Matthew Schipper, Congratulations YOU Are An Ironman

Hello my beloved public this is my account of my very 1st Ironman event at Taupo New Zealand.

Matthew (left) with other members of Team Qwik Kiwi Di (centre) & Humps (right) in the lead up to the event.

My big day began at 3.50 am.  Luckily I had 5 hours of deep sleep so when I woke I was excited and a bit fearful of the day ahead. I had my breakfast with my partner Sharon which consisted of muesli, yoghurt and banana with a cup of Moccona coffee. We then made sure we had everything needed for the event (at the 70.3 event I forgot the earplugs).

We arrived at the venue at 5.15 am along with about 60% of the field. The start was at 7.00 am.  It was approximately 200m to swim to the start line. A cannon signified the start of the event.  It took me a while to get into a rhythm.  At about 200m I had doubts I would even finish the swim.  The turn-round point seemed to take forever, but after that I relaxed and felt I was swimming a lot quicker.  The end by the ramp came up quickly.  I was happy with my time of 1.27.06 for the 3.8 km.

It was great to see my supporters (Brad, Tom, Catriona, Chris and Pete) when I got out of the water. They had left from Palmerston North at 4.30am.  Thanks guys.

After exiting the water there was a 400m distance to the bike transition and as I had a leg injury I walked and ran this. After a longish transition 10.10mins I began the bike.  I felt great so I took off at a good pace.  I really enjoyed the first lap out to Reporoa and return maintaining a 32.5 km/hr average.

The second lap was a different story as going out the headwind was a lot stronger and plus I was feeling a bit tired.  Consequently my average dipped to 28 km/hr for this lap. Also on the way back I had trouble with the gears as they kept on slipping.  Luckily this problem righted itself and the last 10 km back to Taupo was enjoyable. I took just over 6.0 hrs for the 180 km and I was ecstatic with this.

Matthew (2nd from left) with other members of Team Qwik Kiwi: Sean (left), Di (2nd from right) and Helen (right).

Then when I got back the real test of the Ironman began. You won’t know what I mean unless you do an Ironman. As I wasn’t confident in my running I had another slow transition 9 minutes.  I even got the wonderful volunteers to apply sunscreen. I began the marathon by walking the first 200m then I thought I had better try and run. As I was heading out I heard over the loud speaker the leading man was arriving.

I ran the first 2kms at about 6min pace which was the fastest I went for the whole run then I stopped at a hill just before all the motels and attempted to walk although this was more painful than running.  It went through my head,  “how can I go another 40 kms

Matthew runs down the finishing shoot.

when I can even barely walk?”.

While having these thoughts I saw photographer Jack McKenzie who is an avid Triathlete.  He told me he walks most of his Ironman events so I said to him I’ll walk to the top of the hill where the aid station was and then pull out.  When I got there the volunteers urged me to continue on, which I did.  I ran very slowly taking tiny steps. Then strangely enough the pain went from my leg.

What kept me going was the Taupo public – they really embrace this event.

After completing the first lap of three I knew I would be able to finish. I was not the only one suffering out there.  My marathon was slow (5.17.59),  but it was still 31st of 62 in my age group which surprised me.

It was such a relief to reach the grass then see the red carpet.  It gave me a boost of adrenaline and I ran this last bit as hard as I could, then heard the immortal words from Mike Reilly “Matthew Schipper, congratulations you are an Ironman”.

Matthew’s celebration tattoo of the M-Dot logo of Ironman.

Then you have the medal put around your neck and are weighed. I only lost 2 kg and was now cleared to celebrate my achievement with all my supporters.

– Matthew Schipper

If like Matthew you have got a big goal you need assistance to complete, apply to join Team Qwik Kiwi.

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