Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lanzarote Ironman 2015 - take 2

We all have our doubts about training and I certainly had mine. First part of the year taken  up with ultra training. All I managed was 3 open water swims. Pre race training was mostly 5k swim event followed by London marathon and then a challenging 100 mile sportive.  

We arrived on Tuesday and the wind was just harsh and no signs of it letting up at all.  We took a trip up to Mirado and I could hardly stand up.  I was praying the wind would let up. 

So race day arrived, I was so nervous, so much more than last year which really surprised me.  I left Nick in the middle of the sea pack and went right to the back of the swim start.  Last years swim start had really freaked me out so different plan this year.  Over and over I kept repeating to myself, "I will have a good swim, I will have good swim".  I felt very emotional and I think it showed because some random stranger just came over and gave me big hug which made me  more emotional. 
It took me nearly 3 mins to get into the water as I was at the back.  I had a plan, swim 30 strokes, rest, 40 strokes, rest, 50 strokes, rest etc. In training at home I had made my self do 300 strokes before I could rest.  This plan would ease any panic or anxiety induced asthma attacks.  
So in I went and what did I do? I got in and I swam, no panic attacks, no stopping,just gliding and counting.  I even smelt diesel and didn't react... Go me.  My swim was amazing, just pure swimming, no stopping and I had cracked it.  I did however get swim over by the pros but I took it in my stride and let them past me. It's good to meet the pros but this was a close encounter wasn't expecting.  As I got out my time 50 mins,that was surprising seeing hadn't stopped at all.  I got back in and the sea had already turned and was lot more choppy.  (Looking at results , everyone's second lap was longer).  So swim was done 1.44 4 mins more than last year.  This positive experience will help me in other races. 

As soon as you got out the bike the wind hit you.  On the road out it was so strong I don't think I got over 8mph.  As you go round a sharp right hand bend suddenly you zoom from 8mph to 28.... BOOM.  Sadly this doesn't last long.  I remember a tail wind twice but the rest of the time it side swipes you.  I don't know what else to report apart from the hills were endless, they felt doubled in distance because of the constant wind.  The roads in Lanzarote are just roads, no verges just road and then sheer drops.  One gush of side wind and you could be gone into rocky volcanic landscape.  The descents were just as bad, especially the hairpins and at one point I was freezing.  Freezing in Lanzarote huh? Compared to last year the wind was twice as bad.  I thought it was bad last year but oh boy this was something else.  Winds up to 40 mph.  It was a challenge to stay on the bike.  There was only one point where the wind dropped and then the temperature rose and I just started sweating like I was in a sauna. I couldn't wait to get off the bike. The bottom of my feet were so sore from constantly putting so much pressure on the pedals.  When I entered transition I took my shoes off, bad move, I could hardly walk and I limped all the way down to the far side of transition area.  I was so glad I made the cut off, it was a toughest ride I had ever done.  At times I couldn't even appreciate the landscape because loss of focus would have seen me in a ditch.  

I didn't know how I would run a marathon, I had been taking Ronnie deflatine and I had no stomach distension at all and  I had spent the whole bike course farting!!!! I decided to follow the marathon plan I had done at Challenge Roth because it had worked so I needed to get to 7 miles non stop then I knew I was in the run zone.  I did walk the feed stations but the first 22km I ran the whole way.  The run course was slightly different this year 11km out and back and then 2  x 10 km loops. Each loop ends at the finish line and you could see the people just taking it home.    There were a few ladies who had been in front of me in the bike but they had nothing left for the run.  This is where I excel because I have one speed and that's steady.  I took so many people on the run.  I thank my experience at ultra running helped me mentally here a lot.   I know I can run fatigued and I can hold a constant pace. Finally I was on the last lap, I had starting running 500 steps and walking 100 but as I entered the town so many people were shouting go hardcore blackmore that even though I had nothing left to give I felt obliged to run to the finish, the support was unbelievable. I looked at my watch and had given up in beating my time. I entered the red carpet zone I could hear them calling my name and shouting "you are an ironman" and when I looked I had just pipped in with 15.44.23.  Nick was there waiting at the finish line and I was overcome with exhaustion and overwhelmed by the achievement. It was nice to see Claire in the later stage of the run that gave me a bit of a boost so thank you Claire. Finish time 15:44:24

I was beat, I'm not going to lie, I only got through the run with sheer mental determination.  I was sat in the food tent with a plate full of rice and canarian potatoes.  I thought I was going to puke.  It was a hard day at the office but despite this the more challenging events give you more sense of pride.  I didn't just complete an Ironman I completed an Ironman in  heat and extreme windy conditions.  7% of the competitors were women and the respect you get from the locals and other competitors is just awesome.  

