So 17 weeks after qualifying in Frankfurt, I finally made it to the start line at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on 13th October. The lead up had not gone too smoothly having fallen off my bike 7 weeks prior and badly bruising my ribs. This meant that my training had been somewhat compromised, but with support from my family, and friends, myself and my wife Debbie and 2 children, Stassi and Raff, finally arrived in Hawaii, a week before the race.
The atmosphere was incredible as the race takes over the whole town, and where the world’s best Ironman triathletes come together. It was a surreal experience and took a while for me to accept that I was one of them, even if they all looked far more ripped than me! We enjoyed some swimming and snorkelling in the lead up to race day, but I also had to fit in a couple of rides and runs, as well as several swim training sets, where I was joined by my daughter Stassi. Swimming in the ocean where tropical fish look back at you, and dolphins leap 20 ft away from you, is a world away from knocking out lengths at the local pool.
I was really conscious of the fact that this was a holiday for the family, but I managed to get a couple of hour+ rides up and down the Queen K Highway on the bike, which felt good, but my run was playing on my mind. My niggling hamstring was never far away, and if I’m honest, I don’t think I had fully recovered from Frankfurt. A five mile run along Ali’i Drive went well on Monday, but a loop of The Energy Lab the next day kicked off the pain in my leg. By Wednesday evening I could barely walk, and I spent a painful night tossing and turning. I was planning on doing the Underpants Run but by Thursday morning I was in full meltdown mode. Here I was, 2 days from the biggest moment in my life, with the very real possibility of a DNS. All I could think about was the expectations of my family, and my friends back home, and my dad and stepmother who had flown in from California to support me. I broke down big time, trying to hide the tears from the kids, but Debbie picked me up and brought me round. I did the only thing I knew might help, ice, lots of ice. By Thursday evening it had started to calm down, and by next morning, I was confident again that I would make the start. Friday whilst I was at bike check in and racking, Stassi rubbed shoulders with Faris Al Sultan and Kristin Moller! We made our way back to our rented house for an early tea, and then I got all my stuff ready for the morning. Bloody hell, this shit is real!