Well I finished my third Ironman on Saturday, but it was far the hardest; and well in excess of two hours over what I hoped for.
The swim went well. I planned for somewhere between 1hr 5 and 1hr 10. I touched solid ground at 1hr 8minutes and some change. I felt good in the lake and stayed out of trouble to the far side of the course. So although I would have swum a slightly longer course, I had a trouble-free swim and felt good upon entering the transition tent.
But that's where the good times ended. I knew I was in trouble after about 20 kilometres on the bike. I simply had nothing out on the
course despite eating like a horse and drinking like a fish. I hoped to get to the turnaround (90k) in 2hr 55, which would have put me on track for my 6hr ride. I got to halfway at 3hrs exactly, so not far off, but the effort it took was immense. I was just flat.
I have learned that on days like that you just keep going and eating, and drinking, and you can come right. But alas, that was not to be. The second 90k was dreadful. I really struggled. My 6hr 40min+ ride was physically draining and mentally depressing.
Onto the run and after about a kilometre, I simply had to walk. I was beginning to get lightheaded and felt faint and looked white (according to my supporters). So to cut a long story short, I walked the entire marathon, apart from about 2-3k at the 30k mark when a lady I got talking to from the USA encouraged me to run with her. But then I got the zigzags so stopped completely when I almost fell over.
It was a hot day, and I drank what I thought was gallons of water and monitored my sodium intake and carbohydrate loads. But whatever I did, nothing worked. I usually get a spark from flat Coke, but even that did nothing.
So I walked for 42km, and picked up a lump on my left shin which seems to be a minor case of shin splints or tendonitis. It has got much better now, so there is a shining light.
At the finish line (I did finish!), I had lost almost 4kgs during the
day so that's a sign of problems. Concerned at my state, the medics asked me how I felt. I commented "About as good as you'd expect after 14hrs of exercise".
I almost collapsed when I got home. But I bounced back
well and was fine on Sunday. All in all, quite bizarre.
The team I was in raised close to $3,000 for Cystic Fibrosis so that was pleasing. Although times were tough for me on Saturday, those kids with CF suffer every day. My pain was nothing.
It's time for a rest now and a debrief. And then there are a couple of small triathlons to do before the end of summer - subject to shin injury.
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