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MST Olympic Race report

MST Olympic Race report

It was also perfect weather which was great after such a damp week. It was a bit of a rush getting transition sorted out, but we were away by 7.30.

The water was about as perfect as lake swimming gets, with the temperature spot on and totally clean. Steve Mac got out first in 25m45s with Phil Couch just 15 seconds down, and Robin a further minute down, after that everyone came in small groups until the last one Callum who still swam a creditable 42m27s. He has a different view of his swim and what happened next and his superb report is at the end of the sheet.  Martin managed to breast stroke powerfully most of the way round, and is now gaining more confidence in the swim.

Then everyone was through T1 and onto the challenging bike course.  I certainly did not make it easy by having an unfixable problem with my rear tyre which caused the feeling of the brakes being on whenever I went uphill. Luckily it was a flat course so there was no real problem. Although, as everyone found - it really is relentless hills especially when you are trying as hard as you can. When I checked the bike afterwards it was clear I was lucky not to have exploded the tyre as it had worn away so much.

Naturally James Dear was the king of the bike with a seriously impressive ride. He started 5m50s behind Phil and started the run 4m25s ahead - an incredible 10m15s gain! And Phil had the 6th fastest bike split even though he found it tough. James did 69m41s including both transitions, and only 6 people broke 80mins. There were plenty of races within the race on the bike. Colin actually tried to keep up with James (downhill!) and even overtook him, but the effort caught up with him later.

The women's race was interesting with Fiona having to start her chase down of the others from way behind after the swim (in 8th place ) to start the run in 2nd place behind Hazel who was out of the water first, and then had the second fastest bike split after Fiona. Sharon started the run third after quite a battle with Fiona. Lucy was about 3 minutes further back.

On this sort of course the run becomes quite difficult after the demands of the bike lap. The fact that the fastest run was 42m45s (Phil and Bob) on an accurately measured 10k shows just how much had been taken out of even the fast boys. Only 5 people even broke 45 minutes. Phil Couch recovered from his bike leg to regain 2nd spot from Rob, but even though he gained a minute on James it was not enough to catch him, so James took the victory with 3 minutes to spare. Rob remained very comfortable in 3rd place with a 6 minute cushion over Colin. At this point there was a lot of competition with 8 places being separated by a mere 4 minutes.

In the women's race Hazel started the run with more than 6 minutes in hand but Fiona gave it all she had to finish the day with fastest bike and run splits (her run was an impressive 46m43s) and was barely 3 minutes behind at the end. Lucy also charged through the field, having come out of the swim in her customary position as last lady. She finished the bike in 4th spot and then reeled in Sharon on the run after starting some 3 minutes behind. Sharon was suffering however, and felt she had run her slowest ever 10K. Lucy meanwhile took advantage of Callum feeling dreadful to also sneak past him, which she was secretly quite pleased about.  Actually she wasn't that secret about it. She was delighted!

I have to mention some of those who were doing this distance for the first time. Robin shows huge potential. He had a super quick swim, a comfortable bike and enough of a race spirit to push himself harder when he knew I was breathing down his neck towards the end. Pete Harris was a picture of pain on the run but I have a feeling he will learn a huge amount from this race and then become a very strong triathlete. Carl faded on the run after a storming bike leg, but clearly has a lot of talent.

Of the other athletes it was amazing seeing Tim finish his first Olympic. This was a man who never thought he would do any triathlons, and I am sure I heard him say afterwards that it was easier than sprint distance. I look forward to seeing Tim at the middle distance race in 5 weeks, as that should be even easier! Nikki and Jean also did incredibly well. Nikki had her baby just over 6 months ago. Nice to see Dave doing the baby care. Jean just seemed to be enjoying every minute.

Dave Lashbrook deserves a special mention. He is just coming back from injury and was clearly way off his normal form. Nevertheless he turned up and pushed himself as hard as he could in the circumstances and still finished 10th. Hopefully he will be fully fit for the middle distance soon.

Author: Steve Alden

 

Callum's view from the rear
 
My first Olympic-distance race and my first competitive open water swim.  Gulp.  After about 100 metres of the swim I start to panic and have to consciously try to calm myself down, despite all the open water practice this year.  That's the first time I think seriously of abandoning.
 
By now, there are already three of us adrift at the back and, amazingly, I make it to the turn buoy first of the three, but only because the other two- Jean and someone in a silver cap - head too far off to the left and, while they're re-orientating themselves I slip in first.
 
On the way back to the pontoon I just about stay in touch, but by the time we reach the turn buoy again, and after a brief inadvertent tussle with the swimmer in the silver cap, I am undeniably in last position and beginning to struggle.  I am very, very thankful to the two canoeists - Mat and Paul - for escorting me on the final, interminable section towards the slipway as I begin to feel, frankly, a bit weird.  As we approach the pontoon, I again think of abandoning, but decide I'll struggle on to the slipway and then pack it in.
 
Guided to the slipway by the fluorescent jackets of the marshals, I find to my surprise that I can stand up, but announce that I'm abandoning, so just go on standing there for a bit, still feeling weird.  Then I think I might as well head for transition, pulling down the top half of my wetsuit as I do so.  I try a tentative jog down the grass and find, again to my surprise, that I can manage a kind of run-hobble type of action.
 
