I am back from the Redman Tri in OKC. It was an Ironman, a half Ironman, and full and half relays. I was on a relay team, something a couple of months ago I thought I never would have done. I was working at RunnersWorld and got a call from Erin who was looking for a runner to fill out their team for the half relay. Erin was doing the bike leg, and her friend Stephany was doing the swim. I told them I thought I could probably find a runner for them, and as the day wore on, it hit me that I would LOVE to be a part of a tri-team. My concern was that I might not have the speed they were looking for, but Erin assured me that my time would be fine with their plans. Our team name was Ken and the Barbie Dolls. Erin later explained to me that there was another relay team competing with whom they had engaged in quite a bit of smack talk. It was of the utmost importance that they beat this team. And then, at the Turkey and Taturs race this last weekend, Jonathon Johnson informed me that he was on this rival team....Mixed Nuts. Pictured from left to right are Jonathon, David, and Doug. Now Jonathon is a great runner. I ran with him at the Texas Relay last March, and he was the anchor of the team, quite capable of ripping out 7 minute miles with ease. But Jonathon lives in Dallas and had something come up to where he needed to be on the road back home by 9:00 or 10:00 am, so he and Doug, who is a good swimmer, changed places. Doug was not too fond of the run, but being 23 years old and less than half MY age, I figured I would be eating his dust if I even got to see him in the run. Jonathon elected to start in the 5th wave reserved for newbies, and as he waded out in the water before his start, I could see him fighting his way to get right up to the BACK of the pack. But he did a good job swimming....much better than I would have done. They would still be dragging the lake looking for my heavy arse had I done the swim.
Stephany did great in her swim, getting out of the water in around 44 minutes. I was impressed. She bested Jonathon's time, but I am not sure what time Jonathon actually made. When the results are up, I'll fill in the blanks. (1:05) I did not get a pic of Erin of in the first transition, or in her ride. Erin biked a steady pace (3:35) and kept us in the game. I had fears of not being in the right place when I needed to be, but when the time came, I was ready. Strapped the chip on my ankle and I was ready to run. But the Mixed nuts team came in from the ride about 3 minutes ahead of us, and around 12 minutes ahead by the chip. Doug had a nice head start on me, but I was determined to catch him. My goals for this run were to 1.Have fun. 2.Run a strong and steady pace. 3.Get in under 2 hours. (And win a bet with my friend Brian in which if I ran in 2 hours or less, he would have to buy me a GOOD six-pack of beer of my choice. If I was slower than 2 hours, I bought him the beer.) 4.Beat the Mixed Nuts. And 5.Run a PR, which was 1:49:51 in 2003.
I had my Garmin on, and decided to meet any of my goals, I needed to put myself in position to make it happen by keeping my mile splits under 9 minutes. My first three splits were 8:51, 8:58, and 8:33. I was happy to be under 9 minutes in each of these miles, and putting a few seconds in the bank. I also was passing a lot of runners, but almost all of them had swam 1.2 miles and ran 58 miles, whereas I had fresh legs. Then I caught and passed Doug. He was looking pretty good, and we chatted for a few seconds and I continued to push my pace. 8:39, 8:17, 8:38, and I was nearing the turn-around. I really needed to pee, and thought about not going, but decided I had bought myself time enough for a bathroom break. My next split was 9:10, but part of that was in the portapot. Then it was hammer time. I went 8:49, 8:32, and 8:38. At this time, I knew a sub two was a pretty sure thing and my fuzzy math skills got me to thinking about a PR. I thought if I could reel off some sub-eight minute miles all the way in, it might happen. But my next split was 8:52, so I let that idea go and tried to hold on to what I could do. I finished out with 8:35 and 8:33 with 39 seconds for the last tenth of a mile. 1:53:43 according to my Garmin. (1:53:25 according to the race results)
My teammates were happy about our time, and especially that they had bragging rights over Mixed Nuts. I needed a little time to cool down. It was in the low 80s. and if the run had been longer than a half marathon, I would have been in trouble. I drank water and Gatorade at every other aid station, but I skipped the last three. Dana brought me a snow cone after the run, and that did the trick. It was good to see an old friend Craig Jackson. He did the half Ironman. No telling how many of these he has done. Another good friend, Marvin, was here to support Craig. Marvin helped me mark the Turkey and Taturs course last weekend, and ran the 50K as well. It was a fun day. I am very happy with my time. Maybe someday I'll figure out what I need to do to stay on top of the water so I can do a whole tri.
Thank you SO MUCH, Erin and Stephany for asking me to be on your team. I had a blast! :-)