Ironman About People, Not So Much About Being First!

Ironman about people?

Ironman about people; FitOldDog met some great people at the back of the pack, including Carl.

I helped Carl in the swim, as he drafted. Carl helped encourage me on the run, with my sore feet (veterinarian, heal thyself!). Photo by Deb, with permission.

Ironman about people? Sure it is!

Ironman about people. FitOldDog at Raleigh Half Ironman 2016

Wonderful support by the crowd in Raleigh, especially for those at the back of the pack. Photo by Jess, SnapChat.

As you age, you slip slowly to the back of the pack. No room for ego! Just being there is a treat.

I just had a:

  • Horrible (foot blisters – didn’t use my thick woolen socks, being vegan, big mistake)
  • Great (wonderful supporters, and a positive crowd response to my ‘Flush HB2’ tee shirt was hard to believe.
  • Half Ironman Race, in Raleigh, NC. (Even made it into the newspapers).

This what it said, in the News & Observer, and the quote is accurate:

“But Kevin Morgan, 72, of Carrboro – who also participated in Sunday’s competition – is a big fan of the training.

“To me, it is more about training than racing,” he said. “I race to train rather than train to race.”

“It has become for me a way of life,” Morgan added. “It keeps me fit and young and focused on my physical health. … It basically keeps me out of assisted living.”” Read more at this link.

I learn from each race I do, so what did I learn this time?

Ironman about people. FitOldDog happy running, before foot blisters set in.

Ironman really is about people. Especially those at the back of the pack. The crowd loves an underdog. FitOldDog happy running, before foot blisters set in. Photo by Jess.

  1. It’s a complement to be drafted in the swim. I felt these little taps and touches on my toes for half of the swim, which was pretty choppy. As I came out of the water,  I turned and introduced myself to the culprit (drafting is allowed in the swim, btw). It was Carl. We met later on the run, where he returned the favor.
  2. I’m a little undertrained on the bike, but I knew that. The real issue is my run. This needs fixing, and it’s taking a while.
  3. Just because I’m vegan, does not mean I don’t need my woolly socks, or a vegan equivalent. My run sucked, big time, performance-wise, but it was better than my last one. Slowly, slowly, I’m fixing the damage from that bike wreck, back in 2013. Repairing injuries is a journey, and sometimes the destination takes a while to reach. That said, the real problem I had was blistering on the bottom of my feet. Here’s the story:

About twenty years ago,  my son, Nigel, a talented Ironman-distance triathlete, said, as I remember it,  “Dad, I think we have thin skin on the bottom of our feet. So I wear thick socks, and no longer have problems with blisters.” I was just picking up the distance, at that time, and was having all sorts of problems with blisters on the soles of my feet. When I tackled barefoot running, for a year or more, I never could toughen them up. They are just ‘delicate feet.’ I always wore shoes as a kid, which may be part of the reason. I bought SmartWool socks, and the problems vanished. Only issue: if you run in the rain, they pick up about a pound of water, in each shoe!

Ironman about people: FitOldDog's supporters, jess, Lori, and Florence. Photo by Deb.

Three of FitOldDog’s supporters, while he fights foot blisters (wrong socks), left to right, Jess, Lori (on bike), and Florence. Photo by Deb.

On August, 4th, 2015, I chose a vegan lifestyle. I want to save the animals, and it’s generally healthier to eat a plant-based diet. Being vegan includes eschewing animal products – this isn’t always reasonable or logical, you have to think about it. Veganism isn’t a religion! So, I thought, I better not use my SmartWool socks. Instead, I found my old, cotton, skinny socks. Never thought about it until mile seven of the run, when I felt blisters forming on my feet. My right calf was still a bit tight, but nothing compared to the sole blisters.

I need to find animal friendly wool socks.

The best part of my race, apart from my personal supporters (Deb, Jess, Florence, Lori, and Randy), was the crowd support for my ‘Flush HB2’ tee-shirt. It was overwhelmingly positive. Just a few dissenters, but otherwise, I received cheers of approval, high-fives, and thank-yous, with many handshakes. Even after the race, from passersby.

Wonderful race, wonderful day, wonderful people.

Wishing you happy, blister-free, animal friendly, feet and happy trails.

Maybe I’ll see you on a triathlon course, one day?




  1. Awesome.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.