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Race Report - Port Mac IM 2024 - Steve you are an Ironman !!

Updated: May 17

The thrill of Saturday swiftly transformed into a mix of anxiety and anticipation. Standing alongside Neatone Jacobik and Malcolm Wesener with Nelly Love Sport already making waves in the water, and the WAGs ( Sherie Bates Sandra TheRiver & Amy Green) adding to the buzz, the excitement was palpable, yet so were my nerves. Doubts began to creep in. Maybe I could blame a sore shoulder and opt out of the race.

After a few bathroom trips and wrestling into my wetsuit, I found myself at the starting line. With a quick dose of Double-Maurteen gel, I plunged into the water, feeling a wave of relief wash over me.

As I swam, I encountered unexpected challenges – my wetsuit's zipper decided to release itself, letting water seep in. Despite the setbacks, I found my rhythm, following the lead of a fellow swimmer until I realised we were veering off course. Adjusting my course, I pressed on, navigating the weir crossing with caution.

Surprisingly, I found myself enjoying the swim, but thoughts of calling it quits still lingered. Yet, the cheers from the sidelines and the sight of Amy spurred me on. Transitioning to the bike leg, a mix-up with gear momentarily threw me off, but with determination, I rectified the error and hit the road.

Despite warnings about rough terrain, I found solace in the cycling loops, staying fueled and hydrated along the way. My poor steed got its fair share of hydration. Thankfully, the rain was there to wash away my sins. Inevitably, fatigue began to set in as I approached the final leg. Memories of past struggles with the Matthew Flinders loop loomed, but this time, I approached in a better gear and spun my way up it passing a few swerving cyclists along the way.

Once back in town, the threat of encountering a puncture or mechanical issue loomed ominously in my mind. Despite this, the notion of concluding the race at that moment seemed tempting. A narrative involving a hypothetical calf strain or digestive discomfort flirted with plausibility as I approached transition.

Amy's radiant smile and welcoming presence, coupled with my ability to say what I’d be thinking about saying to her when we’d meet again. “Can I hang your curtains?” in a thick Scottish accent. This provided a brief moment of distraction before I proceeded to rack my bike and retrieve my trainers and race belt from the tent.

However, around the 5-kilometre mark, a familiar urge surfaced – the need for a pit stop. This unforeseen interruption could have derailed my momentum, but I knew I had to address it swiftly. Spotting a portaloo along the route, I made a quick detour, grappling with the challenge of stripping off my gear and managing the bibs. Despite the time lost, I emerged, resolved to reclaim lost ground. 7km in under 31mins. I was on!

Next 7km done and the watch just ticked over 60mins. I was still on. I was passing people. I was singing and dancing going past the finish line as the pros were coming into their final lap.

Unfortunately, the snakes I’d brought onto course had dried up and by 17km my buoyant mood had also dried up. I was starting to feel sore. Not moving in my goose-like run manner, I plodded on. I needed sugar, but the thought on another gel was making me think about throwing up.

The sight of a spectator indulging in a greasy doner kebab triggered a bout of nausea, exacerbating my ordeal as I continued to push forward. Kilometre times gradually deteriorated, with fatigue setting in and the prospect of walking becoming increasingly enticing. Aid stations become a respite. I’d never walked one in my entire life and now I was guzzling Coke like a kid at a party whilst I walked through them.

I passed Mal on the hill near the caravan park. Then I saw the back of him again, as I vacated the bathroom for a second sitting!

Seeing Sherie and Sandra on the course lifted my spirits and gave me someone to tell I was dying and get it off my chest that it f*cking hurt. After many more expletives and telling myself I was soft, the devil on my shoulder was doing the maths and like 8 km=80 minutes of walking! The cut off wasn’t for hours. However, I wanted to get off my feet. My legs ached to be on the red carpet.

I remembered a quote from Cam Wurf on a podcast where he talked about going all in on training – “It takes as much commitment to give 100% as 90%. So you may as well go all in.” So, I trudged out and gritted it out. There was an aid station at 40km and I was like, I can’t stop. I am getting this done. About 40.2km, I was parched and needed energy. I made it to aid station at about 41.5km in and guzzled two cups of Coke. Nectar of the Gods.

Finish line music reverberated in my ears and the thought of actually being an Ironman bounced around my head. A thought I’d had for nearly 10 years after listening to Iron War on Audible. It was something I said I’d always do and today was that day. Spotting Amy, I smiled, and I nearly started crying – I am not an emotional person. As I got to grace the red carpet, I soaked it in and loved it. I was a rockstar! I was an Ironman….... although no one actually said those famous words.

Looks like I’ll be back next year then to get those famous words said and to crack the 10-hour mark!

A heartfelt thank you to Amy for your unwavering support throughout my Ironman journey. Despite the early alarms and my exhaustion, you remained patient and understanding, even when I was less than helpful around the house due to training fatigue. Your tolerance for the tasks left undone and the events missed because of training, recovery, or preparation has not gone unnoticed. Your unwavering support and understanding, even in the face of my relentless pursuit of goals, exemplify your commitment to our relationship and your belief in my dreams. Your actions speak volumes about your character, demonstrating your willingness to stand by me as I chase my aspirations. Thank you for being my rock throughout this journey; I couldn't have done it without you.

Coach McKinney thanks for setting the program and keeping me accountable and making me fit! You know me and how my body works! Fitter now than I have ever been. He knows his shit!!

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