Race Reports

Outlaw Ironman 1st July 2011

The Journey

Why I decided to do an Ironman?  Many many people asked me this question, but the best answer I can find is, 'Why not?'  After reading a few books about inspirational people (Rosie Swale Pope to name one) and how far you can push your body, mind over matter etc I wanted to put this to the test.  I'm from a running (I use the word 'running' loosely) background, starting running in 2008 I did the Great South Run, then progressing in 2009 to a few half marathons, and Tough Guy, onto 2010 and some Marathons, Tough Guy and a couple of Olympic Tris.  I think you can see a pattern emerging here, I enjoy challenging myself and pushing myself to new and ultimately longer distances.  After going on Runners World and speaking to the pirates (a group of lovely likeminded people on the forum who love triathlon, and helping others on their journey) I fell in love with their crazy ways, and their fantastic attitude to Ironman.  Not only that, but to have friends along the way and out on a course which ultimately is a lonely sport, gave me the push to sign up for the Outlaw...why not eh?  I told my Mum and Dad, they thought I was mad, supporting me all the way but I could see they thought I had gone bonkers and was potentially going to kill myself!  I told my ex, and many friends, who also thought I was insane, but know me well enough to know what I'm like, and that I would do this regardless.  So in January my training started in earnest.  Apart from my 25 mile rides for the Oly distances, I was rubbish on a bike, so I decided to sacrifice most of my run training to get out on the bike as much as possible... this turned out to be exactly the right thing to do.  Plus with 5 marathons under my belt by April this year, I knew I had it in my legs to do one (or at least I was mentally prepared for what I would face on the run).  Swimming I was slow but comfortable with, but I knew I needed help so I joined Mid Sussex Tri Club, who have been amazing.  Supportive and helpful, but also and maybe most importantly just as crazy as me.  When I told them I was doing an Ironman, they didn't have that 'your crazy' look in their eyes that everyone else did, instead they gave me valuable help and advice (Steve Mac and Phil Knock to name just a couple who gave me so much invaluable information)  So with a not too structured training plan (and nutritional plan of pot noodles and bananas) I was good to go.

 

The Build Up

The week leading up to the race I was really excited, but when I got to HPP on Friday and registered, I started to become terrified.  I just couldn't bring myself to even think about it, as I thought I might hyperventilate.  On Saturday I racked my bike, put my bags into transition (after checking them several million times) and went back to the campsite.  Later on Mum, Jess the piratedog and myself went to track down some pirates.  We came across a lovely circle of pirate folk , and chatting to them really calmed my nerves.  When I got back to the tent I read a couple of race reports, but it was a verse taken from a book at the end of Steve Macs race report from Switzerland that completely calmed me down and made me think 'Just enjoy it what will be, will be'.  So I slept solidly from about 11 to 3.30, result!  I even snoozed the alarm a couple of times.  Lots of porridge and a banana and I was all set.  Calm on the outside, complete bits on the inside.  I took my mp3 player down to the lake and amongst the chaos I put my earphones in, shut away the world for 7 minutes 19 seconds, closed my eyes and listened to Muse 'Citizens Erased'.... I was ready to race.  Hug to Mum, and as I'm about to go through to the starting bays my Dad arrives and gives me a big hug too!  Its great to know they are both there to watch.

 

 

 

 

The Race

Swim 1.32.40

I stay at the back of Bay 2, which turned out to be a great idea, as everyone swam off ahead I had no kicks or punches.  As everyone met before the first buoy it became a little more crowded but again no problems, and even a few feet to follow.  My aim was just to relax, enjoy it, and use it as a warm up...expected time 1.30-1.40.  It took me until about 1000 mtrs to settle down (there are signs with the distance all along the lake) and the cramp in my right calf was actually a blessing, as I then stopped using my legs completely, stretched out my stroke and really relaxed, the turn around point came quickly, and with it I even overtook a few people!  On the leg back my mum, dad & Jess were following  me along the bank (Jess even jumped in the lake at one point!), It was great to see them every 6th stroke, and when I had to clear my goggles I would give them a little wave, and get shouts of encouragement back.  Out of the water in 1.32.40 and chuffed to bits.

 

T1  9.28

Nothing special, change of clothes, arm coolers on, toilet stop and out to bike.  Probably would have saved a couple of mins if I hadn't faffed about with arm coolers but it doesn't really matter.