In transition, there's obviously only one bike left, and Steve Birchall has unhooked it for me and is urging me to get on it.  So, unwilling to disappoint him, I do and I'm off on the bike leg.  How has that happened?  Didn't I abandon?  Oh well, I think, at least I can just turn left when I get to Ardingly and freewheel back to the reservoir.
 
But on the way to Ardingly I overtake one or two others and begin to think maybe I'll at least finish the bike leg.  Then, past Ardingly, I overtake one or two more and am beginning to feel a bit more normal.  At the roadworks I see someone who has been held up by the lights and catch up with them about the Duke's Head roundabout.  It's Lucy.  I overtake her going strongly along the bypass past Copthorne, but as I head off up the road over the M23 she's right behind me and overtakes me as the road gets steeper.
 
Then it's nip and tuck, cat and mouse for the next mile or so, with me in front on the flat bits and her in front on the hills until she finally shakes me off on the long slog up towards the Cowdray Arms from the crossing back over the M23.  Strong riding, Lucy!
 
Still, I'm going quite well now and allow myself to think for the first time that I could actually finish this bloody race.
 
Back in transition, running shoes on and I'm off on the run, turning down the offer of a water bottle as I go through the kissing gate.  Bad move, but I've had a stitch throughout the race and only managed to get through about half of the energy drink in my bottle on the bike, and don't want to make it worse on the run.
 
Going over the causeway for the first time I'm beginning to run quite well and catch up with Lucy, who has the time and breath to discuss the incentive to keep going offered by the rear view of the runner in front (a male club member who will remain nameless).
 
Enough of this levity, and I eventually manage to overtake Lucy and reach the turn point going well - well enough that I even catch up with Dave Lashbrook heading back towards the kissing gate (except he's on his second time around and I'm only on my first).  At some point I also overtake Sharon.
 
Then just ahead of the kissing gate, a great wave of nausea and faintness overtakes me and I think (yet again) that I'll have to abandon, but I reach the gate, take a drink of water and feel slightly better.
 
So I head off back up the track and reach the turn point without further incident, spurred by shouts of encouragement from Clare Parkinson. But on the way back again, the waves of nausea come more and more frequently and I have to slow down and, guess what, Lucy overtakes me again, shouting to Claire Cresswell, who's coming the other way: "I'm ahead of Callum, I'm beating Callum!"
 
And she does, with a tremendous finishing sprint down the grass which I can't even think of matching.  It's all I can do to stagger over the line, fall over and get cramp so badly in one of my legs I have to ask someone to stretch it for me.
 
Oh well.  It's not glorious.  It's not fast.  I took on a woman and lost.  But I finished, and that in itself is a minor miracle.
 
And the swimmer in the silver cap?  Turns out that was Lucy as well.

 Download results here

Name M/F Swim Bike Run Finish time
Dear James M 00:31:50 01:09:41 00:43:52 02:25:23
Couch Phil M 00:26:00 01:19:56 00:42:45 02:28:41
Hoodless Rob M 00:29:11 01:16:19 00:44:24 02:29:54
Chambers Colin M 00:28:57 01:16:28 00:50:37 02:36:02
Norton Bob M 00:34:49 01:19:46 00:42:45 02:37:20
Jordan Mark M 00:27:11 01:20:59 00:49:41 02:37:51
Monaghan Robin M 00:26:53 01:23:57 00:47:13 02:38:03
Alden Steve M 00:29:12 01:25:06 00:44:06 02:38:24
McMenamin Steve M 00:25:45 01:22:40 00:51:10 02:39:35
Lashbrook Dave M 00:29:00 01:19:09 00:52:09 02:40:18
Harris Peter M 00:34:48 01:20:06 00:45:58 02:40:52
Wichman Carl M 00:30:55 01:19:11 00:52:46 02:42:52
Tuppen Hazell F 00:30:55 01:32:01 00:50:01 02:52:57
Powell Alex M 00:33:55 01:28:24 00:53:10 02:55:29
Bussell Fiona F 00:38:35 01:30:47 00:46:43 02:56:05
Sanwell Martin M 00:32:40 01:30:10 00:53:46 02:56:36
Woodall Jeff M 00:32:35 01:31:49 00:57:36 03:02:00
Williams Lucy F 00:40:27 01:32:13 00:54:23 03:07:03
Murray Callum M 00:42:27 01:30:43 00:54:44 03:07:54
Clarke Peter M 00:35:56 01:33:48 00:59:05 03:08:49
Chaldek Sharon F 00:35:55 01:33:50 00:59:39 03:09:24
Court Peter M 00:28:51 01:43:18 01:06:56 03:19:05
Dal Nikki F 00:31:50 01:47:00 01:03:56 03:22:46
Fish Jean F 00:40:26 01:43:06 01:03:35 03:27:07
Williams Julie F 00:35:00 01:49:58 01:04:01 03:28:59
Cresswell Claire F 00:34:46 01:47:49 01:18:01 03:40:36
Cresswell Tim M 00:35:48 01:55:22 01:16:34 03:47:44
Crouch Pippa F 00:31:45     DNF
Stuart-Colwill Jules F 00:37:53 02:02:32   DNF

 

Ironman Switzerland 2011 - 10th July 2011

Ironman Switzerland 2011 - 10th July 2011

 I know it's very long. Wrote this at the airport.

