A DNF and some Learnings

Or otherwise known as the Falls Creek Race Report

No it's not pirhannas in the water. I'm in there somewhere!
Sometimes things simply don’t go to plan. The slight cold I described last week took a decided turn for the worse over the weekend. Though at first I used all my efforts to ignore it and pretend it wasn’t happening, nature has a way of giving us a dose of reality. In the middle of the swim my body said “ENOUGH YOU FOOL, ENOUGH! Time to stop and live to fight another day!”

When you are stood talking to your coach the day before the race and your mind doesn’t seem connected to your body, while at the same time you can feel the sweat appearing on your forehead for no apparent reason, you might think that I would pay attention and something was wrong.

Similarly when you are sitting watching the TV and it feels like the room is floating and that is before you have a scotch, you might think something was wrong.

When your throat feels like it is on fire, a five minute bike ride leaves you completely breathless and you have the feeling of dread that comes over you when you think you are going to collapse and die, you might also take some notice.

That however would take someone with some brain cells and an amount of reason. And unfortunately Dear Reader reason seemed to escape me over the weekend.

Even as a non medical type, if someone came to me with those symptoms I’d be saying, get some rest and see a doctor. Not, jump into icy water and attempt to do a half ironman. But alas Dear Reader, we don’t always practice what we preach.

So Sunday morning dawned to reveal a beautiful day in a stunning location. The promised rain and terrible conditions for the Falls Creek Long Course Triathlon didn’t eventuate, but instead we were greated by a gloriously sunny and windless day.

Around 600 competitors lined up to undertake the sport of Aqua Rugby for what had been promoted as a beautiful swim in the crystal clear waters of the Falls Creek Reservoir. Well the waters were clear, but the organisers neglected to tell anyone that they had sent the rubber duckies out to break the ice before we got in, or at least that was the way it felt. I’m not saying it was cold but it’s now two days later and I can still taste the cold on my teeth!

That being said, a quick warm up (if you can call it that) swim soon had the body acclimatised. Or in other words everything snap froze so you couldn’t feel any pain from there on in.

The gun went off just after 8:00am and into the water we dove. I recently posted a video of a guy training and being hit over the head while he swam. Well I can attest that the swim was actually harder than that. Imagine trying to swim, while being thumped, kicked and pushed under and doing all this while in the middle of a washing machine spin cycle. But for all of that, it was actually fun.

What wasn’t fun though was that around 15min into the swim my body said no more. No hesitation, I simply recognised that it wasn’t well enough to push through and needed to stop.

So for a moment that is exactly what I did. Stopped for a rest, turned around and saw 100 or so women in the next wave coming towards me like a tidal wave. I’ve got to say that was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. 100 or so thrashing arms, legs and heads coming towards me like something out of a horror movie.

And in that instant I knew I had to be out of there. If for no other reason, than if I was in the way then I’d be putting myself and others at risk by being in the way. It was a simple decision to swim to the side, be picked up and taken back to shore.

Back on shore the organisers were wonderful. Doctors were there immediately to check me out and make sure I was okay (Thanks Geoff). The organisers were there and offered to let me continue on the bike if I was able (I wasn’t). Everyone was supportive and friendly.

So what did I learn? Well lots of things actually

  1. If you are sick then listen to your body. Don’t try to brave/bravado through
  2. I now know that even under pressure and when things are going horribly wrong, I can trust myself to make the right decision. In the Gold Coast Half Ironman, the right decision was to continue. In this one, the right decision was to stop
  3. I need more open water training, especially in cold/rough water and will need to incorporate that into my program
  4. I’m playing with the bigger kids now and need to get a bit more serious about my training program. Brian has been doing a great job with me, but I feel I’ve lacked focus in a few of my more recent sessions and that needs to change
  5. I’ve taken my eye off the ball with regards to body mass and whilst I haven’t added any weight for the past 2 months, it is time to get more focussed and lose the extra 10 or so kilos that I’m carrying around with me
  6. But best of all Janette has given me permission to get a new bike. So new toy on the way. Yippee!!

Where to from here?

The Doctors have given me a few of days of rest and recovery, with no work or training, to get well again. Then as soon as I can, it’s back into training. Port Macquarie is coming up and as they say, if you fall off the horse the best thing to do is get back up and get on again!