Transitions "Sammo" has gone through quite a lot to get to the start line and then to the finish line at Ironman. As a warm up a few weeks back he did a full Ironman indoors to raise money for breast cancer research, a cause unfortunately too close to his family.
What happened to "Sammo", may have finished may racers' day, but knowing all too well the strength breast cancer sufferers display on a daily basis he continued on to prove a point.
Here is his story
(Words and pictures courtesy of "Sammo")
I am taking this opportunity to not only write about my race at Port Macquarie, but also as a means to dissect it and see where it all went wrong.
Oh yeah, that damn weir...(but more on that later).
After a disastrous 2013 race, where I busted my front Zipp wheel on the ripple strips in town, I was eager to seek revenge on Port and even hired a coach to hopefully reach my potential.
So how did it go....disastrous (again).
The wave start was a blessing for us non strong swimmers and I was able to grab plenty of free water and feet all the way to the weir, but this is where my race went horribly wrong. Coming up the steps the first time and with wobbly legs and a little vertigo issues, I was not warned that the last step was double height and the meeting of my toe and the metal step caused a nice break. The "C-bomb" was immediately dropped and after a little pause, I got back in the other side and continued the swim.
Well, now is when it got fun. I was unable to kick due to the pain in my toe and the few occurrences when someone tapped my toes trying to draft off me, shot an immense pain all the way up my body.
But I survived the swim in an ok time of 1hr19min and then hobbled into T1 for the change to bike leg.
Looking at my toe for the first time and it was black and extremely swollen. I was lucky to score some Panadol from one of the vollies and a few more for later on. So I donned my pink compression socks and pink McGrath sponsored helmet and tackled the bike leg.
A mixture of adrenalin and pain killers got me through most of the first 90kms with only moderate pain in my foot, but the second 90kms were unbearable. I did manage to get off the bike in 6hrs30min, however the pain was at my limit by this time.
I sat in T2 for a little longer than expected, downed some more pain relief and put on the pink tutu I promised my wife and other friends battling breast cancer that I would wear during the run leg.
I started off at an ok pace, but favoring the broken toe on my right foot, subsequently caused my left hamstring to go and led to a lot of walking. The PIS supporters and other fans out there made it hard to walk and considering I was honoring such strong ladies out there , perhaps I was just soft.
So I hobbled, walked, jogged and ran some of the 42kms, even picking up a breast cancer flag from my 2 daughters near the break wall and managed to unfurl it for my finishers chute victory run.
So, although my finishers time was a disappointing 13hrs13mins, I came away extremely satisfied.
My young daughters got to see their dad out giving his best.
My wife got to enjoy this event (most likely for the last time).
I scored a kiss from them all on the hill out of town on both laps.
I scored a kiss and a hug from them all on the hill out of the caravan park and even had my girls join me a for a little run up towards the run aid station.
And my girls got to colour in a rock on the break wall after the event, something they have always wanted to do.
I might have copped some flak from a few pissed 'supporters' out there for being dressed in pink and wearing a tutu, but they won't discourage me or ruin my goal to spread the word and awareness.
I have raised over $17,000 through various means leading up to this for breast cancer, so this beats any PB, podium spot or Kona allocation in my mind.
So I might still be an overweight father of 3 who is caring for a terminally ill wife and I will never get to Kona or finish in the top half of the field, but I don't care. I don't race in blinkers, I enjoy the crowd. I let it capture me. I rang the bell each lap and high fived every kid who put their hand out. I posed for photos with a few different groups out on course and even some vollies who loved my outfit.
Time wise, yeah it was a little disappointing, but the entire event will forever be etched in my memory and my family's as well.