Deca Iron Sicily Update

Posted on 14 October 2011


I thought I would update everyone with my experiences at the first-ever Deca Ironman Triathlon in Sicily. We had a good contingency of athletes from around the world, heavily populated with some of the fast and extremely talented athletes in the Ultra Distance Triathlon world.

The Race was set in Enna which is also called Palermo, Sicily – the southern part of Italy.  Unlike the other Deca’s I have done in the past, this deca was unique.  When we finished our pool swim, we had a 4 to 5 mile ride up to the race circuit, which was a race track where they race Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s.  We did 1 Ironman per day for 10 straight days, but I think everyone enjoyed the climb to loosen the legs up after the swim and get out of the saddle, knowing you would be on a flat course for the remaining 110 miles or whatever was left.

The course worked out really well from a logistics perspective.  The crews had their pit area, very similar to a race car track pit.  One thing that I think every athlete who participated in the race (we started with 21 athletes and 12 finished) truly enjoyed was the unbelievable food.  For those of you who are Italian, it was absolutely amazing, the different types of foods that we had during the race, pre-race, post-race, breakfast – it was a welcomed change for most of the athletes with the vast variety.

There were a few growing pains.  I’m sure the race director, Georgio, who did a wonderful job putting this together, will incorporate the ideas from the athletes to make it better in the future.  The understanding is that it will probably be moved to 2013, to Northern Italy and then come back to Sicily the year after.  I think this was a great learning experience for the race director, crews, and Georgio, who has a lot of personal experience racing these for many years.  The athletes were very thankful that he put this on. There was no Deca this year, since the Monterey, Mexico race was canceled.

Personally, we experienced unbelievable weather. Not that I have every experienced anything like this in the past with all my racing, but we had multiple days of golfball size hail that covered the race course, 45 mph winds on the bike and the run for many days.  We had 3 or 4 good days of sun, but then the weather really became a factor.  The DECA Gods really made it interesting on day 10. We were on the last day and ready to finish the last Ironman and we had the worst weather.  It was cold and in the 40 degree Fahrenheit  range, with driving wind and rain the entire day.  It did make day 10 which is usually a celebration, a really tough day but it wouldn’t be such a tough race if we didn’t have those elements, so we really embraced it!

During the race I experienced an injury which was, thankfully, the only challenge I had.  (I put some posts on Facebook about this).  I had an inflamed sheathing on my shin.  The sheathing that covers the shin bone was swollen up pretty bad with severe pain.   The solution was, and a good value add for all of you out there doing long distance running races, is that the impact of that foot continuing to hit the same way on the road for hours and hours on end took a toll on that shin area.  I had two days where I was only able to walk the marathon.  I slugged through 8 hour marathons thanks to Rick (my Crew) and Jan (my Wife), who kept telling me that we only had a few more hours of this mess.

The solution was to use another crew members Kinesio tape, an elastic tape that she put it on the front of my shin. I then used a full compression sock, in the past I usually use just the sleeve for recovery purposes.  I got the full sock from another athlete – which is what makes the DECA so great. Everyone helps everyone else, it is very competitive of course, but everyone is there for everyone else to get to the finish line.  I put the full sock on with the tape underneath and it really pulled away a lot of the swelling.  I slept with the socks and by the next day the swelling had gone down and the pain subsided with some ibuprofen. I was able to run the last three days of the race, which was helpful.

For those of you doing some long-distance running, take a look at the full compression sock instead of the sleeve.  It was dramatically better than the sleeve, which was just bunching up all of the swelling in one area.

The Deca was an experience like no other.  I always say there is nothing like the Deca – It is 10 Ironmans, You can do one a day for 10 days or the continuous version.  Either way, they are epic races that take you through many ups and downs, but I think that is why many of us enjoy them.  No more than a 100 mile running race or 50 mile running race or some long event; those are the things that you remember the most, along with the great support from the crews and race director team. There were a lot of folks at this race that I have not met before, you build a bond after racing for 10 days.

This was number 3 for me – third Deca, and I plan to run many more.  For now, there is plenty of time for recovery until 2012.  I hope all of you have had great final races. We had the Hawaii Ironman last week, there were 100 mile running races last week and for those of you coming up on your final races, enjoy and I will talk with you soon!



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