I am an Ironman. Cairns 140.6 ironman complete. Exceeding all my goals and expectations on a day that went as close to my race plan as ever! Here is a summary of my day.
Up at 3:30am showered and dressed, race morning breakfast consisted of french toast (eggy bread), banana and maple syrup with a Metagenics Endura Opti (500ml shake), and a latte once I hit Palm Cove.
Leaving the hotel at 4:30 in the morning to traveling to Palm Cove on the athletes bus and it was raining (not what I really wanted to do to start my day! As we (Mel & I) left our Hotel, the ironman staff were sitting on the stairs waiting for their mini bus. Mel with more front than Myers, asks is there any room in your bus for two more people? Of course there was and BOOM we were on our way to Palm Cove dry and out of the conditions. Safely in Palm Cove nearly an hour before I had planned, left me with plenty of time to set up and check my bike, not once, twice or even three times, I think I checked in close to 5 or 6 times! A parting kiss and I was ready to head out, relax and wait for the swim start.
Swim – at palm cove looked really, magic, a reasonably still morning and only small rolling waves, maximum 400mm breaking on the shore. The rolling start was amazing, I was lined up inside the first 50 to 100 and entered the water excited by what the day may bring. The first 1.9km was pretty easy, perpendicular and parallel to the beach and waves, lots of rolling waves! The second 1.9 was the middle ironman style ‘M’ which had us all swimming across the waves. I’ve never suffered from motion sickness, but on this swim I did! right smack in the middle of the ‘M’ turning the middle buoy, a mouthful of salty water and up came a bellyful of salt water and breakfast. Finally after exactly one hour I had navigated the 3.8km swim, exactly as I had planned and predicted, suddenly I felt a lot better being on land and had continued my awesome start to the day.
Transition was amazing. A volunteer to help me out of my wet suit and into my cycle shoes (& socks) and helmet! I consumed an entire packet of GU Chews (orange flavor) while sitting in transition. I was clearly in no hurry, with 4:34 minutes in transition!
Bike – riding from palm cove up to Port Douglas was amazing, big tail wind, adrenaline, sling shotting with a lifelong friend and my legs felt amazing! Then came the headwind & rain following the turnaround, heading south back through cane fields and around the beautiful headlands was tough. I kept my focus on the Wangetti turnaround and my special needs bag. My special needs bag had a banana, a frozen bottle of ginger beer, and a energy bar. After battling the headwind for a hour (or so) I was desperate for something solid to eat, so the Winners energy bar was gold and hit the spot perfectly. My heart rate had been a little elevated though the early stages of the bike and I had spent a little to much energy on the way up to Port Douglas the first time. So the second lap, I focused on my heart rate and used the windy rolling conditions to conserve a little energy, knowing what lie ahead getting back to Cairns. The next hour was perfect, heart rate had settle in the low 140’s and my pace was still good when I arrived at Port Douglas turnaround. The headwind hadn’t eased at all however it looked clear of rain (for the moment). I was cheering with the competitors around me about getting back to Cairns for the Marathon! It got the adrenaline going again. Now to knuckle down for the long almost 2 hour haul back to Cairns into a headwind all the way. Rex’s Lookout for the final time was fantastic, finally all down hill and flat only. However it also reintroduced the rain, hard sharp painful rain. Every headland almost blew my off the road. I would pass a competitor with a disk wheel on every uphill, only to have him fly passed again on he down hill. It made for a great game of cat and mouse. The game and watching him bounce all over the road in the wind kept me entertained for an hour or more. Another competition Mark was sling shotting with me past the disk rider and also enjoying the show. We rode around each other all the way back to Cairns. The Esplanade in Cairns was where the party started and it was an absolute buzz to ride along there with the crowd cheering and my family screaming for me was fantastic.
Transition 2. Hoping off the bike was not as easy as I had hoped, but I hobbled beside the bike to a volunteer who with strict ‘look after my baby’ instructions took my bike and I had to stand free of support. Into the gear tent I headed, another volunteer to assist, emptying my bag and asking how he could help, I quipped ‘run a marathon for me’ which was meet with laughter from everyone in the tent. Again I was in no rush to leave, a toilet break, more sun cream, more GU chews, dry socks, running shoes and my race number on. A big thank you to my helper and out to attack my first marathon in 18 years!
