img_6049

Ironman Canada 2016 – Whistler!

Buildup

So I’d decided to go for low-fuss for 2016… I’d decided to go for Ironman UK to give me a minimum amount of travel… Best laid plans, eh?
Ironman Austria 2015 had gone well – really well really🙂 Although I could have done without the bike puncture…
The Autumn afterwards went OK… some trail marathons, a lot of eating, … a small amount of weight gain… a few more cakes…
Xmas arrived. We skied. A few more cakes…
Now time to train…
The early spring went good. I did a half marathon up North – the 4 villages – and it went OK. I commute-ran most days… got some good base miles in🙂 Hurrah! And weekly TT run times came down to first just over 22, and then to 21:15… hurrah!
And swimming… I got a cheap swim deal…. and I swam and swam and swam – fab stuff🙂
March arrived. Time to see an old friend… Barcelona marathon… Really didn’t know what to expect… really didn’t know what to aim for…
batmanbarcelona2
Somehow I ran 3:32 – fastest for 6 years. And I only struggled a bit in the last 5km… Great stuff🙂
batmanbarcelona
Easter… some more skiing… survived again… time to get some cycling in!
Only first there was Brighton marathon. It went OK. I didn’t like the organisation much (sorry… but they annoyed me making me travel the day before and then queue for over an hour to pick up a number…)… and then wearing a spiderman gimp suit in the sunshine only rubbed and dehydrated a little bit! 3:49ish (I think).
spiderbrighton
So now time to cycle… and I got into it… all going well… although the early Summer didn’t really deliver that well on the sunshine front….
Also managed quite a few swims in open water – love it🙂

Just over two months to go to IMUK…. 

….all going OK really🙂
But then… what if there was a work trip to Vancouver? What if? How would that effect my plans? Well… I suppose I could pull out of IMUK… I suppose I could switch to doing IMCanada in Whistler and then IM Mallorca in the winter instead?
Sounds like a plan… let’s do this!

A new target – Whistler here I come… 

Only Whistler is a tough bike course – it’s got some big long climbs… so I’d better get some more cycles in!
Then… just as June started…
DISASTER
ouch
ouch
ouch
my back
I took a train trip… not just any train… but a Southern Train… and it was heaving, packed full of people and going v v v v slow… I was squashed into the coriidor in a odd position… and suddenly the next day during 5km my lower back just gave way – suddenly it really *really* hurt. Suddenly I was in agony…. Once I’d laid down I couldn’t standup, I couldn’t sitdown, I really couldn’t do much at all…
After a day or two, it got a bit better… I could standup at least… but the pain was still there… I knew my back wasn’t too good…
So I had to readjust… I had to cancel some long runs and rides… including skipping the marvellous Ditchling Devil… and I had to think about how to rebuild some strength for my back….
And then one day… just as I started a lake swim… my neck and upper back joined in…. suddenly I had another back injury….
Pah… what the heck is happening… pah:/
I fought back a bit… and actually proved some fitness with a couple of races… windsor tri Olympic in just about 2:32…. then Cholmondeley Castle middle distance in just about 5:35… back wasn’t good in either race… but it wasn’t too bad either – I ran to the finish and I was quite happy with those times! Huzzah!
Next up… let’s pack up the bike and fly to Vancouver…
To Vancouver
Once landed, I had just over 2 weeks before the race… 2 weeks… how would I taper?
Well… jet lag made sure I was up really early… and I found that running around Stanley Park in Vancouver was a wonderful way to spend the early hours – especially with the early morning beaver action🙂
img_20160707_065053
And then I discovered some Vancouver cycling routes… first I cycled up to Whistler and back – just a little weekend trip – somewhere over 200km and perhaps 4000m of climbing.
img_20160710_113715
Then I added cycling to my morning trips around the road of Stanley Park… it’s a fab road loop – not too different to Richmond Park at home really!
Then I found a Triple Peak sportive – that took me up Mount Seymour, part way up Grouse, and finally up Cypress… It wasn’t exactly sunny – in fact it was cold and wet… but it was a fabulous cycling day – about 100km of riding with almost 3000m of climbing.
img_20160716_092311
Now what was that about tapering… oops!
So… race day approaches…. and I manage to pick up another injury – not so much my back this time – more of a ribs, shoulder and arm triple niggle… not really sure where this came from, but too late to do anything about it now… ho hum
Oh…. and I get a cold….
Nicola flies in with 36 hours to go… and we catch the bus up to Whistler for the race…
Registration is quick and easy.
Split transition with the swim/bike 2 miles from town is a small pain … especially as the shuttle busses seem really screwed…
Then a race briefing… not worth going to really… although there were a few bear pictures…
img_20160723_141210
And then that’s it… find some pasta and get some sleep…

Race day arrives

A perfect blue sky – not a cloud in sight. It looks beautiful🙂
And thank dog it’s not raining like I’ve heard it was in 2015 – a wet, cold race in Whistler would be really hard…
Get up, get some food down me, get some factor 50 on, then get to the shuttle busses…
before
Down to T1, find a pump for my bike, get my bike ready… then loop around the toilet queue… then loop around the toilet queue… then loop around… oh you get the idea🙂

Swim

The swim start is a rolling start – everyone self-assesses their likely time, then we enter the water in a very polite Canadian queue.
I wait for the start… leave the toilet… then push my way up the rolling start line until I’m roughly at 1:10… the queue seems in good spirits and soon enough I’m in the water swimming….
What the heck? Every few metres I come across people in front of me moving very slowly… some are breast stroking…. hmmm…. this self-assessment in the rolling start is not working so well… why are you in the way, why?
Eventually I find some room and get into a steady swimming rhythm… I’m really keeping wide of the course and wide of the turns… I’m really keeping it steady – no need to push anything today – save it for the bike.
As I swim, I also get a chance to look around – and it is very very very pretty – lots of blue sky and snow-topped mountains🙂 It is very very very pretty!
img_5994
Lap 1 slowly turns into lap 2… and I somehow end up on the inside of the turn rather than the outside… uh oh… there are arms and bodies… and I can’t find a way out… every 100m turns into a pounding near the buoys… and also there are people who really do the toe tapping drafting thing… I don’t enjoy this second lap at all… can’t wait for it to finish…
Almost finished… look I can see the arch… let’s get there… only it looks like I’ve gone off course a little – looks like I’ve aiming to miss a buoy… so I have to turn and angle out again….
Then the finish – onto the sand – stand up – run for the exit arch.
Time – 1:11 – oops – by far my slowest ever IM swim – not what I deserve after my winter and early Summer swim training… but I was keeping it steady knowing the day ahead that’s coming , and I’m also protecting my ribs/shoulder/arm/back… Overall, I’m happy that I’ve not exerted much energy on the swim – I’m feeling ready for the bike!

