I started this blog in 2010 when there were 11 weeks to go before my next Ironman triathlon. People have found it interesting (mainly my Mum!) so I continue to write.
The Ironman is a long distance triathlon; Swim 2.4miles, Cycle 112miles, Run 26.2 miles (marathon). I have competed in one every year since 2004. I hope this blog can help others see what is involved. I find the process of writing it makes me more accountable and motivates me to do the harder sessions when i'm not feeling like it!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Ironman UK (UK Number 8)
Swim 1.04
T1 3.45min
Bike 6.33
T2 3.28min
Run 4.17
Total 12.02.52

Note for next time
Getting up 2hours before start is fine
Wear bike shorts and top and normal clothes on top
Take down and put on bike - water bottle, bottle with calories etc, saddle tool kit, bike shoes with elastic bands (attach to bike), Garmin, heart rate strap, wet suit, body glide, cycle gloves, wet suit, googles, hat, pre race drink (high5 Xtreme carbs) Toilet roll.
There are plenty of track pumps you can borrow (may need adapter)

This was a completely different race for me. I didn't have a plan as such but knew i'd have to take it easy it I was going to be able to be respectable in Spain, 7 days away.

The pressure was off and I did try a few new things out. I sprinted the start of the swim to get in a good position with the intention to get a good draft all the way round. Unfortunately I had normal swimming googles (more streamlined!) and found I couldn't see much of anything all the way round - so back to the big ones next time. My navigation was poor and no draft. 

Transition was straight forward - did have a bit of trouble finding my bike. I must come up with a way of making it more distinctive. 

Letting everyone go past on the bike was difficult but had to be done. From the graph my heart rate averaged about 120 and there was a lot of coasting (zero cadence). About 60miles in I decided I may as well experiment with the position so at least it could be spot on for Spain (I was getting pain in both knees - raising the saddle sorted that out) There were 4 position changes in total!

I broke my take it easy rule for 10mins when I asked someone why there was a camera crew up front; "it's Rebecca Romero" I sprinted off and caught up with her but soon called a day on that - she did a 5.50 bike which is well within my capability normally. 

The run went well - I had a walk run strategy of 4mins running, 30secs walking right from the start. Despite going slowly and having the breaks it was still really hard in places - I need to remember that there's no such thing as an easy marathon (for me anyway). My half size bigger trainers were not good. I also found I hadn't taken on enough fuel during the bike - only 60g/hr of carbs and I paid for this in the last third of the run (short stride and low mood). For the first time I stopped and said hello to family and friends which was great. For the first time I used a camelbak filled with maltodextrin, essential amino acids and branch chain amino acids - I thought I would do my best to stop muscle protein being used as an energy source in view of the next race.
My target pace whilst running was 5min/km and I must admit when I felt good after the first 5km I lost some discipline and went faster. There was a big lift from passing people that is difficult to contain and this probably contributed to the slow last third. I can recommend the walk run strategy, I caught virtually everyone who passed me whilst I walked. 

The main thing that this race brings home is it really is all about the run - both in posting a good time and enjoying the race. It really deserves the most attention in training. Strict pace judgement and attention to detail for fuelling is everything. The ability to take a gel on at every aid station is a real strength which is so hard to stomach.  

It's hard to know whether dropping the brick sessions in training worked or not. I think it did but a bit more focus on running would have helped. I could have comfortably gone an hour quicker on the bike, the run was a different matter. Also last year I had was well up there with transition time (2mins quicker on each!) and that's basically free.

Bolton is a tough race. It's harder to imagine a worse road course; - the surface is awful, with potholes, speed bumps, technical turns, cars on the road!!! etc, The run is a real "suffer fest" and organisation at the end was dreadful - you're penned-in in the finish area and it's difficult to find friends and family. The bags were dumped in one big pile with the queues to pick them up inexcusably long (I usually pick them up earlier!).

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