Testing your metal - Iron Man Wales

Well, its hard to get away from it and why would you want to? There was a good vibe in Tenby today, lots of super fit looking guys and girls pushing space-agey bikes about the place (or bike porn as the enthusiasts seem to be referring to it ), making you ashamed of tucking into your (third) donut from Greggs.  Restaurants and cafes were getting in on the act and targetting the atheletes with carb loaded plates of spaghetti and pasta boxes.

We sat down for a coffee and ended up sharing a table with Matt and Lindsay from Florida who are getting ready for Ironman tomorrow.  Matt was slightly disparaging about the damp climate (the time honoured question: Why does it rain so much in Wales? Answer: Its the mountains) and the lack of air conditioning in UK hotels but otherwise they were absolutely relishing the challenge.  First timers to a full Ironman, they were also understandably a little anxious and explained to us that there is a 17 hour cut off point so if you haven't swum your 3.8 km, biked your 112 miles and run your marathon by then, you don't officially finish.  Which must be pretty gutting but particularly if you've come from America to do it. Cut off time back in Tenby is midnight when all Ironmen (and women) plan to return to the finish line and apparently there is a lot of blubbing and whooping and general emotional outpouring which is understandable given the size of the achievement.......and the endorphins (short for endogenous morphine don't you know).  I used to run to work everyday and thought I worked with the funniest people at nine in the morning....not so much by midday. Thats the power of endorphins.  It made me reflect on my (more modest) past glories and think back to the London Marathon, I can't imagine doing that after a cycle and a swim.   I nearly fell off my bike with exhaustion after doing a 60 mile bike ride between Cork and Kerry.

Perhaps I am not or will ever be an Ironman.  Maybe I'm a Copperman or a Brassman or some lightweight alloy (not lightweight in any physical sense obviously). Just a bit less metal than Matt and Lindsay. But the whole atmosphere and their commitment to this huge challenge did make me want to dust off my running shoes anyhow.

Good Luck Guys, I'll be looking out for you!


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