Well after 300 hours of training, 30 weeks, 270 training sessions, over 3000k on the bike, 130k of swimming, 720k of running, 160,000 extra calories and one broken collar bone, the day has finally come. In all honesty I am absolutely bricking it (a nice tri pun for you there!) and the fear is at stupid levels. But I am seriously looking forward to it. Despite what many doctors told me 8 weeks ago, I am waiting to start with a fully healed collar bone and in some sort of shape, though carrying a few extra kilos than I was hoping. It has been an incredible journey with so many ups and downs.
Firstly, thank you so much to everyone who has donated some money. (And joe, say bloody hell, thanks to your dad from me!) It is going to a fantastic cause as all the northeners among you will know, and is a really good motivator when the chips are down. And I am going to need all the motivation I can come the final lap of the bike and 2nd half of the marathon. At the time of writing, I have raised £776, with only £224 til I reach my total of £1000, so if you havent already sponsored me, get yourself down to http://www.justgiving.com/timdoesironman and click Donate Now!
I am heading down to the ‘Iron Village’ as it is called this evening to register, find my way around etc, then tomorrow it is an early morning swim, check I have everything, check out the last of the bike course, get myself even more nervous and meet up with the seemlingly hundreds of people I know who will be down there. Saturday is another early morning swim, quick check of the bike and short run to blow the cobwebs in the legs away, pre-race massage, a few naps, check my bike and transistion bags in then race briefing followed by pasta party!
Race day starts at 3 for me, as I get up and try and pile 1000 calories into me before 4 so I can digest it. I then check my post-race bag and emergency bag in, pump my tyres up, put my wetsuit and then just the small matter 140.6 miles to complete….
For those coming to watch, I don’t there are any starters among you, but if there are, the race kicks off in Rivington Reservoir at 6. You will need to be parked at the event site before then if you want a parking spot for the swim or the bike near the start, as the roads are shut from 6 til 1 (postcode is pr6 9hg). They then reopen the car park at 1 if you are coming to watch the latter parts, otherwise find a car park in the town centre or close to the bike route (details on http://www.iron.ironmanuk.com/). The swim is 2 laps of the reservoir, then 3 laps of the bike course and then the run includes a couple of laps followed by the finish going into Bolton town centre, finishing outside the town hall. Good places to watch are (so I’m told) for the bike is Sheep House Lane, a horrible climb for us at the start of the bike lap about 10-15 min walk from the swim start, so I’ll be going slow enough to be spotted, or for the run, the Crown Pub, which is as about 20 mins walk from the swim start. For those arriving later in the day, the town centre will be the place to be to watch the finish, which finishes outside the town hall, just follow the noise and the quizzical looks of all the locals. Apparently Queens Park gardens will be very popular for parking on race day.
In terms of time, race starts at 6 and I should be out of the water at around 7.15, maybe a bit before, bit after, depending on how beaten up I get in the aqua ruck at the start. The bike course will take me around 6 and a half/7 hours, so I will be going round a lap every 2/2 and a half hours. So 9.15-10.00, and 11.15-12.15 there or there abouts, finishing around 1 – half 2 depending on how my body holds out. The run is then anyones guess, I should have been around the 4 hour mark, but a fractured collar bone saw to that, so it could be 4 hours, or it could be 8. So I could finish as early as 6, but as late as 11. Whichever it is, keep an eye out!
For those not coming to watch, if you are bored at all on Sunday you can go to http://ironman.com/ and there will be a race tracker online, where you can see how I’m doing. This is updated live as I pass over various timing parts with my timing chip strapped onto me. I’m guessing there will be swim start, exit, bike start, start of every lap (possiby), end of bike, start of run and end of run. I am bib number #236.
That goes to all of those watching too, look out for # 236 and give us a shout! I’ll need it!
In terms of afterwards, I have no idea, as long as I finish I don’t really care what happens! Most likely I’ll need to be carried to the medical tent and have some fluids and my massage and then I will probably stay and watch the finish line for a while. For anyone who has never seen a finish before, go to youtube and search for team hoyt, a seriously moving story, or ‘ironman I can’ and have a look around if youre bored, some truly incredible stories on there. More than likely, I’ll pass out in my car til Monday, but if youre going to be around in the evening, reply to this and we shall sort something out.
So all that remains to be said is thank you to all the support, especially fellow tris and friends for the support after my crash. I went through some bad times after that, but still managed to prove the doctors wrong! Some off you, I’ll see you at the start line, others at the finish, the rest probably on facebook! And a final plug: http://www.justgiving.com/timdoesironman
PS I have bragging rights for at least a couple of weeks after, but after that, if I’m still going on about it constantly, tell me to shut it!
