You Lying Toads, that was easily 1.5km!!! If you want to make one of the kms in an Ironman ridiculously long, the LAST km is NOT the place to do it. It wasn’t just me by the way EVERY athlete I spoke to afterwards said that last wretched km was long. So it meant I now had 200m to go. The marshal asked if I needed to go right (i.e. start another lap) and I grinned, shaking my head and pointed left. I was heading to the finish line. I wasn’t sure if I’d missed the 13H but as I started down the finish line I could see 12.58 on the clock. I was going to make it under 13H in the type of conditions no Irish person can acclimatize to while living in Ireland! Run: 4H48M19S. Total Finish Time 12H58M18S. If you’d told me a couple of weeks earlier that would be my finish time, I think I would have been a little disappointed but on the day I was quite happy with it. I gave it all I had and even the winning pro time was 25 minutes slower than last year. I was looking forward to a nice cool shower in the finisher’s area but balked a little to discover that the showers were unisex and readily accepted a clubmate's offer of a shower in her hotel room.
I enjoyed the celebrations with the club the next day but for me, Austria doesn’t hold the special place in my memory that Switzerland and Regensburg do. I think a large part of that was having the pirate support in both of the previous races. I was very relieved when it was over and I recognize that at this stage to be a sign for me that it’s time to step back and take a break. While I’m not saying I will never do another IM race, I don’t feel like I have unfinished business with the Ironman and therefore I MUST do another IM. I can at least guarantee that there will be no IM race for me in the summer of 2013. I think the ½ IM will be as long as I go for a little while but for right now, my career as a professional couch potato beckons!
I racked my bike and headed to pick up my run bag. I don’t know if they were just wilting in the heat or what but the marshals largely just stood around watching us which was very different to last year where you had a marshal help you the whole way through your transition. From tossing water over myself on the bike, my socks were wet so I decided to change them in transition. I had bought new runners in June but they were black so I had opted to wear last year’s runners. I was glad of this decision. My gels which I had so carefully frozen the night before were still hot. I guess if I hadn’t frozen them they’d probably have been like tea. I almost left them in transition but then I said no, just take them anyway. I poured so much water over myself on the run that the gels actually ended up cool enough as I took them. T2 7M45S I ran out of transition with my planned 9/1 Run/Walk strategy which had worked so well for me the year before. The first aid station felt like it was miles away. It was so hot!!! But finally the aid station appears and I could grab sponges. I stuck one in each cup of my bra (like I need the padding!) another one under each of the shoulder strap of my tri suit and one under my hat. I had some trouble with the shoulder and hat sponges. I only managed to grab ice at one aid station but I refreshed my sponges regularly and took water at every station. There were loads of spectators on the course and many of them had hoses and sprinklers for the athletes to run through. I embraced every one of these and my only goal on the run was to try to stay cool. I pretty much ignored my watch and heart rate except for checking when it was time to take a walk break as my run wasn’t fast enough to push my HR over my limits but I couldn’t seem to push it much harder. Within the first 5kms my socks and shoes were soaked so I resigned myself to the fact I would probably have horrendous blisters but staying cool was the main objective so I didn’t care but the 1000 Mile Tri socks were brilliant and I miraculously remained completely blister free. I had been dreading the run but I actually enjoyed it. Well enjoyed it as much as possible in those conditions. I didn’t care about time. I knew that just finishing in those conditions was going to be an achievement. I used a distraction technique of looking at the names of the athletes coming against me and trying to offer some encouragement to any of the English speaking countries I saw. Some of the names did give me cause to smile though as a guy called “Pornzy” ran passed me. I hope for his sake he never moves to an English speaking country. As we passed through Klagenfurt town itself for the last time, passing all the diners enjoying their wine, beer and food in the great outdoors, I was keeping a casual eye on the clock and realized if I didn’t let the pace drop too much on the last few km, I should just about dip in under the 13H. However to give myself any bit of a cushion my 1 minute walking breaks were going to need to go by the wayside. I was hurting in those last kms and then I finally came to the 22km mark for the first lap. As you will recall, I mentioned that the markers for the 2nd lap were BEFORE the markers for the 1st lap so I thought when I saw the 22km mark but hadn’t seen the 42km mark before it that they just weren’t bothering with a 42km marker as you were so close to the finish line. However I couldn’t see the finish line. Surely it should be just 200m away, right? I had time to get in under 13 hours but where was the finish line. Had a missed a turn? I must have ran another 500m and I was starting to panic at this stage as it looked like I would miss 13H, and there it was, the 42km mark. You Lying Toads, that was easily 1.5km!!! If you want to make one of
. I had been looking forward to the bike. Almost all of my long bikes at home had been at the very best, chilly and I was anticipating enjoying a nice warm ride. Oh boy, did I get what I bargained for. It all started well, I got my heart rate under control almost immediately and I really enjoyed the first lap of the bike. The ascents were a bit sharp but fairly short and the descents were fast and non-technical. I could definitely have done with having worked on my hill climbing a bit more but it was OK, the support was great and the scenery was beautiful. If I had a bit more biking, particularly climbing done, I think it’s a course that would have really suited me. There was a brilliant crowd as you come back into the transition area and I nearly put myself off the bike high fiving all the Limerick supporters and hitting a curb. How on earth I managed to regain control of the bike before I splattered myself all over the road I do not know but I’m very grateful to the powers above that I didn’t as it really would have been the most embarrassing place on the course to have come a cropper. A couple of kms into the second lap was the special needs station. I have frozen 1.5 litres of Isomax the night before had melted and was blissfully cool as I poured it into my water bottle. Unfortunately the heat was really starting to pick up at this stage and while you did have the benefit of generating a breeze on the bike, it was a bit like a hair dryer blowing full force into your face. Aid stations were about 25 to 30kms apart and you’d grab a bottle from one and five minutes later it would be warm. This made it pretty difficult to take on all the nutrition and hydration but I forced myself to take on a gel every half an hour and to constantly sip sports drink and water. I also took the occasional mint tic-tac to freshen my palate from the gels and that was great, it’s definitely something I would do again. My stomach was not good on the bike which is unusual. Any gastro issues I usually have make themselves felt on the run. I stopped a couple of times to go to the bathroom as I felt like my gastro issues would be resolved there but it didn’t happen for me. I was very warm and was grateful that at least my aero helmet had vents but it was still warm. It turns out that it was over 40 degrees on the bike course. No Irish person should have to exercise in that heat! After one toilet break I took off my helmet and had a marshal soak my head with a cold hose, it felt wonderful. Coming in on the last 20km on the bike I was suffering. I had taken my nutrition religiously even though I really didn’t want it on many occasions but my stomach felt dodgy though not to the point where I was reaching for the immodium or motilium I had in my bike box, my legs were shaky, I was a bit dizzy and I felt like I couldn’t run across the road, let alone run a marathon. I was wondering whether or not I would DNF. But then I gave myself a mental kick in the ass, reminding myself that I had missed my husband’s birthday (which had been the day before) to do this race, if I had to crawl through the run, I was not going to DNF. I remembered they had promised sponges and ice on the run and used this thought as a bribe to get me through the rest of the bike. On the plus side, I definitely felt I was only suffering because of the heat, whereas the previous year I would have given my bike away in transition and could barely stand coming in off the bike, I didn’t feel like that this year and I think if the conditions had been a little cooler, I would have had a stronger bike than Regensburg. As it was, I was happy enough to come in on 6H35M18S with the heat that was there.