Righty-o, Ive been putting this off for a while, mainly due to struggling to remember how to write!
Ironman Switzerland was my biggy this year. I always go into races with 3 goals, 1st being to PB by beating 10.09 2nd to be breaking 10 hours and 3rd being to go 9.45. Now, 9.45 was a bit of an outside goal but I think its great to have something slightly out of reach. My final 6 weeks before the race hadnt been ideal but I had got some solid sessions in including PB’s over all 3 distances including a 5.13 bike split at Outlaw tri and a 16.45 5km. However, I had been seriously lagging on my long runs after London marathon having only 1 run of 30km since the race.
Aaaaanyway, I digress.
Leading upto IMCH the weather looked set to be horrible, all the better for the brits! Racked, Registered, Briefing, All that palava.
Nice early morning start to get over to the swim and its raining already, amazing. Fresh New Huub Wetsuit which is the most comfy wetsuit I have ever worn, It was all I could do to convince myself not to do the whole race in it, or sleep in it! In for the swim and met a few of the other GB 18-24 guys , 2 of them I had thought I could beat, 1 I thought I would be nowhere near, I had always banked on coming out of the water ahead of him, being caught on the bike and then left for dead on the run. Anyway, Beach start, run in and its absolute batshiz crazy, lots of people diving in far too early, I went for the, lets try to run the swim idea and ran out as far as I possibly could, running past alot of people who were trying to swim at this point. Eventually in to swim and straight away I realise it is far choppier than I had expected and despite starting just 1 row back, I am struggling to find any feet, Not that I can draft in the swim anyway, I just become one of those annoying people who essentially gives you a foot massage for an hour. Round and round like a teddy bear and it is time to funnel under the bridge to run over for the second lap. I bloody loved this and felt like a cross between ‘The Hoff’ and Ali Brownlee, unfortunately as it happened I neither had the pecs and shoulders of one, nor the swimming ability of the other (I shall let you decide which Has the talents aforementioned) and exited the water in a disappointing 1.03. I had been swimming well leading into the event so was a little disheartened when I saw my watch but on reflection, the fastest swim of the day was a 49 with Ronnie Scgilgrfbekbvihv swimming 55 and Bella Bayliss at 59 so I felt slightly better that It was possibly either long or that the fish had conspired to create some sort of water tunnel (Henry Howe) flowing against us to slow us down. So yeah, 1.03, pretty shize.
T1- Still a little unsure as to why I include transitions in race reports, You know the drill, run in, Do stuff, Run out, Try not to look too flustered for the cameras when in reality, you are hanging out of ya BeeHind and looking forward to a nice sit down and a beer. In 9 hours. If it’s a good day. Balls. 2.12
This is my, Im dying face
Bike- from what I had heard, Swiss was one of the fast courses, I had expected to fly round there and had hoped for a 5.15 bike split after doing 5.13 at Outlaw on a windy day. The first 30km was panners, Drafting penalties being dished out left right and centre to the germans, punks. Nothing happens when its flat so lets move swiftly on to THE BEAST. It certainly has a far scarier name than it deserves although second time round I was giving it a far harsher title and muttering unsweet nothings at the ground as I passed over it at what seemed like -3 MPH. The first time up THE BEAST was fairly easy, the sun was shining, there was crowd support, the view was outrageous. Once over the top you descend, climb, ride up to EGG (HAHAHAHA Why am I the only one laughing) and then the main descent back to the lake, however some bastard decided to order rain, and as a side, a dish of hailstones. Therefore descending for around 5-6km under the cover of trees which let barely any light through whilst hammering it down with rain and hailstones was a bit of a bum twitchy moment which saw me pulling the brakes harder than if a child/small person ran in front of me whilst riding at 40mph (I think the rule still applies on a bike). Back to the side of the lake, boring boring boring, HEARTBREAK HILL. Now Im not sure quite what I was expecting here, I had heard that I was entering the tour de france zone which quite frankly, I didn’t fancy on top of an Ironman, riding up there the gradient wasnt too bad and I had just about everyone who had ever raced Swiss’s voice going round my head telling me not to get caught up in the crowd support of Heartbreak hill, rounded the corner and saw the roads were deep with people, Thats it, this is my moment, the finish line must be at the top of this one, I sprinted it like I was alberty contador after an all you can eat spanish steakhouse had done a lockin the night before.
