IMC is over and done with for 2006.

As for my race, suffice it to say, after 25 years and hundreds of races and 8 previous Iron Distance events, I SCREWED UP AGAIN!!!

I stuck to my nutrition plan, but it was obviously lacking in fluids and electrolytes.

I had the most relaxed morning preparations for the race, setting up my bike then wandering around the t-zone getting pictures of everyone.

I started the swim on the front line, in the middle of the crowd. The guys around me were all talking about how fast they were hoping to swim, so I knew I was in the right place. The canon went off and I had, without a doubt, the smoothest start anyone could have with 2200 people thrashing around them. I did not get touched once the whole swim. I tucked in behind a guy for the first 6 buoys then went wide and took the lead for the rest of the swim. There was a group of swimmers about 30sec in front, but I chose not to close the gap as I was quite comfortable. The guys on my toes may have been saving a bit of energy, but my race was with Father Time, not them. I popped out of the water in about 55min, a bit slower than I expected, but not by much.

A quick and efficient transition, an easy start to the bike, passing a few people early on, a good climb over Richter Pass and a 2:31 split at 90k put me in a good mood. I was very close to where I wanted to be. A little while later, a few people passed me and, though I felt fine, there was not much I could do about them being faster. I was trying to restrain myself and make sure I did not dip too deep into my reserves. A few more people passed me and I was getting annoyed, so I pushed a bit harder but was surprised that I could not pass them back. In fact, my quads started to cramp, so I popped some e-load tablets and felt better, but still not able to push as hard as I would have liked. Climbing Yellow Lake was fine, and I kept up to the people around me, then passed them on the descent, but they passed me back on the little rollers and, again, I was not able to keep up and I started to cramp again. More e-load and all was good.

I rolled into the t-zone with a bike split of 5:13, good for some people, but not for me. it was actually a lot slower than I expected and given the way I was feeling earlier on, not very inspiring.

I changed quickly and got off to a good start on the run falling right into stride and pace. Jen White told me I was in about 20th spot, which was fine with me. I felt okay and passed a lot of people in the first 6 miles, then started to stall a bit. My legs were no longer as spunky as they should have been and on a very slight downhill, my right quad seized on me. I was obviously in trouble, but managed to get it under control. I slowly ran to 9 miles, all the while on the verge of cramping quads until another downhill where I stepped over the verge and had to stop for about 5min, feet, quad and hamstring cramping uncontrollably. I tip-toed down the hills to the turnaround still counting the number of people in front of me in the hopes things would clear up and I could save my day by running the last half of the marathon reasonably well.

Not likely!!

Marie Danais passed me here and I wished her well. She looked strong and relaxed at that point. After the turnaround, up the hills, I saw Paul Mcaneney running very well and focused. Not far behind him was Mike Woodford, also running really well. I’d taught them well, it seems, as a few miles later, they both blew past me like I was hardly moving (okay, I was hardly moving, but still). I took comfort in knowing they were both having amazing days, even if I was not. Not long afterwards, Chris Macknie patted my back and encouraged me, then he was gone too. I hobbled along on my sticks until 20 miles when I grabbed a cup of the chicken soup (high in sodium), but it was a bit weak. At 21 miles, I had some more soup (stronger) and either things started to improve, or I’d just plain gotten used to running with pegs for legs. I ran the rest of the way, even, for the first time since the 6th mile, passing people.

With 2k to go, Jen White suggested I could catch her brother Andrew who was “just ahead”. I pushed a bit harder, passing a few more people, but not Andrew. It seems taking back 3min in 2km is a touch difficult. Her devious ploy worked to wake me up a bit for the finish photo.

I crossed the line a lot later than expected, with my worst time in an IM so far. Ironically, I feel I am in the best shape I have been in this decade. Go figure. I was still proud to have finished, but can only wonder what I could have done if …

I ended up in the medical tent for 3 hours and two IV bags. At one point, while trying to drink from a straw, my right foot cramped, then my hamstring, quad, left hip flexor, left bicep, the muscle right between my shoulder blades, and then I threw up. I could only laugh at myself for allowing this situation to develop.

Never again? We’ll see.

One thing I do know is that our own Dr. Bruce Burns’ IMC records for three different age groups are outstanding. This year, I believe the strongest men’s field in the 40-44 took a shot at breaking his 16 year old record, lead by Steve Irvine (former top 5 finisher overall) and we could not come within 15min of it. Bruce, you have always seemed to be super human. Now, I know you are.