So here is a quick race report for Ironman Barcelona from a novice perspective as requested.
A brief history:
2012 – I watched Ironman Lanzarote in Awe while on holidays & wanted to get my self in shape & chase the title. This started with running 10k – half marathon & eventually Dublin City Marathon.
2013 – another marathon training cycle ended in back/hip injury & that was the end of anything exciting for a while
2014 – lots of physio & strength & conditioning daily over a few months & things were back on track. Ironman announced the 70.3 for Dublin so swimming lessons (30 weeks) began.
2015 – I joined this club & got myself a rothar. Thomas gave me great help in the pool & clubmates showed me the ropes on the bike. I went through the usual Open Water terror phase & eventually things fell into place after a sprint & a few aquathons. The 70.3 went great & I was in love with the sport.
2016 – I did another half but hadn’t trained well, blew up on the bike & didn’t race again.. confidence was shattered. I did run & enjoy the marathon. I knew I needed a bigger goal to get my discipline back so I signed up for IM Barcelona. Knowing that others from the club would be there made it a lot more appealing.
2017 – I Sh&t myself for the first few months… and really doubted my ability to improve to the level required. I read a few books on training & started to see the way forward… club training sessions & flexibility in family/work commitments made i much easier to start progressing.
So for others who are sitting on the fence… sign up & it’ll all fall into place.. ‘burn the boats’.
Pre Race: we arrived in Calella & got together for lunches/registration/cycle/reconnaissance & it felt great… ‘These are a great bunch of lads’
Barbara & the kids arrived just as I was going to bed the night before & that was a great lift… time for some zzz.
Race Day: Up at 6 for the usual porridge & peanut butter. The kids had left out messages on the kitchen table & I balled my lamps out over breakfast!
Down to the start with my earphones on listening to ‘HeyDay’ by MicCristopher… Adrenalin surging through my body! We gathered on the beach & spirits were high… it was great to be with the club gang again like a small team. My eyes welled up again as we stood staring out at the water waiting for the gun. When you’ve put so much time & energy & head space into a challenge & it’s finally in front of you & you feel ready.. that’s a great feeling.
Into the warm water & that was it you’re on you’re own now don’t F&CK it up! The swim was relatively easy compared to Irish sea swims so it passed quickly… out in 1:15 (beyond my wildest dreams)… T1 was smooth I let out a roar & off I went on the bike giddy up…
My plan was to keep the Heart Rate around 136 & I stuck to that until the last 20km. I had a pain in my left hamstring that had been bothering me on long cycles but I knew it would be okay.. it persisted but never got any worse. I ate far too much on the bike in reflection.. bars/gels/peanut butter sandwiches/dates/banana & 6 bottles of 750ml Powerade. My mother had been sending all sorts of FB posts & on race day she had a good one: The devil whispered “you can’t handle the storm”, and I replied “I am the storm”… or something like that, so when any doubts came on the bike I told myself I AM THE STORM & that did the trick. I got off the bike in 5:47 happy enough with that.
T2 was smooth & now all I had to do was run which felt like a relief as I was quietly confident I could get around with a few walk breaks. I had hoped to run a 4 hour marathon maybe, however as soon as I started I knew it would be hard as I felt like a pregnant woman after all the food/drink I’d consumed & it hadn’t digested. Pace soon slowed up a bit on the run & I had a stitch on the left side. We had 3 laps to do & lap 1 was done… Lap 2 was a bloody nightmare of discomfort & doubt… but step by step I was getting closer to lap 3 & that meant I was nearly finished! I had great family support on every leg of the course so that really helped give me a lift each time.. I stopped going into lap 3 to give my daughter Lilah a kiss & boom I’m gonna nail this! A mile later I was at my lowest point & the walk breaks got longer & I said to myself ‘okay just walk the last lap if you have to’.. then Derek came up behind me & I gave him the brave face & he dragged me along with him for the last lap (nice one!). Then the finishers chute came & it was all over in a split second & I had a medal around my neck I expected to feel emotional/overwhelmed here… but I was a bit faint & was just relieved. Then we heard that Larry had come off his bike & that was a real bummer… after all that work. But having got to know Larry a bit better he is very optimistic & positive so I know he’ll be back stronger for next season.
Post Race: We had a great celebration in Calella. It’s a great town & I love it, we stayed for another week & basked in the culture/atmosphere/beer/food that the little streets offer.
My quads turned to stone 2 days after the race & this lasted the rest of the holiday but it was welcomed.
Looking back I don’t know what I was worried about regarding the distance… it’s really the training that is hardest. Once you put in the hours you’ll get around.
I’d highly recommend it to anyone in the club or thinking of joining the club.
It’s been a great journey & plenty more to come. This club has been a huge support to me & so many others so THANK YOU
(so that was longer than planned & I didn’t proof read it so please excuse any mistakes!)