|E and I around the first mile|
We had all trained to run 4 minutes/walk a minute which is exactly what we started to do once we got out of town. Another training strategy we had worked with was walking all the hills. E felt great and I could tell that she was running faster than I was comfortable with. I tried to stay with her and not walk the hills in the beginning, but it was started to affect my confidence. I knew by mile 3 that I was not going to be able to hang on to her the whole marathon. We saw a bunch of people we knew and it really helped our spirits. In fact, around mile 5 for us, and 9 for the boys, we saw TG and E's boyfriend, B. Wow. It felt like we were immediately lifted up. A HUGE boost for us. And more importantly, it made me feel good that they were together, conquering the course as a team.
We got to the first turn around and at the water stop, we saw our Tri-mate, D. He was sitting with the medic team. He did not look good. E and I immediately started to get upset. We asked him if he was ok, and did not get a coherant response from him. The medics said they were treating him for dehydration. I kissed his bald head and E and I started running again. We ran upset for a few miles and when we heard the ambulance coming, we knew it was serious. I have to say it was one of the toughest things to do - to leave someone you know out there. (Turns out that D had a serious heart issue and spent the next few days in the hospital - happy to report that he is all well now!)
The positive thing that we saw on the turn around was that J wasn't that far behind us. J was a faster runner than us. She was gaining on us. E and J were very close and for some reason it gave me a peace of mind to let E go. At the next water stop around mile 8, I stopped and walked and told her to keep going. She did and it made me happy. She had her own race to chase and I had mine. About a mile later, when I was walking up a large hill, J passed me and I told her E wasn't that far ahead of me. (Turns out that J caught E and they ran the rest of the race practically together and finished very strong together!)
|Around mile 11|
I was so excited and at peace. And I did something that I had no plans to do... and thinking back it makes zero sense to me. I walked. Practically the rest of the race. Literally walked 15 miles.
I chatted with every one I passed, everyone that passed me. High-fived all of the kids because I was really missing mine. Thanked ALL of the volunteers. And I smiled. I was smiling from ear to ear. Everyone commented on my smile. I walked when I saw others that I knew. I walked when I got back to town and started my second loop. I walked.
At mile 13, I went into my special needs bag and got the hat my mother had sent me to wear in honor of my brother, Kenny, who had passed away a few minutes after he completed his first HIM. It made me cry again. I did run this part a little. I think having Kenny's hat on, made me feel like he was with me. I knew that Kenny would be proud of me. I also ran a few down hills because well, running down hill is just fun.
|Andy, the man who convinced me that I could do it.|
I felt fine but something just told me to walk. I walked fast, but rarely ran. Around mile 16, I started to get cold. I saw an older lady handing out some thermal blankets to the people heading back into town. I crossed the street and asked if I could have one. She gladly handed me one. About a mile later, it started to rain and I was so glad to have the warmth of the blanket. If I was running, the rain would have been a nice treat, but since I was walking and the sun was setting, it got cool.
As I was heading back into town, about 3 from the finish line, I saw finishers walking their bikes back. This hurt my morale for a few, but then someone said: Look here comes an Ironman. It made me smile ever bigger. I knew I was going to make it. I knew I would have plenty of time to spare.
Let me just tell you the last mile, the crowds and music was AMAZING. I felt so pumped. With less than a mile left, I started to jog. My body felt good. I wasn't sore or tight. I got to the finishers shoot and was overcome with emotions. I was going to be an IRONMAN.
I was so overcome, I never heard Mike Reilly say: Jen Green You ARE and Ironman. My friends said they heard it. I crossed the finish line and was so elated.
|Look at that smile/cry face|
Immediately they grab you and ask you your shirt size. I mean like literally. And they hand you a finishers hat while asking if you are ok. Then they usher you over to get your official finishers picture:
|Not bad for 15+hours|
Even better: the gang was all there to see me finish. Waited for me, the last one, to cross the line. It was humbling for them to do that.
|Everyone here but C who wasn't feeling 100% and D who I would find out was at the hospital.|
And then, an even more humbling moment was to see my GBA runner friend whose only purpose to be in Lake Placid was to see me finish - to be there so I wouldn't have to be alone at the finish line. I will NEVER forget her selfless act (and the good Doctor's) and I will without a doubt be there for her IM finish.
|Ginny = GBA runner and friend|
Run: 6:41:42 (not bad for walking 15 miles)
IM Finish Time: 15:42:41
My goal was to finish. I thought for sure I would barely make the 17 hour mark. I am happy with my time. I had zero heart issues the entire race and for that I know I am blessed.
This was an amazing experience. I want to do it again. I WILL do it again. I want to see just how well I can do if I did push it more. The hard part is over, I know I can finish.... now I want to see how fast I can finish, safely.
For those reading who think they could never been an Ironman. Believe me, if you want to, you can. I had only been riding my bike for 2 years. I trained using the Be IronFit book. I started in January and raced in July. If you commit to the workouts, you will finish.
Believe in yourself.
And you can call me Ironmom from here on out! ;-)