After the pro women went off I got in the water to warm up. Acclimatised to the water as per rookie day then got 200m or so of swimming out and in to warm up.
15 minutes before the start was called into the pre start box with all the other pink swim capped, neoprene clad madmen. I can feel my heart beating now, faster than normal rest rate. At this point I realise I put my and goggles on but forgot to put my Garmin on. Muppet. Run out of pre start to find my Mum who had the bag with it in, slap it on wrist and regain composure. Course was an L shape; out 200m from the beach, right turn, along 600m, left turn, out 100m, left turn, along 800m, left turn, 300m into shore. The buoys were nice big 4ft inflatables with 12x4ft sausages tied to them. They looked huge from the shore, but once in the water that was to change. The slight swell made the last one was near invisible, especially with the first turn buoy close by to confuse you. The yellow caps went off and we had 10 minutes and into the start box. I tried to positioned myself on the left hand (outside) side of the start as the first turn was a right hander. This was to prove one of my best decisions of the day. A few people felt they had more of a God-given right to be at the front than me so I started 3 back. 1 minute to go and everybody is encouraged to clap. Then the airhorn sounds and we’re off.
The oh so keen starters were not in fact top swimmers and I was soon swimming straight over the top of people. I was surprised at how smooth neoprene sliding over neoprene is. I managed to stay on the outside of the pack into the buoy and put in a wide turn. I had made the perfect start decision, there must have been 15-20 people treading water at the buoy as the sausage had blocked there turn as the mid and left sides had pushed them back. I was however set up for an inside line at the next buoy. This leg was uneventful, but seemed to last forever, I was worried that my swim was going to be appaling. As I approached the buoy I had a look and it was only 13 minutes in, 800m in 13 minutes, not bad all things considered. I had the inside line at the buoy and executed a flawless 90 degree rollover turn and on to the next one 100m away, another perfect turn and on to the long homeward stretch. Sighting was a bit useless here, the buoy was so far off that it was hard to tell which was which, so I just sighted on the mass of heads and frothing water till I got near the bouy. A few near misses with feet on the leg, but still hadn’t been kicked. My goggles had a bit of water in them though I thought I only had 500m to go so left it, turns out I was looking at the wrong buoy and actually had 700m to go, but by the time I realised I had decided to just soldier on. Another perfect turn and into the beach, this was a bit more of a melee as people tried to position themselves. I came in great till I could touch the bottom, hit button on Garmin, fill suit with water and stand up. Out onto the carpet and I’m already getting the suit off, 20m from the water and I have the top half off, running well. I may have overkicked in the swim or the compression thingies in the new Helix may do exactly what they are designed to.
34 minutes 22 seconds
Into the tent, find my bags, rest of the wetsuit off. It knocks the timing chip off with it so repkace that. Get red bag, glasses on, helmet on, number of, sit down, socks on, shoes on, wetsuit goggles & hat in bag, rehang bag, out to bike. Get to bike and push out to mount line, on bike and I’m off. Push button on Garmin and I’m flying, lots of people out cheering.
4 minutes 7 seconds
Look down at the garmin after 500m and see all it is saying is “recovery heart rate”. F***. I think it is doing its best impression of crashing again. Stop and start it, nothing, hmmm. Will deal with it when I get out of town. Negotiate the narrow streets and a nasty speed bump and before I know it I’m at the first aid station (3km), decide I don’t need anything anyway and push on. Realise what I had done with the Garmin is push the stop button not the lap button and everything is fine again, but missing the first 3km (which I semi sulked about the rest of the bike and run legs) 5km in and I’m starting to overtake the carbon + deep rim trick bikes. What am I doing wrong? Am I going to blow up? Then I see two police motorcyclists with blues flashing, they were leading the elite men around, 5 minutes later they had rounded the turn mark and were passing me on their second lap. Overtaking more and more blinged up road and TT bikes now, on my entry level alloy+Tiagra bike. What if I had a pimped out bike? Avergaing 38 km/h on the flat but the headwind was bugging me now. So were the 2 guys that I was playing leap frog with. Approaching the turn mark at the far end of the course in Matro at this point, get bottle from frame and refill aerobottle, then whilst trying to put it bake in the cage drop it, in the middle of the course, oh well. Turn and into the aid station. This is where I should have learnt some Spanish, at least the Spanish for “isotonic” and “energy” . That way I wouldn’t have taken the bottle from the guy shouting aqua blah blah blah thinking he meant water with energy stuff. I didn’t learn this till after the next aid station, as the 1.5l I took with me lasted till just after the third aid station pass. Still screaming along I decide to