When we last left our Navy Steve he was struggling during the run portion of his first Ironman distance tri…
As I continued to walk at the 10.5 mile point, I see David slowly jogging the other way. (There was an almost 1 mile out and back from the main loop.) He all of the sudden turns around and starts walking with me. I ask him, “What are you doing? Why are you going this way?” He explains that on the first loop he turned around too early and that he needs to pick up this part of the race to stay complete. I am thinking, “Cool. Someone to walk with again.” But I knew it would not be long since he had been running and I had not. He stayed with me and started to talk about quitting again. But I said, “Come on. You’ve walked this far. Can’t hurt to keep walking.”
These miles are fuzzy. We talked about life as well as other races. All along the way I am taking 3 Gatorade’s, cola, etc. Whatever these aid stations are selling, I am buying. (Stole this line from a previously aired Kona Ironman.)
At about mile 14 David says he is going to try and run again. I tell him to go for it. He goes and seems to be running pretty well. I sort of lose him up ahead. I try to run again and can now actually do the running motion without being crippled in cramping pain.
I start to run. First to the next telephone pole, walk a bit, then further, and I eventually run to the next aid station. It is getting just a little cooler now and the breeze is picking up. It is almost down to 82 degrees by now possibly! I continue to run, probably even getting down to a 10 minute mile pace. Cramping is on the verge, but I can keep running and passing a few folks here and there and walking through aid stations. I make sure to get my 3 cups of water in. I am taking 2 ECaps every other aid station.
I am now running pretty well at mile 17 as I go through the end of the second loop. My dad runs with me for about 0.3 miles. He normally runs an 11 minute mile and complains that I am going too fast for him. Kate and the Redhead run with me for a little while as well. My legs do not feel great but they are moving and they are obviously not in the same place they were when Larry later suggested they were on “life support.”
About mile 19, who do I see in the twilight? “David is that you?” At first I had trouble making out that it was David, but it was him. He is walking as I go by him but he picks it up and is now jogging at my probably sub-10 minute mile pace. I have caught back up to David!
Truly, I had not really been counting the miles. I was thinking in terms of loops at this point and I knew we were on the final loop. He said he was feeling OK, so we were running together again at the same pace.
Speedy Jess jokingly asked where the “half” was during an Ironman. I am still not sure but I would suggest it is somewhere between mile 3 and mile 13 of the run. We are now at mile 20 and have a 10K to go. We were moving at about a 9.5 minute mile pace or better by now and walking for a minute or so every aid station. We kept plugging along and about mile 22 we looked at our watches and said we might have a chance to break 13 hours.
At mile 23 we see a smaller gentleman (let’s call him Victor). We passed him before the mile 22 stop, we walk, he passes us while walking and then we pass him while running. We get to mile 23 and same thing again. Although this time he doesn’t fall back when we pass him. He starts to crowd us a bit toward the center of the road (at least if FELT that way). In all probability, he was more than likely trying to prevent stepping over the side of the road onto the shoulder. At about mile 23.5 I announce loudly to David, “I can’t believe that we are 12 plus hours into an Ironman and this guy is pushing us on the run!” David laughs and the guy grunts and says nothing. I suggest to David that we are not really going to race this and I am not a sprinter – even on a good day in a race! I then suggested that Victor had completed 16 Ironman’s and since he looked so experienced. Victor grunted and laughed a little. Finally, David and I realized that Victor doesn’t speak English! (Come on it’s dark, and I am over 12 hours into this race – I am a little slow at this point!)
At this point David speaks to him a bit in Spanish and translates to me. I ask David to ask him how many Ironman’s? He translates – it is his first, oh oh. I then ask the all important question to David, “How old is he?” David translates. I think the answer will be 45 or over, but it comes back 41. I say, “Shit” – it is my age group. David realizes this and laughs.
At mile 24 we make our final stop at the aid station. We discussed not stopping but figured it was still 2 miles to go, and too early to abandon the plan. Victor starts up quicker than us again, but since he was even with us he goes ahead slightly. We start up a little quicker this time from the walk for some reason – not sure why – maybe it’s the last 2.2 miles. Just MAYBE it’s Victor.
