and applied it to my chafed areas. Worked wonderfully!
I talked a little more with people on the second loop. For many of the people, it was their first loop. About mile 16 or 17 I passed a blind runner tethered to a guide. I only caught a glimpse, and thought I heard someone say the name Charlie. I remembered a blind runner named Charlie being featured on one of the Hawaii Ironman videos. I wondered if it was him. (when I got home, I looked him up, and sure enough, it was the same Charlie Plaskon).
I didn’t see Bob from IAmTri at the aid station near the turnaround. He must have finished his shift. The aid stations were now starting to serve the chicken broth. I tried some and it was cold and kind of gross. Maybe it was heated at other aid stations. I never tried it again. Donna and Shannon came out and rode along with me for a little bit. It was great seeing them. Again they told me that the LVM message board was following me online, and posting about how I was doing. It made me happy to know I had all these friends out there pulling for me, and cheering me on. Hey got a few pictures, and then took off to wait at the finish line.
As I was maybe 6 or 7 miles from the finish, I started seeing runners coming the other way wearing glow sticks. I was hoping to make it to the finish without having to wear one. The sun was getting low, but it was still light out.
I passed the message sign and it had the same message. I never stopped at the special needs bag pickup. I didn’t want to bother carrying the shirt. I had put a shirt in there that I didn’t care too much about. I rarely wear long sleeve shirts anyway.
About a mile from the finish, I took my walk break, and was talking to another guy who was walking. He had had cramping issues, so was going to walk most of the rest of the way. I was happy to be finishing under 14 hours, so I walked most of the last mile talking with the guy. As we approached the finish, we decided to run. We were going to cross separately. As I was stronger, I took off ahead. I caught up with a slower runner, and I pass him. Then I caught another slower runner and passed him. Now I could see the finish line. The street was dark, and the finish line was lit up very bright. It was like being in a dark tunnel with a light at the end. I saw another slower runner ahead, and a guy way up ahead sprinting. I decided to move into the gap, and sprinted at probably a sub 7:00 pace. I crossed the line. The feeling was wonderful! I heard the announcer say my name, and mention my recent birthday. I didn’t hear him say I was Ironman though. It was hard to understand him as it was very noisy in Fourth Street Live. As I crossed, I did what Donna told me to do, and raised my arms, and smiled. She said to make sure I wasn’t pictured stopping my watch. Great advice! A volunteer put a medal around my neck, and gave me a mylar blanket. Someone else took my timing chip. I stopped my watch which said something like 13:45. My official time was 13:43:02. Then the volunteer asked my shirt size, and went brought me a finisher shirt, and hat. She took me over to get my picture taken.