After 9 months of training, an estimated 115 miles of swimming, 2000 miles of cycling and 450 miles of running I finally crossed the finish line of the Vitruvian in 4 hours and 42 minutes.
It was a very eerie start with a lot of mist over the lake making it hard to see the turn buoys. Our wave went off at 6.30am and as the horn sounded we sped off in pursuit of a canoeist that led us to the first buoy. As usual the first 300 metres were carnage but I managed to battle through and found a bit of space before the turn around. After jumping back in the water for the second lap I ended up in the next wave that started 10 minutes after us and had to struggle through the biff again. I was relieved at exiting the swim in around 32 minutes but still feeling numb at the thought of a half marathon run to come.
I got through transition quite painlessly, however when I went to put on my glasses noticed that so much due had formed on them it was impossible to see anything. Being drenched myself there was nothing to dry them on, so I managed to balance them on the end of my nose and peak over the top whilst pedaling away into the mist. Eventually the airflow dried them out and I could use them properly although probably not such a good idea to wear sunglasses on a misty english morning. The first lap was great, food went well, pace was good and I was enjoying the ride. As I went out on the second lap my mind started to drift onto the run again and I worried about pushing myself too hard on the bike. As a few people started to over take me, I decided to go for it, at least I could aim for a sub 2:30 bike split and blow up on the run! By the end of the final lap my legs were tired and I started to realize just how hard this was going to be. As I came into T2 Camilla and the girls were there with a shout that lifted my spirits again and I can hardly remember putting my shoes on as I was so caught up in the moment.
I ran out of transition full of enthusiasm and treating it like an Olympic distance race gave it everything I had. The first 5km went by in just over 20 minutes and I think at that point it dawned on me that I was not going to be able to keep at this pace. I battled through the next 5km as we headed back to the transition area and as I arrived I heard another cry from the family. I was going to run over and give them all a high five but I was really starting to struggle now. I had to keep moving so I smiled and plodded on, telling myself I had gone past the half way point of the run now and the finish was in sight.
The last 10km were hell, I felt weak so switched from my plan of just drinking water and taking gels to drinking high five energy drink and slowing down at the aid stations to make sure I drank it all rather than just throw it over my face. People were passing me now but I couldn't tell if they were on their first lap or just keeping the pace that I had started with. Eventually I reached the turn around point and I knew even if I walked the rest I would make it to the end. My legs were killing me but I decided to keep running, I remembered a quote from Lance Armstrong...
Pain is temporary , quitting lasts forever".
One foot in front of the other , breathe, repeat, repeat, repeat !!! Then I saw the sign, only another 500 metres to go. Suddenly I could run again, my legs forgot that they had just cycled 85km and run 20.5km I was off and with a last burst of energy I crossed the line to the words, "George Gray, you are a Vitruvian!".
My initial thoughts after the race, were "I'm never going to do an Ironman". I thought I would never do another triathlon, but now 2 days later my body is starting to feel better and after having a few drinks and some junk food I reckon I am up for the challenge. Funny how quickly you forget the pain! So with Ironman France in June 2011, I have around 10 months to get myself Ironfit!