What’s next ? 2022 ironman Copenhagen August 21st – third time lucky due to Covid or I’ll retire, I’ll be up an age group too, – watch this space……
Fouth ironman – the Dragon scorched me !
If, what, maybe ? Just wasn’t my day. I made it to 134 miles, missed last 10k run lap cut off by four minutes. Torn wrist ligaments in two places = a lot of pain and huge swollen hand.
Short Sprint version: ironman Wales is epic in so many ways. I went to slay the dragon and came back with a draw. It wasn’t so much the course beat me but I was beaten by injury.
Medium 70.3 version: The week before the race I slammed into a pot hole cycling on my last training ride, then the next day fell over while walking the dog, of course on the same hand. Thinking it was just a sprained wrist I strapped it up, swallowed a few ibuprofen for the week then headed off to Wales.
Well 112 miles of Welsh hills and tarmac certainly wasn’t what the doctor would have recommended. After 60 miles my right hand was almost numb, a little worrying as this is my rear brake and main gear changing hand, by mile 80 the hand was swelling and trying to burst out my cycling gloves like the hulk. By mile 100 I was in tears.
I tore off my strapping thinking this was the cause of the swelling as I started the run walking the first hill. As I started running there was immense shooting pain up my arm with every step and the hand continued to swell. I slowed down considerably on lap 3 and as I heard the church bells chime I was about 500m the wrong side of the cut off line.
I didn’t quit, I didn’t stop, I kept moving forward but instead of a medal I was pulled up 6 miles short ( still longer than Bolton ironman UK this year !)
Long full 140.6 version: this here
The Tenby support is legendary and I loved the race experience of taking on the jellyfish, miles of bike hills and twisty cobbled streets of town. This is one tough but rewarding course and shouldn’t be attempted if you are anything less than 100% fit and prepared. Illness and injury have no place here.
13th August 2017 Third time lucky at 140.6
Third time lucky I finished with no major injuries, mostly incident & accident free !
Through training, planning, preparing and executing I got a 30 minute ironman PB.
Learning key points from Ironman Hamburg:
- Swim – in a rolling start race in future, seed ahead of your predicted time to prevent being held up in the narrow swim channel of swimmers of same pace as there is no room for overtaking
- Bike – Take a wind shield/wet weather jacket stuffed in jersey on the bike (maintain body temp ahead of run) – don’t trust the weather forecasters
- Run – Ensure appropriate asthma meds are taken on or ahead of the appropriate times! (i.e 12 hour meds) and ensure extra ones in special needs bags
- Do not put ice down your sports bra!
I was overall very pleased with my day from pacing, nutrition, recovery from asthma, although there is the I could have been better if…if… if… !
2018 I will be taking on my toughest challenge yet – I will be going to tame the dragon at ironman Wales. For this I will need to be the fittest, strongest and leanest version of me to tackle the hills, weather and toughest ironman course in Europe.
24th July 2016 I became an OUTLAW
My second attempt at 140.6 miles, which didn’t quite go to plan on the day or do my training justice. In the weeks running up to race day I was laid up with bronchitis. Most would have been a DNS but I was determined to keep my DNF record intact. This was the toughest race of my life and I dug deeper than ever walking from mile 14 to the finish. I hadn’t recovered fully from the chest infection which caused me coughing fits in the swim, wheezing on the bike and then brought me to a standstill on the run as I just couldn’t get my breath when running. The second stop frightened me and so I decided to walk it home. Even talking was difficult at times, sounding like Darth Vader. It was a long day out and I came over the finish line with my feet on fire and two huge blisters on balls of my feet. The Pirate support was immense and their invasion of the finish red carpet was very special. Their support, banter, abuse and walking the last 5km with me was a major factor in my finish.
15:52:07 – longest & toughest race of my life. Proud to be a Pirate & Outlaw.
Three weeks later I was in the doctors having extensive blood tests, lung function tests, x-rays and was diagnosed with severe asthma – daily exercise induced but other triggers included pollen, cold air & smoke. My lungs had been scarred from many bouts of bronchitis and bronchial pneumonia one rtes previous few years and finally gave up for a while.
20th July 9:12pm I became an ironman
While fresh in my mind a few memories from IMUK although the day went so quickly.
Met Andy Holgate (its all his fault we are doing this !) in T1….the sheer excitement at the swim start….the national anthem as we floated in the water…the noise of the crowd at the Aussie exit, we could still hear them while I still swimming 200 metres out…….the kick to my ribs and promptly throwing up my breakfast in the water, apologies to those behind me in the swim ! …..Colt Alley on the bike was amazing and deafening……the mankini men at the top of sheep house appearing out of the mist, ……having a cheese and onion pasty, crisps and pork pie from my special needs bag at 83 miles…..the marshal who gave us hand wipes after my chain came off at 100 miles to go…the locals who came out in their hundreds in nightwear to support thousands of strangers cycling past their homes……getting off my bike after nearly 8 hours……catching up with Sam Grange along the canal….. having two police cyclists escort me along a mile in Bolton on the run……seeing Chris Wild battered with a shredded tri suit toughing it out on the run with a cowboy hat and a smile ……Smiles and high 5’s from Ewen Lewis and other Pirates……Getting lap bands from Jane & Colm……the guys outside the pub half way along the run loop, they got drunker each lap……the RedBull Minis and the wings I got from that high caffeine fuel….licking salt off pretzels on last 2 laps….meeting loads of people throughout the day who I only know through Facebook/Twitter – too many to list, but great to meet you all in the flesh……the comradery walking those hills when the going got tough….who would have though Bolton was so hilly…..ALL the volunteers who were endlessly enthusiastic and helpful thank you all……….hearing those four words YOU ARE AN IRONMAN from Paul Kaye on the magic red carpet….Those four slices of pizza in the athletes recovery tent were delicious…..Special thanks to Mike Forman who had got up at 3.00am to drop me off at Reebok and then stood on the side of roads around Bolton for an entire day to cheer me with Chris Hopkins, Debbie Pearce Tess VF Ryan & Pat…..The medical centre staff who confirmed my cracked ribs and looked after me and many others at the end.
Thanks to all who have been part of my ironman training, journey and race experience especially coach Neil who got me to the start & finish with a perfect training plan for me.
What a day, what an experience, what an event – I loved it.
But no I didn’t sign up for 2015 !
The start of my long distance triathlon journey
On September 8th I crossed the finish line of Challenge Henley Half in 6 hours 33 minutes smiling on my own two feet and very proud and happy with myself as I smashed my target time of 7 hours.
First time wearing pirate kit PSOF and the support was amazing. Felt like I floated along the finishers red carpet. Then I promptly was crushed by cramp just past the finish arch. I sat there massaging my right foot for 5 minutes as the podium presentations were going on in front of me.
I loved it 🙂
Middle distance – Half Ironman – 70.3 (miles)
Swim – Bike – Run
Long distance just ! – 140.6 (miles)
Swim 2.4 – Bike 112 – Run 26.2
Ironman Wales is not the toughest Ironman in Europe. It is the toughest Ironman in the world. Not my opinion, but the opinion of Ironindex.com which rates level of difficulty of all 140.6 Ironman and Challenge events (and in endorsed by Ironman). I live in the states, and I know that Wales is a whole other level of crazy. The bike course is legendary. Enjoy the day!