This is the final journal entry of our Maui’s, Phil McGain as he crosses the finish line! As always, entertaining and very inspiring!

“I started to high five and low five anyone who put out there hand and even people who didn’t put out there hand, I was on a high at this point, I was about to finish, I wanted to make the most of it.”

The RUN 26.2 miles of pain and pleasure.

I sat down and pulled off my bike shirt, throw on my running shirt, get my compression socks on which are really tight and hard to pull on, shoes are on, tied, hat on, GPS on, I bolt out of there which seemed like a few minutes but I think it was more like 4 minutes. I look down at my GPS and see my pace at 11 minute per mile, slow down I tell myself, you want to be around 11.5 minute per mile until you get your running legs and get a feel for how your energy level is. I come to the first aid station, people everywhere, “water, coke, gel, Iso, cake, bars, fruit”, it’s all there. Yes this race is well-catered and good thing. I grab a water and have my first gel and a salt tablet. I’m feeling wonderful.  The entire run course is lined with people, all cheering, sitting in chairs, drinking German beer, sleeping, enjoying the fact that we are out here doing all the work and they get to sit relax and watch.

I keep a good pace for the first loop, which is about 6.5 miles, and I’m stoked to receive my first lap band on my wrist, it took about an hour and fourteen minutes if I remember correctly. I continue to drink and eat at most aid stations, which are about every 1.5 miles. I’m still feeling good and my legs are moving well, but as I approach mile 12 at the end of the second lap I can feel my hamstrings tightening and it seems a cramp is close. At this time I run past a fella who is running a similar pace so I start chatting and I find out he’s from Colombia, he’s my age and doing his first Ironman as well. We talk about the training, the race so far, family and how he’s feeling. I told him I was hurting pretty bad at this point and asked if I had been walking the aid stations, which I had not. So I started to walk the aid stations with him and all of a sudden got my running legs back and was feeling good again, the pain wasn’t getting worse so I was confident I would finish without problems. Carlos and I ran for about 2 hours together, which made the time pass really quickly and gave each other support when one was feeling sore and tied. I pretty chatty at this point and start conversations with many people going the same speed as me, it helps time pass.

As I approached the final lap and received my last wristband I could see across the river and got excited about running through the crowd and up to the finishing line area. I actually picked up my pace a bit, told Carlos I’ll see him at the finish and got myself into “guts and glory mode”. I started to pass people during the last 3 miles which was a great feeling, I crossed the bridge and down the other side, I had been running now for over 5 hours, which was simply amazing, how can my body do this?. I could now see the final 200 meters and the crowd. It was Ironman time, I was about to become an “Ironman”. I started to high five and low five anyone who put out there hand and even people who didn’t put out there hand, I was on a high at this point, I was about to finish, I wanted to make the most of it. I approached the red carpet, which lead to the finish area, people everywhere, I started yelling and pumping my fist into the air, I was very excited. I actually slowed down a bit right before the finish and turned around to look at the crowd and enjoy the moment, which so many people speak about.  I crossed the line, it was the end of the road, I had made it, 13 hours 27 minutes.

Wow all of a sudden the legs went stiff, my two “catchers”, grabbed me either side, within a few seconds I received my finishing medal, a towel was tossed around my shoulders and it was all over. The finish area was kind of small, so it was a little crowded. I saw people being carted off on stretches, people laying on the ground. My catchers asked me if I wanted a wheel chair, I just laughed and said no I’m fine I want to walk on my own, but I would love a bag of ice to start putting on my legs. We walked slowly towards the medical tents and food area. I kept asking for ice, that was all I wanted at that stage, eventually they lead me to the medical tent, which was one place I didn’t want to be.  “I just want a bag of ice”, simple, cold, ice cubes, in a plastic bag….”can someone help me”? One medical officer handed me a small gray plastic bag, which was warm, he explained that eventually this will get cold and I can use it. I handed it back to him and asked again for a “BAG of ICE PLEASE”, that is it. Finally I was handed a big bag of ice, which I started to rub on my legs and walk out of that medical tent before someone threw me down and stuck an IV in my arm. I was moving just fine on my own, hot, legs very sore, but still walking normally. It felt great to have finished and one guy came up to me and said good job, “you blew by me on the last ½ mile, great finish”? I said thanks and moved back to the finish area to spot my friend Carlos, he finished about 8 minutes after me and was in good spirits. It was exciting to meet again; we shuck hands, hugged and congratulated each other.

I was still walking around in the athletes finish area, getting something to drink and eat and realized I needed to find my friend Agostino who had come up from Italy to give me some support. I saw him waiting at the exit to the athlete’s area, he took a short video clip of me showing my excitement of finishing my first Ironman Triathlon. I smuggled him a beer from the athletes’ area and we proceeded to head back towards the river towards the bike pick up area. Oh boy, there was very long line, so we decided to skip this for now, I would go back later and pick it up before 1am. I cruised back to the hotel to take a shower, eat something more and just put my feet up.

I needed some time to rest and for my body to take in some food and finally I felt strong enough to wander down to get my bike. It was 12.55am before I picked up my bike from T2 and I was the last to show up.  Back to the hotel and regrettably got into bed around 2am, I didn’t want this dream to end, but it was time to rest.

Phil, what a journey! You have now raised the bar. Congratulations for an awesome finish. You have conquered and we all hope to see another story just like this soon.  So many people have read your journal across the globe. Thank you so much for sharing this incredible personal triumph.

I know you’re back on the road and in the water, resting once in awhile and enjoying the sailing.  Please keep your fans posted.  I have one client, thanks to you, who will now start small and enter the local Aluminum Man Race series here with her daughter.  

Suzie Cooney

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