As we left the changing tent for the run, we both felt great and were very giddy, knowing that we had given ourselves a lot of time to finish! We ran out onto the course and saw our super-Sherpas around 3/4 of a mile into the run. Everyone was cheering and as happy to see us as we were to see them! The day was so perfect, it wasn't even really hot on the run! We had a plan to run between water stops and for much of the first leg, we were able to do that! We just ran fairly slow but kept going. The water stops were really funny: the Girl zone with their skimpy outfits and George of the Jungle stand out as memorable. Everyone was sooo nice and encouraging, the spectators, the participants, the volunteers were all super supportive! Around mile 3, we passed Steve who said that Som was about 45 minutes ahead of us. As we approached the state park, Patty passed us coming out, and she looked strong and very focused. Since we had ridden our bikes into the park, we knew how far we had to go, so that part of it wasn't as bad as we had thought. I did wonder how the next lap would go, since we passed by a sign that warned of alligators! It was shortly after leaving the park that I began to have some stomach issues and began to want to walk/run. We saw Kate O in the park and Kate G about a mile later and gave both of them big smiles and thumbs up!
Sharon looked very strong and was obviously having a really good day, and I finally broke about mile 9 and told her that I was going to need to run/walk, but that she should keep going. It was very hard for both of us, since we really wanted to do this together, but we had talked about it and we knew that we needed to part ways. Sharon ran off, and I walked some and it was sad for us, but I knew it was the right thing to do; Sharon looked VERY strong and I wanted her to keep up her great pace. I passed Charlotte about mile 10, looking very determined and positive and gave her a hug of encouragement! I passed the super-Sherpas and trudged on to the turn-around! I had thought it would be difficult to turn away from the finish, but much to my surprize, it wasn't all that hard: I knew I wasn't done yet.
I grabbed my gus out of my Special bag, and kept going. Sharon and I realized early in the run that we didn't need or want our fuel belts, as we didn't drink anything from our bottles, but we did need a place to stash our gus. I came up with the brilliant idea of taking my gu pouch off of my fuel belt and putting it on my race number belt! See, even in an exhausted state, I could still think! I "accidently" dropped my fuel belt at the Sherpa station and MyKaren walked with me to the turn. I made up my mind that I was going to run some portion of every darn mile, and that kept me going and focused.
The 2nd lap was still fun, and different, since now it was dark. Some highlights were: the two guys near the park entrance, one of whom ended up dressed pretty much in only his skivvies, which looked like underroos dancing around and spanking himself; saying to the people at the park turn around "Guess what? I'm going to be an IronMan!"; seeing Sharon, KateO, KateG and Charlotte as I made my way through the final lap; the volunteers who were so helpful as i stumbled past calling for cola (pretty much all I drank); the very kind young cheerleader who gave me a Reesee's peanut butter cup in the park; a woman named Jackie from Chicago who walked/ran with me for a couple of miles; and, Molly who walked with me for some of the last mile. As I rounded the corner to the final stretch, I had decided I was going to run, so I did.
I ran down the street toward the finish line and heard the announcer calling names at the finish. My feet hurt soo bad, I thought my big toe on my right foot was going to explode from the blister, but I kept going. Reaching the finish chute was probably the best feeling in the world, and I cannot remember being as happy as that moment. I think I may have jumped around a little, but cannot be sure! I heard the announcer say my name, my hometown and that I was an IronMan, and then I was across and it was DONE! Later today; post race!