Missing in Action


It’s been a very long time since I last did one of these. I won’t bore you with the specifics of why the posts ground to a halt, other then to say that real life got in the way.

The short version of the story is that I finally achieved my goal of doing an Ironman. It just looked absolutely nothing like what I imagined when I started.

My focus had always been New Zealand, to the extent that if you said ‘Ironman’, I would have said ‘Taupo’.

Unfortunately, just three weeks out from the race and on my final long run, I was literally bouncing off the pavements in excitement when I felt my calf tighten up. Thinking nothing of it, I carried on, only to have my calf ping which resulted in me ending up in a bundle on the floor.

Less than ideal.

Straight to the physio for me, who diagnosed a stage 2 tear, meaning that New Zealand was off the cards unless I wanted to walk the marathon (which I definitely didn’t).

Not great news from the body fixer

Not great news from the body fixer

Unfortunately when I was planning for New Zealand, I hadn’t factored in the fact I might not actually make the start line. Instead, I had invited along a mini army of friends and family, booked my flights and secured a sweet house right on the shore of Lake Taupo.

So figuring that cancelling wasn’t really an option, I decided to chalk it all down to experience and do what I could anyway. I also shifted my sights to Port Macquarie in May, which would hopefully give me time to mend the peg leg.

So given that NZ was now a test run for Port Mac, I thought I would share my key lessons learned from the race:

1 – I can swim. Unbelievably, compensating for my injury with extra swimming had taken my weakest leg and made it arguably the strongest of the three. Phelps I am not, but I came out the water in 1.04 which I was over the moon with.

2 – Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Essentially the combination of my better than anticipated swim, a massive overconfidence in my ability and knowing I didn’t have to run meant that I charged off like a madman, only to have the wheels fall off on the last 45km.

3 – You’re born alone, you die alone, and in an Ironman you ride alone. I had spent all of my training having a joyous time with my friends and keeping solo riding to an absolute minimum, meaning that when the going got tough, I wilted. In a big way. Which meant lots more alone time in the lead up to Port Mac.

4 – Find something you actually enjoy eating. I spent so much time stressing about what was ‘optimal’ from a nutritional perspective, I forgot about actually enjoying it. Half way through the bike I had given up on my nutrition plan and was eating whatever took my fancy from the aid stations.

All of which went a long way to helping me reach the finish line in one piece a few months later. More on that to follow ……

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