Monday, December 6, 2010

Ironman? Check!

I'm not dead! As many of you know, I crossed the line on Sunday just ten hours and seven minutes after the shotgun start on the shores of Geographe Bay. It was a long day. It was a hard day. One-hundred and forty (point-six!) miles later, I heard the call that just about every triathlete dreams of: "You are an Ironman!"

I did it.

I don't think I've ever really roared before, but by hell, when they opened up that finishing chute for me, I was roaring all the way to the line. Every muscle fiber in my body burned, but once I saw that marquee just fifty meters away, my vision went red, I clenched my teeth and my fists and stomped all the way through with all the might I could muster.

I did it.

My legs are more sore than I could have ever imagined. I can barely walk; yesterday, just getting to the bathroom from the bed was almost as much a challenge as the last leg of the race had been the day before. Note to any aspiring Ironmen or Ironwomen out there: I do not advise attempting to run a marathon having run only one run longer than five miles in the three-month lead-up to the race.

I did it.

Nine months of hard work paid off. I felt great on the swim (I could have gone harder). I felt great on the bike (I should have gone harder). I felt good for the first half of the run. I felt like a dead man on the last half of the run - not because I was too tired, but because I was already so sore, blistered and stiff. I almost broke 10 hours in my first Ironman, and I think I can do better. After attending the awards ceremony yesterday and seeing 60 year-olds post times better than mine by over an hour, I know I can do better.

But all that really matters right now is this:

I did it.

I have a lot to write - expect a massive, three-part race report to trickle out some time over the next few weeks - but internet access out here is hard to come by, and I have a vacation to attend to. Thanks to every one of you who followed along with me on Sunday - you were with me every step of the way. I love you all.

Wheeling into transition on Saturday afternoon

Calm before the storm

Coming out of the water

Powering through the last lap on the bike

Feeling good on the first lap of the run

Roaring through the finish

Kristine and I, with my hard-earned hardware