Saturday was the big day. . . The day I have been training for over the last 6 months and that I was excited to see what I could achieve given some of the training sessions I had done. I gave myself some time to properly reflect on the race, to try and give a more objective view – so here goes.
– alarm goes off at 4.15am – to be honest I was awake already but had slept pretty well, and excited to get up and be getting ready
– normal breakfast of oats, banana and honey plus coffee and I was ready to go
– heading down to the start and final touches to transition – gels on bike, pumping up the tires and generally ensuring everything was ready – atmosphere wasn’t as pumping as other races I have done but kept it relatively calm
– time for a quick warm up beforehand quick good luck pep talk from Barney and Bridget before heading into the pen to get a good position – by this point normal pre race nerves kicking in a little bit, but mainly just wanted to get going!
– managed to get myself near the front and to the right, so whilst the start was pretty hectic being a mass start I probably had it slightly better than people who weren’t able to get into the AWA section
– as the gun went the first part of the swim was quite slow and congested up to the first buoy – the usual battles around the first buoy and then it started to spread out a little bit
– normal load of people not able to swim in a straight line cutting right in front, people swimming into me, people trying to swim over my legs and stop start in some parts of congestion
– first loop felt ok and going into second loop I knew I was on track for doing the swim in around the hour – and managed to find some clear water to get into a rhythm a bit better
– coming out in 1.03 was pretty happy considering some of the argy bargy and was then excited to get on with the rest of the race
– transition I took fairly slowly, making sure I got everything on right, getting smothered in suncream and mentally thinking about objectives for the bike
– almost immediately I felt like I was in a bit of trouble – I felt nauseous and not at my best – however I just focussed on forcing the gels down and trying to stick to my target power – I was getting overtaken going uphill but was catching people on the flatter sections and downhill (a first!)
– on the approach to fire mountain I had to make my first toilet stop – I was hopeful this would sort me out and I felt much better after this – time to tackle the hills
– the next part of the bike I absolutely loved – I felt great, holding my power felt comfortable and I was constantly overtaking people – the scenery was great and I saw Barney, Bridget and Sean a couple of times
– my favourite part was the descent from Mirador Del Rio until the approach to nazarat, where I hit a bit of a mental block and struggled to hold power and didn’t seem to be going anywhere
– the last 20k was a bit better post another toilet stop (mainly because it’s downhill!) and I was very happy to be coming into t2
– heading out of t2 I felt great initially – I was having to slow myself down as running felt easy and I was getting excited to see what I could do
– this lasted all of 2k and then it all started falling apart – my tummy decided that it had had enough and it was going to cause absolute chaos – bring on the next 35k of constantly hunting the next portaloo, some enforced walking, not being able to eat anything and wishing the day was over
– some great support from people urging me on and when my tummy wasn’t shouting at me to stop I felt quite good running, and the last 4K I managed to power on through and hold a good pace
Crossing the line I was mainly overwhelmed with frustration and annoyance that the goal I had been working so hard towards had been ruined by something I really thought I had solved in terms of tummy trouble. Even after a lot of reflection I am not sure what went wrong – I did everything as I had in practice, and couldn’t identify anything obviously that I had done differently or that might have caused the upset stomach. At that point I thought Kona was out of the question as I was so far behind where I was hoping to finish I just assumed I was way down the age group ranks.
By pure luck, turns out I had come 3rd, and the lady in 1st Had already qualified, and Lucy in 2nd didn’t want her spot – so amazingly I managed to claim my Kona slot, which I am over the moon about. It is definitely not in the fashion I was hoping for, and I am nervous about what I can change to ensure the same doesn’t happen out there, but feeling very lucky to have had a bad race and be able to still claim that spot – as they are so competitive now that very few people can say that.
So on reflection. . . .
- I am officially an Ironman now!
- Very happy with general fitness and how I felt other than my tummy
- It is the first time I have led my age group out of the water (and doubt it will happen again!)
- I was happy to be able to pull through some dark places on the bike
- My legs felt good on the run even if my tummy didn’t
- I managed a full marathon on 4 orange halves, coke and water – well done body! And my moving time with the walking was 3.43 – not as bad as it could have been!
- I am also happy that I managed to mentally keep myself going despite the run being a fairly miserable experience – with a lot of this being down to the amazing support out there!
- I have completed the toughest Ironman out there. . surely it can only get easier?!
- I QUALIFIED FOR KONA!!!! (probably the best part of the good!)
- I don’t know what caused my tummy issues. . .
- Despite the good it wasn’t the result I wanted, and getting my head around that having worked towards a result so hard for the last 6 months is tough – and I’m not quite there yet
- My sincerest apologies to anyone who was anywhere near me on the run. . . enough said!
Thank you everyone for all the support – in particular Barney and Bridget for being my integral support system in the run up to and over Lanzarote weekend – I would have been even slower around that run without you there telling me it was ‘just’ another 13k. . .
Thank you to Orca for the wetsuit and kit (black is a good colour!), Giant St Pauls for the awesome bike – still managed an average bike split despite the 2 toilet stops, ClifBar for the nutrition – just a shame I wasn’t able to take any on the run, Precision Hydration for keeping me hydrated – probably would have needed a drip at the end without your tablets, Lezyne for the tools to get my bike ready, Skechers for the trainers (sorry I wasn’t able to do them justice).
Thank you also everyone who was tracking me and cheering me on remotely – knowing so many people were tracking the race certainly kept me trying to push through the run. . .
Also – thanks to the pros – it was absolutely epic watcing the Brit ladies absolutely smash it – and Lucy Gossage – your words post race really helped me rationalise it all a bit more!
Onwards and upwards as they say!