Until the next one Mark!!!
I don't know how I feel about what I've written but have a read - race report in status form, yep it's long too.
Iron distance racing is disgusting.
Ultimately, honestly, I could succinctly summarise my race in the following few sentences.
I woke up in a shitty single bed without my usual greeting by Geeves my personal butler (Geeves may or may not exist). I had a boring breakfast of 2 bananas, an energy bar, some beet root juice (urgh) mixed with water and electrolytes. Then I literally went about lubing myself up for the day. After checking in, I was lubed up again....by another man (thanks Guy), sunscreened and fitted into a very fashionable orange onsie. I then went about having the shit kicked out of me and survived a number of attempted drownings for an hour, was burnt to an absolute crisp on the bike, pissed myself - a number of times, had sunscreen applied over my sunburn, sought some pretty nasty blisters about 15k in on the run, pissed my self again then passed out at the finish line. Needless to say this isn't the race report I ran with, for the incredible girl I just spent a week in LA with....
Post race I have bruising all up my back, my hips are fecked, my knees have been inflamed for days, I have the WORST tan lines and peeling and the big toe is about to loose a toe nail - goodbye old friend. But, nothing beats that finish line feeling so I might elaborate a little more for those interested.
Just about everyone knows by now but for the curious minded or unfamiliar, I dislocated my shoulder 14 weeks ago. Deciding that wasn't enough - I did it again exactly a week later. I tore my labrum and threw a fracture in there for good measure. I went through the conclusion of a long term relationship just shortly before this and ultimately through a pretty rough patch. Let's get honest - I drunk for a number of days straight post break up, trained sporadically, moved house, bluffed my way through some more Uni assignments - in summary going through a pretty difficult period in my 25 years of existence so far. It's no sympathy story but I owe it to a lot of people who got me to Kona.
But hey, that's later. I think reverting back to the old pisstake that are my race reports is in order. The week leading up was intense. Lisa and I were the first two fraternal twins in history racing the Hawaiian Ironman World Champs and actually had some interviews etc during the week. It was cool. I had a terrible sleep Thursday night after (but not due to) what I called the "date of my life" on Thursday afternoon (more also). Luckily after a good chat to Guy I was set Friday night and managed some good hours - dreaming of swimming down Pottsy, dropping bombs on Kienle on the bike and out splitting Frodo 30/s a k in the energy lab. Actually I'm pretty sure I dreamt about the new Bratz Dolls dream house coming out soon - it's going to be dope.
Numbering although a little laborious was complete with no hustle and my bike was set up easily. Although I still can't believe Kienle got so pissed at me for just trying to borrow his race wheels.... Lisa Cat (twinny) and I met with coaches, fam pre race where DISASTER ONE OCCURRED!!!! "Ok Guy thanks for lubing me up buddy especially in my special area (my elbow), now zip up my new bad-ass orange Blue70 swim skin and let's dance". The zip got caught and I PANICKED TO THE MAX. After managing to rip the skin from my tiny man hands Guy fixed the bad boy, calmed me down with a man slap and sent me to the swim start.
F*ck me I thought 70.3 Worlds was bad. The next hour and two minutes after the cannon went I got the shit kicked out of me. No not literally, I had an orange swim skin on me that would have been disgusting but geebers, these guys were full on. However no shoulder dislocation so hey I was happy to get through with a reasonably respectable time.
After a quick T1 I mounted Chrissie (again my bike not some innocent spectator) and boarded the Hawi express doing my best to hang on. All was going swimmingly (perhaps that should have been a pun for the swim) until about an hour and a half in and the fickle bitch that is Madame Pele decided to flex her strong lady muscles and throw a NASTY head wind into our face. I suffered and lost a lot of time struggling to keep the speed and power output of an 80 year of leg-less senior citizen who had never ridden a bike in her entire life. In summary power was low, speed was lower, my back was sore and seizing up, I needed to pee a lot and I was unfairly angry at all these young hooligans riding - for no reason. I made the turn around to the cheers of "go Steve you're the man!! Do it for your son Billy!!" Couldn't believe they got my name and personal circumstances wrong (and definitely weren't cheering for anyone else) but I used it anyway.
The descent from Hawi was rough with some decent cross winds knocking even my decent frame around. Then boom the head wind hit us again all the way back. To be honest it was a relief to hear later in the day that the winds were the worst they had been in a number of years. I had a little mechanical on the way back into town with my chain jumping off the smallest ring on the back cassette and getting caught against my frame but I McGyvered the shit out of that and got back going again.
Into T2 with a witty comment to a volunteer and I was of for some more PAIN. Luckily the run legs were there and my back pain disappeared so I set of at my targeted first half of the marathon race pace. I was pretty happy with myself committing to this so I gave myself three high fives. It was awesome. So I high fived about those high fives.
After working my way through the barrage that was the self served high fives I ran upon my coach Guysington who was waiting a couple of k up the road. We had a little banter at first that actually really served me well. I told him I he looked like shit, he told me Lisa was going to smash me and despite not making the bike cut off time Sister Madonna was still going to do a better overall time than me. Business as usual.
