Wednesday, June 1, 2011


This is only a simulation... Shall I do it???
So this is it, this will probably be one of the lasts post of this blog! I plan to print it out as a book to remind me of this slightly crazy time in my life. And, who knows, it might even be useful to me when (and if) I do my next Ironman in the year 2022.

The journey back was nothing like as much of a nightmare as I was expecting. I recovered so quickly from Sunday's exertions that I even started to torture myself by thinking that I could have pushed myself harder. Then I remembered that the onset of cramps in my legs made it very clear to me that it would have been a very bad idea. The b*stard baggage handlers broke both quick release skewers this time, shearing one of them in two and bending the other one. They also managed to break some bits of the bike case. I guess they must have been fed up with lugging 1,800 bikes (x2) over the course of a week. Perhaps the organizers could give them a tip or something, so that next year they are a bit more respectful. I did notice that those going direct from Sao Paolo simply put their bike through with no case - if anything a bit of bubble wrap - and these came out immaculate at the other end. My bike and suitcase arrived in Madrid but, curiously enough, Iberia managed to lose my wife's suitcase in London.

Going back to work the next day was tough - it felt like I had never been away - but my colleagues were very congratulatory about my result and was stopped so many times that I arrived late to all my meetings. Some people prefer their colleagues not to know that they are participating in Ironman competitions because the amount of time they spend training can be misconstrued. However, the head of Human Resources of the company I work for, José Luis Alciturri, appeared on the news this week, announcing he was taking part in a Half Ironman. Considering that he is responsible for 180,000 employees and he is 60 years old, that is pretty damn impressive. He has already done the Maraton des Sables, so it should be "chupado" for him.

I told you my arms were getting bigger from all this swimming
My back was still aching from the bike position and the economy class seats and I had had to take some anti-inflammatories to tide me through the night. On Thursday, I got some very good news - my nephew Erdem Ali Smith was born after 24 hours of labour (what's that, a triple Ironman?).

Anyway, in case you are curious, here are the official results:

The line I took on the swim wasn't as bad as it felt at the time, but you can see the effect of the current (as well as the point where I crashed head-on into a fellow competitor).

Incredibly, it took about 20 kilometers on the bike for my heart to settle down after the swim. I wonder if this is normal. Other than that, the bike was pretty steady

but you can distinctly see the fade on the run with about 19 kilometers to go. It wasn't a "wall" exactly but, as I described in my race report, I just started going more and more slowly for what was the same perceived effort (and perceived speed for that matter). As you can see, my heart rate went down correspondingly, so the limiting factor was not cardiovascular but fatigue.

This is the route we took (with lot's of loops that you can't see). The gap near the bottom left is the tunnel we went through 8 times.

Thanks for following me along my journey. Next stop: let's see if I can break 3 hours in the Marathon...