I quickly put on my Vibram's, take off my bike helmet, replace my gels and put on my hat. I leave transition in 1 minute and 53 seconds and begin my run of the Auckland course. I am not feeling great at this stage but I wasn't feeling great in Tauranga initially and that all changed after I got into my rhythm in the run. I had my new Garmin watch on in this race and had set it up so that it was able to time my swim, transition, bike, transition and finally my run. I had used it for the bike to view average speed however had not had much of a chance to look at it apart from that during the race. I knew that for the run though I would want to use a few of the features including the pace per km and the heart rate function. I had to make up some time that I had lost from the swim and the bike so wanted to push hard on the run. Whilst I am not feeling great, I look down to see that I am doing 4:45 minutes/km pace. That is fast for me and I am then motivated to push that little bit harder. After 1km I see that the pace has now dropped down to 4:38. I am flying in this first section and if I am going this fast for the rest of the race then I should have a good run. I run past the crowds and Quay Street and they continue the enthusiasm I have experienced on the bike with their support. I have run this run course many times before. When I come up to Auckland for business, this is the same course I normally take and so I know that it is not a hard course but it is a question of how hard I can push. With my current pace it could be a good run but only time will tell. I come to a rise in the road before it drops away to a flat section and continues on parallel to the ocean. I look down at my pace and it has now come back up to over 4 minutes 50 per kilometer.
I am just not feeling it today I decide. I don't know if it is due to this being my second race in as many weeks or the fact that my cold has reduced my energy levels. Nonetheless I continue on. I look down at my pace and it is now over 5 minutes per kilometer. I am starting to fade and am only around 5km into the run leg. I know where the turnaround is and focus on my stride length as well as my arm rotation to try to increase my pace but nothing is working. I am glad to reach the turnaround and start heading back into town. I am not sure what it is about heading back, maybe the fact that you can see the city, who knows, but it certainly make the run more enjoyable and feel a lot shorter than 6km. I am back in town and again go past the supporters as I snake my way around the waterfront eventually into the back streets near the transition area. Again I see Victoria and Lachlan. I give them a smile as run past but I am not smiling about anything. I make my way to the finish line where the turnaround is for the second lap. It is heart breaking to see the finish but know you have another 11km before you will be able to cross over it. I again see my support crew and tell them I will see them in an hour, this is going to be a slow run.
I begin the second lap and just feel like crap. I am running and honestly thinking about pulling out of this race. My body has had enough and I just don't think I can handle the monotonous 11km run that is ahead of me. I somehow manage to keep going. I am slowing down at every drink station by now and taking on a sip of water with the remaining water being poured over my head. I grab a coke in the middle of transition and drink as much as I can before grabbing two more waters and take another sip and pouring the remaining contents over my head. I can now see the turnaround which means I have 5.5km to go. I hit the turnaround and start heading home. I literally have nothing left and my pace has now slipped out to around 6 minutes per kilometer. I don't care about time anymore, I just want to finish. People around me are starting to go down also. There are people walking, collapsed or just running through the pain. I am glad that I am not the only one that is finding this race to be tough! I come over the top of the rise before dropping down on the flat with the finish in site. I am now running along Quay Street. The crowds are not as boisterous as before and have started to thin out. I am counting down the kilometers now.
According to my calculations I have around 1km to go. I push on and start the dreaded snaking through the waterfront. I have around 300 metres to go but something does not feel right. I am nowhere near the finish so how can that be. I come to the realisation that my watch must be wrong and I have longer to go than anticipated. I hit the 21.1km mark and I must be at least 1km from the finish. This demotivates me even more but I keep going. I round the last snaking part of the course and run past the back streets of the finish. Victoria and Lachlan are not in their spot so I am hoping they are near the finish. I run the final straight stretch and then start to make my way to the finish line. I hit the carpet and make my way to the finishing chute. I see Victoria and Lachlan and give them a wave. I turn the corner and there is the finish. I run up the finish and hear my name called as I cross the line in 5:43. The run has taken over 2:05 hours and I am exhausted. I stumble after crossing the line before receiving my medal and heading into the recovery area for some rehydration and food. I have pushed through the pain barrier and am now a dual Half Ironman.
Below is the run leg of the Auckland Half Ironman 70:3
Ironman Auckland 70:3 by IronmanBarefoot at Garmin Connect - Details