Although bad news, no finish line, just a quick realisation that I still had almost 100km left to ride, ah well, get me head down and crack on, Flat all the way back round the lake, Boring boring boring until, A dude on a mountain bike in full BMC kit decides to stick into one of the bastard pelatons (or quite possibly Pelatai, What is the plural) that is riding slightly ahead of me (please note there was at least 10 metres, maybe 10.1!) 20 guys with aero bikes, aero helmets, aero wallets and deep section wheels are now towing along a sit up and beg mountain biker, try a they may they couldn’t get away from him and he sat in for the full 20km I could see them for. Sure enough when we hit the hills they pack broke up and Im pretty sure they all went back to the Tour de france where they belonged. Around the lake I saw my boy Xavi had caught me up at around the 100km loop, You may remember Xavi from my blog after we went to NICE (pronounced in a Borat style is preferred by the locals) Xavi is strong, however Xavi is Spanish, ergo, Xavi doesn’t like rain! He told me that had it not been for his lovely wife and daughter being there to watch he would have pulled the plug when It was hailing. Second time up THE BEAST (it totally sounds like it deserves capitals eh, and to be said in some sort of demon/ x factor presenter voice. are you noticing a theme here) This was much tougher second time around, partly due to my C*ntador sprint up HH, Partly to my Sideburnesque Timetrialling round the lake. Over the top, nothing again until Heartbreak Hill the second time round, it was a very different experience this time, Having hit it at 85km in I loved it, I wanted to hug everyone, Smile, rock out! Second time round however, I wanted to go all Chuck Norris and roundhouse everyone that even looked at me let alone cheered for me, I was fed up of cycling. Eventually got to the end of the bike feeling happyish with myself, despite having rode 10 mins slower than I had planned, This now meant I was 5 mins behind where I wanted to be from the swim and a further 10 mins behind with the bike, Great, 15 mins down before the run has started Bike-5.25
T2- Drat, I’m doing it again arent I, another transition related paragraph, although this one was slightly more eventful and served a meaningful lesson, got in, got all my stuff. Fresh Runbreeze socks on, nothing better than new socks when you dont fancy a marathon after 6.5 hours of racing. sorted and went to head out, ran in the complete wrong direction before being shouted at by a Marshall to go another way and quickly realising I was Lost in transition (not to be confused with the Bill Murray classic, Lost in Translation) Eventually I found myself at the exit hoping to dear Jeebus that me mam hadnt seen my ballsup (she had and it was almost the first thing she bought up when I finished) CHECK THE TRANSITION MAP KIDS! 2.57
My David Hasselhoff Pecs were implants
Run- I went out at a fairly half decent pace, not paying too much attention to my actual pace whilst spending about the first 5km trying to figure out how much time I had and how slowly I could afford to go and still get a decent result. My legs were fairly cooked getting off the bike and were pretty sore as soon as is started running however It quickly became clear that I only had 3.26 to run the marathon to sneak in under 10 hours. I knew I had it in me having run 3.24 at Henley last year and 3.06 at London this year but also a little nagging voice (had Mum’s voice, coincidence? I think not) in my head reminding me that I had only done one long run in the 3 months leading up to the race which was still only 30km. Off I plodded and was going fairly well, nothing particularly interesting, saw Xavi a few times and he was maintaining a good 5 mins ahead of me, later in the lap I saw GB18-24 that I was Expecting to kick my ass, He had the same colour lap bands as me and I couldn’t see anymore, I presumed that he was just hiding them so people wouldn’t know what lap he was on and try to chase him down. As you can see here, It rained again, and again, and again
However, the sun must have come out at some point as I had some pretty rad sun burn at the end, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.