My marathon (or as I was approaching it – 3 laps or 8.4 parkruns). Boom out of transition and I felt awesome to be off the bike, a 4:30 first km, massive alarm bells ringing in my head, this is not sustainable I backed off straight away, back out over 5’s by the second km and quickly I to my target pace around 6min/km. The first lap seemed to go on forever, finally got to see my family at about the 5km (my first parkrun complete) and the lift was explainable. I ran the entire first lap, before making a decision to walk through all aid stations (cause I chocked on a piece of ice and nearly died), to ensure I took on board as much fluid as possible. The completion of my first lap also signaled the finish for the winner Luke Mackenzie, awesome he’s finished, I’ve still got 28km to go! The second lap introduced some gut issues for me and a couple of unwanted toilet stops (but I had been warned to never trust a fart in an ironman). Two toilet stops a couple of kilometers apart and I seemed to have resolved this problem. I had adopted a rhythm of running between aid stations, then walking through taking water first and tipping it over my head, endura and/or coke second then continue walking to the ice water and pouring the water and ice inside my trisuit and hat, then off to the next aid station and repeat a few times. I seemed to be holding pace just over 6min/km, any faster and I was uncomfortable and concerned about finishing, any slower and I was bludging! My family on course was an absolute highlight and the perfect lift on each lap. They had positioned themselves on a section of course that allowed me to see them three times every laps. As I entered the last lap with 2.5 parkruns to go, I was hurting a lot, but really starting to enjoy the atmosphere. The sun was setting and the music seemed to be getting louder! When I hit 5km (1 parkrun) to go I new the risk of me not finished was zero, so I tried with everything left to lift and finish a little quicker then I had been running, chasing my lifelong friend Renee down. It was not going to happen, so I enjoyed the last two kilometer running at about 6min/km pace (the fastest I could manage) and then the finish line. Words cannot describe the emotions that run through the body while running the famous red ‘M’ dot finish carpet. With my family on the finish shoot, lots of high fives it was done with those famous words “TERRANCE YOU ARE AN IRONMAN”. Met at the finish line and awarded my medal and towel by my mum and friend Renee was a buzz! The atmosphere at the finish line is electric, but I was done, stumbling around waiting for a fellow Redline team mate to finish.
More finisher photos, then around to the recovery area. I barely ate anything as I was struggling to do anything at this point, but enjoy standing still, the medal around my neck and towel over my shoulders. For nearly 20 years I have dream’t of competing in and finishing an ironman, right here, right now I had done it!
Reflecting back now words & photos do not capture the moment at all well or completely, but I have tried! I need to thank a few people and groups before this blog is finished. My wife, Melissa, she is my rock & my best friend. My family, kids, Mum & Dad, sister Khioni (for inspiring me to ‘tri’ triathlons), the in-laws, Graham & Carol who are always there for us. Jo my swim coach, V1 my cycle shop, Zacy & Steve you guys rock, the V1 Sunday shop ride crew, Capalaba parkrun my regular 5km Saturday morning run, such a supporting community, Cognoscenti you know who you are and to anyone and everyone who was swum, bike or run with me over the past 12 months, THANK YOU!
Tips & Hints (also things for me to remember for next time…… If I’m allowed)
– Cut your toe nails
– Prepare for the high & lows during the race (cause they will come)!
– Be mentally tough, your body can do more than your mind will tell you!
– Chaffing will occur (somewhere)!
– Stick to your nutrition plan, it will save you!
– Hydrate as frequently as possible.
– Never trust a fart in an ironman!
– Learn to pee on the bike, it will save you heaps of time 😉
– Stairs will not be your friend for at least 48 hours after the finish!
– thank as many volunteers as possible, they deserve it!
– have a goal post ironman as you will wonder, what next?
Official results available here – Cairns Ironman 2015 Official Results