I sat in and ran a controlled, rather dashing, stylised pace up until the climb up Palani where I toned things down for the climb. I found a great dude to run with as well and we worked well together, sharing stories, excess ice (although funnily enough he kept refusing the ice I was storing down the from of my pants - what's with that??) and *insert third witty comment here*.
We ran a very controlled pace up Palini where more people incorrectly cheered for me using the wrong name/s - no biggie. Out onto the Queen K and I was stoked with how I was feeling - well, considering. Finally I reached the energy lab where we actually got a quick sprinkle of rain - it was am odd day!! "Ok" I thought to myself "once we get to the bottom and turn around it's go time Lucky".
I launched operation "hospitalise Lucky" just under 30k in. I ran OUT of the energy lab faster than I'd ran in (up hill FYI) and hit it down the Queen K. Once I hit the area where spectators were allowed again I had about 7k to go and I was hitting 4:30's - and holding. Guy met up with me and turned into a dude I hadn't seen before. It was fucking awesome. He got me through those last 7k pushing pushing pushing me (not literally#nocheating) and making sure I still hit every aid station. I made up a lot of time and places in the last section.
I've never gone that deep and have actually never ran so far with my eyes closed for the majority of the time. "JUST LET THE MACHINE DO THE WORK, GO ON HOLIDAY UP THERE LUCKY, COME ON!!" Actually gives me goose bumps thinking of that. Guy was a legend.
Hrm bit serious. Joke time. Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 is a serious 6 offender (kiwi accent may be required).
I bolted down Palani. Urgh that hurt. Finally I reached that finish chute. It is incredible how all of that pain suffering and regret can go away instantly. I blew Guy one last kiss *rooomannntic* and ducked into the chute. Thankfully I saw Mum Dad and Kate who true to their legendary form had a massive Australian flag held out for me.
Fuck that was emotional. I had a look back - with no one behind I took a couple of slow steps to the top of that finish line. Indescribable. I let out what I will assure were some manly yells, a decent fist pump and a quick gun show. I took two steps forward and old jelly legs withdrew the support they offered all day. I'm pretty sure my boy Macca was watching online at that point, screen shoted it and tweeted #medtent - made me laugh post race. It's actually crazy to push so hard that your legs just go. I hated falling there, I tried to get up but I actually couldn't. Then two lovely volunteers came over a hoisted me off. I assume their names were Mildred and Agnus with some of the old stories they were telling me to keep me awake, their story about the party that followed the construction of the first wheel as crazy - thanks gals. (But seriously the Kona volunteers were AMAZING).
I was ok after a while and went for the search for the coaches and fam. Finding Mum Dad Kate Guy Kate Andy and finally Lisa was awesome. Hugs and tears (my man tears) were shared and I had to have a decent lay down. Kona was done and I'd made it. As the "cool kids" are saying now - it was cray cray (a poor attempt to increase my reader demographic). Lisa raced incredibly and is SUCH a talented athlete.
Iron distance racing is a journey. No one has it easy and no one really suffers more than others (excluding the exceptional circumstances). Mine wasn't exceptional. I had some bad luck but I had a lot of good people pull me through and I am ever grateful to you all. Thank you.
Triathlon is done for me. I've given it some good years of my life and it has lead to some of the most amazing things happening in my life. I'll remain around the sport and domestically this season will be on the mic which I am REALLY looking forward too. I'll race again one day I imagine - the sport will do that but not for a number of years.
To everyone involved thank you. It's been a fun ride. I'm not going to individually call out every person here but you will get my personal thanks.
And hey triathletes - live a little, there is more. It (the sport) gives you so much but there is more. Don't forget your other buddies, partners, family, pets, really good tv shows and for the love of god fashion (hahaha compression socks and sandals not cool!!;)) Take from that what you want from a 25 year old Australian but don't aim for perfection in this sport, aim for success - realistic success, you'll be a much happier person. Have a drink (if you want), get off the forums and support your mates. Missing a session won't be the end of the world, the little man or woman upstairs will probably thank you just having a moment of normality.
Young persons - sure try to go pro, but not at the expense of everything else, because if it all falls apart you want to make sure you have something to go back on. The harsh reality is a lot of us won't live our dreams of racing in a pro field and even less surviving off the sport so have a plan a - z. Have a crack but don't commit everything that is near and dear to you. I tried and failed and god I am so happy I had a back up plan. As someone who puts way too much on his plate everyday - trust me, things have a way sometimes of not turning out as planned...be prepared
Be open for anything and see where life takes you, hey, sometimes you can end up in LA 24 hours after the Ironman World Championships with an amazing girl seriously considering the $6,500 QANTAS change of ticket fee so you can just stay there one day longer.....but maybe that's just me
For the final time or Until the next time? Eagleeeee!!
xoxo Gossip Mark