The Aftermath

Posted on August 25, 2011. Filed under: baby, bike, farky, ironman, ironman regensburg, man flu, race report, race review, regensburg, Rory, run, swim, triathlon, Uncategorized, wetsuit |

The morning after the Ironman I really hadn’t slept much.  However, I got up and made a pot of coffee, washed my Ironman mug, sat down on the sofa and relived the previous 24 hours………

A few months before I went out to Germany an Ironman had advised me to take an IV drip as I crossed the line to boost recovery.  I also suspect it was a badge of honour to be recounted in war stories for years to come.  I had fully expected to be a veteran of the medical tent; I also expected to be a blubbering wreck as I crossed the finish line to end a two and a half year journey from michelin man to ironman.

As I ran down the finishing chute I high-5’d the whole right hand side of the bleachers, then the man who may or may not have shouted (and I couldn’t have cared less) “Dougie, You are an Ironman!” and finally I fell into the arms of the lady who would escort me out of the finish area.  She put the medal over my head and gave me a rather dapper gold foil blanket.  After a few steps she tried to pinch my blanket which almost got her into a lot of trouble but she explained it was just so that she could get my finishers photo.  OK then.  She then, however, crossed the line.  Admittedly I was walking on medieval, cobbled streets on feet that had blistered within an inch of being mince but I don’t think there was any need to direct this hobbling, hunchbacked shrek in the direction of the medical tent.  Oh no, I didn’t need no doctor assessing me.  In fact, as opposed to a badge of honour there was no way wild horses could have dragged me into the medical tent even if my ass had been doused in petrol and set on fire.

Instead, with clear presence of mind and an inexplicably recovered digestive system I headed straight for the first food tent and inhaled two salami rolls.  A volunteer then gave me my white bag and I had instant recall that in it was a soggy pair of shorts, no flip flops, no towel and no underwear.  I hobbled to the shower block with another salami sandwich and a bit of cake and proceeded to take off my filthy, cold wet tri suit and socks and put on clean, cold, wet shorts and put my bare blistered feet back into my trainers that I had just run 26.2 uncomfortable miles in.  I just kept telling myself I was now an Ironman and I could handle it.  I also had my mobile in my white bag so I made contact with the sherpas.  They wanted to know where I was – “I’m getting another salami roll”.  Then – we are at the food tent – oh, I’m at the medal engravers.  Then – we’re at the engravers – I’m getting my finishers t-shirts. We are at the t-shirts – I seem to be on a shuttle bus.  To where?  I’m not really sure.

The Sherpas eventually track me down at the beer tent

It turned out that the shuttle bus was going to T2 and the beer tent.  My next update caused general concern – “I’m just having a beer, a sausage and a bit of cake”.   It made perfect sense to me to have a beer – I had barely drunk in 6 months, I was in Germany and I was a brand new Ironman.  With hindsight I can see why it may not have been an obvious choice as a recovery drink if you hadn’t been thinking about that beer for over two years.

I chatted to Pam and the Farkies for 10minutes before they headed off to the appartment to get the kids to bed and then Grant would come back for me and my kit.  With half an hour to kill I did the only thing I could think of – wrapped myself in my foil blanket, got another beer and sausage and watched the Ironman world go by.  I sat on the end of a long beer hall type bench and saw an Italian lady that I had seen earlier in the day – she had been a spectator but she had been running alongside her boyfriend who had been in particularly bad nick.  I could only assume that the prone lump under the foil blanket was her boyfriend and I watched as she pulled little bits off a piece of bread and put them into his mouth as if he was a baby sparrow.  Looking at the state of him I was devastated until I saw the unmistakeable flash of bling and it all became clear  – he was an Ironman and he would be fine.

After I finished my beer I went and got my transition bags and made my way to the bike racks.  As I went through security there was a girl in her foil blanket sitting in the road who looked like she sat down for a rest and then fell asleep.  When I found my bike it took me about 10 minutes to work out how to get it off the rack – it wasn’t difficult, I just wasn’t that bright.  I wrestled my bike back and bags to the beer tent, got another beer and settled down until Farkie got back.  For the first time, again huddled in my foil blanket, I think the magnitude of what I had achieved and what I had put my body through hit me and I had a quiet moment to myself.    At this point, probably about an hour afteer I finished, I thought I had better let a few special people that had been on the journey with me know that the mission had been accomplished and I had survived.  It was only over the next couple of days I really appreciated the number of people that had followed my progress hour by hour and the sheer volume of messages of support that I had received.  That Ironman Live collapsed when I only had 700m to go seems to have spoiled a few Sunday evenings and filled Pam’s inbox for days to come.

Farkie collected me and when we got back to the appartment asked if my bike would be safe in the car.  My genuine, and totally honest response – “If I ever see that effing bike again it will be too effing soon”.   Once I had bounded up three flights of stairs I cracked open another beer, had a giant bag of crisps and bored everyone else to sleep.  And then I slept the sleep of a brand new Ironman.  That means that between adrenaline, caffeine, sunburn, blisters and muscle pain I slept for an uncomfortable acccumulation of about 8 minutes.

A quiet moment with Ironbaby

The morning after I did a short blog update that I signed off “At the moment I hurt and the memories of the low spots are still fresh in the mind.  The mental scars will fade and the physical scars will be covered by the the late summer sun but I will always be an Ironman.” And that remains so true – I still have a few contact scars, my feet and back are not in the best of nick and my current outbreak of either manflu or ebola (only time will tell but my money is on ebola because my nose was bleeding) may mean that my immune system is shot but I still get a bit choked in quiet moments when I think about what I have achieved.  Back to the words that originally inspired me in Becoming an Ironman – this was my own challenge, it wasn’t to prove anything to anyone else but I have become my own hero.

The Pirates abandon yeller and black to go incognito

The afternoon saw the Pirate Party and that reminded me why I became a Pirate.  Your own drive, resilience and sheer bloody mindedness can get you so far but in the really dark moments when you get an “AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRR” or a “Go Pirate” you get a massive tailwind that takes you a long way forwards or just makes you smile.

Back into the realms of TMI but when I thought about it afterwards despite drinking litres of water and beer across both the Sunday and the Monday I didn’t actually pee from the time I took my wetsuit off at 8:06 on Sunday until late on Monday afternoon.  Now thats dehydration!

And eventually after 4 months of waiting, two days after the Ironman I got to take my wee boy for a swim. I may be biased but I would say he is a natural.

Yes dad, you have told me the story about the day you became an Ironman




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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