I finished in 16:16:17! Woohoo!! I am an Ironman! :)
Before the Swim
The swim was the best part of my day. IMCdA is a beach start: the pros start in the water, while the rest of us line up on the beach. When the cannon goes off, everybody rushes in and starts churning. I'm sure it is quite a spectacle and I had a really good view of it. ;) I hit my goal of swimming under 1:30 (I did 1:28:33) so I exited the water very happy. I had a few of the expected water collisions but overall I was unharmed. IMCdA makes you get out of the water after one lap and cross a timing mat - this is a little annoying, but I liked the break. Plus, I was able to adjust the velcro strap on my wetsuit. It still bit me a little, but not as much for the second loop.
The bike was tough for me. I paced very conservatively: often I would catch up to somebody on hill, but then drop back as I decided to didn't want to invest the energy to complete the pass (sometimes it meant passing 3 or 4 others). I tried to keep my heart rate down. This got me to special needs at mile 62 feeling good, but by mile 85 or so, the second loop of hills really took it out of me. It was hot and windy, and for the last 30 miles I kept calculating what I needed to average to make the bike cutoff. If I could coast faster than that average, I did. I wound up stopping at every aid station to stretch, hit the porta-potty, and pick up some nutrition. My bike computer said my "ride" time was 7:35 so I evidently had another 45 minutes of these breaks as my clock time for the bike was 8:20:17. But, I needed every one of those stops.
At Bike Special Needs
Here I am surrounded by gorgeous women... this Ironman thing doesn't seem so bad. ;)
On the bike course I saw my parents; Alexandra, Christina, Francesca, and Jen at special needs; Eric and Krisanne around mile 100. These were all really huge boosts!
Around Mile 100
I was very happy to get off the bike and start the run. I crept along at an 11 minute mile for 4 or 5 miles, but eventually I had to walk for a few minutes after each aid station. This was mostly to let my stomach settle a little after taking in some nutrition. I sampled everything, but mostly the chicken broth and water. As the night wore on my walking breaks got longer and longer - I was mentally alert (because I fell into "calculate what pace I needed to make the cutoff" mode) and felt good, all things considered, but my feet and knees were sore. By finishing so late I was able to run by glowstick, and see all the other ones ahead of me, especially in the out-and-back section along the lake. ;) Run time was 6:01:01.
"Only" a Marathon Left To Do...
Alexandra, Francesca, Jen, and Mike stationed themselves near the transition zone; my parents were a block away; Eric and Krisanne were two blocks past that; Christina and Greg drove out towards the turnaround along Lake Coeur D'Alene - so I wound up seeing friends and family quite often, which was enormous because I was starting to drag a bit on the run. Francesca walked with me for along the short turnaround from the transition zone to run special needs, and it was great talking to her and drawing on her IM finishing experience and overall huge enthusiasm!
My Amazing Cheering Section
The finish was great - despite being pretty beat, after crossing the line and hearing my name called as an Ironman and taking a bunch of pictures, I was buzzing with excitement. My parents and friends met me and we stood around and chatted for a bit, before I left to go back to the hotel and soak in a tub.
I'm really thankful my friends drove out to cheer - it was a long day for them since I finished at 16:16. They made T-shirts and had pom-poms and I need to get copies of the pictures to upload. All the volunteers and spectators were great too - hearing somebody clapping and calling out your name is quite a boost as well.
So I got my finish and will probably go nuts at the merchandise tent. I've already purchased some stuff but there are always IMCdA logo arm warmers and I'm sure I'll see something else or order pictures. What the heck, I'm not sure I'm up for doing another one, so I'm gonna bask in this one. :)
Thanks to Krisanne and Francesca for these great photos!