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Thursday, January 20, 2022
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4:23:03 p.m. (+9:40:23 Since race start)

There is satisfaction from rolling into T2.

“T2” is short for “Transition 2.” It is the same place as “T1,” but instead of transitioning from the swim to the bike, you are transitioning from the bike to the run.

I had practiced my fancy dismount, pro-style.

While rolling into the bike dismount at the end of the 112-mile bike course, I would pull the Velcro straps open and slide my feet out of the shoes.

(You leave the shoes on the bike?)

It saves time. Standing on clipped shoes, I would swing my leg over the seat...

(While the bike was rolling?)

...while the bike was rolling and balance on one foot. I would roll up to a volunteer, jump off the bike and hand the bike to the volunteer.

Instead...

I reached the dismount line, which should have been a party filled with the volunteers I just mentioned, but the spot resembled just a somber checkpoint.

If you roll into T2 before 5:30 pm, a volunteer will take your bike (to rack it) not your timing chip.

(Concierge service at the Ironman?)

Something like that.

Well, being a Covid year, this race was “self-rack” your bike, just like any other race. Just another reminder that Covid was still with us.

I swung my leg over the bike seat and whammo!

My leg started to cramp & spasm.

Both my left quad and hamstring seized.

I was holding the bike, trying not to fall over, while doing the St. Vitus dance.

(You were your own dismount party.)

I regained control of my leg and I marched the bike onto the wet grassy field. From there it was: rack the bike, sneakers on, clipped my number belt on, grabbed backpack, head out of T2 to start the run.

4:32:36 p.m. (+9:50:05 Since race start)

As soon as I passed the marathon start line, I tried to run.

(This was after all the run portion of your race.)

And the leg spasmed again. I had hoped that walking through transition would have calmed the muscles down.

I grabbed the vial of salt from my back pocket and tapped a few granules into my palm.

Half the vial spilled out like a sandcastle collapsing on the beach.

I swallowed the mound of sodium.

(Uh-oh.)

WATER!...WATER!

I may not be able to run, but I can walk four miles an hour until my run comes back.

(If, it comes back).

I was still super happy to make the cut off. I may be walking but I am doing this.

I am competing in an Ironman triathlon.

As I looked around, I saw others were walking too. Ok, I don’t feel so bad about walking...other than the fact that I’M NOT RUNNING!

Down the hill through town, past the cheering crowds to the “horse stables.”

The name, horse stables was a misnomer. I didn’t see any horses.

What I saw was a paved parking lot that I had to walk behind and around horse stables to add meters to the 26.2 miles I needed to complete.

(So, horse stables?)

Yes...but also tables of water, Gatorade and Red Bull.

There were volunteers asking runners, “Is this your first, second, third or fourth loop?”

(FOUR LOOPS?)

Each runner had to pass this check point four times and you could not skip it.

(How would the officials know?)

There were three timing mats. One outside the entrance, one down the road at the 13 mile turn around and one at the far end of the parking lot behind the...

(Horse stables?)

I looped the horse stable, grabbed a cup of ice water and exited back onto the main road.

First 5k done.

5:19:21 p.m. (+10:36:50 Since race start) Mile 3.1

Some people were running, some were walking, I was still walking.

Because you’re not permitted to listen to music on the Ironman course, I looked for people to talk to, to pass the time.

Naturally, the one person I found was also a coach. We walked/ran to the mile seven turnaround and back to the climb towards the horse stables. At mile 10 he was able to run when I was not.

6:59:33 p.m. (+12:17:02 Since race start) Mile 10

I was averaging 14 mph walk/runs. Not what I trained for, but what I prepared for.

If I could run a bit more, I could average 12-minute miles.

12 mph times 26.2 miles = 6 hours for the marathon.

Not my best and far from my worst Ironman marathon.

So, I would finish at this pace at 11:05 p.m. A whole 55 minutes of cushion from elimination for taking more than 17 hours.

And then my brain exploded!

I didn’t start the race at 7 a.m. I walked over that timing map at...what time did I walk over that map???

How much time do I have left? I started to worry that I might just run out of time...

David Roher is a USAT certified triathlon and marathon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and veteran special education teacher. He is on Instagram @David Roher140.6.

He can be reached at [email protected]

By David Roher

 

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