First of all thank you to all MSTC coaches for their tuition this past year.
This was my first attempt at the full distance Ironman and it quite rightly needed to be treated with respect. I went into the event feeling pretty good, apprehensions of the swim had faded after some decent simulated distance swims in training.
(3.8km) - Open water sea swim, double 1.9km loop with Australian exit after loop 1. The start is possibly best described as a scenario whereby a ferry as sunk and 2800 people are clambering for 1 lifeboat! It was extreme and didn't settle down until atleast 1km in. I opted to not follow the crowd and concentrate on my own navigation which proved to work out quite well with alot of competitors swimming too far. Finished strong and perhaps should have gone 10mins quicker.
(180.2km) - Don't try Ironman Nice if you're looking for a flat ride, the first 85 km are spent climbing almost 1200m into the Alpes Maritimes, in fact you're so high up you go past Greolieres which is a ski resort! There is another punishing climb about 110km in and then it is fast downhill all the way back to Nice. The weather can be very unpredictable in these mountains and on this occasion it was no different, the remaining 70km were extremely hard in the rain, no one had dressed warm enough and it became a real slog , I counted 4 ambulances along the way with many people going off including the a few pros at the front of the field, in fact I'm told the winner came off twice.
Overall it went ok, I knew the course pretty well and was able to manage my way through it, biggest mistake was not packing some water proofs in the special needs bag at the top of the mountain. I also made the mistake of altering my nutrition strategy from something I'd tried in training; i took sodium tablets with the water and i suspect these didn't work too well with the gels. However i stuck to my plan and took in about 310 calories per hour plus 750 ml of water/sodium per hour.
Full respect to the guy that was doing this event with 1 leg.
(42.2 km) - From hypothermically cold to 30 degree heat on the Promenade, 4 x 10km loops was the next stage. First 15-20km were not too bad and I was able to hold my target pace, support from the crowd was immense and this helped alot. Wet feet then became the next big issue, they were soaking from the bike leg and new socks in transition 2 had not helped enough, the run through showers only made it worse and once the blisters set in it became extremely hard. Drying your feet properly in transition 2 is probably worth 20mins off your finish time. The 2nd half of the Marathon on an Ironman is a real test of will power and fitness and I was mightily impressed by the other competitors and how hard they all pushed themselves. Crossing the finish line is what it's all about; some sprinted, some dived, some jumped, some carried their children, some laid down on a stretcher and some crawled.
Overall a rewarding day that was organised very well. Learnt alot for next time..
Swim (1h22) Bike (6h48) Run (4h:14) = 12:39