T1

The volunteers are fab – they strip the wetsuits off, help with getting dressed, and then they are on standby with heaps more suncream – all very good!
My T1 essentials are fairly small. Just socks, shoes, helmet, arm warmers and gloves. I’m very very grateful it’s going to be sunny so I won’t need a coat…
Apart from that I do also need to stop for a pee. I really wish I could learn to pee in my wetsuit!
Then over to my bike, wheel it out to the road entry, and time to start the long hilly bit.
img_6011

Bike

I’ve got some Garmin issues… somehow I’ve switched mode from Triathlon into Indoor Cycling… I’d better fix that.
img_6018
The road bends gently around the lake up to the centre of Whistler… It’s a gentle little start… within 5km we’re through town, and then it’s mainly downhill for another 10km….
It’s fab tarmac – so easy and fast riding. People are overtaking me everywhere (of course), and my ribs/shoulder/arm niggle won’t let me get down on the aerobars, but I’m happily pedalling along. The sky is blue, I know there are hills ahead, so I just let it roll…
I look down and my heart rate is reading 250… doesn’t look right… play with the chest strap and it comes down to 130 – that’s better…
25km in and we reach the turn for Callaghan Creek – I’ve practised this climb – so I know the next 12km will be gentle uphill – all good.
Up up up… keep the cadence going… keep looking around at the mountains – it’s lovely….
Reach the park gates… keep going… reach the ski jump – know it’s just a kilometre to go now… woohoo…
Reach the top, turn for the descent, let’s go….
The descent is lovely – wide road, good tarmac, never too steep, lots of crap swimmers to look at… I’m still on the brakes of course – still a wuss🙂 People are flying past me still… but maybe only 20 or so of them for the whole 12km descent. I’m almost enjoying myself🙂
There is almost a big incident with a suicide chipmunk – I almost got him…
Back to the bottom of the hill … there’s a weird bit where the 70.3 racers have their turnaround … and then it’s a turn up the hill back towards Whistler village again..
Slowly up the hill… reach the Village… through the 12:15pm 60km bike cutoff with 2 hours to spare – hurrah.
Quick wave to the Sherpa – top supporting Shiraz🙂
IMG_6026.JPG
So far so very good…
Now 30km of mostly downhill… again people are flying past me. Everyone else is sooooo much better going downhill, but I’m doing OK…
Lose the 70.3 racers again – they get to turn around so much earlier than s
Through Pemberton, the town at the bottom of the hill. It really really is so very nice of both Pemberton and Whistler to completely shut down their only road for this race – thank you!
Now out the back of Pemberton and along the flat valley for 30km. For the first time I actually get down on my aerobars – shoulder doesn’t hurt too much now.
30km of flat and fast – it’s almost boring… I saw a little bit of drafting going on – but nothing too blatant… just keep my head down and keep pedalling….
Watch the heart rate – in the 130s – all good.
Pass a fab group of supporters with beers and with the sign of the day –
“Ironman – almost as hard as farmin” – love it🙂
Reach the turnaround. Guess what comes next? Yup 30km back the other way…
The view coming back is amazing – for an idea, check out this view from http://www.bctravel.com/whistler/pemberton/
onemile
Keep pedalling… up the flat valley by the river…
It’s warm and sunny and the view is epic.
Keep pedalling – it’s great. But I also know what is coming… so I keep patient… save a bit for that last stretch…
As for fuel… I’m basically on the same strategy throughout – picking up a bottle of Iso sports drink at every aid station – so roughly 9 sports drinks – so roughly 4.5L over the 6ish hours… maybe 60g of carbs per hour and 200+ calories… In addition to that I pick up the odd banana too – good for the inner Minion.
Reach Pemberton again… through the town… now just 30km to go…. how hard can it be?
So the last 35km is up… up… and up again….  I’ve known this is coming. I’ve kept something back for this. I know it’s going to hurt – but I know I’m ready for it…
I keep my spirits high for the first few ramps of the climbs… I keep going strong for the first 20km…. but then I see a 160km marker… shit – that was only the first 15km… up and up again…. my spirits aren’t quite so high…
Then the wind starts… why?
My heart rate monitor is also having a laugh – no way my heart is doing 270… readjusting the strap this time does nothing – so I have to take it off…
So just as it starts to become less uphill, then the wind is pushing us back…
Argh….
The last 10km drags
It really drags…
It’s an upflat…
And that wind…
Past Shiraz – still cheering – thanks🙂
IMG_6049.JPG
Now I’ve done plenty of IM races… and the bike is often short… but sadly not today! This is dragging…
IMG_6054.JPG
Through town… off the road… under an underpass…. around the back of some hotels… and… finally into T2.

T2

Finally off the bike… phew
Helpers grab the bike – thanks again🙂
Find my bag…
Helmet off… shoes off… shoes on… hat on… I guess that’s it, then?
Quick toilet stop.
More suncream.
Let’s go.

Run

So I knew what was coming….
I knew it was a little up, a little down and mostly long…
The sun was out. The temperature was 28C
What could go wrong?
The answer to that came quick…
First the uphill to the lovely Lost Lake.
It’s a couple of km of mostly gradual up.
I’m ok… it’s not quick….
6 minutes for the first km
6:20 for km2
but I’m ok…
Then the trail goes round the side of the Lake, and there’s a gravel track which undulates before starting to head down…
6:24 for km3
As the path heads down, I try to pick up the pace… try to move from 10 minute miles to something a bit quicker… but my back hurts… and my legs have no power… oh dear…
6:50 for km4
This hurts… this isn’t good… in the past I’ve been quite upbeat in my Ironman runs – it’s all been about steady patience and persistence… but today my head is dropping…
Let’s not talk about km splits any more….
I keep going… keep plodding… but my legs feel weak and my back is encouraging them to take shorter less bouncy steps… it’s not pretty…
After the tour of Lost Lake, the run goes down through town and then heads North and slightly down the valley along the footpath parallel to the highway and down towards Green Lake.
img_6069
It’s not too hilly – it’s long gradual slopes.
It is hot – really sunny – but I’m still grateful for this – it’s normal hot for IM for me, and I’m still very grateful it wasn’t cold and wet on the bike.
Down through the golf club by Green Lake and I find Shiraz and a friend from work – nice to see them… it’s hot here – and there’s a bar – a really lovely place to watch the race. Wish I could stop and watch🙂
Now a long stretch around Green Lake. It’s undulating and it’s hot… I’m suffering… never walking, but not even managing 7 minutes per km – so it’s a real shuffle.
Reach the turnaround… so I turnaround… 13km down, 29km to go. The path runs parallel to the bike course here and I can see lots of cyclists still coming in. Their pain cheers me up a bit… at least I’m not back with them (sorry, guys!)
Back along Green Lake, still shuffling, still suffering. Grab ice and iso at the aid stations… Not sure ice was such a good idea…
Back through the Golf Club – admit to Shiraz that this is going to be a long day…
Back up the valley into town… walk for a short stretch (uphill)… the sign of things to come…
The crowds on the paths near Whistler Village are superb – really good support… they keep telling me I’m strong and that I’m smiling. All good, but not sure I believe them….
Half way… still running🙂
But it’s taken me just over 2 hours 30 to get this far…
Now more serious uphill again – up to the Lost Lake again.
Walking sets in for the uphill…
Then it kicks in for the undulations too…
It’s hot.
This is a struggle….
Finish the Lost Lake loop – but downhill hurts. Say Hello to the guy who’s starting parkrun Canada – “Hello, nice to meet you. A bit busy right now. Can’t stop.”.
Down through town…
Find Shiraz… she gives me an excuse… so I walk with her for a few hundred metres….
Eventually I kick into a shuffle again….
Down the valley path
Past the Golf Club
img_6074
Take a quick toilet stop…
Walking.
Shuffling.
Walking.
Shuffling.

