Where do I start with this one. Could go back to Ironman Bolton as I never really wrote anything about that race, however I shall spare you all a whopper of a read by simply saying, I thought that race would be my last
IM race until some point in 2017. Saying that I’m writing this as we drive home so this may waffle on, but it’s keeping me entertained.
Some of you may or may not know, but on Wednesday 14th September I will be going into hospital to donate my kidney, left one to be exact to my dad. Well in a roundabout way. Long story in a complicated process that has lasted nearly 2 years.
I booked onto Weymouth IM last minute, about 5 weeks ago once I knew a date that the op would be taking place. Probably not one of my smartest ideas due to it being 3 days before my op. But if you know me and follow my constant training/race updates then you know I don’t plan, don’t do sensible, don’t follow correct practice and in general just do my own thing as and when I want. It’s all just bloody good fun and a challenge to me and to quote the IM moto, “Anything is Possible” I literally do go about things with that attitude and an “I can and I will” mind-set. It seems to work.
Bored yet? I’ve not even started on the race mmwahahaha. So booking this race was purely last minute and for want of a better phrase just for shits and giggles and because I wouldn’t be doing one or any race for quite a while and it would take my mind off the upcoming operation. My mum and dad also love watching, so what better way to spend the weekend before our op than doing something we all enjoy. Perfect.
I’ve crammed in a fair bit of running and cycling for this race, nothing really at race pace on the bike, just big rides to get miles in the legs, a few long runs and lots of short fast ones, and as for swimming. 3 swims since.
Bolton IM and only one of those were more than a mile, says it won’t be pretty. Oh and I don’t taper, I get fat, slow and bored haha.
4hrs sleep. Winner!!
3.45 am wake up. Two bananas and a chocolate croissant type thing washed down with a coffee. Lovely.
Arrive at Weymouth at 5 am. Final check of the bike and transition routes then off to the swim start. Standard portaloo selfie cos it’s the law and other things you do in a toilet. Plenty of time to chill, jog, stretch, keep warm as it’s a tad fresh and have an emergency toilet stop in the nature reserve due to queues being a mile long, and my bowels always get giddy 30 mins before the start!
Waiting in the pens for the start is hell on the feet, bloody pebbles on skinny feet do not mix. Anyway were off. A warm sea swim. Most comfortable swim ever in 1 hr 20. Steady pace for both laps. Pointless trying to go fast because I can’t lol. Few kicks to face always make it interesting and I’ve touched so many feet that I feel physically sick. Blurgh!! Long run to transition, but it sorts your legs out and gets your balance back so no complaints there.
Bike leg. My favourite. Love the bike. Now this isn’t a flat course. 5660ft ish of climbing, not as brutal as Bolton or Wales but after doing it I’d now say there’s a good mix of fast parts and slow parts. I do love hills though.
1st loop of 56 miles was awesome. 2hrs 46 which wouldn’t of been too shoddy for the 70.3 race and I feel I could knock a fair bit off that as I held back a bit. 2nd loop hit me hard at the 90 mile point. Chain came off at the start of two big climbs which was a tad annoying. So I just laughed it off. Had fun on the hills and seemed to be stronger than most as I passed hundreds across the whole race with relative ease. Need to work on my power on the flats though. Had my first experience of weeing on the bike…….no not me haha. I initially thought a woman’s water bottle had burst so as I was about to pass her I was gonna let her know, but as I approached I realised she had clearly mastered the art of weeing whilst sat down and cycling. She must of been busting, because my God it was gushing out and all down her leg too. Needless to say I had a chuckle then cracked on. Which was shortly followed by a bloke stuffing his bits back in his shorts. What a memorable 5 minutes. Whilst on that note I have mastered the art of weeing whilst being horizontal and swimming. Defiantly saved me 2-3 minutes in transition, so well worth it.
Back to the bike. Discovered salt tablets. Wow…. These either actually work or are the best placebo known to man. I have issues with nutrition and stomach problems usually. I survived this race on 3 bottles of water and half a bottle of energy drink and a load of salt tabs. No cramp and I always cramp, and no dehydration type headache. Winner, last I have found something that works for me. I only had 14 powerbar cola sweets and half a power bar waffer bar. Not really alot but I did feel strong so maybe it was there abouts with what I needed. Got to 105 miles and said to myself yes, nearly done may even get a 5:40 bike finish. Well that little bastard called sods law screwed me over haha. I hit a wall and it was a never ending wall. 7 long painful miles, my head went, this wasn’t a wobble, I fell apart inside and felt empty. I honestly don’t think it was lack of food, just the inability to mtfu. I got through it obviously, in 5 hrs 54. Quite happy all things considering.
Then the sit-down on the bench in T1. Well to give it a pleasure rating out of 10 especially as my lower back was aching like mad, I’m gonna give it 10 and a bonus point. It was soooo good. Nearly forgot, I may be on the official Ironman Weymouth programme. Camera man passed me a few times on the bike. So had to do a little dance hehe. Watch out for that.
Now to the run. I felt confident I could finish strong with this. First Mile or two was finding my feet and ridding myself of a stitch. No worries there, then I slowly started to get into my stride. 4.5 pan flat laps along the sea front. Stunning views but mentally tough as you can see both turn arounds. Weather was perfect as it had been all day but getting hotter. For someone with my freckle count, this isn’t perfect running weather. Kept myself well hydrated throughout the race and the salt tablets worked yet again, no cramp on the run at all. Did overload on coke at first feed station which gave me water belly for a bit. Seemed to pace this quiet well. 50 mins ish for a lap and I thought i really could comfortably break 4 hours. Obviously my pace slowed but I never felt I suffered with lack of energy, which baring in mind I did this marathon on coke, water and salt tabs. I took on no gels or food. I do train this way so maybe that helped. Who knows. The sole of my left foot had been burning for a while but it was bearable, however around the 18 mile mark I really started to suffer. Stopped to check and found that I’d bruised most of the pressure points on my foot hence the pain and burning. The next 8 miles steadily got slower and slower. Stopping, Walking and so on. The more I stopped the more my legs then started to stiffen up. Needless to say this was gonna a long slow drawn out affair till the finish. I was getting cold too, highly likely to the sunburn. I did however manage to run the last 2 miles with a bloke who was doing his 1st one. The pace was 11 minute miles, it was painfully slow but I couldn’t do anything else. But we had a great chat and he helped me through it. Never needed that before, but just as with the support at WRC, it really does help and I really appreciate it. May of been out there for another half hour without him. Finished in 4 hrs 23. Gutted but still happy.
To finish off. I truly thought I could break my PB of 11:13. I had no aims for this race what so ever, as I’ve said it was for shits and giggles, but during the race I thought it may be possible. I gave it everything, left nothing out there on the bike and run but a few factors affected it. Was I pissed off, No. Was I annoyed, No. Did I enjoy It and smile for the cameras as much as possible. Dam right I did . It hurt, and I was tired, but I had loads of fun and to have my parents there made it even more special. Finished in 11hrs 50. I love racing Ironman and racing in general. Here’s to many more races in the future.
That was my last race for a while and what better way to finish off than with an Ironman. I’m now a 6 time Ironman finisher and there’s many more to come. Bring it on!! I haven’t really achieved anything in general but I have to say and have a soppy moment, but I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that I’m mega proud with what I’ve achieved when it comes to racing and I still feel I can improve greatly and achieve something greater than what I have already. Here’s to the future and many more races!!
Before my op on Wednesday my race figures currently sit as follows;
19 races in 2016.
6 Ironman finishes in just over 4 years.
8 Ironman events in Total in just over 4 years
99 races completed.
What race and when will that milestone occur. Watch this space…