27 May 2011

The Ironman Trilogy: The First Chapter – Lanzarote

I have been talking about this Trilogy for just over a year and I was so excited to finally get out there and do it. This is one of the toughest IM out there and with a motto like this, ‘normal limits do not apply’ you know you're in for it. But when I woke up that morning and pulled on my lycra, I could feel the electricity in the air and the buzz surrounding everyone who was racing. It went a little something like this…

Swim: 1:14:28
T1: 06:06
Bike: 06:54:18
T2: 05:44
Run: 5:30:17
Total: 13:50:51
30-34 AG: 180/205 Overall 880/1207 (1285 Started)

KL my roommate had set the alarm for 4am, ouch! Not a huge problem as I’m sure my heart rate was pretty high all night and I never felt I was 100% asleep. FG, my roommate from EDT training camp had flown in for a couple of days to support and he had boiled us eggs and cooked us bacon and baked beans for breakfast, what a guy!?!

I had racked the day before and all my equipment was set and ready, I filled my water bottles and headed down to the start, I bumped into some of the guys from EDT Camp and lots of Tri Londoners who where racing and we had several more here to support. I really felt part of the Triathlon fraternity that morning as I kept on bumping into friends that I knew from the club or Camp and getting hugs and wishing everyone well. I still felt calm but nervous, but the anticipation was killing me and I couldn’t wait to start.

Before I knew it I was standing with 1300ish other people ready for the start. I had placed myself quite far at the back as I wasn’t interested in getting involved in the melee. The gun went, and the people at the front ran in, the people at the back strolled forward after a minute and we hadn’t reached the water yet, c’mon! I pushed my way through a few people and into the water.

I have never had a better swim, loved every minute. I had clear water most of the way around, I caught a couple of blows to the head at one point. I saw a gap between two guys in front of me and decided I could slip between them, once I got level they decided to close in on me, a Pauly sandwich! I backed off straight away not wanting to lose my goggles. I then realised that if at any time my body type will be to my advantage it is now. So I went back into the middle of them, they closed the gap again, this time I didn’t back off and powered through to give them both a bit of a shock to which they retreated, oh yea!!

I felt fresh out of the water and ran through transition when most people where strolling, I did wonder why they where taking their time? Before I knew it I had my bike, which I nearly dropped. What I hadn’t accounted for was the weight of water bottles which added significantly to the total bike weight.

I have done this course before but I was still slightly apprehensive, this was a tough course with 2550m of ascent. The only good thing about that is the 2550m of descent, which is where my advantage is. I maybe went off a little hard but a few hills pulled my pace back, but I really couldn’t help myself but push. I made sure I kept my nutrition on plan eating something every 30minutes and keep the fluids going in. The hardest part of the bike is between the highest point(Los Nieves) and the second highest point (Mirador del Rio). There are some really tough climbs between them and I was suffering but I knew that once I got to the top of Mirador that it was a huge descent and I was heading home for the run.

On that descent I hit 50.5mph, I was going so fast I had no choice but to overtake 3 cars which where stuck behind another competitor. It was risky but there was no way I was hitting my brakes. I was buzzing, this is the point when I realised why I do this and I just felt happy and fulfilled. So, I now know that going at ridiculous speeds risking life and limb on my bike makes my happy, nutter!

Throughout the bike my Tri London pals kept on popping up in various locations. Somehow they knew when I needed them the most, their cheers and shouts and just plain craziness help me through that bike and I couldn’t have done it without them.

It was close to the end and I was coming up to the ‘Donkey Track’, which is a single track downhill stretch of road which is quite technical. I saw one of my fellow club members, RMG at the top, wished her well and was actually very chuffed to see her. I was hell-for-leather down here and passed another 10 people on the Donkey Track, god I loved that! At the bottom another Tri Londoner, CC (an awesome athlete), f**k, how did I catch her. 400m down the road a third Tri Londoner, KL!

What the f**k! How did I catch these guys, have I gone too hard on the bike? I was worried but happy all at the same time.

A few minutes later I was on the main strip and heard the famous Lordy ROAR, to which I pumped my fist and grinned like a Cheshire Cat. I hope he was as damn excited and chuffed at how I came in on the bike, as I was.

T2, gave someone my bike, grabbed my bag and put my socks and trainers on, and I was off. I saw KL in the tent and he would catch me with very soon. I kept on thinking If could do this marathon in 4 hours that would be just over 12 hours and absolutely fantastic. Lets do it. I had planned with Steven Lord(my coach) I would walk the aid stations where I could eat and drink and then continue to run.

First aid station I was caught by KL, who kindly throw a glass of water over the back of my head, more to the shock of the poor girl giving out the water. The plan was working until 15k when my quads and hamstrings started to tighten, I stretched but it didn’t help. After 20k I had a slight pain in both of my knees but I kept on running and the pain increased. I started walking more than just the aid stations just to relieve the pain.

This was tough, I had heard that an Ironman doesn’t start til half way through the run (20k) and my body seemed to agree. I repeated to myself that pain is just in the mind and I kept on pushing myself to run. I was caught by both CC and RMG who both ran fantastically well. It got to the point where I would run 100m then walk 100m, even this hurt. It point to the point where my left knee felt like it was about to pop out and I decided that there was no more running for me. That meant I had 8k to walk, at this point I was hugely disappointed as I saw any time close to 12 hours drift further and further away. I wanted to scream in frustration. Now I just had to finish it, I had targeted myself 12 to 14 hours. So could I walk back in under 14? I tried to walk quickly and there quite a few people walking as well, very athletic looking people which help ease my pain.

As I came in with 2k to go NS, a supporting Tri Londoner walked it in with me which was very welcome because I was quite bored by then. The cheers of my name and everyone congratulating me in the last 600m were fantastic although I felt a little embarrassed by the attention. People where screaming at me to run but they had no idea about the knee and I walked in feeling a bit low. Then I saw Lordys beaming grin 5m from the line and as always he always knows the right thing to say. One high five later and I was over the line with a medal over my neck.

I actually was hugely disappointed with my time at first, I came off the bike in such a good position and felt great for the first half of the run. Over the next few days I felt better about things and even 6 days later Im still buzzing.

To all from Tri London who came out to cheer me and the others on, thank-you so much. You got me through some dark times and you just made the whole experience much more enjoyable.

I guess this ends ‘The First Chapter – Lanzarote’. ‘The Second Coming – Austria’ can’t come soon enough. I love this s**t

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