But it will be worth it ! To cross the finish line at Ironman Austria in June 2015 is going to tough, emotional and exhausting but today I start the training plan………
Actually thinking about it, crossing the start line is going to be tough, emotional and exhausting too – staying healthy and fit throughout the next 10 or so months will be key to ensure consistency in training.
I’ve taken the time to map a few things in the diary between now and then so we will see how things progress. This will be my first time building my own plan, so I’ll be reading lots of blogs for ideas and all suggestions gratefully received !
When we finished our tri Camp in Club La Santa last week, we were lucky enough to hang out to watch Ironman Lanzarote live, in the flesh ! WOW, that’s all I can say………. !
After completing two 70.3 races in 2013 (well January 2014 for the 2nd), my ‘life plan’ was to complete a 140.6 in my 40th year (November 2013 – November 2014) but circumstances have led this to move to 2016. I was fascinated to finally be a spectator and even find a little time for a volunteering stint at bag drop the day before. One of our tri-campers and neighbour was a participant too, so we were prepared to be the loudest set of groupies ever heard.
I don’t think anything had really prepared me for what was going to unfold that day – at the swim start at 7am I said “hell yes, let’s do this next year” to “oh my, what am I thinking” at 7pm as I watched people run / shuffle / walk through the marathon……. 2016 is a long way off !! Ok so perhaps not.
7am we were at the beach ready to go !
I can’t quite describe what happened next, it was like a huge flock of birds landed on the water. Instead 2300 people in black wetsuits, swim caps and goggles took to the water all at the same time and they just kept coming, streaming into the water, and they kept coming and coming !
And then lap 2 !!
After watching alot of the swim we walked to bike transition. At this time we hadn’t seen ‘soon-to-be Ironman’ Paul, so we waited very close to his bike, groupies through the chain link fence.
Before we knew it Paul was there, smiling widely, ready to rock the next 7 hours or so in the saddle…….. and then he was gone ! And we decided it was time for breakfast 🙂
While we were taking our little brunch sabbatical the IM circus continued – the transition emptied (well almost – another story there !), the commentators kept the crowds informed, the big screens showed the beasts out on their bikes and the motivating heart-pumping music blared.
After our own little sea swim, the groupie group re-grouped (!!) to watch the bike finishers stream into the transition shoot. By now the temperature was up in the high 20s and the sun was burning……… we tried very hard not to complain, cos what did we really have to complain about ?
Again, ‘1 step closer to being an Ironman’ Paul flew past us in a bit of a blur ! We had an advance party watching out for him and yes, we were loud and proud as he blew past us.
So 2 stages down, just the little matter of the run to go !
Now this was a spectacle to behold. The course consisted of 2×10 mile laps and 1×6.2 mile lap, each one bringing the field back to, but not quite touching, the finish line. The course was exposed, there was very little shade and early on, no wind at all. The spectacle was heightened by runners being at different stages of the race but alongside each other – you had those just starting the run with those that were starting their final 10k and amongst all of these were the elite leaders, being escorted by mountain bikes.
It was at this point that my “hell yes I can do one of these” euphoria started to wane a little – this was tough, really really tough. No like really really really really tough !
If possible, it started to get even tougher when the wind started to blow up, the sun started to set and the temperature started to drop quickly.
You could also see energy levels, physically, emotionally and mentally, seep out of those on the course too. They were doing whatever they needed to get across the finish line !
Our buddy, ‘I’m very nearly an Ironman’ Paul was pushing on – for the first time we lost the smile for a while which was worrying, but at about mile 18 he found a rhythm and some energy from somewhere (lemon Fanta apparently worked for him!) and he could taste that medal.
And then he was done ! A sprint finish, a GB flag and the medal around his neck……… and the smile that says ‘I am an Ironman’……. yes you are !