Struggling.

I’ve done 30km… I’m 3 hours 50 minutes into the run.
I look at my watch and do some sums… I start thinking about what I need to do to get sub-5… not going to happen today… then sub 5:30… doesn’t feel likely… then sub-6… if I can just run for the next 20 minutes then I’ll be in position of having to do 5 miles in 1 hour 40….
Push
I run
It’s 7:30 per kilometre (12 minutes per mile) but it’s a run
Push
Run
Just get through the next km
I reach the turnaround.
33km in 4 hours 15
Less than 2 parkruns to go
And this running only really hurts as much as the walking does…
Push
Run
Just get through the next km
37km in 4 hours 45
Just a parkrun to go
I’m not walking again
Up the path to town
There’s a bear – there! Woohoo! Just walking along maybe 50m from the course… (apparently there was also another bear and cubs who’d climbed a tree that I ran underneath… but that bear has a sad story attached – sorry, bear!)
Still running (yes, you can call it running)
I team-up with another shuffler – he’s moving better than me but I’m not letting him get ahead of me… (Feel bad I don’t know his name… can’t really remember much about him… but we talked a bit and it was really great to have him for company as we shuffled!)
40km in 5 hours 6 minutes
We’re on the edge of Whistler Village… this is almost over
It’s great having company here. Wish it was faster than 7 minutes per km…
Reach 40.5km.. can hear the finish chute. The sign says to the finish and we follow the sign.
Now I’ve done plenty of IM races… and the run is often short… but sadly not today!
The path goes gradually up… why up?… and the sound from the finish chute gets further away… where are they taking us?
My companion accelerates away from me. I tell him to party through the finish and wish him good luck….
And then the path flattens… and then it turns right towards the finish chute again… I pick up pace… can I catch my buddy again?
Slowly… very slowly… I reel in my prey… I get him – yesssss! And no stopping… let’s go…
And then we’re at the road…
41km in 5 hours 13
And I can see the finish chute – it’s there.
But…
What
The
Heck
?
I’m 300m from the finish.
It’s straight in front of me.
But there’s a marshal pointing left…
The route goes away from the finish, downhill down the road, under a bridge, then loops up to the pedestrian mall, hops up on the top of the bridge, then loops right uphill back to the road again.
Yes – it is lovely to involve the Village in the race… but really this extra loop is so very cruel.
Bits of cheering as you run through the village… just keep moving now… it can’t be far.
I get back to that same point again – 300m from the finish
And this time, the finish is mine.
My legs find a little more strength…
The stands aren’t huge, but there are plenty of crowds.
It’s time for lots of high-fives…
img_6083
Then a snog with Shiraz…
Then I let a lady run past – no point in racing her and ruining her finish photo…
And then it’s the finish line for me.
img_6101
I try a little jump – but don’t think it really shows…
Hurrah – it’s over!
img_6107

The aftermath

The medal is superb – it’s got a bear on it.
after
The finisher tee and hat were nice.
The helpers in the finish area were good.
The post race food and drink were somewhat lacking… (maybe I caught them at a bad time?)
My race was done…
Swim: 1:10:43
Bike: 6:32:58
Run: 5:23:32
Total: 13:17:41
I think that might be a complete set of Personal Worsts…
bath
How do I compare to others… well using the fab stats from coach cox, roughly I was “in the middle” of things:
roughfinish
Of the 1256 people who have a swim time… my positions were…
– 399
– 474
– 554
… so in the top half…
Of the 188 people in in my M40-M44 category… my positions were..
– 68
– 88
– 92
… so in the top half…

Reflection…

Had a lovely couple of days walking in Whistler after the race… but then thoughts turned to “What went wrong?”
Well, actuallly I don’t think that’s the right question!
Lots went right🙂
Despite the struggle on the long run, I actually had a blast.
  • I loved the course
  • I did the bike good (I reckon!).
  • I loved seeing a bear on the run course.
  • Apparently I smiled most of the way….
  • I’m going to remember this race as awesome.
But if we’re talking times… then the swim was slow… and in the run just never really happened… my fastest km was 5:56 and my average was way down at 7:37
Why?
  • the swim is definitely down to injuries… I’ve had a super swim year (22:30 for 1500m in Windsor!)… but my back and shoulder were worrying me throughout the swim – so I took it easy.
  • I’m happy with the bike… wish I could descend more bravely but glad to have survived and enjoyed it…
  • and for the run…
    • maybe it was the injuries – certainly my back hurt
    • maybe I overcooked training during the taper – certainly I had too much fun and did too many bike miles in the 2 weeks before the race…
    • maybe I overcooked the bike a little (not at the start, not for most of it, but maybe in that last 35km I should have eased off more)
    • maybe my head just wasn’t in it… not sure why, but somehow this run got to me really early on – everyone said I was smiling, but really this run felt hard from the start… and unlike previous races I was just surviving rather than fighting…
    • maybe the spring marathons didn’t help… yes, it was lovely to get a 3:32 marathon raced in Barcelona in March… but come July the memory of 8 minute miles didn’t help at all!

Overall… 

I had a blast.
It is a really nice race.
The swim, bike and run are all really pretty and all pretty epic – very good views and lots of challenge!
The locals are so nice letting us close their town day for a week.
I’m very glad it was a hot, sunny day – the race would have been horrid on a cold, wet day.
Thanks to Shiraz for the sherpa-ing – including very nice that she’d picked my bike and bags up before I’d even finished.
Not sure when I’ll be back – it’s a long way from home – but I’m glad I’ve done it and I’m not saying “never again”🙂

Stuart Lodge

Overall Rank: 554
Div Rank: 92
Gender Rank: 462
General Info
BIB 1099
Division 40-44
Age 44
State
Country GBR
Profession
Points 2407
Race Summary
Swim 01:10:43
Bike 06:32:58
Run 05:23:32
Overall 13:17:41

SWIM DETAILS | Division Rank: 68

SPLIT NAME DISTANCE SPLIT TIME RACE TIME PACE DIVISION RANK GENDER RANK OVERALL RANK
Total 2.4 mi 01:10:43 01:10:43 01:49/100m 68 340 399

BIKE DETAILS | Division Rank: 82

SPLIT NAME DISTANCE SPLIT TIME RACE TIME PACE DIVISION RANK GENDER RANK OVERALL RANK
Total 112 mi 06:32:58 07:50:42 17.10 mph 82 414 474

RUN DETAILS | Division Rank: 92

SPLIT NAME DISTANCE SPLIT TIME RACE TIME PACE DIVISION RANK GENDER RANK OVERALL RANK
Total 26.2 mi 05:23:32 13:17:41 12:20/mi 92 462 554

Transition Details

T1: Swim-to-bike 00:07:01
T2: Bike-to-run 00:03:27

Results originally from: http://eu.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/canada/results.aspx#ixzz4JJnypI9N

Results comparison….

