I signed up for my first Ironman as a bet, before I'd done a single triathlon or could even swim. Three years and one false start later, this was the first Ironman I've tried to actually race. I ended up doing Busselton thanks to some over enthusiastic injury prevention work in the gym, but actually the course suited me, with a flat cycle and the swim that could potentially be cancelled due to overly-friendly local sealife.
Race day, I felt surprisingly calm as I headed down on my own, listening to some great music. The start line was really relaxed, more then anything else I've been to, with people all quietly doing their weird pre-race rituals, and trying to surreptitiously rub lube into their wedding tackle. Down by the swim start I asked two blokes to confirm the swim course just to be safe, and they asked me if I was doing the half or the full. Their faces went ashen-grey when I pointed out that the half had left at 0530, and I left them staring at each other in mute horror, Tits.🤣
I seeded myself at the back of the swim where I belong, and as we waited the wind got up. Brilliant. It was going to be behind us on the longest leg of the swim, and swimming into wind is something I've practiced lots in Minamurra river. I set off happily, this was going to be a shed load nicer then Cairns, and then it got better. I found a person with a yellow leg over taking people, so I tucked in next to yellow leg (or 'yellow fin' in my head) and swam straight. It's strange how strong smells are in water, one person I passed actually smelt of curry. Yum. If I was a shark, I would have nailed him. The swim felt great. I got my goggles knocked at a turning buoy, but didn't loose them, there were no sharks, I stayed on course and finished 4 minutes faster then Port Maq.
T1 was steady, and I got more support then Alistair Brownlee in my Superwoman suit. As I headed out on the bike leg, I was determined not to go too hard and destroy the run, but pacing is hard when you're new to something. I found my groove, and trundled along, feeling a little slow, and singing Sister Sledge "We are family" to the comedian Peter Kay's lyrics from the 'misheard lyrics skit'. Please watch this before reading on. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMYorpYNMKc&feature=share
It was a very windy ride, and in the last lap the wind direction changed so we got a headwind in BOTH directions. My legs felt good, but my bingo wings got pretty fatigued holding onto my bike with a disk wheel and 80mm rims on the front. Aero comes at a price. I came into T2 a touch faster then the average speed I'd guessed at, with my HR a fraction lower. Result! I still felt pretty fresh and I was looking forward to the run. It was still nice and windy, which was going to be sooooo good in 31°c, especially as every blowfly in Australia had descended on Busselton to feast on crusty athletes and go caving up unsuspecting nostrils. The commentators were actually choking on swallowed bugs every-so-often as the filled the air with race banter.
The first two laps I settled into a comfortable jog (I never use distances, self-deception is very important). It's so hard not to go too hard when you feel good, but I figured I'd burn those matches at the end, if they'd still ignite. I really enjoyed myself, my legs felt good, everyone else looked worse, and I hadn't eaten (or snorted) a single fly yet. Third lap I started to hurt, but I was 1980s PacMan gobbling up sweaty monotard clad athletes, and each time I passed one I went "bing" in my head, and said "level three" in a weird male American accent. I mistakenly tried to banter with an American chick on this lap. She had so much suncream on she looked like a newly painted skirting board. She went into a rage, shrilling "skin cancer is real" in a voice that would crack windows, and her barrage of abuse trailed after me with a doppler effect as I ran off, helping me push the pace a little more.
Lap 4. Final round. Now things started to hurt. Nutrition was still perfect, check, it was just fatigue. I guess this bit was inevitable. As I passed Ben he said I was 8th and could catch 7th, so it was time to empty the tank. It's weird how emptying the tank involved going slower then the first three laps at ten times the effort level, but it was only one lap to go, so I started singing "we are family again" and concentrating on form, and still going "bing " as I passed people, whilst still muting music occasionally to allow strange male American accent to give PacMan status. I got the girl in my age group 3km from the finish line. She was Swedish. I said how are you finding the heat, and she said "am I allowed to say f*cked". It was 5°c back home, poor lass.
Hell yeah!!! Now, just bring it home. However, just as I got my last lap band, another girl, also from my age group, hurtled past. Crab sticks!!! I finished my last 1km at an all-out sprint with a HR of a million, approximately. It was only as I crossed the finish line I realised she was 20 minutes behind me. Two hour PB!!! Yipeee.
I was very disoriented at the finish line, and this random doctor appeared from nowhere and followed me about speaking to me. I knew what was happening here, he was trying to triage me. Just then to my disbelief, they started playing my song over the sound system 'We are family'. I couldn't believe it, and turned to him screaming with laughter, and shouting "listen, the lyrics sound just like 'don't make me staple the vicar'...." plus the next line....... that I'm not putting in print. I'm lucky I wasn't institutionalized.
Thanks Coach and everyone else from Project M who helped me train twice for this second IM. Now I need to re-hydrate before the 6 Peaks challenge in 5 days time. Who doesn't love the sufferfest?