Longest Day (Ironman) 2004 - Carl's thread



  • Jet lag from Hawaii was the worst I've ever had, took me three weeks to stop waking at 1am, so Barley has my full sympathies! 

    Id like to to know what he did on the 22 hour journey home thoughimage 

  • Pre-amble

    I think it was 2002? and watching the World Championships, seeing two athletes trading places through the Energy Lab vying for the lead which drew my interest to the Ironman challenge, this looked like an interesting challenge and appealed to my sense of battling futility. 

    From DNFing my first long distance event, Longest Day in 2004, ive really been absorbed by the Ironman experience and enjoyed the challenge, more important though are the friendships and being part of the pirates.  There’s been a collective spirit and camaraderie in the pirates that’s been really special.  If it wasn’t for all the wind ups and laughs we had over these years im sure I wouldn’t have continued as long as I have.

    Every year ive watched the Kona coverage, every year ive been gripped by the unfolding challenge and locations like Palani & Alii Drive have gained near mythical status (ok perhaps mythical is over doing it but you know what I mean).  All of a sudden a few years ago WTC announce the Legacy program and im race one short of the qualifying criteria.  Well I was there with my race entry for Lanza and Legacy application faster than I can get my wallet out in Greggs.

    Roll forward 18 months and ive found myself in Kona.  Preparation hadn’t gone as hoped, I would have liked to PB but injury and work got in the way, that said it had motivated me to lose 2.5 stone which was a pretty good achievement for the year.

    I was pretty edgy leading up to the race, felt that there was a lot at stake and didn’t want to miss the one opportunity to enjoy and complete on the stage which inspired me to try IM, something I hardly thought would be possible.  Not finishing was not an option.  Despite many IM events before there was no accounting for something going wrong on the day?  

    Pretty much everything went as planned, lots of faffing, tried and tested pre-race routine complete (including muffin taped to tri-bars), and pre-race pep talk from Schmunks.  I found me wading into the water at 06.30, unlike other races id decided not to start at the front, a non wet-suit swim was going to add 25% to my time.  Also predicted there would be more biff than usual, that theory confirmed when punched in the head just swimming to the start.


    06.50 and we’re off, pretty uneventful swim but still felt like a battle, the water was choppy and found it hard going on the return leg.  I did hear reports that the swim was measured at 2.7 miles, not sure how true this is.  Out of the water in 1.34 and a slow time on account that I swim well with a wetsuit, not so well without.  I think non wetsuit added 15-20 minutes.





    No hammering it today, no time trialling the first 30 miles like Longest Day in 2004, I wanted (needed) to finish strong and was weary of the much talked about winds around Hawi. 

    Start of the bike and I was struggling cycling out of Kona, not in the way you might think but the emotion really got to me, I was here, me, yes me, cycling up Palani Drive and onto the Queen K Highway image

    Ive heard it was the windiest race day for a few years, don’t know if it was true but it certainly felt like it.  There were times when going forward and doing my best to not get blown over/across the road was as much as I could manage, times when my diet stood me in better stead than the likes if a ‘race fit’ lady I found myself trading places with.  We certainly exchanged numerous bouts of manic hilarity looking ahead as riders suddenly zig-zagged across the road from the sudden gusts.  The wind came and went at various points through the course, I wasn’t reckoning that last 30 miles back to Kona would be into a headwind, but it was over these miles that I was so pleased that id paced it easy and had the strength to press on.  Off this bike in about 7.30 which I was pleased with in the circumstances, and compared with a 7.15 at France.  Most of that time was like riding into a hand dryer.


    I was concerned about the run, ive been struggling with my feet for a long time and hardly run all year (London Marathon and IM Nice run more than doubling any other running miles).  Aim was to run walk it at 15mm hoping I wouldn’t stiffen up to much in the final stages.  Pretty much managed to hold it together, though had a funny spell at 14 miles feeling dizzy and light headed, this came and went but decided to walk the last 6 miles as a precaution.  It had been a long hot day and waking up in an ambulance was the last thing I wanted to happen.

    Having noticed I could sneak in under 16 hours I ran most of the last mile, to my surprise I was met about 1/4 mile from the finish by Chrissie Wellington and hand full of others I half recognised and was a bit star stuck and may have babbled some incoherent nonsense as they escorted me to the start of the finish chute.  As is usual at the finishI gathered some strength and ran down the finish high-fiving my way along.  Narrowly avoided face-planting at the finish on account of my fatigued legs and misjudging the ramp (wouldn’t have been an ideal finishers photo).

    Medal, Lei, towel and escorted to the finishers area, job done, and still hasn’t sunk in yet. 

    Thank you for all the support, I can honestly say during the race that I reflected back many times on many experiences over the years, on the people who have helped me, I thought about those glued to the event and following my progress, perhaps some staying up to see me off the bike?   

  • To right about the jet-lag, I never properly adjusted to Kona time then the return journey complete with 10 hour lay over in LAX completely messed me up.  I didn't sleep from 06.00 Monday till arriving home in the afternoon on Wednesday.

  • Great report and a well deserved welcome at the finish. 

  • Great report!! Great to watch you finish online & get your Lei!! Now go & get some rest!! imageimage
  • Amazing! Great to read about what must been a brilliant experience! image CONGRATULATIONS!

  • Fab report and huge congrats image

  • Excellent Carl - congratulations 


  • Nice one Barlos, great report & an amazing achievement.

    The memory of watching you getting lei'd while having Sunday breakfast will take a long time to fade........

  • TJ1004TJ1004 ✭✭✭

    well done coach shows that dreams come true.

    What did you do to lose 2.5 stone and still train?


  • It will that. We were up until 4am our time, so you were on your way on two legs then, then watched you finish whilst drinking Kona coffee. My eyes possibly were a bit leaky, we were over the moon for you. Watching Seb Kienle put the lei around your neck was amazing - it's so cool we got to see it. Still chuffed to bits for you...that ramp is properly pesky though, it must be saidimage  Brilliant, just brilliant Xx

  • Top racing Barlos, was weird tracking someone I'm usually out on the course with image

  • Well done Barlos. A lovey report that took several years to compile. Epitomising the pirates, as ever. 

  • Great stuff Barlos made good reading this morning. 

  • Great report Barlos, jolly well done 

  • Awesome achievement, inspirational
  • Lovely! Well done, Carl. Memories and stories to treasure.

    My flying-back-from-Hawaii jetlag story is that I went to bed at 9pm the day we landed and didnt wake up until 3:30pm the following day......

  • Great report mate .... well done image

  • Great report Barlos, amazing stuff, memories to treasure image

  • Great report. Did Chrissy recognise the Pirate gear?

  • I loved reading that Barley. I'm absolutely thrilled for you. Bloody well done xxx

  • I reckon she does gas-man, she knows Funkin & knows he's a Pirate image how cool to be escorted in by Chrissie, what a way to end the day! 

  • Didn't she say to someone something like 'you Pirates get everywhere' at a race?

    Or did I dream it. image
  • Just watching "The Road to Kona" I taped last night, quick shot of the Yella & Black during the pre race set up
  • Boing as I don’t want to lose this.

    Does anyone know if it’s possible to capture/export the posts on this thread?
  • Not from the page itself

    But it would be able to create a small programme to call, read, and save to file each of the 71 pages.
    Then parse it extracting the 'userContent'and 'Username'
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