2015

2015-08-23_15-09-54

 

2007

2015-08-23_15-12-06

 

And just for good measure…

2008 – Almere, NL

(missing for now!)

2008 – Nice, France (punctured)

2015-08-23_15-15-39

2009 – Zurich, Switz (some www problems on these results…)

2015-08-23_15-14-20

From a different site:


M35        193. Lodge Stuart           1972      -----  11:00.41,2   2:10.10,7  (1062)   ¦    29.40   75.¦   33.55   63.¦ 1:03.35   71.¦    2.24  120.¦ 2:56.14  325.¦ 2:59.34  259.¦ 5:55.49  292.¦    1.35   45.¦   55.43  266.¦   58.50  182.¦   58.53  118.¦ 1:03.49  151.¦ 3:57.16  163.¦
                GB-Middx               GBR                                               ¦               ¦ 1:03.35   71.¦ 1:03.35   71.¦ 1:05.59   64.¦ 4:02.14  225.¦ 7:01.48  240.¦ 7:01.48  240.¦ 7:03.24  237.¦ 7:59.08  236.¦ 8:57.58  226.¦ 9:56.51  205.¦11:00.41  193.¦10:26.21  195.¦

F35         30. Whitby Nicola          1972      -----  12:36.43,7   2:06.02,5   (814)   ¦    29.44    4.¦   32.31    2.¦ 1:02.15    3.¦    2.56   12.¦ 3:28.00   45.¦ 3:45.15   48.¦ 7:13.15   46.¦    1.57    5.¦   57.51   28.¦ 1:04.01   22.¦ 1:07.29   21.¦ 1:06.56   17.¦ 4:16.18   20.¦
                GB-Middx               GBR                                               ¦               ¦ 1:02.15    3.¦ 1:02.15    3.¦ 1:05.11    3.¦ 4:33.12   29.¦ 8:18.27   39.¦ 8:18.27   39.¦ 8:20.25   36.¦ 9:18.16   35.¦10:22.18   34.¦11:29.47   32.¦12:36.43   30.¦12:01.10   31.¦

2015 … The Return

Build up…

When it comes to IronMan, I’d “Been there done that” back in 2007, 8 and 9.

I’d made some great friends, I’d had a blast and I’d learnt one heck of a lot – especially about getting calories on board.

By the time 2014 came along, I’d used this “calories” knowledge to good effect:

WP_20130728_010

There was only one thing for it – time to come out of retirement – time to come back for one more hurrah…

I signed up for IMA and announced my comeback to the world:

2015-08-17_21-32-28

Then for the hard bit – some training…

July …

Let’s start with a steady month and a little cycling…

14 stone 10…

August …

Well training can wait… First things first – a holiday… through holiday tummy and despite the lobster and ice cream, I lose some weight…

WP_20140731_13_22_22_Pro

14 stone 7

September …

A great late Summer with lots of sunshine saw me out on my yellow and black “pirate” bike 2 or 3 (or 4!) times a week – good stuff…

WP_20140930_16_46_51_Pro

14 stone 1

October …

First, I persuaded Shiraz that Beachy Head marathon would be a nice day out, then I persuaded her that the best training for a marathon is another marathon – so we did Clarendon trail marathon too. The times weren’t quick… 5:15 at Clarendon, 5:45 at Beachy… there were also some stomach issues that I’d rather not talk about. But heck, we were still out there🙂

WP_20140921_11_03_11_Pro

13 stone 7

November …

Started with a bang😦 My first cycle commute in 10 years ended when a car knocked me down and then sped off. Hit-and-run – not a happy moment😦 There was a bit of damage to me, and a bit to my bike, but the real big dent was to my cycling confidence and mojo…

The super September and October of cycling is gone.

The bike and the mojo get locked away for 6 months.

WP_20141107_18_23_35_Pro

13 stone 3

December …

I discovered run commuting. It wasn’t quick – my typical speed was above 7 min/km – 12 min/mi – but it was every day and it was great base training.

13 stone 1

January …

After a quick ski trip, back to the commute – typical speed now down to 6:30 min/km, typical weekly total was 120km – I wasn’t fast but I was running the longest weekly miles I’ve ever run.

IMG_20141224_120131

12 stone 12

February …

Still going… seeing some km below 6 min/km – still doing 120 km a week.

Even the snow can’t stop me…

WP_20150203_08_25_34_Pro

12 stone 10

March …

Manage to persuade Shiraz that a trip to Compton 40 would be a good thing… also dig the bike out for a Saturday ride.

Thanks to a special 10 swims for 10 pounds groupon offer I also started back at some swimming.

WP_20150228_17_12_08_Pro

12 stone 3

April …

Compton 40 – how I love that race. Ran the first 20 with Shiraz, had a few stomach issues, then somehow sped up for a sub-8 finish (just under 12 min/mile). Loved it!

WP_20150404_002

Then off skiing again… Loved it🙂

WP_20150410_010

Then somehow I got sick… a snuffle turned into man flu turned into some kind of chest infection which now 5 months later is still leaving me coughing and wheezing.

It made quite a dent in my running, but I cheered myself up by buying a new hybrid for commuting🙂

WP_20150414_001

Not enjoying road biking… so find some gentle MTB action instead.

WP_20150426_14_13_06_Pro

11 stone 10

May …

The cough took its toll on my running – really down to minimal running, but swimming and cycling going well so no complaints from me🙂

WP_20150513_06_58_58_Pro

Took a long weekend off for a walking trip to Exmoor.

WP_20150523_20_08_41_Pro

11 stone 7… just over 3 stone dropped…

June …

Joined my first ever Audax ride – the excellent (really really really excellent) Ditchling Devil – ended up at 145 miles – by far my longest ever ride🙂

WP_20150607_12_36_58_Pro

Managed to get at least one 10 mile run in – not quick (and had some stomach issues) but at least it was a run…

Also got a surprise triathlon in – my first in 6 years – I turned up to spectate at Henley sprint, but then somehow I became the Religious Education relay team… the commentator looked a little surprised as he said “well done Fiona” to me at the finish line🙂

… and then suddenly I was packing my bike into a van, and then I was getting on the plane to Klagenfurt!

