You are made to feel very special at Ironman, I was given my medal and taken into the finishers area, there I had an Ice bath, wrapped in a foil blanket, given a pizza (I took two - one for the kids you understand) and a cup of coffee as well as being given your finishers shirt. You pass a lot of other finishers who all have the same expression of relief and satisfaction about them. I met with Faye and the kids and walked slowly back to our apartment cheering on finishers as we passed them.
The next morning after packing up the car, Went to the ironman World Championship slot allocation ceremony, where the fastest in each age group get an invitation to race at Kona, Hawaii in October (this year). If the winners decline (may have previously qualified or just can't go) the slot rolls down to the next fastest. There were 6 slots in my age group (Mens 40-44). The 6th person declined and the 7th got the slot! I was 11th place which was only 4 mins off of 7th.
I now have a new goal, (this has been decided by Faye & the kids - as they want a holiday in Hawaii. its just a little matter of training harder/smarter for the next race - whatever and wherever that is. Realistically there would only ever be a slim chance of qualification (and only by roll down), but its the thought that if the perfect storm occurs, I.e. right course, fitness peaking at the right time and half a dozen faster athletes turning down the slot, there is at least a theoretical chance of qualification. This may be the motivation needed to train/race that little bit harder.
After the race we spent a few days in Copenhagen, doing lots of walking which went some way to the sore quads. There was also a great gym with £££'s worth of shiny chrome equipment that I ignored in favour of my trusty floor mat.
Copenhagens inaugral IM took place on the Sunday, a Day after Sweden's IM. Lots of the athletes were staying at our hotel. Already my IM seemed like old news. Despite the 4 hour drive from Sweden, we still couldn't escape shaved legs and carbon bikes! We visited the Excellent Copenhagen Zoo and were really impressed with Danish attitude to a healthy lifestyle, with cycling taking a priority over cars (and pedestrians it would seen), open water swimming areas in the rivers and the popularity of running (all ages, shapes and sizes).
From Copenhagen, we moved on to a resort like a mini-centre parks called Middlefart (no typo there). It was a little down trodden but it was quiet (only 2 other families, both having kids E&E,s ages), had a great outdoor pool and excellent trail running through Deer country... Like a flat Knole Park - perfect IM rehab country.