They don’t call it that of course, but the atomic number for iron is 26, and aluminum is 13. So, I’ll say that halfway there is aluminuman.

I couldn’t upload pictures on the iPad, so I chose to wait to blog until we got home. Of course, real life and work have been waiting for me, so it’s finally time this afternoon. I’m an hour away from watching the NBC broadcast of the Ironman World Championships from Kona Hawaii. Two weeks ago, I watched it live online from this same spot.

But my activities a week ago are why I write today. I finally met my 2012 goal. I finished a 70.3 distance. It took me over 8 and a half hours, and that was with the easiest swim in triathlon. Still, the course cutoff was 9 hours, and I made the course in the official time, so while the negativity demons want me to put an asterisk next to this finish, I can’t. I actually did this one.

We made this a family trip, with a week in a beach house. We had eight adults and five kids, right on the coast in Carolina Beach. This allowed me to rest ahead of time, and after. It also gave the kids a place to be other than a convention center, while I was out on the course all day.

Actually we stopped at packet pickup on Thursday, on our way to the rental house. Seeing the lines Friday, this was a good idea.
Beach to Battleship is a highly rated iron distance event, and very well run. With two different transition areas and a downtown finish, there are several bags to be handled. I made sure to get everything lined up so I missed nothing.

Friday was gear check in, pre-race meeting, and then a time to rest. I got my cheering section ready too.

Now this will be a race report with no race pictures. I’m not buying the set from the official photographer this time. But Meg came to the swim start, as she always does. We think this may be visual confirmation of me exiting the water.

I actually saw her along the road as the bike started.

And after that, it was a long day.
Being out there so long, it’s hard to know what to write about. I imagine it would be quite boring to read, so I’ll just stick with the summary: I still don’t train on the bike enough, and I need to stop jogging and start running.

Besides that, it was a great day.

I was in the second swim wave, so we got to see ther full distance folks swim by us in the lightning fast current. Then as the first wave was in the water, so was my wave. Talked to another big guy who decided to go age group instead of Clyde wave. Turned out to be another BT guy, MANDOWN.

I would normally consider hyping the crowd with Lose Yourself by Eminem to be a bit cliche, but so much of what I embrace in endurance training is cliche, and it beats the heck out of so much of the pop nonsense that we hear at these things. I dropped all hipster pretense and got into it. As our wave was in black swim caps, I predicted Back in Black. I was close, we got another AC/DC song.

The swim was easy, as 1.2 mile swims go. The current was indeed strong. I was still slow and off course, but being in a small channel, you couldn’t get too far out. I really really need to learn to swim for real this winter. I did a 37 minute swim. In any other conditions, this would be an improvement for me. In a sweeping tide, not so much. But we all knew this is how it would be, on to the flat land. I got out of the water and had a three way with two strippers. (look up wetsuit strippers before you get too excited.)

I may be the only person to use the port a potties in T1. Yes, I had peed in the water before, but I had to again. Triathlon is a messy, gross sport at times.

I talked to different people while biking, some of whom I know from BT. I stopped at every bike aid station, getting off the bike for a few minutes. I drank plenty, and got food too. I passed the crashes I read about, where EMS was on the scene quickly. I had no problems with my own bike, which was a nice twist on this season. I rode my usual steady pace, clocking a bike split just over 4 hours. If I hadn’t stopped so much, this would have been 10 minutes better, I am sure. Time in the saddle, that’s all it is. Well that, and significant weight loss. It’s just getting silly trying to drag more than 250 pounds anywhere, with or without wheels.

The run was great for me, as long runs go. I was steady and slow, but never felt like I might not make it. I just don’t run, that’s my secret. I jog. Seriously though, there was only one incline to deal with, which we did twice on a loop. Compared to what I run usually, this was a very very flat course. It went along a lake, using a good stretch of running path off the streets. Most of it was shaded. The design was a double loop for full participants, a single loop for the half. We all ran a small piece of it twice, so there was one corner aid station that a full runner would potentially use 8 times. Even so, I didn’t find it repetitive. It was nice to be out on the course with so many people this way, even being one of the very last to finish the half. By the time I got to a certain point, all I saw were full runners, so any thought I had of how tough it was, I realized I was almost done.

I saw costumed volunteers, a tuxedo tri top, an Ohio Triple T kit (look it up – it’s pretty badass) and even a Piggly Wiggly tri top. You have to be a total southerner to wear a piggly wiggly kit.

