Ironman day started for me at 4.30a.m. for I had to eat at least two hours before the start of the race which was a good hour’s drive from where we were staying in France.
The race didn’t start well for me. I found myself just where I didn’t want to be for the swim : at the front and in the middle. I spent the first 30 minutes or so avoiding slaps, kicks and generally trying not to drown. But the swim achieved its objective which was to beat the disqualification time and make it to the bike. This was waiting for me in transition meticulously prepped to get me around the next 112 miles. It had to carry me and enough gear for me to eat and drink over the next 7 hours and cope with any Plan Bs I might need to activate in the event of something going wrong.
But nothing did go wrong. There were no crashes, no punctures just an awful lot of pedaling and sweat in the midday heat that hit and stayed at 35 degrees for far too long.
The 26.2 miles run was tough. But I knew it would be. What was uppermost in my mind was just how much risk I should take. I felt good in the run but I was passing people who were collapsing and getting carted off to hospital. My wife and 1 year old daughter were waiting nervously at the finish line for me. Why take unnecessary risk by running further than you have to when you don’t know exactly how much you have left in the tank? In the event I ran a bit and walked a bit and approached the finish at about 10.30p.m.
An Ironman finish is an extraordinary thing. You enter the purpose build stadium which belongs to you and no-one else. There you see hundreds of people all cheering for you, trying to high five you or just enjoying making you feel special.
I thought to myself “Thanks I’m a retired one to” and went to collect my medal and a long cool drink.