Yes, it's a lame title - but I'm not worried. It feels good to set out towards a goal, work through the ups and downs, and pull it off. I am excited exactly because - I did it. I made up my mind back in September to do this race and never did I expect it to go this well. The physical and mental training routine was: work at it, focus, get better, get stronger, be lazy, slack off, regroup, recommit, and repeat. There has been a lot of small failures along the road, I didn't just setup a training schedule, stick to it and go win a race. Life just isn't that easy and it's hardly ever simple. I messed up the whole way through the process, BUT I addressed the issues - some of them on this blog. I was honest with myself about my desires and how much I was doing to achieve them. This time around, I am most proud because I pushed through the setbacks and flaws. I am learning to accept that there are certain things I won't ever get right and some that, if unfixed will cost me my goals.
The only thing that would've made this last week better, is if I could have shared it with my old man. As it all went down, I'm happy and fortunate that my wife, my mother and both my sisters were with me to experience a half Ironman and all the anxiety, adrenaline, fatigue and emotion that makeup an event. Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 was my first Ironman experience. In my mind, it was epic.
It was hot (high of day = 112) it was windy (20-28mph all race long) and it was long (the bike course was only 56 miles but it felt like 56 after the first 40). I spent most of the race in 2nd place, worried that 1st place was leaving me behind and fearing the moment I would see 3rd place slide into my field of vision and pass me. Well, neither happened and I caught up with 1st place on a steep hill during the run, in our racing wheelchairs. After taking over, there was another big downhill followed by a climb. The temperature was really started to bake and I just wanted it to be over. The next sight made it clear there was plenty more work. There's an intersection after the climb and you make a right. It is flat but straight into the wind. You can see far and all you see is runners on the left and right of the road, most of them walking, all of them spent. It was a grueling trip past a couple aid stations to the turnaround. Once I made that - I was home. It was downwind, I got to see my lead as I passed #2 and I knew I had it. Such a good feeling - about as good as 5hrs of sweat can feel, I suppose. Well, I made it the final miles and startled my family at the finish line. They were expecting to see the other guy first, then start looking for me. Suckers.
Without going on for several paragraphs to explain, my handcycle didn't conform to the rules. At the awards ceremony, it was explained that although my equipment wasn't why I'd won, I would not be on the podium because of the regulations. So, I was extremely excited when, Marc Aten and Jason Fowler acknowledged what I had done by declining the 2nd qualifying spot to the World Ironman Championships in Kona. Which means - the stage is set for the next goal and we're going to Hawaii!