I came into transition after the bike and grabbed all of my running stuff and made my way out onto the course. Volunteers wished me luck by name, our names were on our running bibs, and I ran on the path along the lake.
Less than a half mile in, I saw Amber and Greg. Amber was holding this:
My sweet boy
I got a little emotional when I saw it and said, "aww it's my Bern!" As I ran by them Amber told me to have fun and I said, "it's hot".
I had to tell myself to slow down the first mile, I hit 8:59 and knew I really needed to slow down or I wasn't going to make it. I drank from my handheld, it was warm, and poured some of the water on myself. I told myself to try to make it 3.1 miles before walking and I was doing a pretty good job.
As we ran along the race course, similar to the last leg of Seneca7, I could see people running toward the finish line. I didn't think I would see Mike out on the run course but I still looked out for him anyway. A spectator told me I looked good and I continued through Lakefront Park. I got to the first water stop and took some water and poured most of it on myself.
I had slowed my pace down but I was still running. Until I got to the second aid station at about 2.5 miles and then I got stuck behind people and I was forced to walk. I tried not to let it interrupt my flow, but I started walking a lot after that point.
Mike at mile 9.5
We made our way up a grassy hill, I walked, and then there was another aid station. I took more water and dumped it on myself. This is when people started to offer to spray us with hoses and I took up any offer that I could! My watch freaked out on me and went into time/date mode, but luckily I was able to get it back to training mode and locked the bezel.
Around 4 miles we ran by Houghton House and there was a group of musicians that were playing music in this area, but when I went by they were taking a break. The music they had playing during the break was very somber and someone said, "this sounds like death march music". I agreed and noted that peppier music would be better.
Mike at mile 11, getting sprayed by a hose
Right before the mile 5 aid station, I took my first (and only) energy gel. It was so warm that it was spewing out of the packet, but I got most of it down. I dumped out my water bottle and refilled it with cold water and ice at the aid station.
The next point I told myself to get to was 6.5 miles, because then I would be half way. I trudged along, alternating between walking and running, and focused on trying to keep as cool as possible. I had to walk up most of the hills, but it was a survival technique since I don't do well in the heat and it was approaching 90 degrees outside.
My slowest mile, I'm assuming, was mile 7. There was a huge gravel hill that I had to walk up and at this point I started chatting with a Towpath bike triathlete (the shop where we bought our bikes). He said that it was too hot for this stuff and I agreed, but said we could do it and it wasn't as bad as a marathon. When we made it to the top of the hill there was a reggae group playing music and a downhill approaching.
Mike approaching the finish
Waves to our peeps
I forget when I did it, but I took HEED at one of the aid stations and it messed up my stomach. I made sure to drink a lot of water after to try to get it to settle and that's when I knew my second energy gel at mile 10 wouldn't be used.
The next mile mark I wanted to hit was 8.5 miles, and then I wanted 10 miles, but unfortunately around 8.05 miles my watch died. It had been saying low battery for a little while and then it finally went blank. I figured that would happen since I had been messing with it to see what time it was a few times.
Mike with the best support ever, Amber and Greg, and Mike with his parents
I walked up a hill around 9 miles and got to the aid station. I had dumped out the water in my handheld and wanted to refill it, but when I got to the station there wasn't any water! They were filling it in a bucket and I filled my bottle with a few cups of ice and as soon as they were walking the bucket over I walked over and dunked my handheld into the bucket. I didn't get much water but it would get me to the next aid station.
At mile 9.5, I found out later, I was running down a hill and heard someone in the distance say, "go, Jamie!". I didn't recognize them at first but as I got closer I saw Sarah, Mark and their dog Kiva. They picked up my spirits and cheered me on as I ran by.
So happy to see familiar faces
At this point I knew we were getting close to the part of the route we had already run on and I said to a guy near me, "we're almost back to familiar territory". We turned right and ran along the sidewalk and at the mile 10 aid station I grabbed more water.
I wished I knew how I was doing, but since my watch had died I had to just keep moving forward. We ran down a hill, not the grassy one, and back down onto a dirt area and through a tunnel to Lakefront Park.
At the next aid station I refilled my handheld one more time and poured some water on myself. I was walking and then I saw Sarah and Mark again. Sarah said that the cool water must have felt good and I said hi to Kiva as I walked by. Since they were right there I didn't want to walk for too long and I got myself moving again, though briefly.
Taking off again
The final 2ish miles were tough. It was so hot and I made really small destination goals, and didn't always make it while running. I felt like I was walking a lot more than running but at least I was moving. I grabbed some water at the last aid station and someone asked if I was alright, I could only nod yes. I only thought that I didn't want to be moving anymore around the 12 mile mark.
I kept running and thought, just get to that tree, that sign, etc. I made it to the park and found the last spot I was going to let myself walk to and started to run. I was less than a mile away from the finish line and as I rounded the corner, there they were.
My people. I saw Greg first and then I saw Mike and Amber. Amber was holding the Bernie sign and Mike had a medal around his neck (which made me pump my fist). I saw Mike's parents who had come to see the finish and they said I looked strong. I laughed on the inside because I thought it was because all of the walking I had done.
Here I come!
Smiling at Mike and knowing he finished
I approached the finish line and saw the time. I heard my name called and I crossed the finish line. I had done it! I was a Half Ironman!
I got my medal and glow in the dark Nalgene bottle and almost walked away before they cut my chip off of me. Someone asked me if Mike's mom was my mother-in-law and I barely could get out yes and they said they heard my name called and knew Mike's mom. They congratulated me and I got out a thank you and found a spot to sit down. I hoped that everyone would just come find me. I saw Amber and Greg and Amber handed me a cranberry juice, and then Mike and his parents came over.
I don't know what I'm doing
I'm tired, hot and I don't feel well
Mike sat down next to me, we kissed and then everyone said congratulations. I was hot and tired still, and not feeling the greatest but overall I was happy. We had done it! Mike told me how his bike went (fast!) and he said he had finished under 6 hours. We took a few photos, got our stuff out of transition, packed up the car and then headed home (we didn't even change out of our clothes).
With our recycled cog medals, small people got bigger ones haha
This was an amazing, challenging, rewarding experience. I can't thank our support enough. Seeing Sarah and Mark on the run made a huge difference, I probably would have been slower if it wasn't for them. Mike's parents drove to see us finish and we really appreciated it.
Amber and Greg. What else can I say about them that I haven't said before? They are amazing. Their smiles, the signs, the photos, texting everyone (including my parents who couldn't make it) about our progress, giving us juice and chocolate milk at the finish and being there ALL DAY (they woke up earlier than us on race day). I can't thank them enough. We would have finished without them, I know we would have, but them being there made it so much sweeter.
We owe them a lot. We're going to owe them more because if I know them, and I do, they are going to make the trek to Louisville next year to see us become Ironmen. Not many people would do that.
We had an amazing weekend, thank you to those who sent well wishes, congratulations, etc. Mike overcame a bike crash and became a Half Ironman and I couldn't be more proud. We are going to do even better next time!
Run Leg (13.1 miles) - Jamie: 2:39:08, Mike: 2:24:53
Finishing Times - Jamie: 7:00:05, Mike: 5:57:59