Blog — 09 May 2013
Phil Catchpole – Port Mac IM – “Living the Dream!”


‘Living the Dream’ Port Mac 2013

 

I’d always fooled myself that I was healthy.  I’ve played soccer all my life but in 2007, at 30, found myself at 115kg and plagued by injury.

 

I first teamed up with Alex 4 years ago seeking treatment for a back injury that wouldn’t allow me to run 4 kms, much less 42.2kms.  So when I decided to enter Ironman it seemed fitting that I returned to AP10 to write a programme that would help me achieve my dream.

 

I’ve been travelling to Port for the last few years as a spectator.  I’d stand at the swim exit and cheer competitors on in awe as they emerged from the water.  I was particularly interested in the emotions of the final few swimmers to exit the water.  After watching Port 2012 I decided it was time to commit.

 

Race Day came and I was honestly the calmest I’ve ever been before a triathlon.  No nerves, just a resolve that by the end of the day I would cross that finish line.  The time was irrelevant.  Megan had drummed into me that it was about the process, the outcome would take care of itself.

 

A few photos on the bank with the AP10 team and I made my way to the swim start to take on, what I believed would be the hardest leg of my day. How wrong was I!  Swimming has not come easy to me.  When I did my first Enticer Triathlon in Wollongong in 2010 I beat just 6 people out of the water.  Since then I’ve gone through adult swim school and had great swim coaching from my Tri Club in Sydney.

 

I put my head down, found a rhythm and headed out for a comfortable 4.1km swim with 1600 mates (still got some work to do on my sighting).  The current felt quite strong heading up towards the far turnaround of the two lap course but it made for an easy return trip.

 

I emerged from the water in 82 minutes and don’t think the smile has left my face since.

 

I rode an easy and constant pace for 180kms and got a huge lift from the spectators in town and on the infamous Mathew Flinders Hill.  It seems my friends and family were putting more effort into cheering than I was putting into climbing Mathew Flinders; it was such a huge lift.

 

I hit T2, still with a huge smile on my face, knowing I only had 42.2kms to the finish chute.  As I ran out onto Town Green for the first lap the crowd went absolutely nuts.  It seemed like everyone was calling my name and the triathlete next to me turned and asked who the hell I was as he thought he was running with a celebrity.

 

It turns out the run was my hardest leg.  I had plenty of periods on the run where I felt flat but, every time, I found encouragement from those around me.

 

As I ran back from the isolated turnaround at Settlement Point for the final time, I took the energy from two screaming AP10 coaches and ran on to that finish chute.

 

Huge thanks go to Megan, Alex and the entire AP10 Team.  Although I’m based in Sydney and AP10 in Wollongong, I’ve always been welcomed at training sessions and encouraged at races.  On Sunday I truly did fulfill a dream, surrounded by so many friends and family.  If you’ve got an addictive personality, don’t do your first Ironman … because it won’t be your last.

See you on the start line in 2014!

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