Mike heading out for the final leg of the day
Time to see what I'm made of
After finishing that extremely difficult bike leg, I ran into transition and got my running stuff together as quickly as possible. I knew that in order to beat my time at Musselman in 2013 (and get my sub-7 hour 70.3) that it was all going to come down to the run leg.
The bike leg took a toll on my legs and I was worried about how I was going to feel. I left transition, where Mike's parents cheered me on, and took off at a comfortable pace. Usually I take off way too quickly (during our Ironman I was running at marathon PR pace for the first 3 miles, oops) and I didn't want to jeopardize my chances of achieving my goal.
Mike at mile 2
The run leg was an out and back on route 9N with two slight deviations from the main road. It was nice that it was an out and back route since you were never alone for very long.
The one positive of running a 50K five weeks prior to this 70.3 is that I was able to utilize some ultra running strategies. Due to the difficult bike leg, I knew that I was going to walk up most of the hills. The run course was almost constant rolling hills and I walked for the first time about .5 miles into the run. I never let myself walk on any of the downhills and the only time I walked on the flats was at the aid stations briefly.
Smiling for the camera
Around mile 2, I saw our friend Greg cheering me on. He was at the first slight deviation from 9N and he told me that it was a nice downhill (on a gravel road) in the shade. It felt good to get off of the main road (the road didn't have a great shoulder) and get into the shade. I wasn't too hot at this point, but I was taking two cups of water at all of the aid stations - one to drink and one to dump over my head.
As a "stronger" runner, I was able to pass a lot of people who had passed me on the bike. Everyone was really encouraging and I chatted with a few people about how tough the course was.
At mile 4, I saw Mike! We high-fived and I told him he only had about 4 miles to go.
I kept up my strategy of walking up most of the hills (but I wouldn't let myself walk the entire hill and kept an eye on my pace) and did well with pacing the first 5 miles (9:21, 9:54, 9:50, 9:52 and 9:38). The second deviation from 9N was really long and we ran by a YMCA. There were a few people out and about, but none of them really paid attention to what we were doing.
Mike near mile 11
About 5 miles into it another female athlete ran by me, she was going really fast! I tried to not let her get too far ahead of me. Eventually I hit 6 miles and I knew the turnaround would be coming up relatively soon. Then, the woman who had passed me was coming back and said to me, "the turnaround is just up there and they have sponges!"
The view at the turnaround
Always a nice sight to see
I thought that the turnaround was a bit early (more on that later), but at that point I didn't care. It was starting to get hot out so I took some Coke, water and a sponge for inside of my tri top. As I made my way back down to head back to the finish, more athletes were making their way up to the turnaround.
I was able to get three energy chews down during this run, which is pretty good for me! I also took in Coke at a few aid stations and lots of water. I did slow down a bit on the way back but miles 6 through 10 were 10:03, 10:35, 10:30, 10:33 and 10:31. I was keeping pretty consistent and I knew that I was going to get my sub-7 hour, I just didn't know by how much.
On the way back I did notice that the mile markers would appear before my watch hit the same distance. Sometimes my watch is off a little bit, but this was a big difference (about .4 to .5 miles off). I didn't think anything of it and just kept focusing on getting to the finish.
Around miles 10-11 we had to run up that nice gravel hill that we ran down in the beginning. While it wasn't steep, it was probably the longest hill of the course. I could see people walking in the distance and I just kept alternating between running and walking. I didn't know if Greg would still be in the same spot, but then I saw him waving his arms at me. I put my arms in the air and then I told myself to run.
Notice the sponge in my top
He said that I was almost at mile 11 and after I said that this course was no joke, I kept going. Mile 11 was my slowest mile at 11:00 pace.
Since I knew I didn't have very far to go and that the majority of the hills were over, I ran as fast as I could. Luckily, there were some nice downhills. When I got to an aid station (and replaced my sponge), I asked if it was the last one. The volunteer said yes and that it was about a mile and a half to the finish.
Making his way to the finish!
I walked a bit up a hill and then started running. I could see three other athletes in front of me and one guy started walking on the downhill. I took advantage of this and passed him, while giving him encouragement, and then after a brief walk break up part of a hill I kept going.
My watch was still off of the mile markers, but at this point I could see the swim buoys still in the water. I knew that the park (and the finish line) were just around the corner. Finally, I made it back to the park and ran toward the finish line. I saw Mike on the sidelines cheering me on and then I was done!
Happy to have another 70.3 under my belt!
I got my sub-7 hour 70.3 and finished in 6 hours and 34 minutes (at first I thought my time was around 6:36 but I had left my watch running for about 2 minutes after I crossed the finish line). Mike did great and also PR'd with a finishing time of 5:50!
70.3 x 2
In the end, we found out that most people had about 12.5 miles for the run. A bit disappointing that the run course was short (they should have had the turnaround about .3 miles away from where it was set up), but I think our times would have been about the same since the swim course was .2 miles long. I am still counting it as the correct distances, however.
Good day for us!
After checking out the results, Mike and I found out that we both placed third in our age groups! Mike came in 33rd overall (29th male) and I came in 69th overall (13th female) out of 109 finishers.
I am happy with how this race turned out considering we didn't train for it the best that we could have, but I am hoping that I will be able to PR again in less than two weeks at Musselman 70.3. We are doing the DoubleMussel (sprint and 70.3) so I don't know if it is possible, but I will give it my all!
Run Leg (13.1 miles) - Jamie: 2:05:28 (9:34 pace), Mike: 2:00:03 (9:09 pace)
Finishing Times - Jamie: 6:34:58, Mike: 5:50:56