The final Leg. The marathon.
114.4 miles completed. A mere 26.2 to go.
This is the part that seemed unimaginable. Now it was time to try. No looking back.
Steady forward progress......the name of the game.....just-keep-going.
I ran, no hobbled into the T2 tent. I needed a bathroom. I saw them on the outside as I ran in. I missed it. Darn. I could have gone back into it. But I was NOT going to go backwards in any way during this monster day. That wouldn't be progress.
I had immediate help again. The tent was quiet. I was very lucky with this. "What do you need??"
Tweezers! I had decided against the med tent. I wasn't going to take the time. I just hoped that my worst fear was incorrect. I just hoped that my foot was ok. I didn't look at first. I ripped off the bike shoes, the wet socks, the Helmet came off and that was glorious, glasses off......
Ok. I told the woman I had to change my shorts and this was fine. It was quick. I was so happy to do this and start the long run fresh. They emptied my back pockets for me while I snapped the garmin on my wrist, donned my visor, grabbed my gels and put salt in the pocket. Now, moment of truth. There were no tweezers to be found.
I put my sock on my right foot, shoe on and tied it. I saved the left foot for last. And then I looked.
NOthing! Nada! Clean! What had I been feeling??? Who cares! Sock on, shoe on and OFF I went!
I had told the ladies helping me about the metal incident. As soon as I realized I was ok, I said, "Ok. No excuses. Time to run a marathon!"
I ran out of the tent with new energy. I was just relieved not to be impaled and in trouble for this. I have enough issues with my feet! I did not need more!
I saw Mark and the boys as soon as I hit the road. I smiled and waved, "I'm all set! I got it! It's out!" I left him flabbergasted. He thought it took me forever in the tent (was actually 3:53) and he thought my race was over. Did I look that bad?
I saw Jeff ( my brother) and my Mom and Dad too! such fun. JEff hollered, "You can do this thing Ange!" I was so happy they were there. It really made the day perfect.
This is where the race got real. This is where the Ironman gets it's name. It all comes down to the run. A few coaches and experienced Ironmen told me, "It's not a good bike if you have a bad run." Ok, let's see how I did.
My stomach hurt. But my legs were feeling alright. Not super yet, but ok. I headed out of town and down teh long steep hill I would have to climb 12 miles later. Finally...a portapotty. I ran in and almost tipped over! the crazy thing was wobblign all over the place! I yelled, "hey stop shaking this thing? Who's doing that??" I was out of there so fast....nobody around. The big blue box was just positioned poorly on some pieces of wood. Wonder how many spectators heard the crazy lady yelling from inside the toilet. I felt cool.
I remembered again what my awesome friend and nutritionist, Marni, had told me. For bloating...and I think this qualified as that, just slow down and have water for a while. I had done this on the bike but now it was time to do it on the run. I would hold off on the sugars and try to flush things out. My belly would feel better. I was determined.
I hit the first aid station.....sponges! I think these cold sponges might have been the Best thing I have ever experienced in my life. My entire life. That's how it felt at that moment. I had been so so hot on that bike. My head was exploding from inside that helmet. How often do you think, "I can't wait to get to the run so I can cool off." That just doens't happen. I squeezed those cold sponges over my head and just stopped in my tracks...bliss. I heard many others around me feeling just as fabulous. So so so wonderful. I thanked those volunteers--I think they got the biggest hugs of the day.
After a few minutes my stomach wasn't too bad. It continued to hurt but I could run. And ya know...I felt good! I was holding a pace that was well...too fast. I had been warned. In my defense, the first few miles are a bit downhill. My splits were back and forth as I tried to behave....too fast....on target...too fast...on target. I was really trying to hold a slwoer than you think you need to pace. I chatted with really nice guy named STeve. I think he was from Boston. I could tell by his shirt. I need to look him up somehow. Steve's goal marathon was 3:30. Umm...ok. His best flat marathon was 2:57. Ooooohh..Ok. "Bye STeve." I dropped way back. Don't run with Steve.
I made friends with another guy. We were just crusing along. Lovin' life. Having fun. Drinking some water. Drinking some gatorade.
What' s the big deal? Only 21 miles to go. Piece of CAke! I got this thing! I'm almost done. Feeling great. Yeah me......
I made the first turn. I think it was mile 6? I don't know why I don't know this. Beeeep beeep. Loved that beep. My connection with those watching from home. Jen! I'm here! I'm doing ok! :-) I wanted to talk to her. I cheered for myself out loud, "woohoo 1 leg down, 3 to go!!!! " (the run was out and back x 2 Or 4 segments...) The spectators cheered so loudly for me there cause I made such a scene. I was happy happy happy. This Ironman IS the party! This IS easier than all the training!!!
Running back to town I saw some friends. I saw Mike, "MIKE! I can TASte It! how are you?" He was loud and excited too! He was good to go. He told me our friend Tim was out. Not sure why. I saw Mary. She looked good too! Cruising right along. I saw Melissa. She was smiling and looked so great. I am so proud of what we all went through to get here. I hoped they were all ok and feeling good.
I saw the Inspiration board. It said, "Run Sister Run!" WAs this from Jeff? I have to ask him.
