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Things couldn’t have gone much better for Todd Mullins in his first Ironman competition Sunday.
Mullins, 40, of Crestwood, completed the 2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run in 12 hours, 12 minutes and 40 seconds.
“That was about an hour faster than my goal,” Mullins said. “My first goal was to simply finish. I had calculated out about a 13- or 14-hour finish so I am very happy with it. The cooler weather really helped.”
Mullins, who learned to swim for the Ironman, completed the swim portion in the Ohio River in just over an hour and a half and said despite the cold temperature in the morning, the water was warm.
“It was better in the water than when you got out,” Mullins said. “I just felt like I was in the water forever.”
He completed the bike portion in just over six hours without incident or maintenance problems.
There were reports of sticks being thrown at bikers along U.S. 42 and tacks in the road on other parts of the course.
“We heard there was a wreck on the bridge at Ky. 1694, but I didn’t come across anything at all,” Mullins said. “It was a pretty smooth ride.”
During the competition Mullins drank Infinite sports nutrition drink, Gatorade and water and ate a Snickers Marathon Energy bar to keep going.
“That all worked out well, nutrition is a very personal thing during the race and I got some advice on what to do,” Mullins said.
Mullins was also aided by spectators who recognized the Oldham County jersey he wore as part of the county’s contingent of racers.
“The number of people that recognized the Oldham County jersey all over the course was amazing,” Mullins said. “They all cheered and said ‘keep it going Oldham County.’”
The physical demands of the race were intense, but not as tough as he expected.
“I don’t ever want to make it sound easy because it wasn’t,” Mullins said. “Physically my biggest fear was cramping up. My calves started hurting about mile 20 of the run and I didn’t want to start cramping and have to walk the last six miles. Fortunately I made it all the way through.”
Mullins was also amazed at the support the athletes had for each other.
“It’s very friendly, at least back where I was,” he said. “We’re not going to win anything so it was more of a competition against ourselves. The triathlon community in general is supportive. When you would pass someone or someone passes you, you always encourage them to keep going. I have never been involved in any sport that is like that.”
In addition to seeing family and friends at the finish line at Fourth Street Live in downtown Louisville, Mullins said he was surprised at all the other people he knew who were there as fans.
For now he is content to savor the good times and the good race time.
“I probably won’t do it again next year just because the training is such a bit commitment and takes away from family,” Mullins said. “I will probably do a few halfs and some runs, but you can never say never again.”
The views expressed in column are those of the writer.