15 1/2 hours!! Never in my life have I experienced such excruciating pain, both mental and physical. Afterward it felt like Mike Tyson and Andre the Giant repeatedly beat my legs with baseball bats – it was one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced.
Let me clarify a few points before explaining how I was able to do this.
First and foremost, My swimming experience amounts to the 3 times I trained in a 25 meter lap pool. During this time I would NEVER kick off the wall nor would I rest on a booey. I would swim 40 laps turning around every 25 meters losing my momentum on each turn. I have never swam competitively and any colleague of mine can tell you how I would continuously ask her for the most basic swimming tips. “When you breathe, do you have to turn your head to the side or does your whole head come out of the water?”
Secondly, yes I did run a marathon and raised $11,000 for the Komen Center. How did I enter? I did not qualify nor did I win the lottery. A friend of mine had to drop out 10 days before the marathon and I took that place. I have never run competitively, but I was determined and I finished sub 4 hours, just barely.
As for the bike, I do not own one of my own. In fact, this past Friday was the first time that I rode the bike I used for the ironman. It was the second time I EVER used bike shoes to clip in (the first time being for 20 minutes on a stationary bike just to understand the concept). The guy who delivered the bike asked me if I ride often (since I was obviously struggling). My response, “that depends on your definition of often.”
There is a lot of debate as to how I could have done this in 15.5 hours and a lot of searching for the explanation. Here it is put succinctly in this blog post from “Veteran” on http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=231635&posts=67&start=1
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Just an observation….
The guy was obviously very fit but he did the bike in over 8 hours (13mph +/-) and the 26.2 in 5:20 (12 m/m?)….so if the conspiracy theory that he was training for this were true, wouldn’t you think he’d have ridden a bike a little bit?
It’s clear to me he over acheived on the swim, the bike wrecked him, but he still walk/ran a marathon.
I believe 100% that he took this on 3 weeks ago with no plan to do it in place.
Like many have said, he is an elite, or close to elite athlete by any measure….what’s so hard to “Buy” here?””
The Bike crushed me. Why? Again, I do not own a bike and have never rode for more than 10 miles before this past Saturday. Another reason was that I only laid eyes on my bike 12 hours before I jumped in the lake for the swim. Another reason? It was a rented road bike from a shop that doesn’t usually support Triathlons, it was heavy, slow, and had a HUGE sign on it that said “West Orange Bike Rentals.” When I asked for it to be removed he said it was good publicity to keep it on there.” In the end, it held up and for that I can’t complain.
Lastly, the course from speaking to other participants at the Great Floridian Ultra said it was obscenely difficult, numerous hills, 90 degrees and sunny, and few downhills where you could coast (mostly we were forced to turn or stop and therefore lose the momentum).
The swim? It was easy. Easy because I could keep my momentum and not have to turn around every 25 meters. Easy because in my training I was using $5 speedo googles that leaked consistently (but I still continued in my 3 trainings) and I bought a proper pair of goggles for the swim. I was also helped by the fact that I only lost my bearings once (where I needed 10 seconds to sight a fellow swimmer or booey) but I was mostly spurred on by the pure adrenaline of the occasion. Either I kept lifting my arms out of the water or I would sink, so I preferred to keep moving along even though my arms felt like they weighed 50lbs.
When I got to the run, my legs felt like rubber. I wobbled my way through the first 5 miles on something that resembled a jog, before I summoned up the courage to actually jog for the next 10 miles. When the sun set, and the endless reality of the marathon set in, my “jog” devolved into some twisted form of a discombobulated speed walk. My arms were moving as if my legs were supposed to be jogging but they just couldn’t.
The main reason why I could finish? Not once over the course of the 15.5 hours did I ever think of quitting. Never. I was worried that I would not finish in time since the bike was taking so long, my bottom really really hurt, and I was forced to stand up on the bike, get off, or switch positions so much that I new I was losing valuable time. The bike crushed me and I never, ever, felt so exhausted as I did on the bike.
My knees were killing me, my toes were bleeding, my palms were throbbing, my lower back aching. Grinding up the hills (in probably too high of a gear than I should have been) made my quads and hamstrings feel the deepest burn I have ever felt. My whole body was throbbing, but not once did I even think about quitting. As I’ve said before, I was determined and prepared. Nothing in my control would have prevented me from finishing. Speaking with people who did not finish, they said they just couldn’t keep going. If I were to stop when my body was telling me to, I wouldn’t have finished the first bike lap.
More details to follow on each individual part. Thank you everyone again for all your support! I will post as soon as I have a final tally for the amount raised for the Komen Center!