Wednesday, August 11, 2010

You forget about the pain

You forget about the pain

Published on August 10th, 2010
Eric McCarthy

ST. EDWARD - A baggie of ice under his cap helped keep Paul Dalton cool while running the

Dalton competed in his first-ever Ultraman, a gruelling three-day race in Penticton, B.C., from July 31 to Aug. 2.

"To know that you've accomplished something that most people can't comprehend - the distance - that's something in itself," Dalton reflected.

One of 39 starters from around the world, Dalton finished 29th overall in a time of 33 hours 17 minutes 15 seconds (33:17:15).

There were challenging sections in every leg of the race. Dalton was one of five swimmers who got caught up in strong current during the swim.

The first leg of the bike ride was windy enough that it was difficult to get the speed up, even during downhill sections of the ride, Dalton said.

The second-day bike ride was expected to be difficult, and it was.

"It was a long day," he said. "A lot of climbing and descents."

It took 45 minutes to climb one of the hills.

"There's a section that's called 'the wall,'" said Dalton. "It's named that for a reason. It's very, very steep."

He was in lowest gear and standing on the pedals just to keep moving forward. "You just push hard to get to the top," he said.

Crossing the finish line at the end of two marathons "felt great," acknowledged Dalton. "You forget all about the pain."

"To know that you've accomplished something that most people can't comprehend - the distance - that's something in itself." - Paul Dalton

Dalton's support crew, Ellis and Susan Andrews, ran sections of the double marathon with him, offering him encouragement.

"They were phenomenal," Dalton said. "They knew their job and they did it really well."

Dalton credits them with helping him complete the race. They kept plying him with nourishments at just the right times throughout the race. Susan occasionally poured ice water over him to keep him cool in the 30-degree heat.

Dalton said he appreciated the knowledge and experience the veterans brought to his race. Ellis Andrews is the defending world champion in the 60-to-69 age category, and Susan has now been part of seven support crews.

He said he plans to take the Andrews up on their offer to be his support crew in Hawaii.

"They were there for me," he noted.

Dalton said he enjoyed the supportive atmosphere of participants and their teams. The awards dinner was also special.

"It's quite emotional," he said. "There's a lot of waterworks."

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