I actually felt pretty good after I ditched the over-concerned medical chick (for all those that asked, I never found out what it was about).
I grabbed my run bag and headed to the women’s changing tent – it didn’t take me long to get changed and ready to roll. As I ran out, I ran into Kim, my buddy Mike’s girl, and asked about him.
He sent me a text before the race that he did a 3 month taper so I was kind of wondering how he was doing.
He was off the bike and ahead of me – awesome!! I was stoked for him and knew to look for him on the out and backs.
I forgot to ditch the arm warmers, which just turned out to be a pain in the butt. I love them when you need them, but when you don’t, man are they a pain.
My plan was to…well run. Walk the aid stations to get what I needed and keep running, then switch to run/walk when I needed to.
It is fun leaving Placid because there are crowds everywhere – there are also lots of people coming back in from their first loop or even finishing when you are just starting…mentally it can be a little tough, but you can’t let that get to you because everyone has their own race.
So I ran, and when I reached back to my salt tabs at the aid station, they were gone. They must have fallen out somewhere in the women’s tent, because I touched them in there to be sure I had them.
OK. Plan B.
Here I go again was making it up as I went. Good thing I am flexible.
I formed a plan as I ran to the next aid station. I knew I didn’t want to drink that Perform crap. So I stayed away from it & used oranges, chicken broth, bananas, water, and kind of chewed the salt off of pretzels.
This sounds weird, but the first lap went by quickly and I don’t remember much about it.
I saw my friends Steve and Mike – we high-fived on the way by. I felt really good on that first loop and even thought to myself, “River Road doesn’t suck as much as I remember!”
Now I wasn’t breaking any speed records, but I looked at my watch and realized I was on pace to maybe hit my goal of sub 15, even with the longer than planned bike split. Of course I was only half way, and the second half of the Ironman run is the hardest.
I made my way through town, down Mirror Lake drive, waved and smiled at the spectators and hugged my friends and family I saw along the way (sorry about the sweaty hugs guys, but I sure was happy to see you!) and made my way out of town.
Mike’s son shouted “Go get my father!!” haha
I ran down the hill by the ski jumps and caught up to Mike somewhere there. He was doing incredible!
We walked and chatted a while and I started running again – as I made my turn on onto the dreaded River Road, it started raining a little.
Once on that road, I noticed my pace had dropped quite a bit, but at least I was still running.
I ran past a guy with one leg moving right along – I heard him say that the rain made his prosthetic kind of slippery on the pavement and could mess up the attachment to his leg, so he was taking it easy to make sure he got to the finish.
I told him he was amazing and inspiring, and he just smiled and said, “Everyone has a story.”
So true. I think the stories are why I love Ironman.
There was the two brothers with a picture of their mother on their shirts with “For Mom” on the back, the wheelchair athlete with arms of steel and determination like I have never seen, the man running for a friend recently lost.
So many people here for so many reasons.
Somewhere down on that cursed road (it is never as enjoyable the second time), the wheels came off a little more. The muscle on the outside of my knee started talking. By mile 18 or 20 (it is kind of blurry) I went to a walk run.
I started taking coke at the aid stations for a boost and I think it kept me moving forward. I saw Mike again and asked how he was doing and he just said, “Bad.” But he looked good and was moving forward at a good pace, I was sure he was going to be right behind me.
Making deals with myself, “OK run to that crack in the road, then walk to THAT telephone pole, then run…” I made it to the end of River Road.
I climbed the hill towards town. I talked with lots of athletes who were having GI problems that they blamed on the Perform. Others who asked me about the swim and they agreed it was “kinda rough”.
At some point I started walking. I couldn’t bend my left leg anymore, the muscle was swollen, tight, and was sore. It hurt less to walk than run, I definitely wasn’t going sub-15, and I also figured out that running was as fast as walking at this point.
So I walked and waved to people in town and ran into the guy I finished with in 2011 (holy random – again), he walked up the IGA hill with me and we hugged and he said “Congratulations!!” as I walked off.
Walking through town was kind of fun – my leg was getting worse and worse. But I smiled and waved to people – they all kept saying “Look at that smile!”
I knew where I was heading.
Mike’s son met me in the road, walked with me, gave me a hug and was cheering for me all at once – then asked about his dad, I told him he was about 15 minutes back and he was looking strong.
“YAY! Congratulations Mandy!!” He shouted and ran back to his waiting point.
The out and back on Mirror Lake Drive is the longest mile, but it is a fun mile at the same time because the road was lined with spectators cheering – saying amazing things, lots of congratulations.
A group of people formed two lines in the road for us to walk through and they joked that it was a no walk zone, most people ignored them and walked through…I said I was saving my run for the finish, then I danced through them to lots of laughs and really loud cheers.
Making the turn around, a guy next to me said, “I have just under 2 hours to go 1 mile. Sweet!” I started running as the road pitched downhill toward the oval, which was lined with spectators cheering.
There is magic in the Olympic Oval – maybe its the history, but when you step into the oval at Ironman Lake Placid to run to the finish, it is this special feeling that I can’t put into words.
Suddenly my leg didn’t hurt anymore (I call it the miracle of Mike Reilly’s voice), I just started really running. I came into the oval and high-fived people on both sides, smiling the whole way.
I heard Mike Reilly say, “Amanda Farrar! YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”
I got wrapped in a space blanket, medaled, got my shirt and hat and got moved through the line.
Immediately I was met with other finishers, we talked excitedly about the race and we were directed to food and water – but I walked to the back and started looking for my people. The people who had been there for me all day, waiting for a glimpse of me, watching the other athletes, cheering for me and everyone else they saw.
We found each other and hugged and laughed and we started to tell each other about our day. My leg was hurting pretty bad and I wanted to keep moving, because I knew if I stopped to long I was going to stiffen up and it was going to be tough to get going again.
So yeah, I am a 2x Ironman. Pretty psyched about that! The day didn’t go exactly as I had hoped, but there is always a next time…
I need to thank so many people. It is truely a journey, and you to not embark on that journey alone. Training for an Ironman takes time, commitment, and support. The time and commitment, I guess that is really up to me.
But I would never have been able to do this without all of you. Thank you so much for all of the support leading up to the race, the messages here, on Facebook, Twitter, emails, phone calls, texts – it all means so much to me and kept me moving forward!
My family was key in helping make this happen, especially my Mom, for all of the support in training and in the race itself. You are the best sherpa ever. Adam and Shelby (and Braxton) – you drove freaking 10 hours to stand around for 15 hours to cheer me on – you guys are the FREAKING BEST!
AND my awesome sponsors!!! Brooks Running, Amrita, and SBR Sports – Thank you so so much for supporting me and making such great products to keep me running strong, fueled with real food, and staying chafe free after 15 hours of moving!
Thanks for reading!