I am an ironman again! Hearing these 4 word is an amazing experience and this year I got hear them from the voice of Kona ironman, Mike Riley!
At the awards dinner on Monday evening following the ironman Mike Riley noted that all the athletes are inspirational, even if you don’t want the tag you have it, because you have finished an ironman. I am a very ordinary age group athlete that has not overcome anything special (in regards to heath or adversity) to achieve my goals, so I have never though of myself as inspirational. I do ironman because there is a deep burning desire inside myself to compete, improve my life and be the best person/triathlete I can be.
So before I get into a run down of my day here are the official results and my GPS data from the race:
My goal was sub 11 hours, which I smashed 10 hours and 39 minutes, exceeding all expectations. 37 minutes and 25 second faster than my first ironman, I know each course and conditions are different at every race, but this result was amazing and I am over the moon and reveling in the glowing euphoria of an epic personal best!
Lets get into the nitty-gritty! My day started at 3am up nice and early to devour my french toast (eggy bread) superbly made by the chef at the Mecure hotel we stayed at. A shower and into the tri-suit, sun-cream (round 1) and temporary number tatoo applied. Ready to head to transition by 4am, following a gentle stroll down to transition which opened at 4:30. Time to set up the bike, tyres pumped up, shoes clipped into pedals, check the gearing, feed bag installed (filled with 1 winners bar cut in half and 7 endura gels), areo-bottle installed and two bidons on the frame (all filled with shots lemon hydration). Double check everything and now I am almost ready to race! Transition is unusually quite with only a couple dozen competitors this early. Remembering my special needs bag I meander back down to put that into the allocated van. I’m only using the bike special needs with a frozen bidon of ginger ale & another winners bar (sea salt & chocolate)! No run special needs is a risk I was willing to take, i didn’t plan on being out past dark!
Being this super organised I even had time to return to the hotel for a quick toilet stop avoiding the trauma of the porta loo’s. Back to the swim start and hand in my black ‘street gear’ bag, which you collect after your race in recovery. Putting on the wetsuit is like a warm up, with no swim warm up available, I left this task as late as possible. I had self seeded in the sub 1 hour swim wave so in the water just after 6:40 (hopefully)! The nerves hit an all time high now and I really just want to start! Hitting the water about 15 minutes after the elite field was a little shocking, it was colder than I anticipated (maybe I should have done a swim yesterday), straight through the first two buoys and heading for the boats. The water was calm, conditions were perfect and spotting the pink buoys was easy! I found clear water quickly and kept the field to my left for the swim to the first weir. A small hiccup with my goggles just before the weir, getting out was actually a welcome relief. A quick moment to adjust the goggles and straight back into the even colder water on the other side! its only a short swim around the two buoys back to the weir, which present another opportunity to adjust and set for an assault to the end of the swim. A little wide of the last buoy but glad to be finally back on dry land in a swift time of 57:11. Transition is a nice time, some chat, a bit of banter, quick bit to eat and then ready to roll out on the bike! I made a decision (which proved to be a positive one) to take a packet of Winners orange chews from my transition bag in my back pocket as emergency on the bike!
Now for the 180km bike! The first 10km of this is a challenging hard to find rhythm part of the course, rolling up & down (more up than down) until you get down Henry Robert Drive, then finally some respite. The remainder of the course is pretty flat or gentle rolling hills, but the road surface is indescribable, very very rough. Trying to pick a line through the pot hole was almost impossible. Riding a tail wind for the first 40 odd km was great it allowed me to settle the heart rate and get some good nutrition in! Heading back to Port was not as hard into the wind as I expected, it had seems to die down a little. Dropping a gel at about 65km (just before the HILL, Henry Roberts Drive) was not a planned or smart move, but luckily I had a back up of chew! Swallowing a few chew made up for the missed gel, which I continued to eat over the remaining 100 or so km! The rain started about 80/90km in (just near the turn around), while I thought it would bring sweet relief, it only got heavier and brought a southerly wind with it, which made heading back out to Laurieton into a head wind! What the hell was going on, a head wind both ways, no relief for a 90km loop from Laurieton back to Laurieton! Now the roads were rough, wet & into a head wind, this was some tough conditions! Heading back to Port with a tail wind, I enjoyed riding near a few of the same riders for a while and if your reading Jen, congratulations on your result! I made it up Henry Roberts Drive a second time, this time in the rain without having to get off and walk or having wheel spin (oh the bike skills were on display)! Off the bike in a time of 5:31:03 and back into transition via the porta loo’s, more smack talk with the volunteers, something to eat and now time to hit a marathon!