WP_20150625_22_15_19_Pro

Race day weight about 11 stone 10🙂

2015-08-17_23-27-25

Klagenfurt 2015

Arrived in Klagenfurt… within an hour I’d found Meldy and she’d led me to a bar and forced a beer into my hand🙂 Lots of others there – the fab Nicky, the smiling ferret, the cheerful Cougie, the bike-crippled Bobby, the Major and Flyaway. Plus there are new faces too – names like Bobs, Nursey and Podds – you all were great – really nice having such fab people to share a few non-competitive days relaxing with.

WP_20150626_12_44_38_Pro

Took the bike out for a couple of spins (top tip – if you have a 4am alarm for the plane, then turn it off before the next day dawns).

WP_20150627_05_20_49_Pro

Took a swim in the lake (what a fabulous lake!)

d70ab5f2-4fa2-4222-b25c-81e53b567278

Had lots of conversations with lots of great pirates.

Nicola then flew in, and together we had a nice little lake swim, and then we ate some pizza and ice cream🙂

WP_20150627_19_36_24_Pro

Transition racking was fun – super volunteers from Klagenfurt. So much bike porn on display. My poor old bike looked a little out of place… especially with the last minute red electrical tape repair to the bars. Transition bag packing was less fun… there was so little in each of my bags – I’m sure I must have forgotten things!

3d43e391-dacd-4ea1-b013-553da3520891

Race day

Relaxed start to the day. Got up, went to transition, sorted the bike, went back for breakfast and for a long sit on the loo. This was great advice from other pirates (from “Jen”?) – it was fab to be in the hostel room still with 30 minutes left before the start.

Really was very relaxed. For a year, I’d worked hard to get to this start line. Job done. Just the easy bit left – just the glory leg to go.

IMG_4890

Headed to the start… could hear the camera helicopters buzzing and the cannon firing for the pro race starts… I was a little late… started to get the first butterflies… When I got to the beach, my wave was already in the start pen. Somehow I squeezed through the crowd – I just about made it in with 30 seconds to spare. Headed to the right hand side (the slow bit). There was room so I walked near the front.

Bang went the cannon. Time to go…

Swim

Oh My God.

OH MY GOD!

What a lovely swim🙂

I love wave starts. I love the Worthersee lake. I love clean, clear water and the space to swim free without bashing elbows.

It was great. I relaxed. I stretched out. I took long, slow strokes. I kept really far right. I had just a couple of other swimmers with me… I slowed a little to let them lead me. It was lovely.

First turn… I was still far right – maybe 5 metres from the buoy. Guy on the right of me was a complete idiot – turned pretty much 90 degrees and tried to cut the corner. He swam across my legs, then I saw him bash into several others, then I saw him have to stop as other’s bashed him back… what a muppet…

Second turn… I was still really wide. I was still doing long, slow strokes. It was lovely🙂

Towards the canal… heading towards the sun made sighting more than a little difficult. When I looked up I could see people to the left of me and people heading way off to the right… Just need to keep heading towards the rising sun.

Into the canal… one kilometre to go. To start with the canal wasn’t so bad… I had a stretch to myself, there was only a little sand in the water, and it was almost nice… but then I caught the group ahead and suddenly the water was all stirred up, there were lots more elbows and legs to avoid, and the swim was getting a little tired.

Under the bridge… maybe 500m still to go? Then while breathing to the left, I saw a lunatic jumping up and down in the crowd – Nicola screaming and waving. She’d cunningly made me easy to spot by switching my goggles for bright pink ones. I did some real slow strokes and waved back while swimming. She said it looked hilarious!

Can you spot the wave?

IMG_4972

Right turn… idiot guy tries to swim over me… for half a second I have a hand on his ankle chip and have the most evil idea… but somehow I manage to resist being evil…

Up to the beach… pulled out by lovely helpers… swim done 1:08… oops… my slowest ever Ironman swim – and my favourite ever too🙂 Feel a bit of a cheat for having such a nice relaxing swim. These non-competitive leisure events are fab🙂

T1

Really want to walk across to T1, but everyone around me is sprinting, so I break into a plod. Strip wetsuit down to my waist as I go – gotta make sure people see the kit🙂

Into T1 tent. Everyone else seems to have a nice helper, but I have to find my own bag and sort my own stuff out. Eventually one of the strippers comes over to me and offers to help. They pull my final bit of wetsuit leg off, then pack the wetsuit neatly away for me. Great job. Thanks!

I’ve got my socks and shoes on in rapid time. Much quicker than 8 years previously – although that’s partly as I didn’t have a Doozer there to talk to and to help dress🙂

Head on out of the tent, spot the loos – now there’s something I’ve never done before – use a transition toilet. This is the glamour-life!

Find my bike – plenty of others still to be collected… Head to T1 exit… Spot the supporters on the far side. Give them a wave. Fail to get my leg over my bike. Fail to get my left glove on. Fail to get my right glove on… Then finally its time to gooooooooooooooooo!

Bike

Awesome sprint out of town towards the stadium and back. Struggle with my watch which just wants to fall off. I just about hang on to it – phew.

Then it’s down to the serious business of tracking my heart rate, eating and drinking.

Heart rate target is 135 – that’s probably a bit low, but it’s higher than I normally cycle at.

I stick below 135 and zoom off along the undulations of the lake road.

Love the support in all the towns and villages.

Lots of bike bling keeps coming past me. Lots of drafting pelotons coming past too… really hate all the drafting… really hate seeing so many motorcycle refs do nothing about them.

Keep going. Keep watching the heart rate. Enjoy the hills – the memories of CRAB’s giant “As You Were” sign from 2007 make me smile🙂

I drink a 500ml Iso drinks bottle every aid station (one every 15 miles) and also grab at least a half power bar and a half banana at each station too. These stack up a little in my back pocket, but I do somehow keep eating them.

Lots of bike bling still coming past. Lots more drafting.

Catch the one-legged Javier – what a super triathlete. He then goes on to take me back again on the next downhill – he flies past me so fast – absolutely stunning. Good jawb!

A few other familiar bottoms come past me… including Elaine – keep up with her for a little while to tell her how superb she looks and to tell her that she’s the 6th “chick” I’ve seen come past so far🙂

Up Rupert-The-Bear – and there at the top is Nicola ringing her bell, screaming and taking photos. She seems also to have converted a few locals to her pirate cheer-leading – I stop for a few photos and a quick chat. It’s a lovely spot for a natter, but there we remember there’s something else I’m supposed to be doing… Time to go🙂

IMG_5010

Then down the long (mostly) downhill into town, around the hairpin and back out onto lap 2.

More of the same – including lots more drafting to watch.

Just keep the heart rate below 135… just keep taking one iso bottle, a half banana and a half power bar every 15 miles. Easy. Easy. Easy.

