Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Two and a half years later...

Has it really been that long?  It has apparently, something I only just realised when I got an email reminding me that this blog where Kate and myself used to record our Ironman journeys was still in existence.  I now find myself wondering at how something that was so significant in our lives, where we poured out of our training delights and woes, mishaps and triumphs, can subside into insignificance...and actually be at risk of disappearing altogether into the land of digital excess.

So time for an update?  The first question is did we stop exercising when the blog stopped, or more likely, as mature athletes are wont to do, did we just retire from our training madness.  I'm pleased to say no, we didn't stop or retire.  In fact, writing this is timely, we are off later this week for the annual trek to Taupo, for me it's Ironman number 7, Kate's had one or two off because she's been sensible and had other things she's wanted to do in life.

The next question is how's it going.  Well the answer to that is that things are never the same, and if we've learned one thing, it's that there will always be something impacting on how you do in training and on the day.  We are still LEARNING!   Try for example getting a big tooth pulled out and being on antibiotics just before a race...that's one not to be recommended.  Or having family worries that it's hard to leave at the start-line...we've all done that.  Or being a few kg heavier, a few years older, and fooling yourself that spin can be left out of your training.  Or odd stuff like what the impact is of using a standing desk constantly on results, is it a good thing or a bad thing, who knows. 

And there's always the weather. Personally I wasn't feeling keen on another Ironman after last year's race when the swim was so rough that the half Ironman start was delayed because the rescue boats were busy pulling people out of the water at the other end of the course.  I'm only just feeling able to look back on that effort and what causes me most discomfort is the fact that I was 30 seconds from the close of the bike course.  I'd actually come to terms with not finishing for the first time ever...until it was pointed out that my cycle computer clock was wrong so I ended up racing through Taupo and just...just crossed the line to transition before the close.  I landed in the arms of the whole team of volunteers who had me stripped and re-dressed in my fastest ever bike to run transition time...I was the last person to start the run, and for that whole long orange segment fueled 42km I wasn't sure I'd make it. I did, with less than 15 minutes to the midnight cut off and taking more than two hours longer than my best effort a couple of years before.  More than 20% of the field either didn't end up starting, or didn't finish. I hope they're back this year and Taupo is way kinder...to us all, certainly the whanau have let me know they don't want to go through that again!

Last year's medal feels to me a bit like the first one we got back in 2012 when the bad weather meant we couldn't do the full event. We were counted as Ironmen but it wasn't till we did the next event successfully that we really believed it, so even though I finished, the 2017 event I struggle with at the moment.  Hopefully after Saturday I can look back at it with some pride instead of it being a reminder of how close I came to failing. 

Kate says 'hi'.

Wish us both luck!