Ironwoman Wednesday: The Raleigh 70.3 Run!

Welcome back to another Ironwoman Wednesday!

If this is your first time joining us, Ironwoman Wednesday is a weekly linkup by Jamie at From Couch to Ironwoman, Michelle at IronwomanStrong and myself. We’re all training for Ironman Louisville and are talking triathlon every Wednesday. (Also check-out Tri Talk Tuesday for more triathlon-related talk).

It has been amazing to share my Ironman journey with Jamie, Michelle and all the other amazing athletes who join us every week!


Today we’re talking run (how fitting on National Running Day!) and I’m going to focus on some of the lessons I learned during my Raleigh 70.3 run. It was my first half ironman and it was amazing. The race itself was a milestone (full race recap tomorrow), but it was also a training race for Louisville and I learned some great lessons!

Open water swimming can be scary, biking 112 miles is a long way, but the run, I think, is by far the hardest part of an Ironman…unless you’re someone like Miranda Carfae, or my very own husband extraordinary, who pulled a 6:45 min/mile for the last 3 miles of the race!!


With Miranda Carfrae at Trimania. What an inspiration!

My first lesson from Raleigh was this: when you get to T2 you will be tired. Don’t even think about how long you still have to run. Instead stick to your plan and MAKE IT HAPPEN!


I obviously had no intentions of giving up, but I do think I lingered in T2 a little longer than necessary, because the thought of running 13.1 miles overwhelmed me.

As soon as I reminded myself all I had to do was make it through 4 minutes of running before I could walk, I felt much better and kicked my butt into gear.

That was lesson number two: have a plan that works for you. Our coach stresses a run/walk plan and I totally get it now. It’s much better for your morale, if you go into the race knowing you will be walking.

I had originally started with a 9:1 plan, but over the last few training weeks I dropped to a 4:1 (during the race I also walked many of the hills on the outbound part of our double loop). At first I felt “weak” dropping down to only a 4 minute run, but I recognized that was just one of my negative thoughts (and thanks to Happify, I now know how to kick those thoughts to the curb!) It also turns out I stayed just as strong, if not stronger, on a 4:1!

_S101301Nutrition became my next lesson, as I started the run kind of nauseous. I’m still not sure what went wrong, but I think it was a combination of things and I will definitely be experimenting with nutrition during my next few bricks.

  • I might have over-fueled at the end of the bike. I remember reaching mile 25 and realizing that I had not been drinking enough, so I stepped up my hydration and might have inadvertently also stepped up my nutrition too much.
  • I also might have been low on sodium, which tends to cause nausea and headache, although I’m not sure how that is possible since I didn’t use any water on the bike. Maybe too much sodium? This also appears to cause nausea….
  • I also might have just been nauseous because of all the sweet stuff I ingested. Powerbar Perform, BonkBreakers, Honey Stinger waffles and GU are all great, but definitely very sweet.

IMG_4235Whatever it was my rotation of a little sports drink, some water with a salt tab and water with GU, plus a slice of orange around mile 6, seemed to do the trick. I don’t remember when, but the nausea subsided and I just focused on chipping away at each mile.

My last lesson learned is try to figure out where the port-a-potties are. I waited at one for almost 3 minutes before continuing on the run, and seriously contemplated peeing my pants (yes, I’m dead serious), just to find another bathroom just 1 mile away!


Even with the nausea and “all that walking,” I still managed to finish this half marathon in 2:29:25, faster than all but one of my previous half marathons!

What lessons have your triathlon runs taught you?

Add your stories below and join us next week when we tackle triathlon nutrition!

  1. Congrats on your great finish! I am currently training for a sprint triathlon and half marathon although no where near as intense as an Ironman, I am happy to see your run walk ratio. I have a bad back so sometimes I need to walk to ease up the pain and seeing other people do it makes me not feel as weak as I sometimes do. Good luck in all of your training!

    • Thank you!! And yes! I used to feel weak about the run/walk, but seeing myself finish stronger than previous races where I tried to run the whole thing, I now totally see the benefit! On a 4:1, I’m still running 80% of the race! Have fun with the sprint and half marathon!

  2. You did awesome! My run was faster than I expected too. I walked through every water stop and walked a bit on the hills on the second trip out to the turn around, but even with the walking I turned in a decent run time. At that point in the race I think those short walk breaks really helped keep my legs feeling ready for more miles.

    • Yes, those walk breaks totally helped and I was surprised how fast I managed to finish the run even with all the walking! Hope you had a fantastic race too Lauren! 🙂

  3. I was just thinking “how fitting” and then you said it yourself. I find the run/walk option so interesting. I am someone who finds it very difficult to pick back up running after walking intervals–I think that it would take practice for me. Love you laces charm 🙂 I think it is the small things like that (and portapotties, and nutrition) that get us through. Because especially at the end of such an event as this, we need our brain to push us over our body.
    Fantastic job, Gabi! ON TO IRONMAN

    • Thanks Suz! I love how supportive you are of my ironman journey. You’re the best! The run/walk takes practice and that’s why all of our long runs are run/walk. If you’re body knows the plan it’ll do much better than if you just decide to walk during the race. 🙂

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