For some though, the evening hadn’t finished. With the 17 hour (midnight) cut off looming, we jumped on our bikes to ride back to our apartment. I’ve never felt like I did riding past people still out there cheering them on. Some were nearly at the line, some were still heading away from the line, some were with family, some were alone, others had found supportive volunteers to keep them company. Did I feel pity ? No it was admiration. Some knew they wouldn’t be crowned an IM and would not get that medal, but they weren’t giving up.
One of the last sights of that day was from our hotel balcony – a IM car with the timing clock at 16.41 on a count down, driving along the road about 3km from the finish. That was brutal…………
2016 for me ? Hmmm I’ve started to tell people now, so I guess I’m committed – but its going to be a hard road to get to the start line, let alone the finish line. Have I got what it takes ? Only time will tell. If what it takes is focus, determination, guts and a big degree of stubbornness, then evidence suggests I can. But I’ll keep you posted over the next few years.
Another motivating factor ? Those smiles !! At the start line, at the finish line and at the airport the next day…….. I want one of those !
Hello bloggers, I’ve returned from my little hiatus and am sat on my couch, feeling slightly sorry for myself with a cold. So I’ve decided that writing my blog about the International Running challenge I recently took part in will make me feel much better 🙂
My running club, Garden City Runners, has a long traditional of sending small teams to the event and I joined up for the 25th annual challenge to focus my run training for my new year 70.3 and it certainly did that : and gentle ‘breakfast’ jog and then 4 races in 4 days ? Lets go !
Race #1 : 10k Vince Regan memorial road race
A great way to start the event with 2 loops of a straight forward road course, with some typical volcanic scenery – leaving from the resort running track, past the sea water lagoon, up the short hill, along to the ‘ghost town’ and back to the track. My goal was to take this nice and steady as I had 3 more days to go. I met a great new running buddy along the way and we paced each other to a finish of 55 mins. This was spot on with my prediction so I was happy after race #1.
Race #2 : 13km Ridge run
When I first visited the Club La Santa resort, I was told all about the Ridge run and I have to admit his description sold me the event. This had to be the best race of the week, with a gradual 6km incline up to the top of a volcano rim, then down the other side. I say ‘down’, but that seemed to be all into a head wind and being all off-road there wasn’t any free speed to be had – it was tough running all the way. The finish line was crossed after 1 hr 12 mins, with a big blister on the sole of my foot and another big smile on my face !
Race #3 : 5k Beach run
Ever run on soft sand ? Yep, its mean ! This was a tough 5k……….. the course was made up of both soft and packed sand, but why can I only remember the soft stuff ? Full concentration was needed throughout and I admit to being relieved to cross the finish line after a 32 minute slog. A dip the clear blue, wonderfully warm ocean was our reward 🙂
Race #4 : 21k (1/2 marathon) La vuelta de Tinajo
The last race of the challenge had been my major focus all along. Having just missed my goal by 55 secs couple of weeks before, I was determined to go off to New Zealand with my first sub 2hr 1/2 marathon. Travelling to and standing on the start line I was a bit knackered though, and started to doubt whether I could really do it.. Yes the course is a net downhill, but the first 200m were up a slope into a headwind, then it was once round a volcano, with a shockingly sharp 100m incline on the way, some swirling winds (specially blown in from the Sahara apparently for the event !) and 70% off-road ! What was I thinking ? Many things…… ‘I’m not running tomorrow’ was on top of my list.
Off went the gun, and so did we. All was going ok until that pesky blister decided to wake up round mile 6, ouch, ouch, ouch ! All I kept thinking was ; ‘keep on running’, ‘one foot in front of the other’, ‘there’s a medal at the end’ and ‘sub 2 hr isn’t that important’. Funny how your mind gets in the way, isn’t it ? I was convinced I was going really slowly, shuffling almost, and had no real way of checking this as I don’t wear a gps watch, just a stopwatch, and had missed the km markers between 10 and 16 (think they were blown away !!)
Conditions did deteriorate as we started the descent back to Club La Santa and I decided at this point that I would never ever be doing the Running challenge ever, ever again !
