Andrew Raynor Dover
By Mike Tarrolly for Crushing Iron
I can remember the last mile of every Ironman like it was yesterday. No matter how much I’ve struggled, the energy of the finish sweeps it all away and a very long road coming to a close.
It’s truly a spiritual moment. The struggle, the pain, the re-birth. The emotion, the crowd, and ultimate relief take me to a higher place.
When you hit that Ironman carpet about 100 yards from the finish line, the aches, pains, and all your problems wash away and seem to bring in a wave of pure gratitude. Hopefully you have friends to hug and smile with because it makes that moment twice as meaningful.
The question becomes: Is that enough? Is that feeling you get at the finish line worth all the work?
In some ways I think it is. How can it be wrong? I mean, it’s an amazing feat that built for months. Those lonely days under the hot sun like for me today. As weird as it is, I find pride in stuff like that. I even asked myself, “Who on earth does something like this?” Who runs on an old abandoned airport runway in 94 degrees with your shoes melting on the blacktop? I guess I do, and those are the little things you do when no one is watching that add up to greatness.
Yes, today was a rough but pretty solid day. I love training when it’s hot and or raining or anything with rough weather. My goal is to see how I feel with extended periods on my legs. I’ve been blading hard to warm up, then running off the wheels to see if I can get my legs feeling like they actually want to go through this.
All told, today was about a 55 minute blade followed by a 40 minute run. I really don’t know how blading stacks up but it definitely gives me leg fatigue and it seems to help my running balance. I’m certainly more relaxed and found a nice cruising speed at around 8:30 a few times, which gives me optimism considering the heat and torturously long straightaways.
I’d say I’m still about the same with regard to my decision, though running out here reminds me of the long, lonely, never ending straightaways of Louisville, so that race lost a little bit of love from me today. The following chart pretty much sums up not much change from yesterday.
My first in Wisconsin was easily the most emotional and stressful because in a state of confusion I thought my sub-12 hour race went out the window. I actually started walking for 3 or 4 steps, but thankfully found the resolve to keep running in hopes that I had simply missed seeing Mile Marker 25.
The next year at Louisville I was beaten into the ground. The “feels like” temperature was well over 100 for the run and I had all but imploded. Somehow I found the energy to run the last 3 miles and it was easily my biggest Ironman struggle. Fourth Street Live lifted me to the end, but it was a brutal day.