Enjoying it still – also enjoying rediscovering more about the art of peeing while cycling.

It’s during one of these rediscoveries that Laurence comes past. He said “hello” … I just smiled and peed ad smiled some more🙂 The next 20km see Laurence and I jumping back and forth, exchanging places every couple of km – I seem to catch him on the uphills, lose him on the flats and descents. Then the rain starts to fall – just a light drizzle – although up ahead the road is wet like maybe something heavier has fallen… suddenly I’m catching Laurence on the corners too – he explains he’s had a spill in the last few months – good job getting back from that!

And then… oh pah… I feel my front tyre going flat…

I get off at the top of the hill, wave as Laurence comes through and then set about changing the inner tube… while peeing of course🙂

Wheel off. Tyre off. All quick and easy. Check for tyre objects – find a tiny little flint… swear at my tyre choice… New tube out of the bag. New tube in the tyre. Tyre back on. Gas cannister loaded and armed… then on the valve… and it works🙂 Tyre is up and hard in a jiffy… Wheel goes back on the bike – looking good!

BANG!

Rude words scream out across the alpine meadows… Somehow I’ve pinched the tube and it’s caused a very loud flat…

Dammit.

Wheel off again. Tyre off again. Tube out again. Then my second (and last) new tube goes in with great care. In fact, extreme care…. If this one blows then I’ll have to resort to begging for assistance from the other cyclists who are charging past me…

This time I pump the tyre up slowly using the handpump first, then check for pinches, then pump in with gas… then wheel back on the bike, then I’m ready for the off… only something doesn’t feel right so I stop again… but everything looks ok… so I start again… but still feels wrong… so stop again… nope, can’t see anything wrong and really there is somewhere I need to be… so let’s roll….

Take it steady now. Heart rate is well below target. I’m busy just watching the tyres and avoiding damp bits of road. Really can’t afford another flat.

Up Rupert-The-Bear again. Uphill is fun. I’m feeling strong and spin past lots of others. They look miserable so I sing a little as I go. “Doe a deer… a female deer…”. Don’t know if they appreciate it or not… it’s only a little hill… “Me… a name I call myself”… I’m loving it:)

Up to the top… I can hear the DJ, see the fab high-fiving kids… and then Nicola is there too – just before the top – so I show her my punctured tubes and stop for another quick chat (after making her run up to the top of the hill, of course). We talk about the fact I’ve got 20 miles still to go, that the tyres don’t feel right, and that I’ve no tubes left if anything goes wrong. It’s not a comfortable conversation… but heck, it’s only 20 miles. What’s the worst that could happen?🙂

IMG_5093

Head off again – and then just around the corner I find the mechanic’s station. Oh joy. I stop. Have a chat, show him my punctured tubes, and get offered two replacements. Oh Yessssssssssssss🙂 I just resist kissing the nice man… And then I’m off – down the big long descent (with occasional upflats) into town.

The last bit of the bike is quick… it’s good… still feeling strong… still watching my heart rate… slowly trusting the tyres more with each pedal turn… whoooooosh….

Just before the end I get my feet out of my shoes. I really do this badly, having to reach through the frame with my right hand to get my left foot out of the shoe. What a doofus. One day I must learn how to take my left hand off my handlebars while I’m cycling!

Just at transition I see Oxy supporting – 7 years since I’ve last seen him, 9 years since I’ve seen Susannah… Lovely to see you both out supporting. Good jawb!

6 hours 13 for the bike – with the watch saying 6:01 of it was moving…

T2

…is fairly quick

I stop for a pee and poo – another first – don’t think I’ve ever stopped in T2 toilets before…

Then a helper finds me my run bag, I put my shoes on, then spray some suntan cream on (next time, I really must close my eyes before spraying my face), then put my hat on and I’m ready to run…

Run

Out of T2, along the lovely curved walkway around the front of the hotel, then down to the canal for 42km of discovery.

Heading into the day I knew my fitness and training would be good for swim and bike, but run… run was more of a mystery. I’ve run a lot this year, and earlier in the year I’d had a strong 12 min/mile showing at Compton, but the last 3 months have been slow, short and cough-filled. Nothing over 10 miles. Nothing really under 10 minutes per mile… yet somehow I felt like I should be able to go quicker…

What about trying for 9 min/mile? That’d be 4 hours for the marathon… How much could it hurt?

First things first, I get to pirate support corner and give Dawn and Jane a sweat-and-piss-filled hug. Oops… sorry about that. Also somehow manage to communicate enough to get Dawn to text Nicola that I’m off the bike leg OK – thanks Dawn – top jawb!

Then off on the run… and I find myself running. Oh yes!

The heat is on. The sun is out. The lake is shimmering. I fucking love Klagenfurt. Fucking love it. Down the fucking lakeside path. Along the fucking railway. There’s a heavy rock support station there – a fucking rock support station. Take me down to the Paradise City Where the grass is green and the girls are Pretty – they’re fucking awesome. Then I see the first pirates coming back the other way – Robbie, Dan(?), Laurence – each of them gets a very loud “You look Fucking Strong”, “You’re Fucking Orgasmic, Mate” or similar… ahem, sorry. I’m not sure where this Tourettes came from, but it seemed to keep me entertained at the time…

I keep moving along. The sun is still coming down hot. Through the camp ground, past the bar, then back up along the railway line towards the crowds again.

I’m feeling strong all the way through the first 10km. I just keep plodding through at approx 5:30 per km. I accept every hose and water pistol on offer for cooldown – and I offer each supporter an Ich Lieber Dich in return. I take a drink of iso at each aid station, I even try a gel, I even try a coke. Oh yuk… won’t do that again… I just keep moving. I just keeping thinking about the idea that “it’s a game of patience – just keep going. Just keep waiting for the last 10km.” And most of all I just keep swearing… you look fucking awesome. You look fucking strong. You look fucking orgasmic! Fucking ra ra ra… ahem… sorry!

Back through IronCity central, past the supporters again, then off into town along the canal where Shiraz is supporting. Still feeling fab. Still feeling strong. Into the centre of town. Really not so keen on the course in the centre of town. There are too many inclines, too many subways and lots of pavement trip hazards too. However, the crowd itself is fab – especially the Irish support shouting from the bar seats🙂

IMG_5119

Around the dragon (although I never actually noticed it…) then back out to IronCity again….

Half Way🙂

That wasn’t so bad… Maybe 1 hour 52 for the half marathon… that’s my first sub-2 hour half marathon in 6 years!

Even better I’m still feeling strong!

Although… my guts have started hurting a bit… so I’ve switched to water only at aid stations… I know that I need more sugar, but I figure I can make it on water alone… it’s only a half, right?

Back out past the pirate support… then I trip on a tree root and come so close to going flying… must pay more attention… then off back out on the next bunny ear loop out along the lake and around the campsite.