There's also a really short 'My Journey' in the end.

It was no small task just to get there and back on my own.

Found it difficult to unbox bike, get all my stuff to transition and back to hotel, box bike afterwards to leave hotel room by 10am.

I refused to use the overpriced taxis and transfers and juggled both cardboard bike box and suitcase which proved to be harder than expected because the swiss seem to love steps and dislike lifts.

There were steps up to the train station both direction, up to the train itself, then inside the train. Airport is full of steps and the small hotel didn't have a lift, either.

 

Zurich is charming btw, beautiful location as well.

I've run into two problems straight.

The fire alarm was beeping constantly in my room in need of new batteries and my tooth crown have fallen out. Glued it back with superglue.

I've found locals much more helpful when speaking german.

Not a nice start but at least got exhausted from it and slept really very well.

(Despite the tram station just under the window and the church bell over the road

signing every quarter of an hour once and every hour - that means 12 at midnight).

 

Slept well again and was full of energy in the morning. Loved the buzz in transition.

Admired the pros - Ronnie Shildknecht seemed very relaxed - and admired their bikes. They are very small frames btw, the first two women's bike (K.Thurig, E.Csomor) had even smaller than regular wheels.

 

The swim was very crowded from start to finish.

It was a run into water start which I've never done before.

There has been a women only start which I used but soon we all got mixed up.

It was the most aggressive swim I've done and it never settled down.

Sometimes I had to fight just to stay on surface although I swum very wide.

Maybe I just had been at an unfortunate crowded place I couldn't get out off.

There was a small island to run through and there was a queue in front of the ramp with extra punching.

A huge huge ship also came very close in the second lap causing big waves.

I even got seasick from floating that much up and down but it went away soon.

All in all slowest swim ever for me by far.

There has been no race clock at all except at the finish line (which you saw every lap on the run) so luckily I didn't know my time.

 

Took time to calm down in T1 after the stressful swim and started the bike feeling fresh.

Btw the bikes were racked very tight. From 'head to toe' so the back wheels really didn't count but the drops were tangled with both neighbouring bikes' drops.

There was so little space the bikes maybe wouldn't have fitted in in their boxes.

 

Feared the bike course a lot. Mapmyride and ridewithgps showed me huge hills with steep, technical descents. I was told it was not so bad and I would make it but I didn't believe in it.

Just bought the bike last August, had to learn all those technical bits (clipless, tri bar, tyres and tubes, gears, tools, co2 cartridges) that come natural to cyclists but I had no cue.

I'd like to thank you for all the good advice.

Had cadence related knee problems till April. I've sorted it out at last, probably a bit too late.

I couldn't release my grip on the go so had to stop just to drink in the beginning.

Using tri bars or cornering was unrealistic at least.

My bike handling did get slightly better still I felt I wasn't ready.

 

I loved the bike course. A bit hilly, yes, but not too bad

In fact I've done a lot hillier in training.

After the Beast I knew I'd make it if I got no technical problems with the bike.

I hadn't, although I was worried about a disturbing noise in the smaller gears.

There has been a huge thunderstorm lasting about 90 min with deafening lightnings and very strong headwind just as I'd been on a long exposed drag called Beauty on the second lap.

(My two longest training rides proved to be very helpful after all.

The first bit of SRS Eastbourne was very windy - bike stopped on a downhill at Beachy Head and it has been raining for 6 hours straight during Tour the Weald.)

Could hardly see the road from the heavy rain so had to be careful, there has been branches and puddles on road. Couldn't use the tri bars afterwards but it has been useful till then.

At my speed it's not that more aero but I felt the difference in the wind and it provided me with another comfortable hand position.

It also held my third drink bottle as I thought I'd have to stop for getting the bottles at feed stations and the less I needed to stop the better.

I was surprised how easy it was getting a bottle from a helper,

although I got soon sick from PBdrinks and sticked to water from then on.

Had a bento box for the bars and a gel bottle, too. Precious advice it was, thanks.

 

Nutrition on the bike is crucial for a strong finish. You must literally stuff yourself.

I actually counted the calories and carbs for my HIM and sticked to that amount per hour later in training. Unfortunately couldn't eat even close to plan during IM. I'm sure I'd have got into serious difficulties late in the marathon if I'd sticked to my usual pace.

 

It's held on open roads but it was very low traffic and marshalls stopped cars at junctions and roundabouts.

There were no signs at all (except no aero bar descent signs) but marshalling on the bike route was very good by the time I got there -   but two pros got lost. How could that happen?

Also at around 40k there has been a curb on course. It was on a descend, second part of a corner. I'm not sure if I'd have seen it without slowing down because of the ambulance. Poor chap didn't look good at all. There has been two more curbs to negotiate but not in corners.

 

Heartbreak Hill is steepish but quite short. Well, second time it seemed steep.

First lap was amazing but scary here. A'la Tour de France the crowds are crazy leaving just a small gap to get through. My adrenaline level shot high as it was way too close for my liking.

