You always have something left in you
No matter how exhausted you are! You learn this first in training before re-enforcing the lesson on race day. On a weekend you end up putting in 100 miles or so on the bike, sometimes the weather is awful and you’ve fought through wind and rain for 6+ hours. You get back and your bum is killing, your legs are like lead, and you are SO exhausted. The LAST thing you think your body can do is get off the bike and run, but trust me YOU CAN DO IT, and… you don’t have much choice!
Pain is only temporary
Race day REALLY, REALLY hurts, you actually spend the majority of the race in discomfort and especially by the run you really wonder how you are going to manage. As soon as its done, you totally forget and start planning the next race!
Your mind is so much stronger then your body
The whole thing (training and racing) is just a mental game! You strengthen your mind through the nine months of hard work, and put it to the test on race day! Especially on the bike there is just more or less you and your thoughts for 6 hours+ (in my case, you may be faster!). Make sure you don’t stop telling yourself that YOU CAN DO IT, and that after all the hard work the most important thing is to enjoy the day.
Vaseline is BRILLIANT
I never appreciate the stuff until race days. Chafing is a bitch!
Anything is possible
It may be the Ironman slogan and a pretty obvious one, but you really feel it once you’ve finished. When I first decided I was one day going to become an Ironman I was actually recovering from an eating disorder, I was over 3 stone lighter very ill. To recover and be able to achieve something like this just shows that anything is possible, and anyone can do it if they believe they can! – also, I was horrifically terrible at any form of sport or exercise as a child, and every PE teachers worst nightmare!