Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The bike course was so brutal I was happy to get back to transition and begin my run. At this point I wasn't too concerned about my transition time. I wanted to make sure that my feet were fully prepared. This meant putting Body Glide between every toe and on every inch of my foot before putting on my compression socks. This would be my first marathon and I didn't want to take any chances of developing blisters or hot spots on my feet. I left transition and started the final leg of my Ironman journey. The IMAZ run course is also three loops which makes it spectator friendly. It's so awesome to be running and have hundreds of people cheering for you and ringing cow bells. Fired up from the cheering and happy to be off of my wind battered bike I started my run feeling great. A woman caught me and saying "great pace" and we started running together. I  looked at my GPS and the first four miles were all sub 10 minute miles including a 9:19 and a 9:36. I know nothing about running marathons, but my wife who runs them regularly has always cautioned me about running to fast at the beginning. With my goal pace being 10:29 minute miles I decided to let my new running friend go and slow down my pace. I was feeling great and God had answered my prayer..."please Lord,don't let my calf be a problem on the run."
Things were going well as you can see by this video and I thought if I cant meet my bike goal, I can meet my run goal! I really wanted to run a sub 5 hour marathon on my first attempt at a marathon. At 10 miles in to the run I was on track towards my goal time of 4:35:00.

Then as I reached the 13 mile mark, the longest distance I've actually raced before, my mile splits started slipping. I still felt pretty good but I was slowing and I was having a hard time keeping my pace up and I was losing motivation to keep my pace up. That's were the mind games start. "I'm not meeting my overall time so I will just slow down" or "Even if I walk the rest of the way I would still cross the finish line before the cutoff" You can see in this series of videos how my run was gradually coming apart at the seams.

At mile 20 I had now hit the wall. I was now running over 12 minute miles. I tried drinking coke, had a GU with double caffeine but nothing helped me to run faster. I never walk during runs except to take on water at an aid station. I walk just long enough (10 - 12 feet) to drink my cup and then keep running. At this point I was walking as I got to the aid station, drinking my cup, and then walking until the very last trash can to throw my cup away and then start running again. I kept justifying this as a way I could still meet my personal standards of never walking on a run except to take on water.

This is where you really begin to understand what it takes to become an Ironman. I began to think about all of the people who had so generously given to Homes of Hope and all of the prayers of supporters, friends, and family and I was asking God during this most difficult time..."Lord please hear their prayers and give me strength to finish" Then I heard an announcer at one of the run aid stations say "If you want to finish under 14 hours you better keep running!" I managed to pick up my pace and started calculating the distance and miles splits and realized if I picked it up I could finish under 14 hours and I could still do a sub 5 hour marathon! I kept praying and focusing and as I reached mile 25 I knew I could do this. I went from a 13:29 mile at mile 23 to a 10:26 mile at mile 26. I want to thank all of you who were praying for me those final miles. I could not have finished strong without you!

As I finished my last lap and turned left to run my final meters I started to think about what my finish would look like and how I would react. I've had many visions of it in training. I wanted to be sure I honored God as I crossed the line and often thought I would drop to my knees after crossing the line. As I reached the final stretch and saw the grandstands with hundreds of people cheering I was overcome with joy and wanted to share my joy with every person who was witnessing my finish. As I crossed the line I pointed to the sky and was just so thankful that our loving and merciful God had allowed me to take this journey and finish it as strong as I did.

1 comment:

  1. Greg - YOU ARE AWESOME!!!
    You're a total inspiration. Congratulations and thank God for your journey and completion.