My love for ironman has returned. The way complete strangers bond together and help each other.  The physical and mental courage it takes to finish such an event.  My nutrition had been spot on, beetroot elite flapjacks had been great but I did panic slightly when I had red pee then I remembered I had beetroot. Thank god!!!! 
Lanzarote has a grip on you that you find hard to shake off. 
Last year I had bad swim and bad run, this year I had good swim and good run but 
 a hard bike.   This island takes no prisoners, nothing is predictable.  You are a slave to the weather and you have to tackle it all in your stride.  

 I wanted to take hour of my time and actually considering the wind I was pleased I only gained 10 minutes.  If there had been same wind as last year I am positive I would have cut that time a lot.  

 It was another great experience and to watch Nick complete his first Ironman.  If you want to challenge yourself this is the race for you.  

Triathlon is a way of life. 
If you have any questions about triathlon or ironman training then please contact me through

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Media fondo 93.7 hilly miles

Now I am a coach and a personal trainer and I feel that I have knowledge about endurance training BUT  If I were my own coach I would slap my arse!!!!

Entering a challenging so called 95 hilly sportitive the weekend after London marathon was probably not one of my best ideas BUT in my defence I didn't race London.  After training for an ultra as part of my ironman training was probably just as bad idea BUT I am crazy and I know I can handle it.  After a stupid amount of running up to March it was time to get on the bike and in the pool.  

I entered the sportitive as a training ride and my last big ride before I taper for Lanza. It was more for my mental health towards the looming ironman.  

It was 2 years since I did this last and in that 2 year gap they added on another 20 miles and changed the route.  This is how it went......

I arrived nice and early and started off about 7.15.  The route takes you about 100 yards before it takes you up, what I call, heart attack hill.  No time for a warm up straight into the thick of it.  The higher I went the foggier it got.  

To be honest the weather was pretty bad but I didn't actually care.  The wind lashing in my face and the rain refreshing my hill climbing face was just something else to bitch about in my head instead of the hills.  
 I became a bit of a bike slag today.  As I entered on my own I decided to hook up where I could with people.. I either grabbed some free air then got dumped or ended up dumping them.  At one point I tagged behind a group of four and then another solo rider tagged on too.  It was at this point I got a puncture.  The solo rider who joined up stopped to offer his help although I didn't need it but this meant I wasn't riding alone.  When we reached the first feed station the same group we lost had had an almighty crashing lots cuts and bruises and broken bikes.  Maybe it was fate but I am so glad I missed out on that.  

I lost my new cycling friend and was out back on the course alone but not for long, everyone was so friendly and in good spirits considering the weather.  

Draycott  hill was a bitch, it was here I first used my I ran London marathon excuse.... 

Enmore  hill was good  although the head wind and the downpours just seemed to enhance the experience and soon the miles and the hills were passing by.  Crowcombe beat me again and I was totally amazed at the guy who was at least 75 years old overtake me.  Watching all the riders zig zag up the hill was amazing and watching people crash into the hedge because they just couldn't cope with the incline.  I thought that all the 20% hills had gone but they chucked in a third one just before the third feed station stop.  That hill had a few choice swear words thrown its way.  

Now I seem to perform better the longer I go.... And instead of feeling weaker I felt stronger.  The last time I had done 100 miles on a easier course it almost killed me.  Once we hit the 75 mile mark it was along the levels with the wind behind us.  I never at any point felt fatigue.. The hills were hard but it manageable although I  grinded up them nice and slow.  

In a nut shell, there was some extreme hills with scary descents on narrow lanes and gravel bombs that had to avoided at all costs.  The feed stations were great but the main thing was proving to myself that only a week after the marathon I was strong and able to handle this ride. 

At times I have doubted my triathlon fitness but today has been so beneficial... Lanza better watch out because I am out there to prove a point... #bringiton