Tough day at ?the office
By ANDREW ROWLINGS
HOW do you recover from participating in Australia's toughest one-day endurance test?
Most finishers from last Sunday's Ironman Triathlon at Port Macquarie will take up to six weeks to get over the event.
Some will rest for up to three months in order to let their damaged muscles regenerate after the gruelling 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km run.
A few will ease back into low intensity exercise in the next fortnight, with the view of preparing for their next race.
One Coffs Harbour entrant has a different approach.
Anne Grundy will head south this weekend to run the Canberra marathon, less than a week after conquering an extremely difficult and hilly Ironman Triathlon at Port Macquarie.
With an official race time of 12 hours 32 minutes and 56 seconds, Grundy finished in second place in her age division to collect her ninth Ironman finisher's medal.
She puts things in perspective with typical humour.
"This weekend's marathon will be easy after last weekend's triathlon ... after all I don't have to endure the swim and cycle so will start running with fresh legs," she said.
Grundy is the exception rather than the rule, most of the 1600 field from Port Macquarie are still coming to terms with sore muscles and blistered feet which will take weeks to heal properly.
All of the seven competitors from Coffs Harbour Triathlon Club managed to complete Sunday's race.
Geoff McCann crossed the line in 10.38.27 after being highly placed throughout the swim and cycle sections of the race, but succumbing to severe leg cramps during hilly sections of the run.
Only one second behind McCann was Andrew Rowlings, who faded during the second lap of the run.
Peter Wood joked his way around the course to a 14.09.53 finish time, which could be dramatically reduced with a more serious approach to his pre-event training.
Woolgoolga school teacher, Jenni Williams showed tremendous courage to overcome some tough periods during the cycle leg and finished in 16.13.05 while Wendy Maley completed the gruelling course in 14.21.14.
Theresa Kunaeva recorded an incredible 20th finish at Ironman Australia when she finished shortly before the midnight cut-off time.
Her 16.37.28 time caps off a distinctive record at this distance.
Undoubtedly the main talking point after the event was the difficulty of the new course at Port Macquarie.
Featuring a hilly three-lap bike course and an equally demanding section on the run, many participants came back to reality with a thud.
Spectators lined the course to provide encouragement on the more demanding climbs, but still the weaker cyclists were forced to dismount and walk their bike to the summit.
Similarly on the run leg, the steeper hills reduced even some of the more decorated athletes to a walk.
The Coffs Harbour crew performed well to maintain a 100 per cent 'finished' record.
Some were disappointed with their result and have declared that they will no longer attempt the Ironman challenge, while most have already started in their preparations for this event next year.
Perhaps the 2006 race date says a lot about the mental state of those who choose to test themselves at this distance.
At 7am on Sunday April 1, 2007, there will be 1600 facing the starter on April Fool's Day and that's no joke.