I know I said I would never say this again but here goes…
Race day dawned bright and clear….
Actually, this is a gross exaggeration. Race day dawned and even at in the morning it was hot.
By this time I was pretty much prepared for the typical
Ironman extravaganza. The bike had been sent to airline oblivion I had cleared
The week ahead however was the usual mix of Ironman frenzy:
registration, swim, bike, the odd run, and more commonly spend, spend, spend.
Cutting to the chase when I shook of the shakes, coaxed my knee back into some
degree of function and then actually reminded myself how to ride a bike I was
ready to race. Things were looking up: The Roosevelt Inn put on a pre-breakfast
from for those who
wanted to train and then the main breakfast at . The owners were great and there was a real range of
triathletes staying there from the sublime: Antonio; age 67 aiming to win his
age group and qualify for
So, to come back to paragraph 2. Yes it was bright and clear but it was s*&%$ng hot. We started the swim with the usual rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. This was ironic as the “misty light” was more of a blazing sunshine. The race started in the traditional morass of kicking, bunching and thrashing as over 2100 athletes + one Murphy surged for the water. The swim was a two lap affair and more or less passed without too many problems. It was fairly choppy and this made for a few problems. I swam, I swam some more and then I guess I did a bit more swimming and dashed out of the water to be greeted by an army of strippers in Transition. Sadly, these were people who were going to strip my wetsuit off rather than take off all their clothes and dance around a table. This was possibly just as well, because after that long in the water, Aphrodite made flesh would have had little effect on many people emerging from the water.
Dashing into the change tent in a flash (not this was
nothing to do with stripping the wetsuit) I was off on the bike: this is where
the problems arose. The knee problem which arose at
I got 20 m. As I started my heart rate shot up to 178 and I stopped to get some cold water sponges to try and cool my body temperature while I walked to the next aid station. Aid stations were every mile and the first 12 miles of the ‘run’ was a walk to the next aid station to pick up more ice. To add insult to injury, I managed to wash off all my sunblock thereby adding hideous sunburn to heat exhaustion. At the 12 mile marker – I broke into a run, my heart soared (as my heart rate only lifted modestly) and I realised a very important fact: running shoes are made for running and walking in them guarantees blisters. The remaining 14 miles was purgatory. The quickest trot of the night was as I crossed the finish line as I was driven by the profound desire to finish. The most horrid day I have had in triathlon taking to do the 2.4 mile/ 112 mile / 26 mile swim/bike/run course. Desperately disappointing really.
The only consolation was that I still managed to finish and I wasn’t hospitalised. Some 300 or so people cannot claim to be so lucky.
 When I say surged, it should be remembered the kind of things that actually surge. In the Navy, submarines are said to be surged when they leave base, glaciers may “surge” down valleys. In neither case is this necessarily considered to be fast. So when I say Murphy surged for the water, you should possibly think glacier* rather than anything else.
* ironic really – glaciers being white and cold – Murphy was neither by the end of the day being hot, red and raw.
 And I use the term athlete in my case in the loosest possible sense