Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Top 5 Running Memories #2 Ironman World Championships

It was October 1988. There were three of us there to do the Ironman World Championships. Tim Sheeper, Mark "Monty" Montgomery and Myself. Both Sheeper and I were new to the race and the distance. Monty had attempted Kona many times but never finished. In fact his DNF's are stories all of their own.

There was no training plan, we just went hard daily and worked at night. We all arrived skinny. Me, I was 129lbs. Monty was the swimmer and Cyclist, Tim the all around athlete and me just a guy exceeding goals. The anticipation was crazy race week. When the cannon sounded relaxation took over.

Out of the water in good shape I got on the bike and started riding hard. At the 10 mile mark I passed Sheeper puking on the side of the road. He had swallowed too much salt water. At the turn around in Hawi a guy introduced himself. Kevin Moats had finished in the top 15 a couple times. He said "Don't worry, everyone takes it out too fast, they will all come back on the way into town. " Uh Oh, maybe that was me too. At the Scenic point, Sheeper went roaring by me. I didn't see him again until the turn around of the run. He was way in front of me.  I calmed down and tried to conserve for the marathon I had never run.

Off the bike I felt great. I took off running and I was running well. I caught Monty on the way up Palani (this was roughly 6 miles into the run this year). Monty says "Dave this isn't a 10K, you are going too fast." I looked over at him with a quizzical look and just said "Finish the darn thing Monty". Well he was right, at the half way point I hit a wall. For the next 7 miles it was run between the aid stations and then it became walk between them and then run the aid stations. Somehow through that I kept my head. At mile 20 my legs came back and running became "easy" again. I ran down Palani and could hear the finish. I hit Ali'i drive and tears started gushing out. I could not believe I survived the thing. It changed my life forever. Mostly good and somewhat obsessive. I overcame what just 2 years before I claimed "Those people are stupid".

Sheeper finished strong and it was great to see him racing there again in 2013. A bit older but just as fast. Monty finished for the first time. It was amazing that the three of us had done all the training, listened to Monty death in Kona stories and all kept the goal in mind, Finish.

It's a good life...
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