The smile lasted for about 15 seconds as I was draped with a towel and ushered from the finish line by a “catcher”. Ann Anderson (Dave’s wife) was volunteering as a “catcher” and she immediately claimed me from some other lady. At this point the smile was replaced by a look of intense exhaustion mixed with liberation that it was over. I didn’t collapse or anything I really just wanted to get away from the finish area and sit down. Ann kept asking me if I wanted any water or anything. I still had the humor to tell her that I wanted some Tequila and my bed. (Tequila would have been terrible, my bed not so much.) Since I was relatively okay (didn’t need medical or something like that) Ann released me into the “Family area” and went back to catch more Zombie Ironman. I never feel like eating anything post race but forced myself to try or I would just continue to feel terrible. I needed some protein and I tried to eat a Powerbar but they have the unpalatable consistency of sand. The whole time I’m looking around trying to spot my parents. I could only relate it to a small child who lost his mom in the store and is wondering around, lost and confused thinking, “I want my mommy. Where is she?” That’s what I felt like as I wondered over to get my finishers shirt and medal and some pizza.
I finally spotted Mom and Pop as I painfully did an old man walk across the beach area toward them. They saw me and Mom gave me a hug and I rested my head on her shoulder and didn’t give much of a hug back. Dad got a hug as well. They said good job and they were proud of me and we went to go find a spot to sit down. As we were walking back toward the photo area I happened to see andypottstri.com on the back of someone’s jersey and I looked up and it was Andy (finally!), chatting with some other athlete. I tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Andy. You’re the man!” He turned toward me with a huge smile and said, “Thanks man." That was pretty cool. I got my picture taken with my parents, found Dave, who also congratulated me, and ate some more pizza before hobbling to the car to get out of my tri attire.
Somehow my run had evened out to a 3:29.47. I still can’t quite wrap my head around that math because I felt I was moving so slow for about 18 miles of it. In the end my other official splits were 1:07.33 swim, T1-3:28, bike 5:08.50, T2-3:07. I finished 361st overall and 14th in my AG and only got chicked by two AG women (and 22 pros). Overall I am very happy with my result; however I wouldn’t say I’m satisfied. It’s hard to be satisfied when you don’t put together a good leg of your traditionally strongest event. I could point to a bunch of different “reasons” but it doesn’t really matter. I’ll just have to qualify again and come back to put on the better performance that I know I am capable of if it all goes right. My overall impression of Kona is that the race is “fun” and “cool” only because it is the “World Championship” and there are so many high caliber athletes. There is nothing about the course that makes in “fun” or “cool”, the whole course itself is wretched and it makes you reach down for another level of toughness you didn’t think you had. It’s either that or give up. And you work to hard to get there to give up.
It is now Tuesday as I sit at our condo in Kauai finishing this up. My legs still feel trashed and walking down stairs isn’t fun. I’m planning on taking several weeks off and not getting back into training mode until at least November. I’m signed up for another Ironman in St. George Utah on May 7th, 2011. But I’m not really thinking about that one right now. Thanks to everyone that was tracking me on race day. Your messages, emails and phone calls gave me a little more of that toughness to get through the race, when you know there’s that many people that care about how you do. Thanks again and if you have any other questions about the race that I didn’t cover in this short novel let me know. I’d be happy to divulge further details. Best wishes to all.
To continue the theme, the Death Star was destroyed, but the Galactic Empire is building another one. The rebel alliance must develop a new plan of attack, get another chance to attack, obtain funds for the journey, and hopefully succeed again.