The Ironman Journey

The Beginning

The Ironman journey began when at the age of 49 (2011) my kids decided that I had been a musician (sloth) for too long. Huge hours sitting in the studio or practicing with very little movement, and even less discipline to get up and move when in the middle of an exciting project. (As a side note this was usually to the detriment of the recording as ear fatigue started to settle in). Around this time I had started to notice heart anomalies. Sometimes feeling as though my heart would actually stop for a few seconds and then ‘fire up’ again with a bang! After a couple of hospital visits and a subsequent 3 months of tests with the cardiologist, he told me that luckily I had the vascular age of a 30 year old and a resting heart rate of 28bpm. He said he would trade with me in a heartbeat (pardon the pun), and likened my heart condition to having a Ferrari parked in the garage and only taking it shopping once a month. He suggested I take it out on the freeway and give it hell. I have always known of my slow heart rate but had never given it much thought until he explained the situation in such a way. He told me that any slower than 28 was stop! With this news my kids,Tamika and Clae, (bless their cotton hearts) entered me in an adventure race for my 50th birthday. This entails mountain biking, cross country running, navigation and usually another challenge ie canoeing/ abseiling etc. My natural ‘middle aged’ reaction was ‘no way I haven’t run for years, my knees are shot, I broke my back etc. etc. etc.’.  It was then they explained it wasn’t a request and they weren’t asking me! Clae said he was doing it with me and so the training began. It was a very steep learning curve, but we spent countless hours together pushing ourselves to the limit. Another side note and by no means a small one is  I have had not one heart irregularity since the day we started. Which is a ringing endorsement for the use it or lose it campaign! We completed 2 years of adventure racing and then somehow the idea of doing an Ironman was born. At first it seemed like the impossible dream until a great mate of mine Nathan Portlock completed his first around that time. I had followed his preparations and training closely and then marvelled  as I watched his race unfold online. Once he came back in one piece and then told me the countless stories of the 226km journey it was always going to happen. There is no tougher one day sporting event on the planet and I think that is where the appeal is for me. Once again Clae and I set out on another steep learning curve, guided from the start by Nigel Pietsch of Corporate Fit who is still my coach to this day. Clae and I did the first 4 Ironman events together until unfortunately, Clae injured his hip and I have continued the journey ever since in pursuit of the incredibly elusive world championship in Kona, Hawaii. Here is my pictorial history and recap of the journey to date. I will be blogging after each event so stay tuned.