What Next?

Posted on September 1, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This weekend it will be 4 weeks since I finished the Ironman.  Apparently there is a very real thing called Post Ironman Depression Syndrome or Post Ironman Blues.  To cut the mumbo jumbo short there are a lot of alpha personalities do the Ironman and focus a year of their life on one objective and then at the end, other than being a bit fitter, the actual achievement is a fleeting moment.  I suspect I may have it – the symptoms apparently are that you are tired, grumpy, irrational and lose it for no apparent reason.  But in reality if you were to add short inside leg to that list of symptoms it would actually describe me on a good day.

Channel swimmer dodges a lot of shipping traffic

So whether I have it or not I thought I would reflect on the years past and, as a new challenge is the only cure, I would ponder the alternatives.  I desperately need a distraction as for the last few weeks my only athletic endeavours have been watching the progress of channel swimmers or Arch to Arc competitors making their progress across the channel – strangely compulsive viewing like when you used to watch people on Big Brother sleeping (oh, you know you did – there is no point denying it!).


1.  Still early mornings.  Whether running or cycling being out on a still morning as the sun rises when the streets are deserted is one of life’s greatest pleasures that most people miss because they are in their bed.  Early mornings in the pool, however, are about as much fun as punching yourself in the face.

2. Hurting.  Somebody said recently that we live such comfortable lives that it is important to push yourself until you hurt to remind you that you are alive.  Bizarrely, I agree with that.

3. Thinking.  Sometimes it is thinking about “things” and other times it is the wonderfully vacant experience of thinking about absolutely nothing.  Spending a lot of time in the pool, running or biking means that you always have a clear head.  You just can’t beat that.


1. Snot and gob.  For some reason no matter what direction the wind is going I always end up looking like a snail has passed across my face several times when I get in from a training session.  Admittedly, the snot rocket gives you some facial clearance but in the winter your gloves just end up soggy and cold.  Of course it’s better out than in but I’d rather not wear it.

2. Smelly kit.  6 run and bike and one open water swim session a week leave a lot of smelly kit.  You have a choice to wash it every day or have a washing basket that smells like a locker room.  Apparently I err towards the latter.

3. Idiot drivers.  It’s not fun being a cyclist a lot of the time when every clown on the road considers you either a target through incompetence or as a personal affront to them as BMW drivers.  I can recommend, however, that unless you are in appropriate footwear for a fight not to signal your thoughts to the driver of any blue vans in the vicinity of the Kincardine Bridge – they are fat and very angry.

As I start to contemplate the final events of this year and to rev up the winter training I am now starting to think about what will replace Ironman in my affections next year.  The pain has passed and having taken just slightly less time than a man in a deep sea divers suit to complete the marathon I have unfinished business with the Ironman.  The pain of 42 weeks of training seems to be fresher in Pam’s mind however so at present I am currently, officially banned from going long next year (but I have my fingers crossed).  The basic shape of the year then hopefully will be two half iron events at the start and end of the summer and in the middle I will do the swim in an iron distance Pirate relay at the Outlaw.   But it got me thinking about stuff I want to do……….

Virgin London Marathon – back in April I entered the ballot and next month I will find out if I get a place.  It’s an iconic marathon and apart from NYC (and possibly Berlin, oh and Venice etc) the only city marathon I want to do.

Escape from Alcatraz – just this morning I entered the ballot for the notorious Escape from Alcatraz triathlon.  The race features “a 1.5-mile swim through frigid waters from Alcatraz Island to the shores of the St. Francis Yacht Club, a grueling 18-mile bike ride, and a demanding 8-mile run through the trails of the Golden Gate Recreational Area.”   Now these surfer dude Californian girl-boys may think that the water is frigid but having swum in Threipmuir in May until I couldn’t feel my face and my teeth started to hurt I am thinking the description should probably be tepid to balmy.  On the other hand however you have to jump off a boat and I am paralysed by a fear of heights so they may have got me there with their challenge.  Anyhow, hopefully I will get in for a nice holiday!

Marathon du Medoc – now Shakey and I have talked about this since we started running and it seems a nice way to celebrate my 41st birthday.  It is a marathon through the Medoc’s famous chateaux – including Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Latour – who open theircellars to offer runners some of the world’s most respected wines at 23 drinks stations along the route, as well as countless food stops serving local delicacies from foie gras, oysters and entrecote steak, to ham, cheese and fruit.  They have put a 6 and a half hour time limit on it to stop excessive boozing.  And it is pretty much compulsory fancy dress.

Swim the Gulf of Corryvreckan – this isn’t a race and it is only 2km frrom Jura to Scarba – what’s the challenge? I hear you type.  Well Corryvreckan is the third largest whirlpool in the world.  Haven’t quite got sign off for this next year due to the high risk of being sucked into the whirlpool and never being seen again but I think it would be a giggle.  I will not be taking Shakey the Brick on this trip.

And depending on which combinations of these events I actually get into I will fit Half Ironman around them.  One very tempting one is Ironman 70.3 Ireland which runs in Galway this weekend and I will be watching the race reports with interest.

So, training has started in earnest for the winter with two 4 miles jogs with Shakey this week.  Next event is the Great Scottish Swim on 25th Sept so I really must find the pool sometime before then.  With one week to go until Ironman39 becomes Ironman40 it is hard to believe that the rasping cripple running around Dunfie today was fit enough to become an Ironman only 4 weeks ago.  Hopefully it should be easy to get back despite the advancing years.


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3 Responses to “What Next?”

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[…] This is bone fide crazy: A2A.  I heard about it from ironman39 here. […]




what an excellent read, i’m doing Ironman Regensburg next year, my first, i’ve read your trials and am praying my own will be minor ones.

well done on your achievement, have a fantastic birthday and good luck in your next adventure….Escape from alcatraz looks barmy but exciting…


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