My first Ironman

In October 1983, I was 22 years old and close to graduating with an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Texas. I was staying fit by swimming, biking and running, and I was interested in the new sport of triathlon. My first race was the second annual Houston Triathlon at the Woodlands. I finished 12th overall in a time of 1:50:49.

My next race two weeks later (Oct 15) was the Lone Star Full Triathlon at Canyon Lake. Eleven competitors signed up; five finished the race which consisted of a 2.4 mile out and back swim across the lake; 112 mile hilly bike ride and a 23 lap, 1.14 mile run course passing by the same aid station.

It was a pleasant morning in the upper 60’s when we hit the water. I was second out of the lake in 1:17:30, fifteen minutes behind the leader. I made up the time quickly on the bike and was soon out in the lead. It was a tough, lonely hot & hilly two lap bike ride and I was not paying enough attention to my hydration and energy intake. I finished first on the bike leg in 7 hours and 16 minutes but I arrived at the transition tired and parched.

It was evident very early in the run it would be a tough slog. I began to experience severe dehydration and was reduced to a stiff walk. Soon, my leg muscles began to cramp and I had to stop frequently to stretch. At one point, my left hamstring went into total spasm and I almost fell to the ground. I made a fist and started to pound on the seized muscle. All of a sudden my entire arm from fist to shoulder locked up in spasm. I looked like a contorted freak with my bent, claw arm and grotesque, hunchback gait. One of the racers who dropped out earlier began to walk laps with me which helped me to finish the 5:03 marathon.

Thirteen hours and thirty six minutes after starting this odyssey of pain, I staggered through the finish line tape and collapsed. When I could finally move, I stumbled over to the pick-up I had borrowed from my girl friend and crawled into the back.

I awoke with severe leg cramps in the middle of the night. Everyone had gone home hours ago and I was completely alone. I barely remember getting home the next morning and going right to bed.

It is the tackiest trophy I have ever seen but I keep it because it always reminds me of the ass whipping at Canyon Lake.

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