Unlike me. The camera hates me. As some people have astutely commented, I often look like a cardboard cutout. With a wine glass in one hand. I've never really been happy with the photos taken by various photographers at various races. Jase did well, but it's a measure of his talent that the shots turned out as well as they did. Plus Cath is in a couple of shots so nobody is looking at me anyway. No, the problem isn't them or their equipment. It's the subject.
So when I was looking at the thumbnails of my IMC photos I was really of two minds if I should buy them or not. In the end, I figured there likely wasn't going to be another opportunity to get better photos of me doing an Ironman, and shelled out.
I've put one up in the title but I don't like how the spacing has turned out. I'll probably be playing with that for a bit. Maybe I'll go to a different template. Therefore, with no further ado, here are the best of the race photos. With commentary. I hope you've got a stiff drink to hand.
Here's the swim start. I can see my cap in there near the left, about 10 people back. You can't tell? What, are you blind?
Here's me coming out the water, in the thick of the herd. The green stripe on my cheek is to remind the people at the eyeglasses table to shout at us to get our glasses. As if I need reminding.
On the bike, still ahead of some people, for a little while. This is on the road going to Osoyoos, not sure exactly where.
Going up Richters Pass. You get a beautiful view of the valley off to the right. So far it's been a perfect day for a bike ride.
The only photo of me on the run. I like to say I'm focussed. Others, less charitable, might say I'm looking dazed.
Crossing the finish line! Only those who have been there know how good it feels, can understand the wash of emotions. Happiness that it's done. Pride in the achievement. Sadness that it's done.
The formal finisher photo. Even I have to admit the look in my eyes is just a bit scary.
It's been a couple of weeks now. One toenail has gone black. The toe that had the blister that never popped just had the skin shift around and form a ridge that any dinosaur would be proud of. The hams are feeling better, though my left leg is still a bit stiff. Left shoulder is a bit creaky.
All things considered I came out of this very well. There are a bunch of people who didn't finish at all, including some pros. Not that that makes me better than them. It just means there is an element of luck in these things. Luck about not getting pummeled too badly in the swim, or having mechanical problems or flats on the bike, or being struck with biological issues for whatever reason no matter how carefully you plan. But the most important element by far is your own level of mental and physical fitness and toughness. Without that you aren't finishing no matter how lucky you are. Katie's coaching and the day in and out practice is why I finished.
I like to think I know my limits and "raced" within them. The swim was a little bit faster than I expected, but it was really important to me that I got out of the water feeling good and ready to bike, so I didn't push hard. That means I paced myself carefully, not minding that 888 people passed me on the bike. That means I came within 4 minutes of negative splitting my "run" because I started easy at a pace I hoped I could maintain for the whole distance. (There is a great xl that gives all sorts of calculations about the time and place data, email me if you want a copy, or look for it on slow twitch.) The final result is that I didn't go deep into the well to pull out every last bit of everything there is, just to make it to the finish line. Into it a bit, yes, but not deep. Which is why I'm feeling so good now. I've gone and done workouts with my legs feeling worse than they do now, but I'm enjoying the rest.
Now is a time to take stock and think about where to go from here. While I'm not going to be doing another Ironman any time soon, if at all, I am continuing with triathlon. I want to get faster, yes, much faster, compared to my cohorts. And, I want to see a photo of me running that has both my feet off the ground. I can but dream.