I think the rock support station (the fucking awesome rock support station) is playing ACDC… “I’m on the highway to hell… my friends are gonna be there too…”🙂

Just keep moving

Just keep moving

Some of the km splits start to slow now.

But I keep drinking water… and I keep moving…

I think the fucking swearing disappears a bit now… although Meldy and SwissBobby are still good for an earful🙂

I count down from 22km to 42km in parkrun’s – just 4 to go, just 3.8 to go, just 3.6 to go…

I have a stern chat with myself. I didn’t do all this training to even consider walking.

There was all that running in winter.

Remember the snow!

And then there was all that cycling.

Remember the Audax!

And the swimming… remember the 14C lake in May!

And then there was that guy who knocked me off my bike in November… I hate that man – he’s a good figure to focus on… No way am I walking when I remember how I bounced off his car…

Remember being knocked off the bike!

Just keep moving

Just keep moving

The km splits slip down closer to 6 than 5:30, but I’m still running.

Just keep moving

Just keep moving

Past pirate support. Less than 10k to go. That’s 2 parkruns…

No need for patience now – it’s time.

Just keep moving.

Just keep moving.

Say Hello to Nicola who’s supporting by the canal… not sure I say much… I’ve got to focus on running.

Just keep moving.

Just keep moving.

Into town. How those inclines hurt now.

Look at those hills!

WP_20150630_10_17_49_Pro WP_20150630_10_22_19_Pro WP_20150630_10_22_06_Pro

Around the dragon. Just one parkrun. How hard can it be?

Back out along the canal towards the lake.

I see the last “hill” ahead of me – that ramp up from the lockside – no way am I walking. I think of that car hitting me in November and run and run and run…

Some of the km splits are heading North of 6 (a long way North) but that’s OK…

Then I start to feel strong… I think I can run a lot faster…

So I go for it – I pick up the heels, stretch the quads and kick..

Oh yes!

I’m running

Oh yes!

I’m racing

Oh yes!

I feel fucking fantastic!

Oh yes!

Fucking Fantast————owwwwwww!

Cramp engulfs my right thigh… so I have to pull up… and for 10 steps I’m walking… but that’s it… just 10 steps, then I’m back plodding on again… but I decide maybe not to try that fast running thing again…

And so it carries on…

0.6 parkruns

Just keep moving

0.4 parkruns

Just keep moving

0.2 parkruns

Then a cruel twist… the previous km markers have all been well short… but the 42km one is much further off…

I see my watch tick over towards 4 hours… I know I’m not going to make it… so I enjoy myself thanking the supporters and thinking about beer….

Just keep moving

There’s the finish turn

It’s fab

IronMan Austria is such a great finish line!

IMG_5122 IMG_5123

I pick up the pace for the final run in – get myself some clear track to make sure my finish line photo is just of me…

Then I see Nicola in the crowd on the right. So I stop for a hug and a chat. She’s great🙂

Only then I see other people approaching the finishing chute… and so (for some idiotic reason) I decide to race them… Why? Why? Why? What a muppet… I should have waited and made sure I got the finish photo to myself… what a muppet…🙂

Over the line. Hands in the air. Smile to the cameras. Fab🙂

4:01 for the run….

It’s over!

Then to the finishers tent… via the shop…let’s get a beer🙂

IMG_5133

Get a beer

Get a very cold shower

Eat some rubbish pizza

Get another beer

Go wait for Nicola – she’s in a restaurant… she keeps texting me that she’ll be out as soon as she’s got the bill… and finished her wine… and finished dessert🙂

Then bike out of transition, bags back to the hostel, then back out to the finish line to cheer in the heros… including Helen, Nicky, and Penny – fab stuff – fab fireworks. Love it.

Finally get to go home… get some sleep… zzzzzz

Then up early for a day at the beach and a great awards ceremony.

Sad I missed the finisher tee photo… but honoured to have sailed with such a great pirate party! So many awesome performances – with special mentions for the ever-present Barley and the awesome risen-from-the-dead Symes – loved your “IronMan day is my New Year” explanation – hope you have a really happy new year!

Conclusions…

I loved it!

Loved it!

The clock at the end said 11:35 – happy with that.

Could have gone quicker – especially without the puncture… and without the cough… but then I suspect I could have gone slower too…

Really happy how all the training went – and really happy how I enjoyed the day :)

Thanks for all the support – especially to Shiraz for putting up with me for the last year🙂

Now back to the eating… got some weight to put back on…

Post race

I collect a medal . Shiraz gets offered one but turns it down (the plonker!). BrianTheSnail takes lots of photos – thanks again, Brian. Then I grab some water. Then we try to head back round to the course to welcome home Jim, Melli and a few others. But I’m in serious need of toilet time…. so I only catch Melli before it’s time to head to the Iron Dome where the Athlete’s Garden provides queues, t-shirts, some dodgy pizza, some goulash and some fresh clothes (note for next time – best not leave a rotten banana in with my change of clothes).

The next few hours contain some pain as I continually try to rehydrate, then rush for the loo, then try to rehydrate, then rush for the loo,… but the athletes in the tent are buzzing and on the big screen you can follow a continual stream of finishers including lots of pirates (including top effort of the day by GOM – a truely classy finish!)

Also bump into Dangerous Dave and Firestar who’ve been pulled off the bike course by the medics, into Petal who’s been pulled in T2 and I hear about Gumps who’s apparently set the new pirate record for number of drips – superb effort by all, it’s heart breaking that you didn’t make it, but shows such guts that you all tried so hard in the first place. No doubt at all that all of you can and will be back.

Time ticks away. I do a few beer runs for the spectators. I see Squishy head for the finish. Top marks for style. Then there’s the wait for Meldy… There’s talk that it’ll be close… But when we see her approaching there’s no doubting the result. A superfast finish, she sprints past the pirate supporters, runs down to the grandstand, charges though the finish arena, and zooms over the timing mat – really it takes a full rugby tackle from Fat Buddha to stop her. And 12 months on from IMDE the big screen smile says it all🙂

And so the cheeseeeee-DJ moves on to “the final countdown”, the crowd welcome home the last few finishers and then at the stroke of midnight the fireworks start and M-People’s “What have you done today?” booms out over the grandstands.

What a lot of europop hype! What a lot of M-dot marketting! What a superb party and a great way to celebrate🙂

I’m still wearing my athlete wristband now 7 days on from the race and I fully intend to make everyone who knows me sick of my “ironman” wardrobe… I’m proud to have competed, I loved racing alongside so many pirates, my heart goes out to those who didn’t finish – I look forward to your future victories! And my final thoughts are with the supporters – to my own sherpa, Shiraz, who put up with so much through training and who really knows what speial needs are all about; to Strike Force Alpha for the super soaking; to the tadpoles for the smiles and cheers; and to the virtual crew back on the forum – it meant a lot to know you were watching. Without a doubt the pirates have the best support team in the world – thanks!

