Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Challenge Roth 2013 - my first ironman distance

So here I am sat on the plane to Germany. I just had the, most surreal moment and then a huge reality check. I will BE doing an ironman. I thought it best to start putting some words down.
Per
The journey started with a long train journey receiving texts and messages that made me over emotional to a degree that the old lady sat next to me gave me a tissue. I was quietly excited and decided that First Great Western passengers weren't ready for my excitement so I kept a lid on it and didn't speak one word of my destination to anyone.

The tubes again stressed me out luckily I realized I was on the wrong one and that I had missed my stop but was easily rectified. I had my train angel on call thanks Leeky lee. Once at the airport I could relax. I met a few people from the challenge Roth Uk Facebook page.

As we were waiting in the holding area before we boarded the plane no one was talking so I asked who wanted to play spot the triathlete.  That was it; ice broken and everyone started chatting. Met some really interesting people on the plane, which I have to say was pretty empty.  I’ve been dreading the journey not being a seasoned traveler but once I put my big girl pants on I was on a roll.
Now there are a lot of things that happened in the “German BIG brother house” which justifies its own blog but what goes on tour stays on tour!!!! My lips are sealed.

Even though the idea was to taper and rest there was a lot of driving around (or being a passenger should I say) to attend briefings and racking the bikes.   The days before seemed so busy and I felt I was constantly on my feet.

I had a very weird sense of calm that seemed a little uncanny and even when I saw T1 I was still incredibly calm. I had though spent the last few weeks being totally manic and now I was in the zone. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the race……..

checking out the finish line 


Swim
All the women went off together and I can tell you there were a lot of nervous faces mine included. We got into the water and had to swim to the start line which was about 20 meters away.  The water was really warm 21 degrees.
There was no count down one minute you were heading for the start line and the next you were on your way which did seem a little unfair.
The start was below a bridge and the canal was wider than a motorway. The bridge was completely full of people and as you set off you could hear the roar of the people. It didn’t stop there I could hear the crowd cheering for about 20 minutes and let’s face it hearing things when you are swimming, it’s got to be pretty loud.
There was plenty of room and I soon settled into a pace in my head I was saying oh my god I’m doing an ironman……. oh my god OOOOHHHHHH MY GOOOOOOD!!!!
The first turn around point seemed so very far away and by the time I had reached it the second wave behind us had started to catch up.
The swim start

This was quite brutal where the water had been calm suddenly it became really choppy and the men in green hats were upon us. They didn't seem to care and just swam over the women. I learnt quickly that these guys were not going to go around me like the women had done so I went into battle mode.  Every time I felt threatened I would start kicking so hard as a warning that I was not to be messed with and it seemed to work.  I decided that every time I was overtaken by a green hat I would get on their feet and draft as long as I could. Coming back up to the bridge again you could hear the roar of the crowd again. The last turnaround point was really busy and swimmers everywhere were heading for the narrow swim exit. I made it, swim was complete. You have no idea how happy that made me feel. Quick time check, I was dead on my prediction and I was happy bunny.
T1 volunteers were brilliant they emptied your bag, gave you what you wanted and   applied sun cream. I felt good and ready to tackle the bike.
 
Meeting Macca
Racked up
Bike
The support was awesome, the roads smooth, I was on my way what more could you possibly want?
I had frozen my home made energy bars and placed them in small clear bags. I had also bought a bum bag which had emergency energy bars in.
People say that Roth is fast but the course is rolling and there were some long climbs. We went through many villages and the atmosphere was amazing. Locals were out with tables and picnics and it was like we were royalty coming through.
I had heard all the stories of Solarer hill but nothing, absolutely NOTHING   can prepare you for it.  You hear the roar of the crowd, the shouts, cowbells, rattles well before you see it. I looked up and there were just people everywhere!  It looked like there was no way through and you saw the riders in front of you getting swallowed by the crowd and then as if by magic an opening would appear. Mexican waves, people in your face willing you on. My whole body tingled with excitement and I couldn't stop grinning it was just like the Tour de France
That gave you such a rush that the turning for the second lap was upon you before you could say Solarer  hill
I checked my split I was well on target. Your name and your flag was on your race number so every time I saw a British flag I would say hi and I did meet lots people from the Facebook page but I think I have already mentioned that… dam that sparkling wine.
The second loop was a bit slower and as I passed all those poor women having to shit in the woods. It reminded me how I got my nutrition right and I wasn't overloading my body with sugar. Another one of my memories was a rather large German overtaking me and his tri suit had split on his bum and he was winking at me.... funny things you remember. Great scenery, great villages and great people.
The whole 112 miles seemed so daunting so I broke it into 10 mile blocks which seemed to help. My time 6.30 again on target….. I'm pretty good at predicting my times.