Its a 4 lap double loop run, with each loop starting & finishing at transition! That’s how I mentally broke this effort down. Each full lap I had a basic goal of 1 hour, which I almost achieved. About 8km into my first lap my right calf tightened up over a very short space, about 5/6 strides and the all to familiar pop and hot spot appeared almost instantly right in the middle of my calf. I immediately adjusted (shortened) my stride length, tried running on the inside, then the outside of my foot, trying desperately to keep running without slowing and managing the pain. About 12km in limping pretty badly, my amazing wife handed my a couple of nurofen tables which I pocketed until the next aid station! They took about 3km to kick in, but I was finally able to run almost freely, the discomfort remained, but the pain was very manageable! Spotting my wife Mel, mother Robynne and good mate Ian on the run was my only real entertainment and the only thing I had to keep me distracted and moving. At about 26km into the run just after taking some more jube lollies & endura I needed another porta loo stop, as quick as possible and back out onto the run a lot more comfortable. I switched to coke and Anzac cookie at about the 32km mark and stuck with them to the end of the ironman! With each lap the course got muddier and muddier, but the rain had finally stopped and now it was a race against the sun set! My goal was to finish before the sunset avoiding the glow sticks!
There is no better feeling that seeing that black & red finish carpet and approaching the finish chute with my 4 arm bands proudly on display I searched the crowd for Mel & Robynne, to spot them right at the bottom of the finishers ramp! Mike Riley boomed out over the microphone “Terrance You Are An Ironman” the arms went up and stopped the clock at 10:39:03, over 37 minutes quicker than my last ironman! Sub 11 hour ironman GOAL achieved! Finishing the marathon in a time of 4:02:10, which is also my fastest ever marathon time!
Into the recovery tent and straight into the pizza, pulled pork rolls & ice cream, lots of ice cream with milo! I collected my street gear bag, my finishers shirt to go with my new shiny medal & finisher towel and headed for a massage! The two amazing massurers had hands like angles, I cannot thank you enough, I am certain that it is a direct result of your work why I feel so good only a week post race! It was now time to head out and find Mel & Robynne to debrief, shower, change and get comfortable at the finish line to watch the 17 hour competitors become ironmen!
The euphoria still hasn’t settled and I am already trying to plan my next ironman and goal, maybe sub 10 hours? That may be a pipe dream on my current training schedule! But never say never!
Ironman is not easy, it hard, this race and course made me work very hard o achieve my goals. Beth Gedes at the award dinner stated that the best way to win (or finish for most of us) was to ‘find your why’. Why do you what to do a ironman? Having a reason will help you through the low points that WILL come during ironman racing! For Beth she wanted to win so she could had Turia Pitt her finishers medal, which she achieved from a 13 minute deficit at the start of the marathon! If you’re not familiar with Turia Pitts story google it, she is the epitome of INSPIRATIONAL and only 5 years after her accident is now an Ironman! “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE”
It would be remise of me not to take a moment to thank a few people, I apologise now if I miss someone, but know that if your path has crossed mine I am forever grateful and thankful for our interaction! Firstly my wife, she is my rock and biggest supporter, without her I am nothing! My kids for their patience and willingness to get involved in dads passion! My mother & father in-law, for looking after our children this weekend to allow Mel & I a little sanity break is appreciated beyond all words! To my parents & sister, you brought me up in an environment that development this passion and fostered the desire I have to-day to tackle any task, thank you for supporting me through my journey! To my training partners, Ian (fellow competitor) V1 Cyclery, FCC, Johnny, Emily, Ben, Cuz (the wheels were amazing, immeasurable gratitude), Big Bird, Leo, Steve, Zac, Torry, Crash (Chris), Ash, Capalaba parkrunners, Blair, Matt, Andy, Brett, Noel, Amy, The Pink Ladies, the names could continue, but you all know who you are and I cannot thank you enough! My dreams are big and without your support they are just a littel harder to achieve! THANK YOU!
Stay tuned for my next crazy goal / dream / target!
Till next time build consistency, keep smiling and live to Tri!