Spectators were great throughout although the best ever crowds are probably at Hastings half marathon

 

The rain stopped just before T2, so I was lucky to run in brand new dry socks.

In T2   I've heard Erika Csomor from Hungary would finish very soon.

Changed from cycling shorts to running shorts from my worst scenario bag.

It was no worst scenario, in fact I was all smiles and over the moon.

In the meantime Csomor came in 3rd after last week's 2nd at IMA.

She got interviewed straight away.

Another slow transition. Never mind. I made the bike cut off.

From now on I truly enjoyed every minute of realizing my dream.                         

 

Time flew by on the run because it's 4 laps with lots of turning points and I got to see most people on my first lap.

Later it got less crowded and I chatted almost all the way.

Tri is the only sport I know of in which you're actually in the same race as the pros and the top age groupers. I loved it.

It got very hot again soon. Late in the run oranges, pretzels and soup were welcome.

And those wet sponges. They seemed extreme weird until I tried. Awesome.

It's not completely flat although it's a lakeside. There are under and over passes and there has been quite a lot of gravel, a lot of different styles of cobblestones, plain mud and even wooden ramps.

There's a bit more about the run at the end under 'Journey".

 

Arriving to the finish line was a blast. The crowds were crazy.

The announcer must had a view on the arrivers because I've heard my name minutes ahead as he commented on (what I thought at the time) my sprint.

 

I've heard IMCH was very well organized. I think this year there has been negative bits although with an event this big it might be expected.

.- Getting into transition to check in the bike was a nightmare.

(Had I known I just missed McKormack I'd been even more upset)

- There were very few loos, 4 on the bike route   and   ~10 on the run for 2000 people.

There has been several urinals, which helped.

Should have been one at every feed station on the bike route but there wasn't any at Heartbreak Hill feed station for sure - I know because I planned to stop to refuel at the top

and even asked for it. There has been one just before it but decided not to ride back down.

-After the race there has been nothing to refuel except PowerBar gels, bars and drinks.

Most people couldn't even look at anything PowerBar.

There wasn't even any water. I am slow and understand the cake was gone but no water???

Fortunately I had water and a protein bar in my drop in bag.

- Race director had been quite rude at race briefing.

He announced the extra 2 miles due to roadworks (steep decend and 66m! ascend) with a huge smile on.

He warned us he was the boss there and could do anything he wanted.

The 50 Kona qualifiers wouldn't get their slots if they wouldn't be there at the very moment he announced their name at the award ceremony. After one minute he'd delete the name and the next finisher would get the slot.

He told us there has been huge debates over this in the past but as long as he was race director it'd get allocated this way. His approach simply annoyed me.

- Splits are clearly wrong

- Finisher T shirt is most ugly

 

The journey

No one could have foreseen this 2 years ago.

In July 2009 I was 223lbs /over 100 kg with four young kids feeling very miserable.

I wanted to do sg with my looks. I saw all the runners in town and decided to give it a go.

I've never done any sports before and realized I couldn't run with that weight on.

I started swimming. Could do sg similar to breaststroke but couldn't do the front crawl.

I learned it from the web (goswim, swimsmooth) then joined the Marlins in Sept 2009

still not able to do one length. Jon didn't want to have me but I'd been desperate by then.

In Nov 2009 I started jogging. Taking up running for the first time in life is very rewarding.

I'll always remember my first jog ever. It didn't last a minute. Improved every week.

In Jan 2010 I went down for a swim on a Thursday night. Joined MSTC that night.

March 2010: HM (Hastings)

May 2010: Marathon (Essex)

Aug 2010: bought a bike and entered IM Switzerland

May 2011: HIM (Marshman)

July 2011: IM Switzerland

 

In the meantime all my boys (3) started swimming with the Marlins - and they're good at it!

July 2011: my husband's first tri (Oly)

July 2011: hubby has entered IM Austria !!!!

 

Both Claire and me shared our journeys to IM.

Her journey is really heart warming and extraordinary.

I'm sure there are a lot more great stories out there among Ironman finishers.

I think anyone can do it (I mean at the 'just finish' pace) with a bit of determination.

A reason to do it helps a lot, too.

 

I did have an awful lot of smaller problems with cycling all season.

Mostly knee ligament issues but I also went down on ice in January hurting my shoulder

and got stung by a wasp on the eyelid on my very last ride before IM. My eyelids got swollen,

I had trouble just to get home and half my face was painful for days.

These difficulties can be overcome, they probably made me even more determined.

 

It might not be for everyone, though. It's either slooow or very tough.

I do enjoy being slow on my own and relaxing.

Also I think I couldn't get much faster. I tried but don't enjoy intervals at all.

I must be a longer distance type because I start to feel really good only after about an hour.

 

It doesn't take that much time if you use your time wisely.

Indoor trainer is unfortunately a must for time saving.

Less than an hour on it makes me tired every time. If I'm really pushing it 20 min does it.

You don't have to run a lot for an IM marathon finish. 3 shorter runs a week is enough.

(Less than 4-4.30 must be different.)

I've averaged only one run a week plus a 15min brick run every other week this year. Sad.

Last year I've been running a lot. But you've got only so many hours a week.

