At the beginning of the year I had to make a hard decision to abort my 2013 Ironman attempt; partly due to injury but mainly because it was just too expensive. But then the unbelievable happened; I won an entry to participate in the 2013 Spec Savers IronMan. Wow. Granted, I needed to have a chat with family and decide if I could realistically pull this off, after all it was just two month till Ironman and I had not been putting in the required hours. In the end I went for it!
So there I was on Hobie beach, Port Elizabeth, with hundreds of other Triathletes; nervous and excited. I had placed myself about a third from the front – not wanting to over do it – however, in future, I will try stand closer to the front. Suddenly, at the sound of the canon, we were off, ploughing into the water. Very quickly I found myself continually bumped by swimmers on all sides – I was boxed in and I could not get into rhythm. The first lap went well, all things considering, but I knew I was already behind what I knew I was capable of. In the second lap I found myself free of the swimmers and was feeling good … but I had drifted off course. Arggg, I had to berate myself a few times for this and paid for it in even more time. In the end I came out of the water with a time of just over 1hour 11minutes and was feeling pretty good.
After a fair transition – loved the showers, the foot basins and the free sun tan lotion – I eased into the cycle. The first lap went well; I did not find that I was troubled with exhaustion, but I did find that my thighs felt stiff and also that my inside right knee and outside left knee were getting painful almost as if I was pulling too hard. At this point of the race I was ever ever ever so grateful to my new friend, Paul Ness, whom I had become acquainted with on Facebook. Paul was also participating in Ironman for the first time and had been willing to transport my bike to Port Elizabeth. Not only that, Paul had put on his spare set of tri-bars on my bike along with the tri-bars water bottle and a dual water bottle system for behind the seat. Putting the tri-bars on was no small feat since my handle bars were quiet flattish and tapered to circular very quickly in the centre. Anyway, I used those tri-bars almost exclusively and they helped so much. The only down side was that I had not secured the bater bottle tight enough and it bounced around a lot. also the long drinking straw was too long in my opinion – always bumping in my face. If ever I get tri-bars for myself I will most certainly get the whole bike set-up correctly.
In the second lap my bike computer gave up on me. Up to then I was going at an average of just under 30kph, which would have got me finishing the bike leg at a little over 6hours. Since the bike computer failed me I had to guess and guessed wrong. Well, the third lap was a bit hard for me, but since it was the last one I was able to keep going positively.
I finished the bike leg in 6 hours 35 minutes and was feeling tired.
In the second transition I took my time. Sticking some tape onto my calves and some more sun tan lotion. I walked out feasting on a 32i energy bar, people must have thought that I was in for a tough run.
The run for me is always a quandary; I love to run and would for a 100 miles if I could but I hate it because it is the one thing that bites back at me so hard that I am left injured for weeks.
Fortunately I had done very well nutrition wise on the bike. Keeping myself hydrated and stocked up with energy. This meant that I had lots of gas in the tank, and boy did I fire those engines. My plan was to walk the water points which I did almost religiously. I also consumed the drinks as I felt my stomach could handle them. And at every water point I made use of any water sponge to keep me cool, wow – those things were cold. The water sachets were quite big so I would grab one and sip on it between the water points. Once I felt that I was running too face because my stomach started to feel nauseous, but then I pressed on till the next walk.
The three laps ticked by like clockwork, man alive it felt good to run without pulling a calf muscle.
It was dark on my third lap, something I had expected and I had placed a jacket and arm warmers in my special needs bag which I did not need but I picked up in any case.
The the last 5kms were suddenly upon me and I let go. People must have thought that I was running to win the race, ha ha ha. It felt like I was running at a sub 1:30 half marathon pace.
It was wonderful.
My First Ironman Total Time: 12 hours 25minutes 44seconds
I am an Ironman.
Special thanks to my Wife; Kathy, for supporting me. In my training and in my Race – she was there all day and always there at the ATC tent to shout for me as I rode/ran by.
Thanks to Spec Savers and GU Energy for the Competition that I won that included the entry as well as a GU Hamper.
Thanks Paul Ness for transporting my bike and all the extras you did for me that made the 180kms so much more comfortable.
Shot to all my family and friends, especially those at Southpoint Church, and those abroad like Craig Morton and Ryan Sudding who spurred me on.
And Last but not least, Thank you God for keeping me healthy and fit for the race.