Jelly legs aside, I entered T2 after the 90km ride and quickly made my way to my racking position – 2 by 9 – 2nd rack down, 9th rack in, and quickly racked my bike in my allocated space [having moved someone elses bike from my position… go figure…I mean, it’s not like they are all numbered after all?!].
With my bike racked, I quickly made my way down my row, and straight toward the transition marquee via the portaloo which fortunately did not have a queue. Comfort stop aside, as I entered the marquee, for whatever reason, I had slight numeracy issues! – I found where my bag should have been – and it wasn’t there [!?]. I counted back from 625 – 625, 624, 623, 622, 621 and found where it should have been – & I swear it wasn’t there! Some 2 recounts later, and I found it – I can only put that down to being a numpty & being tired. Oh well – another learning point for the future…!
I quickly grabbed my bag and sat down and quickly whipped off my cycling shorts and top, popped on my visor, stashed my helmet, and popped on my nutrition belt and I was away.
Generally uneventful except for the numerical dyslexia of course..!
T2: Bike-to-run 05min:08secs
In previous years I had always made the effort to run off the bike, and this year was no exception. However, hindsight being a wonderful thing, i think i should have done more of it this year…! Unbeknownst to me, my legs were turning over at a 14km/h rate when for the first kilometre, and it took me some time to settle into my race pace. I must admit, i didn’t actually feel like i was running that quick until i had glanced down at my watch and made the discovery that I was currently running a 3:55km for the 1st kilometer of the half marathon!! #UNSUSTAINABLE
Pacing issues aside, I took the opportunity to feed up as soon as I could into the run from my own nutrition belt, but also from the on course feeding stations. I did as Paul Kaye suggested in the athlete race briefing stop at the aid stations to drink properly.
The run itself is without a shadow of a doubt the hardest single most emotional run I have ever done.
Cramp – yes, ol’ faithful was back! – needless to say, I battled with cramp from around 3km onward – but kept it at a manageable level, and without actually locking up completely.
Cramp aside, the hills, which in hindsight were not too bad – felt like mountains. I have to say, for self-preservation purposes [predominantly to stretch out the cramp], I did stop a number of times for about 30/40 seconds at around 3 kilometer intervals to coincide with the aid stations – and by that calculation, I am pretty sure that I could have gone sub-2hours for the half marathon which was my overall goal in light of my training runs, and my most recent half marathon at Milton Keynes.
The thing that got me through this run was the people, the volunteers & the supporters. Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t have completed the course – that wasn’t an option at this stage – hell, I’d just swum nearly 2km, and cycled 90km, and as such wasn’t about to give up now! – however, they gave me the will to push on, and to hit the lap 1 armband collection, to hit lap 2 and to hit lap 3 and run down that finish chute..!
I really cannot emphasize how much of an impact they had on me on this run – as I said on my previous blog they were quite simply #AMAZING.
With each lap I progressed at a more settled pace probably averaging between10 or 11km/h, which was slightly slower than I would have ideally aimed for, but at a more sustainable pace.
As the run progressed, I was feeling more and more emotional – I suspect it may have been finish line anticipation, the number of supporters cheering us on, fatigue – who knows. All I know is that I found myself welling up a number of times during the course of the 21.1km.
Lap 1 & 2 were a battle – by Lap 3 I had worked through the cramp and was well through the fatigue, and emotions aside, I knew when I collected my lap 3 that I had this in the bag.
I thanked the volunteer who gave me the lap band, and pressed on – the sun felt warm on me by now and I was loving this. That final long run down the road with the many people cheering me on – it felt great. I had all but completed my first Half Ironman.
As I rounded the corner onto the gravel section in front of Shugborough, I gestured to the volunteer adjacent to the finish line 3 fingers and she smiled and nodded and clapped me on. I turned the corner and say the carpet – it looked longer than I remembered from the day before, and the people were cheering and clapping – it was electric.
5 words that gave me the biggest grin ever as I ran down the finish line :
“Robert – you are an Ironman”.
I spotted my support crew – gave them a smile and wave and pressed on down to the finish line – it felt amazing crossing the line! – I HAD DONE IT!
Although I didn’t get to High5 Paul Kaye – I suspect he may have been on a comfort break or getting a burger off Gordon Ramsay – I know from how I felt crossing the line – the feeling of achievement – the feeling of joy – the feeling of happiness – I knew there and then that in the future I will get to High5 him some day! He owes me one!
To say I was happy would be a massive understatement – even 10 days later writing this, I am still buzzing – buzzing at the thought if what I have achieved – buzzing at where I was, and where I have arrived.
It was hard.
It was emotional.
There were a few times in the months leading to the day that I doubted whether I could do it, and whether I had it in me to go the duration.
There were a few times early on in the run when I really doubted whether I could haul myself the 21.1km across the line.
BUT – after 10months of training – after work, at weekends, the swims, the long runs, the long rides, the bricks – it all amounted to one fantastic day – and proof that energy coupled with effort and personal self-belief that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
Pre-Triathlon / Ironman etc
In order to progress in anything – you need to look at where you have come from.
- ~2years ago, I was a pretty average swimmer – and on the 14th June 2015 I had just swum 1.9 km / 1.2miles in 49:47….!
- ~2years ago, the thought of riding 56.1miles would NEVER have even crossed my mind – I just plain simple would NOT have been able to do it and on the 14th June 2015 I had just cycled 90.1km/ 56miles in 3h:39m:21s…!
- ~3years ago, I could barely run more than 1km in one go and on the 14th June 2015 I had just run 21.1km / 13.1miles in 2h:07m:54s…!
I have come along way from where I was –
and I want to keep going!
my goals for the day were to…
- finish under 7hrs maximum
- finish under 6hrs45 if possible
- …anything less than 6hrs 45 is a bonus!
- not drown
- not fall off the bike
- not walk during the run leg
- enjoy the day
I could safely put a tick against all of these! [the walking was for hydration remember!]
I was officially an Ironman!
These are some of the messages I got from friends when I completed:
Top effort!! I keep looking at the distances and thinking “no way”!
Congrats and well done !!!! J
What an amazing self-achievement. Inspirational to the max! – Very well done and we are all very proud of you! Our very own ‘Iron Man’
Wow – well done Robert – Never doubted you could do it .You deserve to feel proud of yourself. Congratulations.
Rob, congratulations! You can be very proud!!!
Well done, we are proud just knowing you!
Congratulations, brilliant – all that way and still smiling!