I love swimming and prioritized cycling because I wasn't able to hold the needed speed for even half (or quarter of) an hour in the beginning. So running became last and got dropped week after week.

I did 2 marathons and several HMs before so I knew I would manage it somehow.

 

During the run I couldn't know how much more energy I'd got or whether my digestion would last and I wanted a sure finish.

In March during a longer brick session I collapsed. A complete stranger called my hubby.

I even had gastrointestinal bleeding. Most scary.

My hubby got home unexpectedly early. I've just eaten my curry but forgot about it and decided to use the extra time for training. Felt good. Pushed it.

It happened in seconds. Didn't really have time to react. I felt falling down and blacked out.

I guess I'd pushed through severe hypoglycaemia because I couldn't digest the curry on the bike and wasn't eating either as I've just eaten.

Didn't dare to run for quite a while after this.

After seeing so many people sick on the first lap (light coloured shorts in an IM marathon look really disgusting with brownish filling) I decided to go deliberately slower.

My Garmin was most helpful with pacing. Finishing time really didn't matter.

Most probably I couldn't have been much faster anyway.

It was like a good party, enjoyed every minute of it.

 

I was surprisingly well on Monday but always had trouble on the Tuesdays after a long Sunday ride. It's Tuesday evening now and I still have no muscle or other pain at all.

Next time I might push it having a time goal in mind but I didn't want to risk my first IM finish. I did sprint the last km.

 

My splits:

Swim: 1:22.25

T1: 5.43

Bike: 7:59.38

T2: 10.25

Run: 5:59.38

Overall: 15:37.17

 

This is unfortunately also a good bye letter.

I've been knowing this for a month or two

just have been too sad to share.

We're moving back to Hungary this July.

I'm very sad about this. I'll miss UK a lot

and especially will miss MSTC and triathlon.

I'll try to keep it up back in Hungary, too.

It'll be harder as it's very cold for 4 months

and very hot for 2 months a year.

Your weather is perfect for outdoor sports.

 

Thank you MSTC. You've been helpful sharing your experience.

Got lots of inspiration from you along the way.

 

Best wishes,

Kate Walch

 

 

 

 

 

Mid Sussex Tri Olympic Distance race

The Olympic distance race will be held on Sunday 24th July at Ardingly Reservoir.

This race is open to all members.  We want to encourage everybody to have a go at the event given that the emphasis for most is on having the opportunity to do an Olympic distance event in a familiar and supportive environment.  It is also cheap and involves little traveling or additional costs. We don't have marshals around the course although the bike and run routes are well signed. 

The 1500 swim will be a 2 lap course in the reservoir.  For those who are a little worried about the swim distance, rest assured that the route is along the normal swim lanes for Saturday morning swimming and there will be a safety boat and a canoeist in the water  at all times. 

Transition area is set up on the grass adjacent to the car park.

The 40 km bike course is essentially a slightly shortened route of the course used for the middle distance event last year.  It is a bit lumpy but not that bad and quite enjoyable - especially on the down hill parts on the return section.

The 10km run is on the paths around the reservoir.  It is wholly off road and, while there is likely to be some pedestrian traffic, it is safe and flat. 

The briefing is at 0645.  The swim starts in one wave at 0700.

We really want people to have a go at this -irrespective of ability or speed or any thing else.  The main point is having a go at this distance and seeing what happens.  Mark Jordan and Steve Alden are more than happy to speak to any body who wants to ask any questions that are not covered in the information sheets and entry forms.

Documents:

 

 

Middle distance
The middle distance event will be held at the same venue on Sunday 29th August.  Again we want people to have a go at the distance, even if it is as part of a relay team or to do one or two of the elements.  The course is exactly the same as that for last year and, as such, an extended route from that of the Olympic distance.

The middle course has been set as:
1. an open water swim over a 1.9 Km course in the Ardingly Reservoir.  The course is 3 laps of an out and back route of 600 metres per lap (300 metres out - 300 metres back) with an additional 100 metre swim to the finish at the slipway.  

2. a cycle route of 79.25 Kms that will be held entirely on open public roads, where there will be unrestricted vehicular, pedestrian and other traffic.    It is a relatively hilly, testing and technical course.

3.  a 20-ish Km run over a course that is mainly on off-road, public footpaths and bridleways adjacent to the Ardingly Reservoir.

The start will be at 0700, just after a briefing.  Arrangements will be similar to those for the Olympic distance but with a water station for the second lap of the bike course and a water station at the run turn round point. 

Middle Distance Documents:

Steve Alden, James Dear and Mark Jordan are working on the admin at the moment and will get the entry forms etc out in the next couple of weeks.

Ironman Austria Triathlon 2011

Ironman Austria Triathlon 2011

Hi Everyone,

Its Claire here, I never write race reports so for the one and only - make yourself a cuppa and read on.


 

Wow, and I mean Wow! I actually can't believe that I did the Austrian Ironman - Whoo! Hoo! Hoo! I have spent months diligently training from the book that Tim is about to enjoy burning and not once deceived myself that I could be as amazingly fit and strong as you girls/guys.

