Trains, planes & buses….Calella a small coastal village north of barcalona was host to the Ironman 70.3 where 2700 athletes lineup up shoulder to shoulder to take on what is deemed by the organisers as possibly the toughest 70.3 course world wide.
It’s Saturday morning and with the race tomorrow morning i was off to registration & race safety briefing ,a packed arena at the beach with energy mounting the atmosphere was electric… following on it was of to transition checking in the bikes swim & run bags for the following morning. Entering what must have been the most expensive bike showroom I’ve ever witnessed, it was bikers heaven ,the latest technology & carbon fiber the order of the day ,disc wheels and every aero assist imaginable. With the evening calm ,fuelled & hydrated it was early to bed.
The race – entering the Mediterranean water for a 15min warmup i was buzzing feeling great and really looking forward to the challange 1.900mtr ocean swim – 90k bike – 21k run to finish. Setting a personal goal id planned & trained for a 32min swim – 2.42 bike – 1.35 run, which would give me a sub 5hr 70.3, realistic off course, achievable I’ll tell you in 5hrs .. lol.
Under starters orders were off 2700 swimmers fighting for clear water, arms flying, feet kicking the closet thing to a mass water brawl and only the bravest survive..no kidding if your not up and super aggressive your going down and backwards. Keeping a swim line to the left of the course i got clear water and fell to my plan willing my self on mentally reminding myself “you deserve to be here you’ve worked hard for this day” – relax stroke ,catch ,pull over and over and over in my head.. I was feeling great, popping out of the swim finish i was on the money 32min boom ,let go quick transition and onto the bike course which I was looking forward to esp as it had 3 seriously hilly climbs which would suit the stronger cyclists.. 40km in and things felt wrong my lower back for the first time ever was starting to get really sore causing me at appropriate times to stretch it on any down hill oppertunities..blocking it out of my mind i got on with the job at hand, pushing hard feeling good it was quickly into tranisition for my last time and still the back was twinging. Boom again on target just & only just but just was all i needed i was chasing that time goal..
I knew “as I’m a crap runner” that 1.35 for me was a big ask but training signaled it’s certainally do able. Runners on & out of tranisition ,I’d say i didn’t get 2k & i was in trouble, my lower back was solid and painful and my only relief was to touch my toes and that’s how the next 21k played out..my race was slipping thru my hands like sand. It was now about that finish line & that medal. The crowds supporting were in there thousands lining the route whooing you on and it took it all , the wheels were fully of this car or by now this slow black smoke filled bus. I was fighting it mentally stopping stretching the back for relief & grabbing at every positive solution to finish..I could have cried , I think i did inside. 5k -10k -15k keep pushing -20k marker appeared and i could hear the announcer shout my name ,turning the corner there it was that famous Ironman red carpet.. finished & exhausted, not from the race but from the pain management, it had drained me mentally and physically.
Head wrecking – trying to establish what the hell went wrong, how’d i get injured in the water.. 5.38mins not what i was looking for. With a full bag of dolly mixture emotions ranging from annoyed & confused yet so so delighted to finish when id hundred reasons to stop and give up..but that was never going to happen. Not on my shift…that’s sport you take your oil dust yourself down and drive on to the next challange bigger better stronger fitter & faster.
Thank you to all the well wishers and of course the loyal sponsors that help make it all happen. Renault Ireland – highland motors – velo revolution – castle cycles – optimum nutrition – Voodoo preformance – Bubblegum & diesel – Cbm signs.
Make impossible possible