The lead in to ironman UK was incredibly smooth – mainly thanks to my Coach
Joe Beer changing my attitude towards admin/pre-race prep. We left no stone
unturned, got kit/race plan/travel organised early, tuned out of distracting
social media, and simply got my head in the right place to focus on my own race.
Race day itself dawned and I felt positive in my fitness with realistic goals to
achieve throughout the day. My swim was somewhat of an unexpected
breakthrough. I’ve felt my swimming has been lagging behind a bit this season,
something just wasn’t clicking. Well it clicked when it mattered – I came out of
the water in a personal best of 61mins (for a reportedly long swim too!), good
enough for 13th female overall. I didn’t try to force the swim pace, in fact it
was one of my most relaxed swims ever – a lesson to be learnt there!
(I’ve been doing a some swim visualisation using IKKOS goggles – a little bit
”Star Trekish” but the technology has helped get my stroke back on track when
it’s started to slip. Check them out: www.ikkos.com) Any swim aid that doesn’t
actually involve getting in the water gets a big thumbs up from me 😉
I headed out on the bike really looking forward to a strong ride. I did get a little
bit over excited in the first hour of riding, checked my average power and knew
I needed to rein in the enthusiasm a bit or risk an almighty blow-up later on in
the race. If I hadn’t been riding to power, I probably wouldn’t have had the
confidence to do this and it could have been a race breaker. I spent the rest of
the ride under control, keeping my effort in check, losing time on tricky
corners/descents but kept my focus on having a clean safe ride and not eating
the Tarmac. The bike course was pretty tough, just no time to relax, you had to
have constant concentration to deal with continuous rhythm breaking twists
and turns. That said, the crowd support was fantastic and for the most part I felt
really strong. By the end of the bike leg I’d moved up to 3rd overall female.
Jumping off the bike in T2 my legs felt OK. Not GREAT but OK. And OK is good
enough to get me through the IM run. The first mile or two of the run were a
pretty unwelcome uphill slog – nothing like it to wake up the running legs
though! Heading out onto the main run loop I was passed by fleet footed Katia
who went on to finish 2nd overall. Though slightly deflated by the difference in
our running paces, I had to focus on what I could control – which was my
running pace/feeding and focus. The crowds on the main run loop lifted my
spirits, as I went through alternating patches of feeling really
good/buoyant/strong and really suffering/digging deep… I tried to keep my effort
smooth and defend my 4th place. I got overtaken one more time to cross the
finish line in 10hrs29, 5th place overall female and 1st in AG.
I’m pleased with how I approached the race and kept fighting. I was hoping to
attack on the run but did not have that AMAZING float day we all dream of.
Maybe I burnt a few of my matches with too much aggression early on the bike,
maybe the run course was tougher than I remembered, or just maybe I had my
best race possible on that course on that given day.
The goal of this season was to produce consistent results that reflected the
quality of my training and preparation. At the end of the 2013 season, standing
at the bottom of the mountain, I seriously questioned whether I could or even
wanted to try to climb it. Coach Joe Beer listened, reasoned and picked me back
up, rebuilt my confidence and fed that little whisper in my heart that said “keep
trying”…. Very humbled by that faith and confidence in me.
And here I am now, 10 days post race, looking back down the mountain to see
how far I’ve come but looking upwards with excitement to see how much higher
I can climb.
Thank you all, I’m having a blast!
Coaching team: Coach Joe Beer (www.jbst.com), Dan Bullock
(www.swimfortri.com) and Michelle Weltman. Caroline Kremer – keeping my body
and mind in balance and teaching me how to breathe properly
My race day bling – Speedo Elite wetsuit and goggles, Enve 6.7s with Conti Grand Prix 4000s, Rotor power cranks and QXL rings, Drag2zero aero skinsuit, Compressport calf guards, Powerbar nutrition (bike fuel: energise bars, hydrogels, isomax, electrolyte tabs. Run fuel: hydrogels), saltstick, Brooks pure connect shoes.
Any questions, please post in comments and I will reply 🙂