 

I joined the Mid Sussex Tri Club in May 2005. I was treating Andy Heath and I am not sure if it was a recommendation of his or if I plagued the life out of him during the pain of having his hamstrings sorted that he mentioned he was part of this great club. From the minute I arrived at the club I was surrounded by lots of friendly faces and lots of encouragement. I am so glad that all those friendly faces are still my dear friends. For those that are new to the club beware of drinking and or being caught in the (Steve) Alden or Mac magic of entering any races..


 

So before you read this, I ask you do just one thing for me ...I very genuinely ask that you will not judge me and my efforts on my time. I am highly aware that those before me on their IM quests (even double IM quests) have gone faster and those that will follow after, will again go more speedily! So as the first woman in the club to have ever completed an Ironman, you might wonder why?


 

13 years ago I had a lifesaving/changing operation and after the celebral aneurysm my life has been a whirlwind of taking every single minute and enjoying it. I had to learn how to talk, walk and build up from a non-existent memory in the multiple months that followed after leaving Hurstwood Park. Tim and I had only been married for a few months and for this I am glad we had a great honeymoon as the shock of this operation and the next few months and years were going to be hard.

 

My first challenge arrived when I wanted to go back to work and was eventually allowed to go back to something nice, enjoyable and easy. I joined a gym and loved being the first face members saw on reception. I started getting into fitness again and managed to get friendly with a group of women that had just been running. Up until then I hadn't run - I wanted in! So I starting running with them, then in Sept I entered the London Marathon for the following year and despite huge concern from my parents and my brothers and sisters, I ran it and finished. That day was magnificent; my face ached for days from smiling so much. I had at last got back a little bit of me. Illness takes away your independence. and within the 5 hours that it took - I had this back and a bit more confidence ..


 

My IM time: 15 hrs 4 minutes 42 seconds. (1:18:17/ 7:27:13 inc T1 /6:01:53 inc T2).


 

For me, I did what I set out to do. Which was start at the beginning with a big smile on my face looking out over the lake (Rach where are you), and finish many hours later looking utterly exhausted and smiling still (now .where did I put that lip-gloss) knowing that I would still be loved by Tim. I truly believe that you can do whatever you want if you work hard enough. I only found the strength to do this IM by what I have learnt from you all in being part of the Mid Sussex Tri Club, so Thank you. The advice, kindness and friendship will never be forgotten.


 

We are at Stanstead Airport and waiting to check in for our flights, the other travellers are evidently not your usual bunch, its like bike box envy with stickers over the cases showing different events over the world. These pretty awesome athletes are all wearing compression anklets and T- shirts from previous Ironman comps. Wowsers, I really think I have the wrong queue!


We fly into Slovenia and the coach takes us into Austria. Austria is beautiful, and I mean breathtakingly beautiful it's so alpine and lush. I love looking at all the chalets and the lakes are the most beautiful colour of jade.


 

We have booked with Nirvana and it seems to be a very well organised succession of coaches and we eventually arrive at our destination. The following day we eat early and go into Klagenfurt, there is another coach that does a bike recce. I am worried about this. It's great that Tim can see the bike course however I can't change what the route is going to be like and thankfully the coach only struggles up one of the mountains. The rest of the day goes so well with registration and racking and before too long we are back on the coach.


 

A long, long night. I really need to sleep, however the tiredness in my body has lost its fight to my active mind that won't allow my body to sleep. All I keep thinking of is did I train hard enough, I will let so many people down if something goes wrong, I am just me, will Tim be ok. So much is rushing through my mind.all the pleasure I have had from seeing different parts of Sussex and Surrey on by bike, the nasty occurrence of my restless legs that has worryingly spread to my arms, with the endless hours of training to achieve my IM dream. My doubts that the results of my EEG and CT scans will come back as abnormal and that I have indeed driven my body to face some sort of self-destruct mode. Then more doubts will my ankle behave - two weeks ago I thought I have a stress fracture in my ankle, so a quick visit to see Steve Bendall and lots of money later a diagnosis of a heel spur and no running until the day (ekkk). again I wonder whether I have misused my body and if I should be doing this ...       I work such long hours and getting up hideously early and going to bed very late there is no wonder I look about 90..


 

3rd July in Austria


 

My watch alarm goes off and Tim and I head for breakfast - does anyone enjoy eating at 4 am? I don't and today even though it is the day I have trained so hard for it is impossible to eat there are knots in my stomach and I just can't eat. I get the 'eat' look from Tim and eat enough and wander down with Tim to the coach. A small journey takes us in to Klagenfurt and we follow everyone else and some newly found friends that are also doing their first IM. The music is pumping out and we all start to feel like this might be the day of our dreams.


 

I am standing at the front, looking out over the lake. I can't see the other 2900 competitors that are in between the two pontoons, and the smile is spreading across my face. I am here and this is going to be the day I hoped for..as I believe...


 

We start by walking into the water and wait for the starting clacton, I don't hear it, everyone starts swimming, and I start swimming I still can't hear it and carry on swimming. Its one loop into the centre of the lake and then back through a narrow canal, which gets a bit cosy. The swim goes really well and I love every minute of it. I get out and see that I did it in 1:18 so not my best time and not my worst time.

