It was about 3:30 and in my mind I was thinking that worst case scenario I had eight and a half hours to cover 26.2 miles. My run training had seriously suffered in the last 6 to 8 weeks leading up to the race. More time had been spent surfing the web to find a job or driving/flying around the country to look at different jobs than lacing up the shoes and hitting the road.
I came in from the 112 mile bike feeling pretty fresh, but knowing I had what would most likely be the most difficult part of my day ahead of me. I grabbed my T2 bag and headed into the changing tent. All I had to change were my shoes and trade my helmet for a hat and be on my way.
My initial plan was to run as long as I could and then walk until I felt like running again. It was going pretty well for the first 5-7 miles. I made it out to the first turn around in pretty good shape, knowing I would definitely finish the question now was just when would I finish. The next few miles were very difficult. I walked most of the way back toward the beginning of the loop only to see and hear the finish line, hope to god that somehow the first loop and somewhere blown by and this was the end of my second. Sadly, I knew that wasn’t true.
I started the second loop and shortly met up with this guy Mark. I have always heard that along the course of an Ironman, you make new friends and those relationships help keep you moving along the course. Mark and I did some running and walking and before we knew it we hit the turn around of the course and had just about 6 miles left to go. By this time, we had picked up another guy from the course, Chris. The three of us walked/ran and talked the whole way to the finish line. With about a mile to go, we said our goodbyes and it was every man for themselves as we ran toward the finish.
The finish chute was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I looked for Amy along the chute, but couldnt find her. The whole thing seemed like a blur. I didn’t hear or see anything in particular and just kept listening for that voice saying “Paul, You are an Ironman!” That was all I was focused on and hearing those five words was incredible.
Here is proof that I heard nothing as I was running down the chute. (Warning…turn down your volume before you play this clip)
So anyway, I know it took a long time to finally get these past 3 posts together, but life can at times get in the way of putting these thoughts together. I’ll be back to check in weekly (hopefully) now that things at work and with the apartment are beginning to settle down. Not sure if there was ever an official announcement, but my next big race is Ironman Lake Placid next summer with Amy (yes she is also racing!), two weeks before our wedding.