Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Family and Friends,

Meredith and I are now sitting back in beautiful west coast of Maui enjoying some great R&R, sunsets, fine wine, beer, and great cheer! Ironman Hawaii has come and gone and WE BOTH survived. Craig Alexander, the men's champion and NEW COURSE RECORD holder said in his acceptance speech:

"a great friend of mine Simon Whitfield said 'Great things happen to people who make great things happen. Well, I would like to say: 'Great things happen to people who surround themselves with great people"...

I have been so fortunate to meet and become friends with GREAT PEOPLE. Meredith is GREAT PEOPLE, and I thank her for her patience in another Ironman pursuit. Her greatness comes from her being such a great friend. She is amazing. She conquers. She supports. She empathizes. She listens. She toughens up (NOTE: do not FK with Ms. Mere. She had a root canal and crown 3 days before we left, then an emergency root canal the day before we left! I say, total CHAMP!)

She affords me to pursue more of myself than ever thought possible before we met by being her. Every stroke, pedal, stride is brought to you by Ms. Mere-:)

A few key people along the way support and help as well. You know who you are. You have big hearts. Big Sis and daddy who are always a rock of family; Clarke and HCK who toughen me the FK up; YT and her words of wisdom; Stud T (NOT what you think!) for her positive vibrations; C3; Shepley; Le bike team; Endurosport; New Balance Toronto; Cervelo bikes; the list continues. All are GREAT PEOPLE. Nothing is possible without that support period.

So the race report itself.

Swim: 1:06 - HOLY S***!!
I didn't swim a lot in training but I knew I would get by. This said, there were points in this swim that were flat out scary. This swim at one point required some serious rugby scrum tactics to get through!

I got into the water 20 minutes ahead of the start. I did a quick warm up and found some space about 3rd row dead center of the group. To the right are usually the fast crew; to the left slightly slower and given I had space I felt confident this was where I wanted to be. The gun sounded, I started fast and had clear water and thought "GREAT!". Then we came to the first buoy where it was complete fight for your life stuff! The swim actually stopped as we tried to make it through on the left of the buoy. No going right, that is illegal and the surfers are very, very strict about not letting this happen. OK, one will be easier right? NOPE....repeat all the way until about 500M to go on the way back to the pier. It was insane. But, we survive, take a deep breath and remember to smile and stay positive! 

I started swim just behind and left of the blue surfboard.

Bike: 5:12 - piston legs turn, turn, turn.
I made a very conscious decision to cover up my shoulders and arms on the bike after my race here in 2003 where I literally cooked like bacon! The ZOOT arm coolers and team kit Hincapie cycling jersey really, really helped keep me cool as I soaked them every other aid station with cold water. My bike leg goal was to stay within myself, this is not a bike race, and enjoy the climb to Hawi into the wind. On the way back into headwinds stay low and remember how lucky I am to do this, to be here at the Kona Hawaii Ironman, and never complain.

These goals were made easy as my mantra began to sink in..."Just smile" and "to not do my best is to sacrifice the gift". I wrote on my bars three quotes:

  1. To not do your best is to sacrifice the gift - Prefontaine
  2. If you are going to go thru Hell, keep going - Churchill
  3. I'm so bad, I make medicine sick - Ali

I felt great the whole way. Twice negative talk entered "OMG, a marathon? seriously? Control-ALT-Delete self talk and back to smiling!If I got negative at all I read my bars, reminded myself how lucky I am and I need to honor that "luck" by doing my best.

As we reached town I really did feel amazing and was looking forward to running! That never happens but my Power Data told be I did a very smart, controlled bike ride and that I should be able to run well.
note: hands, arms, shoulders, neck all covered from sun!

Run: 4:32 - So that happened!
I knew it 50 metres into my transition off bike to the transition tent. Instantly my ab muscles cramped. Not a stitch, actual ab muscle cramping! I stayed in the tent for over 8 minutes, stretching etc. to try and loosen it up then hit the road. I then stopped immediately and waited for my GPS watch to link into the satellites because I was still cramping. I figured, 2 minutes here can save my race. So I waited, and waited, and waited...the watch got going then so did I but my cramps were brutal. I suddenly was problem solving and thinking fast, fast, fast what to do? I realized missing my E-Load on the bike was now killing me (I stopped for my bike special needs bag in Hawi, I then got off my bike to look for it myself, I then thanked the volounteers and rode off without said bag! They didn't have it, that's racing so move on!) Now I was paying.

I went about 2 to 3 miles along Alii drive and finally saw Meredith!! I walked up to her and gave her a big kiss and hug. Melissa Spooner was cheering athletes with Meredith. I looked over and said, "Wait, is your name Melissa?" .... "Why yes now get running!" Meredith and Melissa then looked at each and realized "yes, we HAVE met!"....after much fun and banter I was off and running/walking. 7 miles into the run I found a great groove and knocked a few 7:45 miles but the cramps were coming and going and I reverted back to my mantra


My goals were to have fun, and learn about myself. I learned that the this race was my most enjoyable race because I smiled the whole way! I had FUN OUT THERE! I cheered on friends! I cheered on competitors as they passed me. I was NEVER negative on the run. I was having too much fun! Sure it wasn't fast, it wasn't crushing it, it wasn't all was so, so much more.

It was learning that competing against a clock is just that. IT'S A CLOCK PEOPLE! Who cares?? Competing against yourself and how focused you can get when actually going slower vs. faster is quite surreal. I learned that sport is fun, enjoy it! It's a gift. You might not be here ever again; enjoy it!

cramps passing, time to run!
cramps are back, SLOW!
cramps are gone again! Time to run!

Finish! 11:03:39 

This is the superbowl of triathlon, a sport I really haven't competed in for 3 years. I suffered the last mile of this run as the cramps began to really take their toll. I could only walk Alii drive into the finish shoot because the pain was so intense. It was horrible; AND I LOVED IT!

Nothing beats finishing the Ironman.

last 200M. thank god!
and that's that!
I did my best
I loved every minute of it

"If I could, you know I would, if I could I would....let it go..." Bono from song, Bad.


But then, to do that is to make it easy which it isn't. You get out what you put in. Mental and physical. The biggest lesson on the streets of the big island is that being mentally trained is critical to meeting goals. 

Stay focused.
Have fun.

See you out on the roads friends!

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