 

T1 is quite a way away and the minute I am out of the water I run along. The route is packed by so many supporters screaming and applauding their loved ones along that I leg it. I just have to remember that the finish line will only come to me if I keep moving forwards...OMG at T1 you have helpers. No other event will ever be the same! I get changed and it's a pleasing T1 time then I am out on the bike, this course is beautiful and an enormous part of it feeds around the lake and then up into the mountains and then back around again. I am so pleased that I did 7 lots of 100 miles pre this race as it means apart from any failing mechanics I can just focus on pedalling around and taking in the view.

 

T2 comes along very quickly and again, although not my best time for my 112 miles. I am pleased that I enjoyed all the descending and climbed the hills and got my nutrition right.


 

T2 has me forgetting my number as I search through the hanging bags - doh! So I am grateful to the helpers inside the tent that I decide not to waste time and getting changed and before I know it I start the run. I have seen Tim quite a few times now and I feel good. My smile is still in place and a huge amount of relief that the next part is down to the strength and determination to finish.

 

I have again lots of advice whizzing through my head, stop at every feed station and let the crowd spur you on, keep positive and Tim has some pictures that are of some very special people in my life. I have had so much water and the right amount of gels that it's wonderful to find some yummy watermelon on the course and as the weather has been kind so I don't hang on to the sponges for long. I run for the first 6 miles and then my ankle feels very sore. This isn't good. I keep running and think about the time left. I have 5 hours to do this in.

 

I can and will do this.

 

I start walking and I mean power walking, my walk is fast and I can see Tim. His support has been unreal. I continue to walk and it's a now a race against time. I am not going to ruin my ankle and run, this walk is faster than my Ironman shuffle and every so often I can hear the tannoy announcing that someone else is an IRONMAN. I keep going, everyone is showing the signs of determination and I think of you all, my family and Tim and start running again. This isn't for long - my ankle is very tender and swollen now, and it is the final lap of 13 miles. I am willed on by everyone and there is a strong connection between everyone racing that we are all Ironmen all that is to be decided is our times. I keep going and I can hear music. The carpet leads the competitors along to the finishers stadium and the IM podium is 600m away.

 

Its such an emotional experience, everyone is lining the route, all you can hear is the smacking of the bang bangs, everyone singing and dancing to the music, screaming your name and I run ..like I have never run before and then I hear the most magical voice... Claire from Great Britain you are an ...IRONMAN.


 

I know that my reign in being the first girl to do this distance will only last one week, and then I hope along with Kate's amazing efforts at Switzerland and Jade at Outlaw (wishing you both the very best of luck) Perhaps some more women will follow in my footsteps...so for this reason only Tim..perhaps don't burn that book yet.. I think that I have at last found at last my distance

Yours as always a very tired, skippy and happy IronMan Claire

Author: Claire Cresswell

Dorney Lake WomenOnly Triathlon - 2nd July 2011

Dorney Lake WomenOnly Triathlon - 2nd July 2011

On Saturday, the 2nd July, there were many different ladies only races going on at Dorney Lake, with Clare, Jean & Sharon in the Challenge triathlon and Fiona in the Sprint. So here are two race reports for you:

Author: Sharon

Left the house at 7.30am which is not too early; apart from my teenage kids thinking that they have been woken up in the middle of the night. My crew in the car were: Gordon (hubby), Sean & Alina - the kids. We were hoping to catch up with the other car - Clare, Jean & Rob (Jean's hubby). Unfortunately 15mins up the road and we are straight back to the house for the forgotten camera.

No sign of Jean's car but the M25 was blissfully quiet and drama-free so we made great time to Dorney Lake.

There were loads of parking and a bit of walk to the boathouse so support crew were handed equipment to carry & off we went. The walk helped to settle the nerves a bit - worrying about all the unknowns for my first open water triathlon; the mass swim start, spotting & getting out of the spray-on wetsuit.

Saw three lovely smiling faces waiting for us outside the registration tent - Rob was trying to stay cheerful as when he had first spotted the large registration tent, he thought it was full of beer.

After collecting my number, we headed for the posh boathouse and upstairs to the balcony & café, which gives great views of the Lake and an excellent place to settle all the support crew who immediately organised themselves bacon sandwiches - oh crikey I'm going to hurl, there goes the nerves again.

As Clare, Jean & I racked our bikes, we were able to watch the first Wave enter the water. The first group were the Relay team and there didn't seem to be many of them so gave us all the wrong impression that the groups were going to be small. Not long before it's our time to wander down to the start position & there were LOADS of us (our wave - under 30s & over 40s). Clare was the bravest - going in without the wetsuit - whereas Jean & I just went "NO WAY - gives us the rubber".

All in the water, treading and trying to find our space while listening to the race briefing - excellent place to tell you the race details - knowing full well that you couldn't escape at this point. Then went the Starting Gun & wow! Arms, legs everywhere, all trying to head for the 1st buoy. Had to stop as goggles were knocked off and then tried to avoid the kicking breast stroker. Going round the first buoy, someone actually grabbed my ankle. First time ever I was actually kicking!

Swim was 2 laps - bizarrely 800m in open water doesn't seem so long or so hard compared to a pool environment. After the race I discovered from the support team that the girl who was leading mistakenly starting heading back to the first buoy instead of the finish ramp & had to be chased by the speed boat to correct her. Even with her extra 200m-ish, she still managed to beat the rest of us.

