Ironman Arizona 2012 Part 3 - The Run

I really need to finish this race report off... Truth is, I've been putting off writing about the run because I'm not really sure how I feel about it.  There are some things I'm happy about, and some things I'm not.  Such is life, I guess.  Here's my shot at wrapping it up.

I flew through T2 (bike to run transition) pretty quickly for me, in 3:33.  There was hardly anyone in the change tent, and I had two fabulous volunteers all to myself.  They handed me my socks (I think they didn't want to put them on after they saw me smearing vaseline all over my feet - more on that later), helped put my shoes on, shoved stuff in my pockets, packed up my bike stuff... and before I knew it, I was outta there - despite me telling them I wasn't in a rush.

The first few kilometres of the run felt easy, but I didn't feel like my legs were "racy".  If that makes sense.  They didn't feel worked over from the bike, but they didn't feel full of pep.  Honestly, it just felt like a regular training run.  I had a plan, and that was to run 8 minutes / walk 2 minutes for the first three hours, then 4/1 after that.  I also had a pace I wanted to stick to, and I noticed pretty quickly that I was in the higher end of that range.  Oh well.  I stuck to my plan and that went fine.

One nice thing about the course is that it is three loops of a somewhat figure-8, meaning I got to see my peeps a lot.  Of course one not-so-nice thing about the course is that it's three loops, that kind of gets to you after a while.  In a "oh, this again..." kind of way.  The first loop was really uneventful, save for my cheering section whooping it up every time I came through.

There were tonnes of spectators everywhere on the transition side of the lake, and all the cheers and people help pass the time and mileage.  It was pretty warm out, but the aid stations had sponges and ice, so I never really felt the heat.  Some of the runners were complaining about being hot, but I didn't notice.  That's a good sign and I'm happy about that.  I also enjoy the run leg of any triathlon for the social aspect; I love to chat with runners going by about how their races are going, where they're from, etc.  Makes up for that lonely bike leg!

Running through the crowds is always fun!
Running past a cheering Kirsty... I'm not sure
what I'm doing with my arm there so clearly
I still need to work on my form.

I did notice by the end of that loop that I didn't put enough vaseline on my left foot and I could feel a hot spot starting.  I have really weird toes that love to form blisters.  So I decided to stop at the Special Needs station and grab my bag, which I tucked some more vaseline into.  I took a few minutes to smear both feet, just to make sure everything would be good from there on.

Foot maintenance at the halfway point.
Guess I should have taken more time in T2
to slather that vaseline on!
I was told there that I couldn't get my bag again, which was kind of a bummer since I put a long-sleeved shirt in for the last lap, as when the sun goes down there it can cool off quickly.  I thought I'd better take everything with me for the whole second half of the marathon; I tied my shirt around my waist, grabbed my nutrition, and also the headlamp I had put in the bag.  It gets dark early, and there are parts of that course that are not lit.

On the bridge after the halfway point, I noticed my pace was off.  I didn't feel particularly tired, not anymore so than one would expect halfway through an ironman marathon, that is.  I was double-fisting calories at each aid station, drinking, wasn't too hot... so running through my mental checklist I couldn't really find the culprit.  Bottom line, I suck at running.  I was still having fun though, so continued on and really tried to stop checking my Garmin.

The third lap was definitely tough, and I really appreciated my cheering section being out there (still).  My legs hurt a lot, and I made some firm declarations several times that I was never going to do this again.  I just kept chatting with other runners, tried to stick to my race plan, took in calories whenever I could, and just kept putting one foot in front of the other.  I never stopped (except for a couple of porta-potties).  One thing, though - a couple of times when I was on my walk intervals, I didn't start running again at the prescribed time because I was talking to someone next to me, and I didn't want to be rude and run away.  I think I should get over that.  Just how polite do I need to be in a race, anyway?  I am a total nerd.

The last lap seemed to take forever.  Actually, it did pretty much take forever.  I was thrilled to be crossing the Rural Road bridge for the last time headed in, and a guy standing there said if I picked up the pace, I could make it in under 13.5 hours.  I didn't really know that, because I'd set my Garmin to show me my run time only.  I had a rough idea of what time it was, and really wanted to finish under 14 hours (especially since at that point, my marathon goal was out the window), so that made me really happy.  Soon enough, Jason was standing on the side of the path, and I handed him my long-sleeved shirt, which I never needed.  There was only a kilometre to go from there, but I didn't seem to be able to go any faster.  That last bit was a blur, and I vaguely remember running down the finish chute.

Once again, a couple of wonderful volunteers were there, and after giving me my finisher's medal, hat, t-shirt, some water, and making sure I was ok, they handed me off to Jason and it was all over.  A shout-out to the IMAZ volunteers: everyone was amazing, helpful, enthusiastic, and pretty much the best volunteers ever.  Thank you, all.

I was (am) super happy with my finish time (13:30), which is a PR by almost an hour.  I was (am) super happy with my swim and bike times.  I was (am) happy that I PR'd the marathon, but was (am) disappointed that I didn't break six hours for the run.  I still have soooo much work to do on my running.  Once reunited with my peeps, I made some more emphatic declarations that I was three and done, and there wouldn't be another ironman in my future.  A week later now though, and I'm not so sure... 

to be continued???


  1. Oh my god Keps, just read all three blog posts and I'm speechless. I am so incredibly proud of your accomplishment and am hoping to use you as inspiration while I train through the winter for BCBR and TR3 next year.


  2. What an amazing journey! And an hour PR is seriously incredible! Congratulations, and I hope you're enjoying your recovery.