And that’s it. All my major training has now come to and end. 7 months of my life dedicated to this, and it is nearly over! Due to galas and work, my swimming hasn’t been all that good this week, but as my cycling and running come to a close, and I FINALLY have a house, I can now concentrate on that this week. I’m sure I can do the distance, especially with the wetsuit on, I just need to build up the distances I do to make it more comfortable, and as it requires less taper time, that shouldn’t be a problem.
My running was OK this week, a couple of midweek runs, followed by a half marathon on friday, in which I felt great! As soon as I settled back into my rthym, it was good. I ran it in around 1 hour 50, so am looking at 4/4 and a half hours on the day, not bad considering!
My cycling, well… I did a nice 60k at the start of the week, and finally started to get some sort of feel back for the bike on the ride. I then only had a short ride on saturday to loosen my legs up and then it was Sunday, and time to see if I could fo 180k. And boy was it hard! But I managed it!
Starting fairly tired, with my legs still recovering from my half marathon, and setting off in the pouring rain, it wasn’t the best start. But the first 80k were good, less the flat I got about 35k in. It would be this ride that I got my first very flat on this bike, and in nearly 4000k! I did have a bit of a panic when I saw the flat, seeing it had ripped through the entire kevlar strip on the tire, but thankfully Specialized had the forsight to put a tyre patch in the mini pump on my bike! Thank God. So anyhoo, I was climbing well and then my lack of fitness started to show. Thinking I had another 100k left and struggling to lug myself up some of the hills I had flung myself down at 70kph was tough to say the least! I did a 120k loop into the Welsh mountains, then went home to stock back up on food and bottles. Unfortunately I had run out of GO and SiS gels, which are the 2 things I find easiest to stomach. After 10k or so, things started to get tough, but my legs still felt OK, and I could still climb, albeit slowly. I then had problems with my front derailleur (again after the race last week!), and somehow it had managed to tighten the cable when it jumped whilst shifting so was now rubbing. Tool kit out, and a quick adjustment and it seemed fine, though it looks like I have cracked one of the plates that holds the two sides of the cage together, so that may need replacing. Hopefully, when I strip down the bike and replace all the cables etc, it should be OK.
At around the 140k mark, I started to have serious problems, I wasn’t eating properly, so my energy dropped and my mood plumeted. To add to my misery, the wind picked up to ridiculous levels, and I was going directly into it and removed any remaining strength and energy I had left. I was swearing and shouting at it, trying to move, but I just wouldnt go anywhere, and my stomach soon stopped accepting food, fed up of all the sugar it had been forced to consume over the last 5/6 hours. It was only pure stubborness that got me too my turnaround point at 150k, something that I am going to need a lot of on the big day!
Naturally the wind got bored when I turned around, so it was a 30k slog home, but it was going home, and so was easier.
I arrived home exhausted, but happy. The physcial, but most significantly, the mental benefits of doing that far outweigh the pain that I endured. And to top it all off, I even managed to run afterwards. Well, I say run, it was more of a shuffle, but I could move and felt much better towards the end, even though it was only a couple of k. But I am still waiting for my groin and stomach to forgive me!
At around the 140k mark, the thoughts of doing another 40k on the bike, and then running a marathon sent shivers down my spine, and I was having major doubts. Now I KNOW I can do it. It is going to hurt like hell, but whatever tiny slither of doubt I had about completely it is now gone.
I now have 2 weeks of tapering, reducing the duration of everything and upping the intensity to make sure I am as fresh as possible. At the weekend I will go to the course and do a lap of the bike course to familiarise myself with the course, and then the next time I ride the course will be on race day!!
Bring it on!
Well after deciding last week that I could swim 1500m in the pool and entering llandudno triathlon a week ago, today was the big day. The week had been ok for training, I managed a few good rides on my bike, a couple of short runs and found a pool near me, which will do (providing I go during lane-only times). I wish I had done another swim to prepare myself, but thats life. I also went out with the office, discovering some of the roads round my new home, and there are some great roads! Not quite up to shropshire/wales standard, but hey ho!
Well after the last week (24) things really started to look up the week after. I regained all my movement back in my shoulder, it was almost pain free, I was getting back into training. I managed a 45 min run with no pain and then topped the week off with a 3 hour turbo in which I was feeling great. And then it all went downhill.