Sunday morning I tackled my first Ironman race. Oof!
I’ve been working my way up to this for a few years, and training specifically for it since Jan. 1. But no matter how much training you do, swimming 2.4 miles, riding 112 and then “running” a 26.2-mile marathon makes for a long day.
I finished in 12:50:08. I was hoping to be around 12:15, and gave up a little time on all of the events. Still, I’m satisfied.
The swim (1:18) was about what I expected. I took the bike (6:46) easy to save something for the marathon, and that was a good plan. My run ended up just a tad under 4:26. I thought I might hit 4:15 but the last 5 miles crushed me. There’s quite a bit of climbing back into town and I walked a bunch of the hills. And I slowly walked all of the aid stations doing everything I could to stay hydrated. I didn’t bonk. Just couldn’t get my legs to move faster.
Everyone in our group of eight from Roanoke finished, and finished well. Our top guy, Scott Moir, was under 11 hours and finished 8th in his age group, which probably had at least 300 people in it. He missed qualifying for the World Championships (Ironman Hawaii in Kona) but just three places. Mark Long was 10th in his age group and Mike Dalsey was 19th or 20th. Joe Snyder was crushing the bike after a 60-minute swim but then lost an hour on the bike due to five flat tires. Steve Burtis, Tim Kingsbury, Dave Pait and I all finished within about a 20-minute window. I saw them a bunch on the course throughout the day, which was cool.
The volunteers were outstanding. There was an army of them.
The crowds were amazing in town. That helped get all of us through the final few miles.
As I ran down the finishing chute, people were holding out their hands for high fives. I slapped a bunch of them. It was an emotional few minutes after all the time put in, and the sacrifices over the past seven months. My family deserves a lot of credit for being so supportive.
Speaking of support, I needed a lot of it after I got across the line. I hung out for a few minutes with my fellow finishers Steve Burtis and Mike Dalsey, but started feeling really sick and faint.
Long story short I ended up in the medical tent. They weighed me (had a before weight) and I had lost only three pounds during the race (amazing for me; thank goodness it was a cool day) so it wasn’t dehydration. Just exhaustion. Forty-five minutes on my back covered with blankets and two cups of chicken broth brought me back to life.
Roads were blocked going out of town back to where we were staying so I was actually able, with my roommates Mike , Mark and Tim , to ride my bike the 2 miles back to our place. On the way we cheered on everyone who was still on the course.
Today brings another marathon: the drive home.
Mike, Scott, and super fan Tom Miller plan to do this 722 miles in one shot. Yesterday we were all pretty sore. Today, crammed into the Taylor Family Truckster, is going to be brutal.
I wish I had a shot of me staggering to the medical tent, but this will have to do.
Thanks, everyone, for the well wishes and support.