Sleepless night

Posted on August 6, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I always knew that tonight would be the toughest part of the Ironman (well, apart from the training, the swimming, the biking and the running) as I know I have to be up at 4am but it is hot and sticky and I have too much stuff to think about.

As Pam pointed out in her test update bike check-in was a reality check for me. I dropped everyone off in the old town and then made my way out to the lake to rack my bike. It was probably only a two hour diversion but it was far too much time on my own. There is a phenomenal amount of stuff to check in as you can see from my packing.


At the lake we had our bikes checked by the referees (“we’re only here to help you” – a bit like auditors), our photos taken with our bikes and then we were left to rack them in the vast transition area. I am in the second back row most of the way towards the mount line which means that will get a decent jog before I have to think about finding my bike. As anyone who reads the blog knows I tend to get a bit flakey at the end of the swim and lose my bike. We were given giant poly bags to keep the bikes in since they will be outside all night.


After racking I joined everyone in a beer garden on the side of the Danube and the difference between athletes and Sherpas couldn’t have been more stark. The hydration of choice was the giveaway but you couldn’t have told from the nutrition. I do love the bratwurst.



We went back to the expo in the afternoon as the mercury hit 30deg and I allowed the Sherpas another big cold beer which seems fair as they will have as long a day as me tomorrow (they have gone to bed before me!). On the way to the expo we passed the finishing stadium and the athletes garden where we will be rehabilitated afterwards. Pam and Les walked up the finish route but i was unusually superstitious and walked around the back of the stand. I did pause to check the medical facilities where there were three large marquees full of stretchers ready to rehydrated the ironmen. The other interesting thing with this weather is that Rory is no longer the whitest boy in Germany. Despite spending his holidays shrouded head to toe and wearing spf50 he now has a healthy tan.

We ate in tonight and sat on the sun terrace until about 8pm. I then took the opportunity for my own race briefing and to remind Pam that no matter how bad I look I will be fine. If it is as hot as today then I will look pretty grim for sure. After dinner I made up my water bottles and the fridge is definitely a picture of before and after the race.


The last thing I had to do was gather the rest of my kit for the morning and for after the race which I will need to deposit at the lake when I arrive. It all seemed manageable when being packed but tomorrow night in my own in the restricted area I have to gather three bags and a bike and then find my lift.


I am going to pretend I can sleep now. I will leave you with a piece of writing that was part of my original inspiration to do the Ironman. It is from “Becoming an Ironman” by Kara Douglass Thom….

“The water laps your toes and envelopes your skin. Close your eyes. The masses become silent and your heartbeat thunders. You have planned for today, talked about today, trained for today, imagined today, dreamed today, and yet you still don’t know what to expect. A cannon blows and you remember, as you dread the uncertainty and the harsh duration to come, to savor every second because in your memory it will be over in the minutes it takes to recount or reread from your journal.

Move, breathe, drink, eat. Move, breathe, drink, eat. Move and move. One hundred forty and six-tenths miles. Know tenderly, intimately every fiber of your being that propels you forward only because your brain says, “Don’t stop.” And don’t stop. Move, breathe, drink, eat.Manage your day. Stick to your plan. Be flexible. Just finish. Float when your mind and body detach and watch your body move with you – pushed by the crowd, the volunteers, who lust for your finish as if it were their own. But it hurts. And you don’t know for sure why you are doing this and what it will mean when you do. And then you see it. A banner, a clock, a frenzy of applause. And you know you made it happen through whatever means and power source you draw strength from.

Ironman will trivialize past hardship and prepare you to minimize those to come. It makes dreams come true. You have what it takes to bridge aspirations into accomplishments. Crossing that line embraces self: confidence, sacrifice, reliance, invention, worth. Finishing makes you your own hero.”

Enough said!



Sleepless Night


The Longest Day

One Guy, 5 Stone, Two and a Half Years and Two Races

The Swim – Froth, Speedos and Bulging Eyeballs

The Bike – Rain, Rain, Hill, Rain, Rain, Hill, Ouch

The Run – 42.2km of Hanging In There

The Aftermath




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