Yay. I'm officially stupid.
I'm managing to find really scary things to read in the final week into Bolton... what an idiot.
Here's an extract from a quite distressing article in Triathlete Europe online:-
"The final stretch.
If you’ve ever completed an Ironman, you know that the last few miles of
the marathon are a unique experience that is only hinted at by the
experience of running the last few miles of a regular marathon. Your
body is so impaired from the beating it has taken over the course of the
day, it’s almost funny. The simple act of lifting your foot off the
ground to take the next stride feels akin to performing a heavy squat
with a weighted barbell on your back. Research from the National
Institute of Sport and Physical Education in Paris confirms that the
energy cost of running at the end of a triathlon is significantly
greater than that of running at the same speed without swimming and
cycling beforehand. And that’s an Olympic-distance triathlon.
There are probably multiple causes of the “weightlifting” effect of
an Ironman marathon’s closing miles. Stride form is measurably different
at the end of a triathlon run than it is in the same athletes in an
independent run. The stride changes that increase the energy cost of
running at the end of a triathlon are themselves caused in part by local
fatigue in specific muscles, which necessitates a change in form in
much the same way you might start running with a locked right knee to
protect a suddenly cramping right calf muscle. It’s neither efficient
nor pretty, but it sure beats the alternative."
It's not even hinted at in the 70.3 distance. None of this came to light. Yes it wasn't a walk in the park, but it was nothing even remotely like this. After a good bottle of water and a hog roast bap after Wimbleball, I actually felt OK - sure I couldn't have jogged for the bus afterwards, but not crushed. And there were only a couple of tough moments in the race itself, one on the start of the 2nd lap of the bike and a little bit of tribulation on the run when I clearly had underfuelled on the bike earlier. But not the crushing feeling that I might not be able to go on or finish. Nothing like it.
It's the not knowing that's hard at this point and scaring myself with this sort of article is just stupid.