We have to be close to 9 minute miles at this point. We are getting close. We close up on Victor, he seemed to have slowed down a bit. When we come up on him he starts to run with us again. We are avoiding cones as we are running. Of course it is an eerie sight since we have glow-stick necklaces around our necks and it is now pitch dark.
Since David seemed to have more speed in his step I suggested that he “Go for it.” He said no, he was good and I felt he was still nervous about the onset of cramping.
We did not stop at the last aid stations. Victor did not stop either. Now we were in a real race. Victor seemed to run slightly faster now as we had less than a mile to go.
So here we are now – maybe on a whopping 9:00 minute mile pace, maybe slightly under. [B.o.B. Note: Navy Steve isn’t being a speed snob. He is just normally a much faster runner. 9:00 minute miles to him are slow. Relativity people.] Victor, David, and myself all racing into the finish. Victor is surging slightly – so I once again tell David, “If you have it, go for it.” He then says, “There is no way I am going in first before you. If it was not for you, I would not be here on the course at all, or I would be at least an hour behind.”
I was a little surprised, since from my perspective, he was helping me more than I was helping him!
I then made the only decision a BRA runner could make. I suggest that we cross the finish line together – – – holding hands of course. Well, I mentioned that this had been done before; not sure he understood that significance of Chicago 2006 (Coach EK, Coach Tom and I did this then. And The Redhead and B.o.B. re-enacted it at Chicago 2009). But he was game (he did mention a girlfriend somewhere along those miles of walking so I don’t think he is gay – not that there is anything wrong with that of course!)
We finish and I get sweaty hugs from Kris, Mom and Dad, Kate and B.o.B. Of course, knuckle bump with David. Medal around the neck. At the medical check-up I lost 13.2 lbs since the day before.
Overall I guess it was a good, but certainly not great race; a little disappointing on the run. 25% did not finish the race (199 finished, but 66 did not).
Initial Temperature 72 degrees, high of 86 degrees
25% total dropped out (66 out of 265)
3 dropped out of the swim (or did not make the cut off)
20 dropped out on the bike (or did not make the cut off)
15 finished the bike but did not come out of transition (IE – did not start the run)
28 did not finish the run
Final Stats (FINALLY posted):
Finish Time: 12:49:15
Swim Place: 153
Swim Time: 1:26:03
Bike Place: 24
Bike Time: 5:59:57
Run Place: 79
Run Time: 5:11:28
Overall Place: 40 out of 199 finishers
Wow! I was on the edge of my seat during all of thise! Congrats to Steve! I am sooo impressed with all Ironman Tri peeps, they do the un-thinkable!
Navy Steve is sooooooooooo frigging hardcore and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that he had them finish holding hands! LMAO! We must keep this tradition alive! 🙂
I LOVED this report. What a great story. I felt like I was right there on the course. (I am not actually that crazy… haha)
Big congrats to Navy Steve!!!
Truly amazing! I can't even wrap my mind around ever doing something that intense. And of course, I'm totally impressed. Loved the story! Just by coincidence, I watched a Magnum PI last night where he did an iron man. Of course that's just TV and this is real life! Congrats Navy Steve! Awesome!
That is absolutely sick! I never actually realized all the details of an Ironman until now. Wow! Truly amazing.
I loved reading this – so inspiring! Thanks for posting, and congrats Navy Steve!
Dude. Dude. Dude. I don't really have words. I did an Olympic distance tri and it traumatized me for life. I could never even imagine an Ironman! I work with a woman who placed inthe top ten in her age group at Kona a few years ago–she runs half marathons as her recovery runs. Craziness.
Wow. I can't even fathom this level of effort and will power. 13.2 pounds! Holy cow!
Thank you for a well written and gripping race report. I commend you on your accomplishement and especially your sportsmanship. Nice to see that winning is *not* the only thing. Thanks Steve! And thanks B.o.B for letting Steve use your real estate!
Awesome recap-thoroughly enjoyed it 🙂 very sweet conversation between friends in the final miles, and funny about victor!
Guess I know what weight loss plan to get on–ironman a day to keep the pounds away! 😉
Loved, loved, loved every word! Congrats, Navy Steve! You are such a trooper!! I am officially in awe 🙂