I woke up 5 on the morning of a beautiful Saturday the 16th of August.
Ate breakfast and went out to the transition area to fix the final bits on my bike, fluids and gels etc.
Headed back to the start and felt very calm. The same calm I had at my Mallorca 70.3 race 🙂
I know I can complete a 3.8km swim below 1.20h without getting tired.
And when I’ve had feet in front of me, the time would be as low as 1:05h.
So I thought I would place myself with the 1:10h guys/gals and when I felt good I would swim past them and have other faster feet in front of me.
Solid plan.. but I never found any feet. Everyone else was going crazy fast! Or.. I was just slow.
I tried to keep up but couldn’t manage and I had to slow down to avoid getting tired. But I was still making an OK pace.
Then after about 2.8km my brain and body just pulled me out from the swimming path with 5 quick strokes and I threw up 3times.
Sometimes when I’ve come out of training sessions I’ve had some nausea, but that has been when I had pushed too hard or when it has been high waves.
Neither was the case this day.
I had to swim with my nose over water the rest of the way. Everytime I put in below water, I got sick again.
My watch said I had done the swim in 1:34h and well, I was not pleased.
Seriously, I do not know what I do in my transitions. Granted, I do not run in my transitions, but the first one was 9:27min.
9 minutes to remove my wetsuit and put on helmet/bikejacket and shoes is just plain horrible.
But I think it was even worse for the guy that stood next to me when I changed clothes yelling to the Ironmancrew: MY BAG IS GONE!
I got on my bike and planned to do some heavy work. 6 hours and an average of 30km/h was my failsafe. What I know I can perform even under bad weather.
So my goal was to do it in below 5:30h. I was going to hammer it and make time for my run which I knew was probably going to be bad.
I had a great support crew that cheered me on and when I saw them I forgot about how bad the swim was.
But my body did not forget.
I had set my watch to alert me every 15 minutes. And Every 15 minutes I tried to drink some energy and eat a gel.
But it wouldn’t go down easy and I had to force it. There was nothing wrong with my stomach, just that I felt very nauseated when I had something in my mouth.
And I could not push at all. When my pulse went up to working zone I had to take it down a notch before feeling sick again.
Well, this day was not going well and the first thing that I though was that to hell with my time just as long as I make it before Heroes Hour (which was around 22:00).
I ate a total of 5 gels, one half of snickers and drank 2 litres of water mixed with carbohydrates/electrolytes on the bike.
Well, nothing I could do about it just realize facts and continue on.
The bike ride was actually good even with the disasters!
People say you do an Ironman by your self. But really, there are so many people out there that you are seldom alone.
You chit chat to the people you pass or compliment others that pass you.
People look serious, but when you smile, they smile right back.
The funniest part must have been when I came up behind Göran (another team member) and yelled to him “I bet you didn’t see me coming”.
The thing is, that Göran probably thought I was long gone and ahead of him. 🙂
Anyways, my bike ride took 5:40h which could be much better but then again, it was a good time.
I jumped of my bike and came into transition.
But something was wrong and I could barely walk on my right foot, it hurt really bad.
I thought it was the shoes and the cleats so I removed the shoes after I had hung up my bike.
But it was the same, I had to stumble over to my run bag to get changed.
Once in the tent to get changed I could not support my foot and the slightest touch was hell.
Now I started thinking about Heroes Hour again, and what I would have to do to get to the finish line.
I walked out of the transition area.
Not one time during the race had I been sad. Just faced the facts, prioritized and knowing that no matter what, I would get to the finish line.
I was a happy camper and many had said to me while on the bike that I looked surprisingly fresh.
I told everyone that the inside is not well, but I am happy as hell to be here!
But when I walked out of that transition I was met by a lot of my family and friends that had come out to cheer on me.
And boy were they cheering, almost ear deafening!
It hit me crazy hard because I was walking and at that precise moment I felt like a failure.
Some of them had traveled 3.5h just to see me and then they would travel 3.5h back.
I could barely watch anyone in the eyes.
But their cheer got me going. I blocked out the pain, picked up my elbows and I started to run.
I got around the corner and set a goal, that I would run to the next aid station where I would get something to drink and eat.
At the aid station I had some coke and salty pickles. The energy drinks and gels was horrible and they would not go down.
Not only was I emptied on energy, but I could not get any new.
I ran to the next aid station but the thing was the same. When I tried to eat or drink energy, I felt sick.
So I had to adapt, how in the world would I manage a marathon without energy?
I decided to take it easy and enjoy the people cheering and the other athletes performances.
Priority was to get to the finish line.
I walked and ran in turns. Chatting with other people that was walking. I even managed a sip from a beer at one place.
Göran caught up with me and passed me in good spirits. I didn’t bother to follow him as I did not know how I would do later in the race.
There was no problems with my body at all. And I didn’t even have any aching in my leg anymore.
When I was on my last lap (3 lap course) I looked at my watch and saw that I could make it below 12h if I ran a bit more but it really didn’t mean much to me.
Now I just wanted to enjoy the atmosphere and run down the finish stretch that went through the town of Kalmar.
When I entered the town and the final kilometer the crowd saw that I had finished 3 laps and cheered even harder.
I ran up on the blue carpet and heard the commentator yell those special words that you want to hear:
YOU ARE AN IRONMAN
It was.. magical.
I was given a medal and had a picture taken.
And when I received my finisher T-shirt I got dizzy.
So dizzy they had to take me to the hospital tent they had set up.
My arms and head started to become numb as well as getting really cold.
I was given resorb that I chugged down and later I could eat some hot soup.
The race had taken it’s toll on me and I was dehydrated and low on energy.
I’m kinda glad that I didn’t push the race as I would never had forgotten myself if I had to break the race.
Since I didn’t push it I barely have muscle soreness. My back is slightly stiff, but other than that my body is OK.
But while I’m writing this 2 days after the race I am still dehydrated and have nausea/headache.
But it’s worth it because now I can call myself an Ironman 🙂
A huge THANK YOU to all the people that came out to cheer for me. It really made a difference in which words can’t describe.
Also a big THANK YOU to all that have supported me during this year where I have done nothing but training and being anti social.
And to my “in 2 weeks soon to be wife” Josefin Nyström, I love you. Without your help and support I would not have had the strength to go the distance and achieve my goal.