Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Ironman UK

Guys and Gals,

It took 12 hours, 18 minutes and 31 seconds (if you're interested it was 1:02:35 for the swim, 6:29:26 for the bike and finally 4:31:27 for the marathon from hell).

The weather was atrocious and the Pros were posting times 20 minutes slower than normal. It was extremely windy, churning up the lake in one direction so I kept swallowing water (this must have kept me hydrated - every cloud....??). The swim course was very long and narrow, which had the psychological effect of making it look a very long way. And the very real physical effect of channelling 1600+ swimmers into a narrow space resulted in the entire first lap (about 30 minutes) spent being kicked, punched and swum over. Is the correct past tense swum?, it always sounds funny to me.

Anyway the winds meant the energy was sapped out of my legs by about 90 miles round the bike and the magic healing power of pepsi cola had to carry me the last 22 miles of the bike course. Oh yeah did I mention the course was hilly? The bike course was hilly. The course seemed to me to be morphing spontaneously as the race went along, hills got exponentially more frequent, steeper and longer as I progressed over the second and then third laps.

The run course was great. I don't even like running! It was a miracle I found I could actually run off the bike. In fact I was very glad not to be in the saddle as I just been 6 and a half hours in that position. The first 10 miles of the run were a dream, it seemed so easy. I was not going fast but I wasn't hurting as I imagined I would. The course took us through Sherborne town centre past crowds and through the castle grounds past more crowds - seeing people really lifted the spirits when the going got tough towards the end.

I kept eating and drinking disgusting sports gels, water, pepsi and pretzels at the aid stations. Miles 10 to 16 things started to hurt. I could tell I had been awake since 3:30am and I started to brood over all the rubbish little things that I tend to brood over. What they really need is someone at the aid stations to slap people round the face. This is what I picture as you go past....


"er, no thanks..."


"er, no thanks..."


"yeah baby"

Anyway this is just a passing thought.

Between miles 10 and 16 I had to have a little walk as my energy started to fade. I would go past the aid stations but that pepsi buzz could not quite carry me to the next one.

The final 10 miles were surreal. I had to walk and jog whenever I had any mental/physical energy left. This was when seeing the official Oxford Tri Club Support Squad in the crowd each lap really helped. A big thanks for showing up. Really.

Anyway with two miles to go I thought to myself something like

"two miles to go"

which lead to this rather foolish thought

"I'll try and jog this last bit and ignor my body. Yeah."

which lead to my left calf going

"Oi mate!! What do you think you're playing at? Thats it I've had it. Go find yourself a new leg"

my calf was very stubborn about this. I had to walk the last two miles.

The finish was amazing. It was so loud. Everyone was going absolutely nuts. It was great. I tried a smile at the finish and found my face muscles were still obeying me. I got the medal, a photo and was pleasantly surprised to find the good people at Ironman provide beer and curry in the athletes area.

Next year I think I will stick to half IM (or under) distance races . The way I see it is you can do half as much training. I'm pretty sure that most coaches and sporty types differ from me on this opinion. Or I might try something different altogether. Who knows.


xx James xx


Le_Gore said...

Well done mate, sounds absolutely horrendous...you must look like (someone who is incredibly fit) now?
Hope your well.

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