First things first. Thank you's:
- My wife, Linda Mulligan. Nobody could have done more to support me in all of this. She's put up with lots over the last few years. Love you dear!
- My coach, Katie Frauts. I wouldn't be finishing without her guidance and advice. She's been nothing but encouraging and supportive, working with an old guy coming back from being fat and out of shape. Her plans were killer some weeks (you all remember the numerous "plank to failure" results), but they were exactly what I needed. I'm looking forward to working with her for next year's season.
- My number one fan, Susi. She has been a font of advice and encouragement and support.
- So many people I've met through blogs, various training gigs, existing and new friends, blog buddies I've never met, all of whom are too numerous to name, all of whom have been supportive, encouraging, and otherwise helpful.
Swim was good. I didn't get bashed around much at the start, had open water for most of the swim. It was a bit tight at the first houseboat, and right at the end as we converged to the finish. I'm super pleased! I came out of the water feeling good, a little faster than I had hoped, no dizzyness, and was feeling strong.
T1 was a bit of a shambles. My glasses fogged up and I couldn't see squat. But I got out to my bike with no adventures along the way.
The bike was a mix. The day was cool by Penticton standards. Lots of people had on arm warmers and long sleeved jerseys. The ride down to Osoyoos was fast and easy. Perfect riding weather. Saw a couple people I knew, but mostly concentrated on avoiding all the litter crap on the road, and riding safely. It was a bit of a pack. Stopped at the base of Richters to pee and water up. A bit of a wait so I stretched. Richters was a blast! Still nice, lots of people cheering us on. Down the far side I had the most fun of the entire ride, hitting 70+ Kph, dodging cars and other bikes. Estela sure loves to go downhill. Somewhere in the middle of the rollers the wind came up and things got colder and tougher. You can find a map of the bike course at the race website, and tell me how we can get a headwind for the ride into Kermeous, the out and back, AND the out and back that is part of the out and back. By the time I turned to head up to Yellow Lake it was raining a bit, and I was getting cold. But I think I missed the worst of it. Going up was hard sledding. I was getting a bit tired of being on the bike, and I knew it was a long way up. By now I'd been passed a zillion times and was mostly riding alone, with some small packs passing me. Coming down the road was dry and it was sunny again. That's a fun ride zooming down and into town with the road mostly to myself. Overall, given the conditions, I'm really pleased with my time given the course and conditions. Bike time was 7:06, then I spent about 15 minutes waiting to pee. I was right in the range where I figured I would be.
T2 was fast and smooth. I'm not a big fan of these bag races, but the volunteer dumped my stuff out and handed it to me as I needed it. One simply cannot say enough about the volunteers at this race.
The run was the run. This was twice as far as I've ever run before. I started well, finding my run legs (such as they are) right away. They were tired but moving well. A good start. Just as I was going along Lakeshore the wind came up in a major way. You can bet I was happy when I turned south and let the wind blow me along. I ran along, walking the aid stations, with the muscle right between the right butt cheek and the top of the thigh starting to tighten up. By 14 or 15 K the wheels had come off my wagon. I had one hotspot in my right foot from running, and a different spot from walking. My right leg wasn't wanting to run anymore. I suffered along into OK Falls. Somewhere in there I started in on the chicken soup, and that worked wonders. I walked the hill out of OK Falls while putting on the arm warmers, and girded myself for a long trip back. Imagine my surprise when I started running again, and realized that things were working again. I ran (that word again) most of the way back, walking the hills and aid stations. I nearly threw up the last Gu so stopped taking them. The Nuun didn't seem to be doing anything anymore, but the soup was good stuff and went surprisingly well with the chunks of orange. I ran most of the way to city limits, collecting a glow stick along the way. My legs were getting stupid then, and walked with Mike from Vernon most of the way in. I was afraid I trip and fall on my face so close to the end. Each of us ran a bit, to remind the legs we were going to run the finish. I walked to the Lakeshore turnaround and towards the light. Somewhere I found the legs to run the last bit, with a huge grin. The run was slower than I'd like it to have been, but I'll take it. At no time was my breathing out of control, it was simply a muscular strength thing, with a side of nutrition issues. I'll have to think more about the nutrition.
I am thrilled!
As you'll remember, my goal was to complete the course without needing a trip to the med tent. DONE!
I wanted to cross the finish line without having to sprint, and collaps and barf to make it. DONE!
Have fun and enjoy the experience. DONE! Well, the wind during the out and back wasn't much fun, and parts of the run weren't much fun.
Personal reflections, in no particular order.
- Sister Madonna Buder does not look 80. If I were meeting her, I'd say she was late 50's, early 60's. But she's got some serious stones to tackle an Ironman at 80.
- Saw lots of people on the course, Kendall, Iona, Justin (but he didn't see me), Tisha, Leana, Kelly and maybe others. Didn't see Julie or Jenna, though I was looking for them on the run.
- During the day I was thinking that I wasn't just going to become an Ironman. During the day I was Peeingman, Burpingman, and Fartingman. Stopped to pee at the base of Richters, and just before Keremeous. There was a bit of a wait so I stretched. Some can pee on the bike but I haven't mastered that yet. One guy demonstrated the skill, like a horse, right after he passed me. Jerk. There was major burping happened the entire day. And, more cautiously, gas from the other end as well. On the run a pair of girls passed me, and were commenting about hearing ducks, but not seeing any. Clearly their noses had stopped working.
- If I'd known how hard this was going to be, I'm not sure I'd have signed up. You never know till you do it.
- The only "injury" is a blister on my little toe, and sore legs and feet. That's as good as it gets. I saw at least two people being carted away in an ambulance, and hope they're ok. What a way to end your day.
- I have swaged. Went to the expo first thing and bought a bunch of stuff. I didn't even look at the $ price. Who cares. I already paid for it in sweat, blood, and effort. I will wear it with pride.
- Would I do it again? Probably not. I told Linda I wanted to do it once, mark it done, then settle back to half's and Olys.