Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Ironman Switzerland!

Well the 22 July came round quickly enough and soon I was on the way to Zurich with three friends. Some dramas naturally ensued including a forgotten passport (not mine thank goodness!) but soon we were ensconsed in the Hotel Ibis counting down the days to the big race. Of our group which included my friends and another 6 or so more IM people, only Marc and I had ever done an Ironman before. It was nice to be calm and relaxed for once and able to offer advice and help to those people less experienced. Dealing with other peoples worries meant I didn't have time to stress myself though generally I did feel very calm about it all. Of course I wanted to do well but knowing that it wasn't my 'A' race for the season and that it was technically supposed to be classed as a 'long training day' meant I felt little pressure and could actually enjoy the build up for once! It was also nice being at an event with other people! I haven't ever gone with friends who are also competing to an event before and it was a nice experience to share that with them; we'll always have the memories between us!

So, race report.......

The race, as most IMs do, had its ups and downs. The swim was awful! So much biff! Even I, who am pretty comfortable in the water and fairly experience in the OW wasn't that happy. Within about a minute, one man had grabbed my wetsuit and purposely pulled me back and dunked me under the water. I understand people bashing you, swimming on your legs etc, it can't be helped, everyone is trying to find space, but to purposely pull me back and then dump me was really wrong and also a bit panicky as then it was difficult to get back up from underneath as the melee was then swimming over the top of me! Was SO furious but just thought, 'I must keep calm, it is SUCH a long day, just take a breath and carry on.' Then a few minutes later someone ripped my cap! This was such a nightmare, I tried to leave the remants in place as it was holding back my hair but by doing that it was breaking the goggle seal and water was pouring into one eye!! You couldn't see the buoys really anyway so it was nearly impossible to sight but now blinded in one eye, I had no chance! Ripped the hat remains off at the swim in/out half way point and readjusted my goggles so I could at least see. Better for my eyes but now my hair was swishing round my face so couldn't see anyway! Just jumped on some feet and tried to stay there praying they were going the right way! Considering the hideousness, I was reasonably pleased to be out in 72.

I went off far too fast on the bike - the first 30kms are totally flat and I got down on the bars (never used the before the race - hmmmmm) and hammered it. As I am doing the Double in 2 weeks I was supposed to just be having a steady training day but I got the race head which is NOT what was supposed to happen! Went through the first lap in 3.13 ish which for me is reasonable - the Beast and the following drag after it were horrible and the descents didn't really make up for it as they all involved roundabouts or tight turns so couldnt' keep any speed up (not that I had any as I was on the brakes! ) Really started to suffer on the second lap, my RHS lower back was killing (stupid girl, too much time on the bars with no practice will do that to you!) so much that I even thought maybe I was super dehydrated and had damaged my kidneys!! So on the second lap I was much more sensible. I thought about the Double, came off the bars and concentrated on spinning along as best I could. Considering I was surprised my time only dropped off by 20mins, I thought it would be MUCH worse!!

Wasn't really sure what to do about the run. If I had really been doing a training day, I would have walked it - good training but nowehere near the impact of running a marathon. But part of me did still want to do well and having done very little running I really wanted to see how I'd go off the bike. So I started out on a 9:1 run/walk ratio including stopping during the run sections if there were any uphills or aid stations. Which meant I got to walk quite a lot really. After about 2.5hours, it was too challenging mentally to do the 9:1 thing and my run pace was dropping off so I switched to 4:1 run/walk including stopping for uphills and aid stations as before. So now I got to walk even more. Considering this I was running well in the run sections of it and was chuffed to record a 4.34 which considering my stand alone is 4.06 I was pleased with! I felt I could easily have continued in the 4:1 vein until 30, maybe 35miles and then I probably would have needed more walking but I am pleased with that. So, 12.43 overall which is a PB by 43mins!! Bike and swim times almost identical to IMDE (despite a bike puncture there but I think IMCH bike course is harder), the saving really came off the run which was 4.34 instead of 5.17 so that part of (insubstantial!) training has paid off!

A good race though I just really hope I didn't go too hard and have left my race in Switzerland and not at Lichfield in two weeks time. Only time will tell! Hopefully it was just a really good last training day and confidence booster and now with lots of stretching, massage, good nutrition and hydration and rest, I should have a good race at the Double. I do feel ok and things are not that sore - the people I went out with are hobbling like crazy people whereas I can walk up and down stairs quite normally and even run for the bus! Hopefully this shows my body is more conditioned than I thought. They can't even believe there are people out there willing to consider doing double the distance they have just completed!! It has to be said, biking through the night is really now what I am dreading. Lights practice this weekend!

A huge thank you to all the people who offered good luck messages and support before the race and to those who tracked my progress during the day! Knowing there were people out there following me and willing me on really helped me to keep going and achieve what I did! Overall, a good day at the office! :)

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