take some solid food (energy bar) onboard as about an hour had passed. Mistake number one was not opening the packets pre race. Number two was not wetting mouth before taking a large bite. Number three was drinking energy drink to try and wash it down. Needless to say I didn’t finish the bar. Before I knew it I was at the halfway point, 1 hour 14 minutes after I had got the Garmin working properly. WTF! That was a pretty dammed fast 45K. After taking another bottle from the first guy at the aid station I set off up the ‘slope’ out of it, noticing that KM marker 666 lies at the peak of the ascent/apex of bend. Now I start overtaking female races who must have started 20/25 minutes before me. Slightly lower speeds now, only making 36km/h on the flat and still wondering if I had overcooked it. Empty my aerobottle and refill from the first bottle I took from the aid station. Take a sip and realise it is plain aqua, not aqua with anything, plain old aqua. Balls. Then as I rethink my nutrition strategy my stomach decides I doesn’t want to hold onto it’s contents and I just stop short of projectile vomiting whilst doing 40 km/h ‘downhill’ on the aerobars. Hmm, I slowly finish the water off over the next 15km and take a bottle from the middle guy at the final aid station, refill aerobottle and it’s isotonic, phew. I was still catching quite a few people, they obviously went off much harder than me and it had caught up with them. I got ‘chicked’ at this point. The only time on the bike leg in fact. There were now a fair number of Spaniards lining the streets cheering everybody on, which was very nice as I needed all the encouragement I could get on the few short ascents there were. I used the little ring more on this lap. As I passed KM marker 650 my saddle and my perineum decided that they were going to become mortal enemies over the final 18, letting me know of every dispute they had. But still I soldiered on.. At this point the phantom disc rider kept appearing behind me, every now and then I could have sworn I heard someone dropping don a gear and the sound of carbon rims on tarmac but everytime I looked back there was clear road for 200m. Coming to the end of the lap and it was up the hill to KM marker 666. The grim reaper decided he wanted my quads as I passed it, ouch they burned. Just the final stretch through the town now and back into T2.
2 hours 35 minutes 54 seconds
I don’t really remember T2, my bike was in it’s rack and I finished in running kit so I must have passed through it, but I just can’t remember it.
If there is one word to describe the run it is ouch. I started off quite strong, running at 12km/h so I eased off to 11.3 km/h to avoid blowing up. There was an aid station at the start, but the next one couldn’t come soon enough as I pounded the tarmac in the midday sun. Water and isotonic here, most of the water went over me, but some was swallowed. It came in little bottle which was nice though, no stupid cups. About 4km in and I had my next reflux moment. I couldn’t stomach High5 energy gels last time I used them on a ½ marathon, so decided to avoid them like the plague at aid stations to try and stave off the stomach problems. Next thing I now there is a little boy on a bike appearing in front of me. The course was well marshalled by the local police at virtually every pedestrian crossing, but this one had slipped the net and I missed kicking the wheel of his bike (and probably face planting) by less than an inch. By km 5 my bladder was bothering so I stopped by a mound of earth and had a pee, turns out it was outside a sewage works, a little thing that amused me for a while. At the turn point ¼ way into the course and the next aid station. I took on Gatorade, a handful of orange quarters and a bottle of water. The oranges were wonderful and were to become my fuel at the aid stations. Back pounding the pavement and I had obviously picked some sand or something up in T1 as the ball of my left foot was raw, every footstep hurt. My quads were starting to tighten and I was sinking into the ironman shuffle. I think I managed to run tall for the rest of the race with Conehead’s words ringing in my ears, but my quads were having none of the high knees so I was still shuffling. Plodded on for the next 5km and back into the race area and the next aid station (which you go through twice in 500m) more sweet, oranges and a ramp up into the bike park, around the edge of that, and then a taunting run past the finish chute before doing the whole thing again. Still a 58 min first 10.55km. All I remember about the second lap is that 2.5km is too far between aid stations, my feet hurt like hell and my quads and I were not on speaking terms anymore. I think I got ‘chicked’ a lot as well. A walk-run strategy was employed till the last 2K when something inside of me fired up and I pushed on at 12km/h to the finish. Finishing nice and strong, up over the line, before two nice girls walked me to the recovery area past someone who handed me a medal and shook my hand and lots more people that wanted to shake my hand
2 hours 03 minutes 30 seconds
I passed the line on 5hr 53 minutes and 51 seconds, having started 35 minutes after the first wave. I am now a middle distance triathlete (not Ironman branded, so not a half ironman) with a fairly respectable 5hr18min51s finish having run a 2hr03min half marathon finish.