Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ironman Louisville

Last Sunday, August 25th, Ali competed in his first full Ironman event in Loiusville, Kentucky. Read his recap here :

I woke up Sunday morning at 4:30AM, ate a bagel and a banana, and made my way down to check on my bike at the transition area. I checked my tire pressure and made sure that i had everything I needed. Everything looked good, so I said goodbye to Melanie and took a light jog to the start of the swim.

As I jogged the mile to the swim start I counted the number of bridges that I would have to swim under to give me some landmarks to identify on the swim. There were three major bridges so I knew that after swimming under them I’d be almost done.

I was at the swim start by 5:30AM but there was already over 1000 people in line. I would like to have been a little closer to the start but at least I wasn’t starting at the very back. I heard the starting gun go and the line started to move. Before long I was in the water and on my way. I felt good. I didn’t go all out, but I found my rhythm quickly as I swam around the Island. When we made our turn I glanced up and could see the bridges off in the distance. I was surprised how quickly I passed under the bridges to the finish and felt like I could have swam much farther. I was delighted as I came out of the water into the transition area.
Swim time: 1:19:26
Transition Time: 12:04

Then came the bike! 112 miles of what seemed like continuous hills! This course is deemed one of the hardest courses on the world Ironman circuit. I made sure I took the time to stop at the aid stations and get the proper nutrition I needed to get me through. The volunteers at the aid stations were amazing and would do things such as refill my water bottles on my bike. I saw Melanie and Larisa at mile 40 & 70 which kept my spirits high on the course. At 80 miles my quads were close to cramping from the heat and hills. I had to slow down significantly and stopped at the next aid station to stretch and rehydrate. Once back on the bike I knew I was within an hour and a half of the bike finish. My legs were doing better and I prayed that I wouldn’t get a puncture or anything that would mess me up this late on. Eventually, the finish line came and I went into the running transition area.
Bike time: 6:48:33
Transition Time: 11:21

Here I am at mile 40...

And again at 70!

I jogged out of the transition area and began my marathon run. I smiled at Melanie as I left but I knew I was in trouble. It was ridiculously hot 90+ degrees and my legs were destroyed from the hills. I remember questioning myself as to if I could finish. I just kept telling myself to keep moving until I arrived at mile 13. The famous mile 13 was the hardest part for me. I could see the finish line as it was a 2 lap course and I was completely exhausted. Then I saw Melanie and Larisa.
I stopped running and walked to the side to inform them that I was struggling. I did not want to run another 13 miles and the thought of running back away from the finish line was horrible! They told me I’d be fine, so off I went.  I began a new strategy to help me finish. There was an aid station at every mile marker so I decided to run between the aid stations and walk through each station. By mile 18 I was sick of Gatorade and gels and made the change to flat coke and bananas which seemed to help. When I made it to mile 20 my spirits were rejuvenated. I knew I could finish even if it meant walking 10k. I started to run faster and stronger passing people up along the way. As I passed mile 25 I could hear the roar of the finish line a mile away. Again, I picked up the pace and made my run to the finish. 

 I sprinted to the line and heard the announcer say; “Alastair Stevenson, YOU are and Ironman!!" I had never been so happy to be finished with a race in all my life and couldn’t believe I had actually made it.
Marathon time: 4:49:44
Overall time: 13:21:08

So happy to be done!! Thanks to the people at Swiftwick for providing me with some amazing socks and this running singlet. Those socks really kept great compression throughout the bike and run. I truly believe they helped keep me from cramping and allowed me to keep moving forward.

After the race, I swore I'd never do another full distance Ironman again. Melanie isn't so sure! 

1 comment:

  1. Youll do another one! lol I had a blast cheering you on in Louisville. Thanks for letting me tag along. You are an inspiration to me and plenty others. ALI, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!