This is my, someone kill me face
at 10 miles out I knew I was nearing the limits of the training load I had bothered with but some quick sums ( I say quick, this took me nearly 10 minutes, I iz a Jeenyous) told me that I couldn’t afford to drop below 8 minute mile if I was going to break 10 hours, crap, so I pushed on thinking if I worked a bit harder now while I still felt ok then I ould have some time spare towards the end, run run run, just before the start of the last 10.5km lap, Moms tells me that Xavi is only just ahead, I was stoked as I thought it would mean we could push each other along and possibly finish together for a SIIIICK photo. I caught Xavi almost at the time we crossed the lap mat but it quickly became obvious that this wasnt going to happen, Xavi didn’t have the legs at the time to push on and I didn’t have the time to spare to wait around. Some more quick sums (read slow) with 10km to to go showed I still couldn’t afford to go under 8 min mile, balls, all that hard work and I hadn’t gained any extra time. My legs were starting to get in some serious pain now but NO I couldn’t slow down, run run run, With 5km to go, still that 8 min mile barrier, SHIZE. For the final 3 km I realised it was going to be slow close, I was in agony but knew I didn’t have time to hang around so I sprinted, which in reality was around 7.30/mile but I felt like Usain, towards the finish, Everyone in the last mile cottoned on to the fact I had all the lap bands, a face that showed I was hurting and a watch that showed I would be seriously close to under/over 10 hours, I was getting cheered hugely by the crowd, not that I really knew it at the time, as quite frankly, I thought I was already dead. everyone that I overtook that had the same lap bands as me I soon realised wouldn’t make it under 10 unless they pulled their finger out. I could finally see the stadium(read makeshift chairs and finishing chute but I want it to sound spectacular) and the dude on the corner tells me I have only 2 mins to make it all the way around and inside it, SHIIIIZE I thought I had 4! SPRINTING quite possibly faster than Michael Johnson at this point to make it round and I can’t see the entrance around it, I was really starting to panic when finally! There it is, the entrance to the finishing chute, in my haste of trying to cut corners I ran full pelt, Hip bone in to steel barrier bouncing half way across to the other side of the chute, cheerleaders, music, PaulKaye on the mic
When the clock reads 10.03. Drat, Game over, Gutted.
Tensing the twin towers of power was just for the cameras
WAIT! Its changed to 9.58, The pro’s set off 5 mins before and it was still on their time, I’ve done it! I’ve managed to break 10 hours I’m finally able to look down on those that havent broke 10 hours (Andy Sloan ;-)) I am wrecked. Run- 3.24, same as Henley!
Post race- I was more wrecked at the end of this race than I have ever been, the whole of the last lap I had My new coach Rob’s voice in my head from when he told me that the lap 10km would be where I would find out how much I wanted it. I seriously wanted it.
Half way through the run I had made a deal with myself that If I broke 10 hours, I had proved myself, I didn’t need to race another Ironman next year, Yet here I am, having decided fairly last-minute to race Ironman Wales in 6.5 weeks time, A much harder Ironman and what is likely to be a much crappier day!
Yes the hideously dressed germans beat me, No the sexy chick didnt
At the end it turned out I had managed to wangle my way on to the podium by coming 3rd In my Age group which meant an agonising walk around Zurich trying to find the awards ceremony and blagging a trophy and bottle of wine
Dont be jealous of my socks, You too can recover in style at http://www.110playharder.com/men-viewall
So, It only took me nearly 3 weeks to write this, which isn’t a surprise given the length of it, Hopefully due to the title, chicks will dig it, Ill become some sort of Spencer Smithesque triathlon celebrity, move to LA and never need to race again.
Wales- 6 weeks time- I’ll try to blog in the mean time but you can probably expect a race report from that sometime mid February given my recent blog writing form.
Yeah-Ive got an iPad, hero.