Bike started off ok, bit windy, bit hilly but nothing too bad, was passed by MC and later returned the favour, also passed Meldy, SA and Slim Shady who I played yo-yo with until things got ugly.
First up flats were pretty much ok but as soon as we turned at the roundabout and started towards Haria into the headwind the wheels started squaring up a bit, couldn’t breathe properly and took five minutes out to try and recover. Managed to drag my sorry ass up hill and down dale and stopped again with Mrs S and Barley and Schmunkee, was encouraged by their offering that I was being beaten by a one-legged man, thanks.
Didn’t find Mirador del Rio too pleasant but got over, tried to recover some more on the other side but as soon as any effort was required my breathing became really shallow. Got into a pace line at one point, three of us were rolling along maybe a foot from back wheel to front wheel, normally when the marshals come by they whistle at you and gesture to stop drafting, on this occasion he must have looked at the speedo, realised that at 8mph on the flat we weren’t doing much more than surviving, shrugged and accelerated away. Eventually while slumped over my bars an ambulance pulled alongside and the paramedics asked me to step inside for a quick check. Low blood pressure and a low heart rate, they let me carry on but suggested it might be a good idea to call it a day at T2.
Rolled into PdC and decided that I wouldn’t ignore a health professional for the second time in a fortnight. Having done the run before I was aware how quiet it gets beyond the plane station and didn’t want things to go wrong and leave Mrs S to deal with the implications.
Handed my chip in and was ‘rewarded’ with a finisher’s t-shirt, they obviously recognised that someone of my athletic-ness could have completed the race in 10.15-ish, and Mrs S got her wish of not hanging around for so many hours at the finish line. I tried not to sulk and I tried to drink beer, I know I succeeded with the latter hopefully with the former too.
One of the hardest things post-race was the realisation that you can’t redeem yourself quickly after the failure like you can in other races. If things go wrong in a 5k or 10k, there’ll be one around in the next week or month but with IM you don’t really have that much opportunity, it’ll have to wait a while, I may do a parkrun, but clearly not for a few weeks, I’m not allowed to you know...
What have we learned from the experience?
Well, me who is unfit but healthy can blag this, just about, but me who is fit and unhealthy can’t. That doctors seem to know what they are talking about. That Lanza is a quality destination for a competitive sporting adventure. That there ain’t no party like a Pirate post-race party, there was one point in the evening when Don’t Stop Believing was playing, around two pedestal tables there was absolute chaos but looking around the rest of the bar it was like a scene from the crowd at a world snooker final in comparison, I know which I was happy to be part of.
Congratulations to all the finishers and commiserations to my fellow DNF-ers, will follow you on your next exploits and look forward to seeing the accompanying medal/finishers t-shirt!
Obviously thanks to Mrs S for putting up with my never-ending triathlon mediocrity and for putting the idea of the new name into my mind, she actually suggested buying me an iron lung for my birthday. Thanks too to Pirate friends old and new, those who were there and those online for their support/kind words after my failure.
Preparations for Lanza had gone relatively well, the usual question of are you ready for it could be answered with yes, could I have been better prepared, yes, but as I often mention in reports, while this is still a hobby other life stuff will quite rightly take priority.
One blip a couple of weeks before raceday concerned a quick chat with my GP, I’d gone in to sort out a referral for a neurologist as you do, and reported a slightly tight chest/laboured breathing, it was a bronchial virus and the advice was to steer clear of alcohol, late nights and exercise for 5-6 weeks. Importantly she didn’t ask if I had a trip to Lanza scheduled which would break all of her rules, I can only assume my continuing head injury problems made me forget to tell her, oops.
Fast forward to PdC a fortnight later and Mrs S had the first spotting of the lesser-spotted tri-twat, while I was paddling/swimming, a chap was seen playing on the beach with his child, shirt off to get the tan on, but with HRM strap too, and while his child went to fetch a football or similar he’d be doing lunges, it was a good start. The paddling went ok too, well enough that Mrs S didn’t actually recognise it was me swimming, apparently I looked like a swimmer at one point.
Went to register and found some nice kit in the expo, not so nice was the sizing, my first ever XXL purchase, shocker, further upset later on at dinner, Mrs S declared she wished she was married to Mr Funkin so she didn’t have to wait around so long at the finish line, she wasn’t to be disappointed!
Raceday appeared and we’d decided that I’d go and do the swim and pre-race faffing on my own, it seems my general CBA-ness winds people up. Alarm set for a nice lie-in at 5.45 and a stroll to pump up some tyres and watch the world go by.
Very friendly swim, bumped into the Pirate massive on the beach and then Seren once we were in the water, slightly surprised that she was starting at the back with the armband brigade. No biff, maybe due to me going via Fuerteventura. Lap one in an astonishing 43 minutes, lap two took a bit longer, not sure if the wind got up or the helicopter passing overhead so much disturbed the water or that my swim endurance was tested properly for the first time since Tenby last September, whichever, it was a swim time of 1.31 by my watch, a course pb of near 16 minutes. This was possibly due to me not trawling the atlantic with an open wetsuit, or me being awesome, we may never really know.