12 September 2012

The Finish Line - Lessons of an Ironman Survivor

The Finish Line - Lessons of an Ironman Survivor The Finish Line - Lessons of an Ironman Survivor The Finish Line - Lessons of an Ironman Survivor

"Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"--Henry Ford

After 6 months of training, multiple cortisone injections, 24 arguments with Queenslanders about the benefits of Daylight Savings, near misses and direct hits from tobacco chewing' Cooters (recall Dukes of Hazzard), 3 calls to the wife to save me from B.F Idaho when my bike tyres failed me (before 7am in the morning), a bucket load of "Remedial" (aka torture) massages, endless hours of answering questions about my sanity and a fair share of questioning it myself, the day finally arrived. My first full Ironman!!! And it was every bit the experience that I was promised it would be. Let me take you on a walk down memory lane.

The swim saw a mass start of almost 1,000 and I braved it at the front in an attempt to get some clear water. I got BASHED!! Like a washing machine, frog in a blender, possum in a fusebox! A strong current threw us. Came out of the water about 258th and was fast running out of happy places to think about - already!!

The 180km ride was a fast course. Awesome scenic coastal road from Cairns up to Pt Douglas! Averaged ~35km/hr for the 180km and managed to make up another ~100 places.

It was freakin' hot and exceptionally humid (+90%). Had a lot of rain up there in the days prior, then a clear blue sky and no wind for race day. There was steam coming off the ground. Some very fit men were starting to run (and fall down) like new born deer! Starting the marathon was daunting - I had already sat on a bike for over 5 hours and swam for over an hour! I was drinking between 600-700ml/hour for the race to just maintain half of what I was losing. The crowds in Cairns were huge and the support was incredible. 

Ended up finishing 143rd overall (out of ~1,000), but I was not worried about that. I managed to average ~35km/hr on the bike for over 5 hours and back up a sub 4 hour marathon.

But in the end, despite all of the sacrifices made to get there (and missing toenails) it was a great result. But most pleasing was crossing the line in 10 hrs 43. The feeling of the last kilometre was amazing (like nothing else) and I kept welling up!!!

It was a massive achievement, one that took ridiculous dedication with 4:30am mornings nearly every day for over 5 months and up to 21-22 hours/week training - just to ready myself for a 1 day event!

The one thing that I have always believed is that the word can't is the biggest limiter in most people's lives. If you believe that you can't do something you don't have a snowballs chance in hell. Your mind has already been defeated.

The mind is the most powerful thing you possess and the ability to make your own choices. I chose to put myself through this, but the sense of achievement and immense satisfaction was worth it all. You can do anything you set your mind to - sport, work, life in general.

It will be another 3 years before I go through the ironman routine again (Melbourne or Canada?). In the interim I'll do the customary half ironmans, marathons and any other endurance event to add to the "tick list".

Alas, after dedicating 22 hours a week to training, the sudden drop to a 'normal' training schedule has left me with idle hands. No longer do I nap under my desk or take the 160 km detour to work. I'm Back!!

Are you on the hunt for a new role? Do you need some new talent? Give me a call on 07 3910 0011. I'm fired up and ready to go.