Ironman Wales 2018

My reflection – I’m a little disappointed with the result as I thought I had the fitness to go quicker, but I’m happy with my performance as I put the best race together that I could on the day and wouldn’t change anything I did during the event. Here’s how it went.

The Build Up – the training went mostly to plan, with the specific IronMan training starting after the Cardiff Standard Triathlon, which was on 24th June. I did 3 x 3 week blocks, with an easier week after each, leaving two week to race day for freshening up and the finishing touches.

Race week – was hectic, with Sian (wife) starting a new job on the Monday, leaving me in charge of the school run, we were also looking after Robbie, the father-in-laws dog and I was working Monday to Thursday and not finished to after 9pm each night. I just about managed to squeeze in my normal race week schedule along with a few extra miles walking Robbie.

In Tenby – the usual pre-race registration, which was slow. I waited in line for about 1hr. Other lines seemed to be moving quicker, but the line I was in was for my race number, so line hoping wasn’t going to help. On the Saturday both Grace and Isaac ran in the IronKids event which they loved, with another medal to add to their growing collection.  Followed by racking the bike and run/bike bag in transition.

The Race – The weather was favorable, a slight chop in the sea, windy (normal) on the bike and pleasantly warm on the run. After two gels washed down with water, followed by the National Anthem, the rolling start began. People hadn’t been completely honest with their seeding, I was fighting my way past people from the beach and I’m not a fast starter. I was continually swimming past people all of the first lap, exiting the water in 29min 12seconds to continue catching and passing during the second lap, where I had first a right hand, and later a left hand experience of Jelly Fish, thankfully not stings, just a squishy feeling. I exited the swim in 59.30, so pretty much even paced. During the entire swim I took it easy and could have happily jumped back in for another lap, although I was looking forward to getting on to the bike.

Up the zigzags, wetsuit off and trainers on, for a jog to the change tent. Helmet, glasses and number on and on to the bike. My plan for the bike, which I stuck to was to ride my own race, only going hard if I had to, i.e. up a few of the steeper hills. This worked well as during the first two hours quite a few cyclists came whizzing past, a few of which I was again later on the second lap of the bike. On the second lap I was feeling ok and able to hold pace. My fuelling strategy was 300kcal per hour, made up from 200Kcal from a home brew maltodextrin, fructose, salt and a splash of lemon squash, kept in an aero bottle on the down tube and a further 100Kcal alternating between a gel and energy bar each  hour, totalling 1800kcal. I took two bottles of water on route, to give approximately 2600 of fluid drunk. Off the bike in 6hr 11min.

In to T2, trainers on, hat on and on to the marathon. I started slowly to let the body unwind and found a good rhythm, lap one in 55mins. I started to feel as good as can at this stage, going through lap 2 in 1hr 50, still feeling good going on to lap 3. Lap 3 started well, with the good rhythm continuing, but the quads where starting to fatigue. I kept the gels, red bull and water going in at approximately 200kcal per lap hoping the legs would hold on until lap 4. Just before mile 18 I had to take an unplanned, extended walk break, to give the quads some time to recover. This allowed me to get back running, finishing lap 3 in 3hrs. Lap 4 was tough, as it is for most, the best way to describe it is as a ‘soul searching death march’. Thanks to the fantastic support out on the course for keeping me going during the final lap. I crossed the line with a 4hr24 marathon and 11hr, 44min, 52sec finishing time and very thankfully to be able to stop. After a cup of tea, a slice of Pizza Fungi, I collected my bike and bags, to pedal slowly back to the campsite at New Hedges. Job Done.

 

Equipment

Wetsuit – Snugg Sliptream, made to measure.

Goggles – Swans FO2 Smoke, optical.

Bike – Boardman Air TT (2017 model, T9 fork), custom build.

Wheels – Planet X 82 / 101.

Tubulars – Veloflex Extreme front / Carbon rear.

Helmet – LG P09

Running Shoes – Newton Gravity 7.

Trisuit – Virklon AERO endurance – custom colours.

Socks – Tri-Monkey Limited Edition.