Protest

Go pirates!

42.2km Run

I quickly passed Doozer, then the Garmin told me I was running 4:20 per kilometer pace… so I forced myself to slow down… then I hit the pirate supporters with their spray cannons – particularly cunning that the first cannon launched a fine mist while the second directed a strong jet… then on to the heat… it was sunny… it was hot… maybe 30C?… and there wasn’t much shade… 8:01 for my first mile… force myself to slow down… grab sponges… then I notice two roadside casualties – both covered in blankets with drips attached – don’t need a much stronger hint to slow down than that… 8.44 for the next mile, then 8.41 then 8.58 then 9.27… a kid with a power hose soaks my left foot – why, you little… 9.12, 9.22, 8.16, past the pirate supporters again, 9.31, 9.11, 14.31 (a false reading in town where there are lots of buildings and some underpasses). See an ex-work colleague, Jim, for the first time – he’s only 2 or 3 minutes behind me, then see Melli – she’s maybe 20 minutes behind and there’s still plenty of tarmac left before the finish – I give her a “marine corps” chant and tell her I’ll see her soon… 9.58, 9.56 … I ask for the pirate supporters not to soak me… I get soaked… then Candy says “oh sorry”🙂

On the run

Half marathon is 2 hours 2 minutes which is cool, but I know my running is now just in survival mode and I’m waiting for Jim and Melli to catch me up… 10.21, 10.20, 10.20, I’m determined I’m not going to stop running – at every aid station I grab some ISO and some water and down it… I see Jim and Melli at the 25k turnaround… can’t work out how far behind me they are… so I just assume it’s close… 10.10, 10.36, the legs hurt, the mind isn’t thinking straight, and my stomach is in pain and producing so much gas… 10.27, past the pirate support again – there’s some cloud cover now so I throw rodiogirl my hat… 10.32, stomach really hurts… I’m aware I’ve not peed in 5 hours, I’ve not eaten solids in 3 hours, and I’ve been drinking gallons…

On the run

12.50, 13.23 (both these are false – both back through the town square again with GPS issues)… turning for home the last time – still I’ve not once stopped running… I work out I have 30 minutes to get a sub-11:30 time… 12.01, I pass Melli and Jim again, then Mr RodioGirl – they are all still at least 20 minutes behind me – so none of them has caught me… 10.37, I can hear the finishing chute from so far away…. but the course loops cruelly long – past the pirate supersoakers, I grab a pirate flag (the small print is superb!), and then finally the route cuts back towards the lakeside… 10.08….

Rude tongue!

Into the last few hundred meters and my stomach does something unspeakable – thank god for lycra hems…. the crowds are cheering, the cameras are flashing, I’m slowing, looking for pirate yellow, turn now into the last 50m long finish straight, grandstands either side, a thousand people shouting, waving, applauding and there’s Shiraz on the left… I’ve run 42.19km…. and finally I stop… Shiraz climbs over the barrier, there’s plenty of time for a snog, then there’s time to applaud the crowd, then somehow there’s a beer in my hand – thanks to whoever I stole it from… then Shiraz points out that it’s time to run up the ramp and cross the line. We charge, we hug, we pose for photos… 2.32 for the last 0.2 miles and I’ve done it – the marathon is completed and Ironman achieved.

Cross The Line

 

Run Time – 4:18:50

T2

Off the bike and someone eventually took the bike off me… then I stopped to take my shoes off and discovered that my legs were keen to cramp – ouch…. then I ran off and found my carrier bag…. went into the tent… and there was Doozer again – hello! Then someone else joined us – Pebble?

I put on my shoes, then a baseball cap, then suncream… then more suncream…. the back of my neck was really sore – already very very burnt – oops!

Then just as I’d found in T1, I discovered I’d done everything I needed to do… so I left T2 ready for a marathon…

T2 Time – 4:55 – could have been a bit faster – also wish I’d put my new socks on – they were still in the bag when I left – doh!

180km bike

First down a narrow bike path with lots of support, then out onto a big road – Shiraz is there to shout at me – hi honey!

Then on to the first group of pirate supporters – excellent supporting! Then I saw my first crash – you plonkers – don’t you realise that this is a non-competitive leisure event?

And then it was time to look at my heart rate… Now the last time I’d worn a heart rate monitor was Bala in 2006. And I had no idea what values to expect or what values to aim for…. This was my big something new on race day… I did know from one of the turbo reports that someone had aimed for a heart rate of under 130 for the flat and under 150 for the hills… so I thought I’d try that too. Only my heart rate was already 140… So I decided instead to do under 140 for the flat and under 160 for the hills…

And so it went… lots of “zuper zuper hup hup” from spectators. Lots of bling bikes passing me very quickly. Some very slow hill climbs from me (160 – yeah right?!) Then I saw Brian – well done on getting all those photos, BtS! Then I saw Firestar and Meldy coming the other way after the switchback… And overall I thought the bike course was really very pretty….

Then Mr RodioGirl came past me, then CRAB came past me (“as you were” emblazoned across his arse) then the big hill, Rupert-The-Bear, wasn’t that bad! Really – it was honestly quite short and not at all steep. And the DJ near the top was excellent – I think I got YMCA first time – cool!

H On The Bike

 

Some things that did go wrong:
– I had lots of chain trouble – I think it fell off 5 times in total (I blame the idiot who fiddled with the gears on Thursday!), although I only had to stop once to get it back on the hard way…
– I had one muppet cut across me and hit my front wheel with his rear – thanks.
– I did need a few pee stops – someone shouted “amateur” on the first of these, and on the second my aim was off so I ended up peeing on my flapjack – what a waste.
– The supplied ISO drink was lemon (YUK!), the alternative was coke (YUK!) and what I picked up seemed pretty random at each drinks station.

Then back into town… where the pirate supporters were so loud and superb (it turns out they did later get stopped and asked by the police if they were a protest – lol!)

Support on the bike

Then the turnaround… half way in 2:55 – superb! …Then back out for lap 2… although I did stop for 2 minutes at “special needs” where I found Shiraz for a snog and for a mars bar donated by Hannabelle (thanks H – MWAH!)

The second lap was like the first really. My speed was definitely flagging a bit. My heart rate was a bit higher too. And it was sunnier and hotter – I did start to wonder where I’d left my sunglasses…

Somewhere on RupertTheBear I was amazed to catch up with Mr RodioGirl – he’d decided to slow down to enjoy Falco’s Rock Me Amadeus from the DJ… although as we approached this became Queen, We Will Rock You – good hand pumping music…

I then worked out I had to push on if I wanted to get sub-6 for the bike…. so for the first time I forgot “non-competitive” and I tried to cut my way through the crowds…

One final swing past the pirate support post on the way into town – discovered only Shiraz was left – hi honey – 2 down🙂

Bike Time – 5:55:38 – my GPS measured the course a bit short but I’m *not* going to ask for any extra distance!