Hit the finish ramp with my hands, straight up and running (first fear dealt with as I thought my legs were going to be too wobbly). The wetsuit came off so smoothly - shock - (2nd fear dealt with) but then I had to sit on the floor to put shoes on as felt a bit dizzy. Out of T1, next came Jean - who absolutely loved her first experience of open water racing and then Clare.

I loved the cycle ride as it is SO flat, no cars and the surface is lovely & smooth. Its 6 laps around the lake and some excellent corners to take. Only time in each lap you had to slow down was when you return to the boathouse as caution was required from cyclist coming from the T1 slip way and supporters crossing the path. All our support crew were giving us great encouragement as we went past them on each lap - is that bloody ice-creams in their hands?????

T2 was okay, and then onto the run. A bit of a boring route as up & down the same path for 3 laps. Excellent option to check that everyone is okay. Saw Clare (looking strong and happy) while on my 1st lap but where is Jean? - getting worried now! The positive aspect of the run is that it is as flat as a pancake, so my currently sore knees weren't suffering too much (last fear sorted).

Finally last lap & it is so hot, just kept looking straight ahead, counting to 100 and not worrying what other ladies were doing & then finally, I would love to say a sprint but more like a crawl to the finish line. Here I was met by a group of sweet cheering marshals, our screaming support crew and a dodgy looking man with a garden hose splashing everyone with cold water. In other circumstances he probably would have got a slap but this time I was truly grateful. Not long after a beaming Clare & then a smiling Jean crossed the finish line.

Now to hear "what had happened to poor Jean" - to be honest we are not really sure as number of laps are not officially counted, but we think that most probably Jean did an extra bike lap - I told you the bike route was so good - you just want to do more!

After we packed up and were ready to go home we were lucky to have a chance to cheer Fiona as she headed to the finish line - my god that girl can run.

To summarise I think I can happily say from all 4 of us that Dorney Lake is an excellent venue for competing and for your spectators. All the races were very well organised and had a great buzzing atmosphere - but no beer tent - sorry Rob.

Here are our results:

STANDARD DISTANCE (800m, 30km, 7.5km):

POS

CAT POS

NAME

TOTALTIME

SWIM

T1

BIKE

T2

RUN

55

2

Sharon

01:56:06

00:16:20

00:02:10

00:55:08

00:01:16

00:41:12

110

10

Clare

02:18:15

00:19:53

00:02:25

01:10:05

00:01:41

00:44:12

115

9

Jean

02:19:58

00:17:57

00:03:09

01:13:43

00:01:52

00:43:17

 

 

 

Author Fiona:

Managed to get round the M25 with relative ease so hoped that was a good omen for my 2nd attempt at triathlon.

On arrival the nerves really began to take hold and it seemed an age to walk from the car park to the boathouse and race registration.  After collecting my numbers and timing chip there were lots of green hats in the water.  Wondering if this could be Sharon, Claire and Jean in the challenge event.  The hooter went and there was flying arms and white water.....crikey that's a mass start then!

Racked the bike trying to remember the tips Steve B gave me at East Grinstead and then it was just a case of waiting.  This was probably the worst part of the day as thoughts of getting stuck in my wetsuit or further bike malfunctions did nothing to calm my nerves!  Standing on the balcony at the boathouse looking down on transition I was trying to spot the others but sadly didn't see them before the start of my wave.

I was glad that I had a couple of Ardingly swim sessions under my belt as I made my way to the water and chatting to some of the other competitors who were first timers I started to enjoy the moment!  The marshals friendly banter certainly helped and by the time I'd swam round the second buoy I was really enjoying the swim.  Was surprised to get a mouthful of weeds and realised that I'd veered off to the left on the final approach to the pontoon - idiot! I didn't struggle with the wetsuit as I'd thought but my 2:51 T1 will need some work!  The bike course was great fun and cycling with two fully inflated tyres makes it all the more easier.  I knew I would have been slower on the swim but wasn't sure how many people were in front of me on the bike.  It was also difficult to work out who was who as they were different waves out on the course so I just kept pedalling and praying for incident free cycling.  At the end of my final lap I was expecting a marshal to point me in the direction of transition but nothing so I was glad that I'd kept count myself.....it was 4 laps, wasn't it?  Now for the real test, running off the bike.  Dodged past some milling competitors in transition and made my way out onto the run course.  Getting off the bike I realised just how warm it was out there and hoped that my legs wouldn't cramp up.  I heard some shouts of encouragement, which was a real boost.  I certainly found it harder to run a 5k after the swim and the bike, and kept thinking to myself that I really should have practised some more brick sessions.  The sight of the finish arch after my second lap was a welcome sight and crossing the line I was very surprised and pleased to be given 2nd place in my wave.  I'd completed my first tri and it was worth the wait!

My results:


SPRINT DISTANCE (400m, 20km, 5km):

POS

CAT POS

NAME

TOTALTIME

SWIM

T1

BIKE

T2

RUN

14

4

Fiona

01:12:59

00:08:34

00:02:52

00:39:21

00:01:33

00:20:40