My target was around 10hours but anything would do,
25 years from my very first triathlon, and a lot of peer pressure I decided to do my first Ironman, Training over the year was a lot of hit and miss but with the backing of a great woman who kept me on the straight and narrow I got to the start line.
What was it all about, well I was going to find out, and on my trip over to Sweden I read IRONWARS, this is something I grew up on and actually have the magazine from the race (how sad is that)
The Lucky thing about been from Limerick is that Ironmen/women are a dime a dozen. And I questioned as many as I could. Thanks for all the help
My race plan:
Swim 59 min to 1.02
Bike 5.20 to 5.30
The Pre Race:
I woke up at 4.15 and went for breakfast and low and behold there was porridge the preferred food of triathletes. I had packed my own just to be safe. I walk to the transition to wake up but 4.15 I’m quite used to, being a swimming coach. I felt like I was at the transition a bit nearly but 2 min early is better the 2 min late.
Final checks watch set for 25min a tip I got from Dave O’ Rathilly, My race like all Ironman races it’s all about nutrition and a few weeks before had I got an Email from Eamon Horgan on how to fuel over an ironman, and it worked a treat. My fuel was on board (SQUEEZY) and I was ready to go. This year was abit strange for me as I was not really interested in winning races but just doing them. Like Tri on Mhi and Kilkee. I didn’t get nervous before the race and as such no need to evacuate the bowls This I hope would not come back and destroy my race (read Mike Lane Ironmans report for more info)
The water was 21.8 not to salty but wetsuit was needed and people who know me know I would prefer no wetsuit. The swim was a bit all over the place from the harbour to the bridge then left then right then back to the harbour then down a canal then under some bridges through a marina then up a canal. The hardest part was as I only breathe to my Left the sun was in my eyes for a while and I got a headache from it. On the swim I kept saying to myself can I swim any faster and if the answer was no I slowed down, again another tip I got from Dave O’ Rathilly. Exiting the water at 59:44 it was going to be the start of a great day
Kalmar must be the shortest transition in Ironman history just cross the road and in, my transition was only just over 2 min which when you’re going for a time it all counts.
After racing all over the world at Olympic distance, I was told that Ironman was different and on the bike I saw why, going through villages and the crowds were out to cheer us on it felt like the tour de France. The roads were amazing except one 12 k section where it was a bit bumpy. I now work off power so I wasn’t really interested in the speed I was doing but kept a close eye on it anyway. The first 90ish km was a dream, good roads with only one climb over the bridge in Kalmar which is 6km long and man what a view it must have been…. ‘’If you can see the scenery, you’re not going hard enough’’. Anyway after 90k the wind really pick up and not in my favourite, straight into it. And holding my watts at my ironman zone I was cycling 39 x 17 and going 17 to 20 kpm. The race stayed on the Island for most of the bike, then back over the bridge, this time I did look around as I was going so slow into the wind I might as well have a look, and the view was better then I imaged. The hill back to the main land was no help with the winds but it’s better than going against it on a flat. Back on the main land the course brought you back to near transition, a bit of a tease, as you had to go back out for another 50 or so K this time the course was not as straight forward it was down in a forest type place for bike the road was like marble but a lot of turns and twists. But quite enjoyable mainly because after 4 hours on the bike all I wanted to do was run a marathon (weirdo) Thanks for the heads up Barry with only 20k left on the bike the weather change again this time Thunder and Lighten. To make me feel even more in Ireland the weather changed again with 2k left on the bike this time hail stones and a down pour of rain. And to make it worse I asked someone who was off the bike less than 5 min after me about the rain and he said he saw no rain and was wondering why the transition was wet. Anyway I bike 5.27 (the course was actually 181.5) this will mean a lot later.
Like T1 it was relatively short but this time after about 10 litres of water it was time to use the loo. I picked up my run bag and change in the tent, and headed off to my favorite part of triathlon, or was this going to chance with 10k to go after hearing some of the nightmare stories from the guys, I just had to wait and see…
The run was 3 laps of 14km and my plan was to run through all the feed stations on Lap 1 walk through lap2 and go for broke on Lap 3. With my target time of 4.55 per km I keep a close eye on the watch. The course wasn’t that bad after you got out of the town but in the town it was a nightmare very narrow and rocky but the crowd made up for that. I felt very comfortable on lap 1 but was still very happy to get the first lap band. Then it was back to do lap 2 this time I kept to my plan and walk through the aid stations drinking coke and water eating bananas and bread, yes bread it was a god sent, with a stomach full of water and coke bread was the thing, if you can handle it of course. And I practiced eating food before I go running so on the day I was well able. So I made it around lap two, and coming into the town the course was filling up, but not that bad yet. Lap3 this is where I was going to either blow up in the middle of the lap or collapse coming over the line. I turned off my watch and left it to the Iron gods, and ran as hard as I could. At about 36k of the run I knew I had the back of this ironman broken and now it was get to the line. Now I was focus I ran as hard as I could and this time coming through the town and pushing for 10 hours nothing was getting in my way on till a old women in a motorised wheelchair pulled out in front of me and I had to up over her, (this is not a joke, this actually happened and only 1k left.)So with my last bit of energy I ran as hard as I could down to the finish line not knowing what time I finished fell in a heap over the line.
The time: 10hours 1min 00 sec was out by 1 min and 1 sec that 181.5k bike will come back to haunt me for the rest of my life.
After waking up in the medical tent about 30 min later to hear I was out by 61sec. the 61sec didn’t really bother me it was going to be the likes of Barry Kent and Dave O’ Rahilly saying I would have to do another one….. The Jury is out on that one
Thanks to the following:
My wife and children for their belief in me, and letting me have time to take on this adventure. Maybe Ailbhe will do one now. To Ivan Yelverton of Squeezy the jellies I SWEAR BY. Siobhan in Limerick sports store for all her help over the many many years. To the 3 people who I head wrecked mostly over the last 12 months Barry Kent, Dave O’ Rahilly and Mike Lane.
It was an honour racing in my LTC gear after racing for them for 25 years. And now at every level that triathlon has to offer from junior to senior at age group and elite and now to finish it off with Ironman. Thanks to Chairman Mark Kennedy for the Kit.
I would also like to congratulate 3 of my the athletes who I coached on their adventure Mike Deegan of Limerick Triathlon club. Majella Moyles and Sinnead Oakes of Nenagh Triathlon club…
AND NOW A SHAMLESS PLUG FOR ME: IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BEING COACHED BY ME PLEASE DON’T HESITATE TO CONTACT ME ON [email protected]