Run
I couldn't believe when I entered T2 everything was going to plan I had to sit down for a moment and take it all in and prepare for the marathon.
I headed out on the run and after a mile the sheer exhaustion and heat hit me.... I decided to walk and have a prep talk with myself. I thought that it was a rather long way and if I was going to walk it was going to take rather  a long time so I dug deep broke it up into sections and decided that walking was only an option after 13 miles.  The canal path was hot dusty and never ending and after a few miles I had shaken of my bike legs and was getting into the zone. Never at any point did I think I would not finish, only how painful it might be. I had grit in my trainers and as I stopped to get it out I  was rewarded with the most painful inner thigh cramp so I thought grit in my shoe was a better option.
The run was really tough and I thought I was running slowly but in fact I was maintaining my normal long distance run pace. I ran to every feed station then walked through each station drenching myself with sponges and sticking them down my top. I took on lots of water, melon, nuts and bananas. The fact I could keep running and I was overtaking so many people just helped me keep going. It wasn't pretty they was people puking, they had medical boats that were picking up people along the way. I did have my music on me but it annoyed me so I turned it off. There were a few hills so I did walk them.
Have I mentioned how I now hate canal paths.... I'm not quite sure how I kept going. By this time I had resulted to using GU gels I had one then needed a loo stop I decided I wasn't having any more
I did see the others but it was when I saw Fred who was trying to hunt me down and catch me that I felt a second wind arrive. I really don’t know how I got from 13 to 20 miles but I had. The route then took you off those god dam hot paths and back into the town which meant I was on the final stretch home.  I did start to walk a bit more I was really starting to flag. Runner’s started to cheer you on telling you to run and I ran with a German guy for a while who kept me motivated. The end was so close I decided to walk for a bit and save myself for the red carpet.  The support got more intense and I prepared myself for the end. As soon as I hit that red carpet and it’s a very long red carpet I knew I had made it....... there it was the finish line...... I had rehearsed my finish line crossing but when I got there I just crossed it. I couldn't believe I had done it.  A volunteer was hugging me shaking my hand but I couldn't cry I just couldn't..... Crying now as I relive my finish sat on train crying.... knobhead


The first place I needed to go was the toilet and as I sat there with my stomach doing somersaults and feeling sick I checked my Garmin.... 12.46   now I didn't believe that for a second band thought I had done my usual trick and buggered it up. Whilst I was sat there and my world was falling down a smelly portaloo I received about 10 text congratulating me and confirming the time…… OH MY GOD WHAT A SHOCKER!!!!!!!

Now being a Maths teacher n all you think that I would work it out but in my head I had done over 13 hours but under the 13.30 I wanted, so this was all a bit of a shock. Getting a sub 13 was mind blowing.
I remember a English woman catching me on the bike and asking me which was my best discipline   and I replied  saying if anything the transition from bike to run was where I was strong and that I was a stubborn bitch and would keep going.

So ironman done.... My body coped remarking well a cracking time.
A big thank you to the Roth crew for helping me, driving me around, and getting through that race. I had a great time and met some great people although I won’t miss farts.

Will I do it again? You bet your life I will...... Loved it


I nailed it all…. The training, the nutrition, the taper and the race!!! I want to do it a lot faster!!!!!