I got lots of supportive comments, as the fat guys usually do. I can walk through the mall in regular clothes now and not be stared at as clearly obese. But you pack this body into tight lycra, and yeah, sore thumb. But the custom tri top was a hit, and got several comments and laughs from others, some of whom identified themselves as BT members/readers, but mostly just folks who got the joke.

At some point I realized I would make the 9 hour time, but probably not the 8:30. I was ok with that. I didn’t have to dip into the free time I got from an early swim wave, I still made the official cutoff. I had a steady solid day, I enjoyed myself out there, I was happy to be among people who were pursuing their goals, and supporting each other. I love endurance sports.

That’s not a fake smile, it’s totally real.

One minor glitch, and this is the epitome of a first-world problem, but it was hard to hear at the time, since this was my first finish. They were out of finishers’ medals. I have no idea how you run out of a known quantity that was sold out months ahead. But I am going to get one in the mail. So, no finish line pictures. But they handed me a hat with this inside.

Time for a soak in the big tub at the beach house. I opened a beer with my B2B keychain bottle opener that I wouldn’t use until after the race, put Rocky III on the iPad, and settled in.

The next morning, I took my son and my Dad to the celebration brunch. They don’t give awards for nearly dead-last, but it was at the Battleship North Carolina, so I wanted to take my Dad. He served four years aboard ship in the US Navy. At the brunch, the first person we saw in the parking lot, spotted my jersey and knew who I was. It was a BT member, Tim, aka twomoremiles. He got 3rd in Master’s Clydesdale in the full. It was his first ironman and his first marathon. Still only two guys over 40 years old and over 200 pounds went faster.

After the brunch, Jack, Dad and I went aboard the North Carolina, where Jack and I got a tour from a man who knew ships. Dad’s ship, the USS Cochrane, was a guided missile destroyer, less than half the size of a battleship. He had one chair in his barbershop. This is Dad posing by the four chair shop on the North Carolina.

Though he is wearing insignia of an enlisted man, E6 specifically, Jack got to sit in the captain’s chair.

Captain Jack

We were onboard for a long time, and could have done hours more, but I had invited people to the beach house, and it was almost time, so we said goodbye for now.

Many people who came for the weekend were well on their way home by Sunday afternoon, but two local BT members came over for some appetizers and drinks. Paula and Daryn enjoyed the hospitality of my beach house cooks for a couple hours. And though I only wanted to borrow it for one photo, Daryn would not let me leave North Carolina without a finisher’s medal for my first half ironman. I hope they mail mine soon so I can get this loaner back to him.

I didn’t do much the next couple of days. We took the kids to the aquarium just down the road from us, then later Meg and I rode our bikes to it. I should have gotten in a run some time, but I haven’t run since the race. Driving home in one day was an endurance effort enough.

There’s a reason middle aged guy don’t, or at least shouldn’t take pictures like this, but I have no real bling to speak of. So, here’s my swag all in one. For the non racers, that’s a timing chip strap holding my bottle opener. I’m so Icy Hot Stuntaz. (google it)

Hey, Eminem Just Turned 40 too

After a broken spoke, a total meltdown, and invoking the anger of Poseidon, the 2012 Doughboy to Ironman triathlon season ended with a solid success. There is even an encore planned. In due time, in due time.


5 thoughts on “I AM….. ALUMINUM MAN

  1. coming out of lurking to congratulate you! I am very impressed. I did my first 70.3 last month, was one of the last finishers in over 8 hours,so I get it. Its hard but so worth it. Lame they the out of medals though! Regardless you have a lot to be proud of.

    • Thank you very much. With that email, can I assume you’re 42 and a deadhead? We had a labrador we named Sugar Magnolia, nicknamed Maggie. Anyway, that 8+ finish is still a finish, right? Some serious weight loss and just more base training and I know I can get that down next time.

  2. Congrats, Claaaw! So impressed with the progress you’ve made. Been following you on BT and here for a while, and I’m constantly inspired by your dedication to your choices.

    I’m hoping to follow your footsteps through a HIM soon. I had planned to do one this season but then I tore my ACL in February and killed all my chances for this year. Still, I’m finally back to running, biking and swimming and hope to get an HIM in next year and then hopefully a full IM the year after that. (I’m signed up for a full Marathon in February as my way of celebrating 1 year post injury.)

    Anyway, keep up the good work! Can’t wait to hear about your next adventures!

    (Gwenwhyvar32 on BT)

  3. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate
    to this excellent blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to brand new updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group.
    Talk soon!

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