Then a couple of things happened : I was handed a jelly baby by a spectator (they give you wings it seems), I saw 2 of the club’s support team cheering us on (they had battled on bikes to the top of a hill) and I passed the 16k marker at 1hr 25 mins (huh, 5 km in sub 35 mins ? Yes I can !!)
The rest is history as they say : the wind was mean, my body hurt, my blister burst and someone ran past me towards the end having used me as shelter, but I didn’t care ! Crossing the finish line in 1 hr 55 secs was a great moment, so was being handed my well-earned medal and I started thinking about what I would do differently next year………. funny that !
We recovered, we ate and we drank a little too……… some of the team went home the next day, while some of us were lucky enough to stay another week – but that’s a story for another blog !
Is that the kettle I hear ? Yes please, fluids are the cure for a cold right ?
Good morning bloggers – its Saturday morning ! Best time of the week I think 🙂
Big day tomorrow, Grand Union Canal 1/2 marathon for me (http://www.purplepatchrunning.com/races/grand-union-canal-half-marathon-) with a very clear time target to focus on ! We all have our own ways for preparing for races, depending on the type of race, distance etc and I’ve learnt a lot about this over the past year – I used to think I needed a taper and to eat as much pasta as I could find before a 5k or sprint tri, or not do any exercise in the week up to a marathon – but I’ve come a long way since then and wanted to share the things I will be doing ahead of tomorrow.
So what’s my preparation going to be today ?
1. Trying to stay off my feet : it’s a local race so no fabulous new city to visit or massive expo to walk around thankfully as I am bad at that ! Especially when there are cobbled streets to explore and views to see from the top of those uneven stairs. I do have some chores to take care of so I’ll be active, but saving those legs !!
2. A good stretch : a set of dynamic stretches will warm up my muscles and help remove any lactic acid that’s still there after the past week. I have to admit my quads felt sore this morning climbing my stairs, so that’s another reason to work on them and stay off my feet. Another option for later will be a foam roller but I find that does more harm than good before a race, so will likely be used as recovery instead.
3. A swim workout : I have a swim workout in my plan which will focus the mind for an hour or so on something else. It will use lots of different muscles and loosen the body.
4. Getting my kit together : I have learnt that it’s not cool to leave this to the last-minute ! I think my brain has fallen out since I turned 40 as I have forgotten key workout kit this week, so I pulled out my favourite socks and sports bra last night and will have everything ready by noon today 🙂
5. Fuelling enough, but not too much : here’s an interesting one, fuel enough vs too much ! Lots of debate about what to eat the day before, the day of etc etc. I won’t eat much differently today to a normal day, other than perhaps drinking more water (I’m a tea drinker and don’t take in enough plain water) with some simple food, nothing too spicy or rich and staying away from those foods that take longer to digest, that’s red meat for me ! My one guilty pleasure may be a glass of red wine at dinner tonight though…….. well it is another birthday dinner, so it would be rude not to !
6. Think about the race : I didn’t want to say ‘visualise the event’ as that sounds a bit posh, but yes I am going to think about the race, think about how I am going to stay relaxed, how I am going to maintain my pace especially in the narrow sections of the course, when am I going to take in fuel. I’m also thinking about how I am going to feel crossing the finish line with a new PR………. now that makes me smile 🙂
7. And think about the whole day : Each race is different and some have really simple logistics while others are more complicated. Tomorrow involves an early morning 20 mile drive to the finish point, finding a parking spot, catching a shuttle bus to the start, starting in a specific wave etc etc. I will make sure I have a full tank of diesel, a 2nd breakfast packed and warm clothes that can be discarded if needed. I’ve also planned the rest of my day – something fun planned for tomorrow afternoon that means I won’t fall asleep in front of the tv !
8. Relax, think about other things : The work has been done and there’s no more that I can do ! I am feeling excited and a little apprehensive but its time to enjoy myself and reap the rewards of the work :). After steps 1-7 are done, I am going to relax with a group of friends tonight over dinner (and that glass of red wine) and think about non-workout things !!
So that’s it, as simple as that but of course, even the best laid plans can go awry………