My first Ironman is complete and it was one of the most rewarding and fun days of my life. Seriously, I loved it!! I finished in the time I had in mind, had no major problems through the day and even smiled for most of it! I’ll definitely do another one and I think you should too.
Going into race day for Ironman Australia 2012, my plan was to finish in 12-13 hours. My official time ended up at 12hrs 40mins. (The winner finished in approx 8hr 15mins while the last person crossed the line after almost 17 hours!)
Below is a quick summary of how I remember the day. It was brilliant! (There are plenty more photos to see over here too)
The swim start and turns around the buoys were crazy! So many people trying to do the same thing at the same time in a very small piece of water. I ran into people heaps of times and at one point someone even swam over the top of me! I had to keep reminding myself to relax and move forward as best I could. I guess everyone else was doing the same.
I found a good rhythm on the long sections of the two-lap course and just followed the crowd.
My swim time of 1hr 14min was an awesome result. A 1hr 20min swim was my pre-race goal. I was really pleased with the swim, especially because I had to stop and tread water for a minute or so with a calf cramp at the start of the second lap (stopping in the middle of 1400+ swimmers is difficult, I don’t recommend it!).
I caught a fleeting glance of my cheer squad (KW, Little Alex, Mum, Pete, AD & Nicole) as I headed up the red carpet, out of the water and into transition. I smiled as I ran to find my cycling gear. This is Ironman!!
The bike leg was great fun!
The hills getting into and out of Port Macquarie were challenging and cost me a bit of time, but, weren’t as tough as I’d been expecting. I had a pre-race goal of averaging 28km/h for the entire 180km for a bike split just under 6hr 30min. In the end I averaged 27km/h and took 6hr 38mins. Pretty good for the first one!
I had no major problems except needing a mechanic to tighten a loose bidon cage at the 25km mark, I was stopped for about one minute. The only other times I stopped cycling was to quickly say g’day to my support crew at the halfway mark and with 8km to go when I thought I had a flat. It was a false alarm, phew!
I felt pretty crook during the last hour of the bike. I’d had just about enough of that bloody orange Gatorade and was ready to make a start on the marathon.
The run went to plan despite some very wobbly legs when I got off the bike and some really sore toes in the last few kms. I can’t say it was fun exactly, but I did enjoy it.
My run plan was always a run/walk. I’ve had lots of calf problems in the past few years and haven’t graduated to running non-stop just yet (I will). All of my training was a combination of run/walk and I did the same in the race. In fact, the ironman marathon for me was 84 x 400m jogs with a 100m walk between each one! And it worked. I’d planned to come in at 4hrs 30mins and crossed the line at 4hrs 38.
In the lead up, I knew that I had to run/walk my way through it, my calves wouldn’t make it any other way. I thought I’d be the only one walking. Wrong!! So much walking happens in an Ironman marathon. Most people did some walking each km or two. My system fitted in without anyone noticing. For me, it worked perfectly.
I was so lucky to have my cheer squad spread out on the run course. Every few km’s I could here their bells ringing, was giving high fives and seeing ‘Tristan White: run with all your might!” posters appearing to spur me on. (Thanks so much guys!)
Being cheered on for the last few hundred metres by my mate, fellow Ironman and unofficial coach, Steve Glowrey was awesome. And then running into the finishing chute, hugging my family and crossing the line to become an Ironman was everything I’d hoped it would be.
My first ironman was an awesome day and, in hindsight, I probably could’ve gone a bit faster. But, I’m glad that I stuck with my plan. The little bit of energy that I had left in the tank let me to take in the sights and really enjoy the experience. I’ll be faster next time :)
Inspired? Or think I’m nuts? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below..