 

Bike 7.09.28

Loved the bike!!  This was the part I was most worried about, as I felt least experienced, and so much could potentially go wrong.  But for some reason, whether it was all the training, I was just having a 'good day' or the reason I most like to think...that my granddad was giving me a big push from up above, whatever it was it worked!  I had done two laps in training and found Oxton bank a bit painful the second time round, but on the day I powered up it, laughing my head off at the pirate signs (It's not a knitting club being my favourite...so true!) and was just really really excited to see the pirates for the first time, they didn't disappoint, with their big smiles and cheers...legends!!  Down to Southwell and was so excited to see Mum and Dad... scanning and scanning all the crowds and fantastic people cheering, turn right at the mini roundabout..and there they are, YAY!!  I REALLY want a banana...my Dad is holding out a sandwich, I keep shouting banana, banana!! but no banana appears, incredibly amusing, poor Dad left holding a sandwich, and my Mum taking photos of me shouting banana, love it!!  No problems, was amazing just to see them, and I'll get a banana at the next aid station.  At this point I should point out that I'm eating Cliff shot bloxs every 30 mins, but my poor stomach is not in a good mood, and every time I swallow them I puke them back into my mouth (nice!) I force them down but it's not pleasant, at one point some poor fella behind sees me puke half a chocolate mini roll up onto the floor (sorry!).  I get to the next aid station...banana please!  I fly past at 20mph and drop the banana, darn it!!  Lesson learnt!!  Luckily the pirates save the day on loop 2, not only do I get banana from them, but also banana from Dad (he's well prepared this time) and even sandwich and banana combo on the 3rd loop.  My stomach settled down about halfway round the bike course, and I then I knew I would finish the bike.  Many people, including some of the really fast people gave lots of support on the bike which was gratefully received, and I shouted as much encouragement back as possible.  With my lack of real experience on the bike I didn't know how my legs would hold up.  I expected to average 14/14.5 mph, and decided to just go at a pace I felt comfortable with, not looking at my garmin except the check the general time/distance.  I realised I was going faster than this, but as I felt comfortable would just go with it.  Coming in at 7.09 (15.6 mph average) and well over half an hour faster than expected was amazing.  Mum and Dad cheering me into transition gave me exactly the boost I needed to get those trainers on and out onto the run.

 

T2 6.04

Change of shorts, compression socks on, trainers & cap on, off I go...

 

Run 5.04.41

In my 'dream plan' I was to run a 5 hour marathon, never did I ever imagine I could do it (ok nearly 5 mins slower but I can cope with that).  It was hot on the run, and I knew I would not be able to push as hard as maybe I would on a cooler day, and had to be super aware of my hydration.  I started running, and although I felt a bit shattered my legs felt really fresh...work that one out!  I started running 10 min miles, which I was just happy to be able to sustain without any discomfort.  Walking though the aid stations and stuffing my face with crisps, flat coke, water, oranges I was happy, and even happier when I went through 6 miles in just over an hour.  My aim would be to run for as long as I was able to, walk the aid stations, and hopefully only have to walk the last few miles at worst.  My Dad ran a few of the river parts behind me, and also a bit of the lake.  This was lovely, and great to have him there, but I felt awful that I couldn't really hold much (any) conversation.  I just had to concentrate and stay in the zone to keep those legs turning over... but I think he understood!  There was so much amazing support on the run, you couldn't help but feel humbled by it all.  I also had to run past the finishing chute three times before it was eventually my time to turn down there...some might say this is slightly cruel, but the cheers from the grandstand were enough to lift the spirits, and watching others finish gave me the boost I needed to keep strong.  On Lap 3 I really had to dig deep, but instead of walking like I thought I might, I just kept at a steady pace (12 min/miles).  So with my determination I'm now at the last turnaround point and I guess around three miles to the finish.  I say well done to every single person I pass, and am smiling so much... I'm nearly home!  I round the lake for the final time, I can hear the man and lady on the loudspeaker shouting everyone home... name, you are an outlaw!  I smile every time I hear this, and all the other crazy stuff they are saying, I think they even sing happy birthday to someone.  I go past many men walking on the last loop, and give them as much encouragement as I can.  As I get onto the final straight I can hear the loudspeaker clearly again, someone has got less than a minute to get under 14 hours... I can't be hearing correctly, there's no way I've done it so fast, the loudspeaker again, 'Well done, you did it in 13.59 something' oh my goodness, I wasn't hearing things, I'm only a couple of minutes away now.  My Mum appears by the lake and starts shouting that I'm her hero, she is so proud and I can't believe I've nearly done it, I turn down the finishing chute and see my Dad, we high five, and everyone else wants a high five too, it's brilliant, I run down and lift the tape above my head and hear the announcer JADE, YOU ARE AN OUTLAW!!!!!   

 

Finish time 14.02.20

 

It still feels like a surreal dream, but it really was the best day of my life.  And I'm so glad I could share it with my Mum, Dad, Uncle Ali, Jess, the pirates, and know I had an amazing network of friends following and supporting me from their homes or on the live feeds.  My hard work and training really paid off.  My time was amazing (for me), and better than I could have ever imagined, but the best bit was that I enjoyed every moment of it, and got to share it with some very special people.  When I finished it I said I would never do it again, but my name already seems to be down for next years event.  I have a feeling the buzz of that finish line and the adrenaline is just to hard to resist......