I was still ok. My splits were solid. I had slowed a tiny bit but was climbing a bit more now. I was fine. I climbed the big long hill by the Ski jumps. Those were fine. My stomach was still hurting me. But at least I could run.
I saw Kurt again. He made his signal to slow the pace and have patience. He said something about the race starting in a ....while. I was already at mile 10 or so. When does this thing get going? I did know I had a ways to go. I was still ok....but....not quite as perky as I had been.
Into town. Up the big long hill that scared us all. It wasn't easy. However, I finally had payback for the big giant hills I climb in training on a daily basis around here. I was fine. I just put my head down and got up the monster. I was Fired up to get to the corner with my teammates and family. I was smiling and waving and having a blast! "Almost done!" I yelled. I meant it. I felt so happy.
Back down the hill. Ouch. this hurt. I had to wave goodbye to my support crew in town and head way way way back out there again.
My pace was faltering a bit. I thought about how much longer I had. I started to do the math. 9 miles to go. Could I make it in ? could I break my goal of 11 hrs? I wasn't sure. In real life running, I had plennnnty of time. But not that day. Not that day at all.
My left quad started to quiver. It hurt. I think I had had a gel or maybe 2 at that point. I left T2 with 8. Just in case. I had a huge wad in my hands....I knew I didn't need them. I just trudged along.
Alright. Could it please rain? Where was that rain? 80% chance of rain! Any time now please! PLEASE!!! I was so hot. My skin was burning. My face was caked with salt and sweat and muck. I had smushed up salt in my pocket but I managed to get it down. I was really slowing down now. But I was still running. Sort of. I saw Steve again! Hey! I was still in the game.
And then, without any conscious thought, I started to walk. I just had to stop and walk. I think I took 5 steps when Steve came up to me. "Baby steps. Keep going. Keep running....just go." He asked me my age. He then said, "ok you might have a chance at a slot. But you WON'T if you walk."
Ok, the competitor in me stood up and started "runnig." baby steps. Keep going. OF course you can. Go. I was dreaming about the finisher's oval. Fantasizing about going under those arches. I wanted it SO so so bad. I had worked so hard. All year. If I walked, it would take longer to get there. so don't walk again Ange. Don't. Do. It.
The miles were so long. The aid stations were like mirages. They were like an oasis in the dessert. Filled with happy helpful smiling people who were not tipping in strange positions as they moved. Like the rest of us going down the road. I couldn't say much to them anymore. I smiled. A little. Somehow they knew what to say. "I know you're hurting...just keep going. You are amazing. Strong." YES! I am! I will keep going! It was such a mind game. Total self talk the whole way. My body was saying stop stop stop but my heart said 'don't even think about it. you are so close. this is your dream. you are strong and you have done the work to get here...go. Just go forward.'
So I did. Step by step by step. From tree to tree. Sign to sign.
My friends ran by on the other side of the road. We were quieter now. Glances and knowing grimaces were exchanged. Melissa, she's awesome, yelled to me, "GO FINISH THIS THING ANGE!" I almost cried. I was so close. She had a bit longer to go. I wanted her to turn around with me and run in with me. But you know, we were All still moving forward. It was so inspiring to see them. Everyone. Just pushing onward. REaching deep inside to accomplish something huge. Something not everyone can do. We were doing it.
Finally...the Hill into town. I ran up it. slowly. But I ran. I heard my name. It was on my bib. However, I could hear the voices I recognized. I saw faces of my friends in the crowd and they pulled me up. I was close. So close. I could see the Olympic Oval. I could hear Mike Riely annoucing other finishers....YOU ARE An IRonman......it was blurry but it was there. It was almost me. I passed by the corner of my teammates and family. Mark, my parents, the kids, Jeff were there screaming. GO GO GO! YeAH! We're going to the finish!! I nodded and smiled. I exchaged glances with Rob...a 9 or 10 time Ironman. He chuckled. He knew I was saying, "OH THIS HURTS ROB!" It was funny. I had to run 1 mile AWAY from the finish...and then back. Brutal. I went down down down teh road. I never got to the turn around. And then, I saw it. The final turn. Mile 25. I Still had to grab the table at the aid station and drink.
After that, it was all over. I was alive. Rejuvinated. I sprinted down the road.....past the tent, down the little hill, turn right into the oval, around the corner and then, The ARches. I stopped. I let the men in front of me go and have their moment. I wanted mine. And I didn't want to share it. Call me greedy. I was nothing but at that moment. I looked behind me and made sure no women were sneaking up (Steve's advice.....remember Steve? It was my turn..). It was clear. I was alone. I put my arms in the air and thought to myself, "Ange, you did it. You killed this thing." I looked into the stands and saw everyone. It was perfect. Totally perfect. Mark, Mom, Dad, Jeff, Cameron, TOmmy, NIcholas, Al, MaryAlice, Andy. I walked it in but RAN across the finish line.
Angela Bancroft YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!
Successs. Happiness. Peace. Satisfaction. Pride.
10 hours 46 minutes
2nd age group
6th amateur woman
17th woman overall
Mark snuck into the finishing chute.....Big big hugs. We did it. I sat down. I just needed to rest. They swarmed me and took me to the medical tent. You know...it didnt' matter. I was an Ironman. That's all that mattered.