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. 
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