Author: Jade Overy

 

Go Tri! Junior Training Camp 30 and 31 July 2011

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Dear All

A big big big thank you to all those involved in GoTri! 2011... It was a superb weekend with 29 young people between the ages of 10 and 16 years of age investing in GoTri! our Junior Training Camp... There were 15 volunteers from the club including level 1 and level 2 coaches delivering a variety of sessions.... Paul Hedger from HedghogTri was a great help, giving advice and being rigorous with our race preparations...... and of course the support of Andew Lennox of Nuffield Health who was our sponsor...

 

If I was Callum or Steve Alden I d be able to write an indepth report but alas I am not gifted in that way!.... So I thought Id collate some of the feedback for everyone ...

 

Some comments from the participants evaluations...

 

What did you like?

 

The swimming, the transition and the cycling and running EVERYTHING

I enjoyed it all it was really fun... the best was the cycle

The atmosphere, how friendly everyone is...

I enjoyed all of it but if I had to choose it would be cycling..

I enjoyed the nutrition session because I liked tasting the smoothies, I also enjoyed the swimming and the bike/run session :)

I enjoyed everything - most of all the running because I felt I improved a lot

The friendly atmosphere mixed in with a lot of fun exercise

I enjoyed how nice the coaches were from Mid Sussex Tri Club and the different things to do

I liked the nutrition session and enjoyed the games

Swimming , I'm not a great swimmer, but have improved a lot and can now go at a reasonable pace.

The cycling was fun and so was running

 

 

 

What did you learn?

 

The M check on my bike..

How to breathe in water whilst swimming.....

Generally about triathlon

Running styles/efficiency... cycling gears... transitions

I learnt new techniques in my running which I will use in the future..

How you do all the transitions and what gears to use when and what body parts to use at what part of the race...

Stay stream lined in the water

In the swimming especially about using your arms a lot more than your legs. Also the technique for running and when to change gears in cycling.

The importance of transitions

How to swim professionally

Better swimming techniques

Foods to avoid and to eat, transitions, running technique, how to swim a lot better.

I think I learnt a lot from transition

That transitions are really important and you can lose a lot of time if you don't do it efficiently

 

Some comments from parents.....

 

Just to say please pass on our thanks to all concerned for a fantastic tri summer camp. Elspeth and Harry both really enjoyed it and we were all impressed with the fantastic organisation. Thank you for all the hard work and preparation from the tri members. Please, please put it on again next year (and please start a junior/teenage section at Mid Sussex Tri Club)!!

Thanks again,

 

Nathan and I both wanted to say thank you to you and all at MSTC and everyone else involved in making the GoTri! weekend such a success.  Nathan enjoyed the whole thing and we really appreciate the time and effort everyone put in.

 

One parent was heard to say it was the best organized event they'd been too!!!..... Military precision!!!

 

Again thank you one and all.... I'm off on holiday to have a rest ... Hope to see you all at the club half

 

Author: Rose Ryan

 

Big Cow Milton Keynes Tri - 31st July 2011

Having lived in Milton Keynes for a fair old time, participating in the Big Cow Milton Keynes triathlon (also the standard distance age group championships) is a good excuse to go back up and meet up with some old friends. (I decided to register on the Saturday, thinking I'd have a bit of a lie in on the Sunday (race day). Unfortunately I cut things a bit fine and only managed to get to transition with 5 minutes to spare. Having been kicked out of transition I then realised that I didn't have my race chip; it was back in the car. Queue a frantic barefoot rush back to the car to get it, and then a mad dash back to the swim start with about 5 minutes to go before my wave started.

Now, as everyone at MSTC knows, the swim is definitely my Achilles heel and today was no different. I got a fair bit bashed about in the swim which had a technical 'W' route which made sighting quite critical. The back straight was directly into the sun which made sighting of the last buoy almost impossible until it was about 20 yards away.

A pedestrian T1 and off on the bike section. It was at this point that I had realised that I had cocked up my Garmin 310XT multisport mode - having forgotten to include transitions it thought I was now on the run rather than on the bike leg. The cycle was s short 39Km, although the course was quite undulating.  This year the course was a single large loop, so only one trip up 'heartbreak hill' where it joins the A509 main road before looping back to Emberton. Entry back into T2 was interesting as I overshot the entrance slightly, turning back I got a tri bar up my bottom from the competitor behind me, I'm sure not quite the wind tunnel effect he was envisaging when he fitted them.

 

The run leg was the standard 3 lap loop of the lake with a drinks station at the start of each lap. Water or High 5 could be obtained, although when the kids that were helping were offering High 5's I had though they meant high 5 slaps rather than energy drinks. Doh!

 

Unfortunately no other MSTC members were at the race. It not being a BAR event I found it difficult to get motivated to push myself to the limit. It makes a big difference when racing against others for those coveted BAR points.

 

Results:

 

Finishing time of 02:22:57,     position 161 out of about 470 starters.

 

Swim:  00:29:27

T1: 00:01:52

Bike: 01:07:26

T2: 00:01:06

Run: 00:43:08

 

 

Author: Anthony Grey

 

MST Olympic Race report

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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

 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