RACE REPORT:- Go grab yourself a cup of tea or something first, it’s going to be a ramble.
So it’s the day after the day after the day before. The caffeine gels have almost worn off (seriously I’ve barely slept!) and I want to eat the world. So before I forget it entirely I thought I would share my experience with you if you want to read it. If you are thinking about doing a full distance this race is a definite good one to start with!
Firstly to anyone who has every done an ironman, wherever it was, however long it took, I am still in awe. The stories I heard over the weekend of people’s journeys to the start line were humbling. I was incredibly lucky to have no illness, injury, family, partner or kids to worry about over the last 6 months, or even a full time job for the last 6 weeks! The training to get to the start is long, takes time away from those you care about and you truly learn who your friends are. I am honoured to have such an amazing group of people round me. From cooking me food, chasing me on the bike, fixing my bike, sending a million messages and listening to my worries to travelling vast distances just to see me for a few minutes. I can’t thank you enough.
Onto the more exciting things, race weekend. The bike had been meticulously checked, I had been grilled as to what to watch and do but most importantly I was in total denial of what was happening the next day. So I felt fabulous!
Racked, registered and briefed. Left Leonardo safely covered in bin bags to protect him from the rain and went to the hotel to chill out. Fed, watered and head down for an early night. The party going on in the room next door didn’t massively help but I woke up feeling ready.
The swim. I’m not going to lie, a mass start of 1300 people scared the crap out of me. Thank you to Lucinda for talking me off the ledge about it. I managed to start in about the right place and had very little knocks for the first 500m. I had a very helpful tail for the forst 1500m who tapped my feet if I drifted left or right. Saved a lot of spotting! As it strung out there were a few groups to swim through but ultimately I had a good swim. Something I never thought I’d say, and came out 3 minutes quicker than I had hoped for.
The bike. Had an ok T1, first few k round the lake and a cheer from the support crew and I was off. Got all the electrics going to find I had no watts or cadence but had heart rate so all was good. I hate to say it. I loved the first 100k. I chatted to people, I waved and I was comfy if a little cold. Finally got cadence back at 2 hours and watts at 3 so everything was good. 130km I was counting down… an Olympic distance to Go, an hour to go, a Sprint distance to go… I kept an eye on the heart rate and as coach had said just let them go past you. 5 girls came past in that last hour and I was wondering if I was taking it too easy but knew there was a long way to go yet. Came in at 6.08 just off what my dream time would have been.
The run. A few tears were shed as I got off the bike. Happy ones. A quick T2 (fastest of the day!) Got me those 5 places back and I was back where I am most comfortable. Had a chat for the first lap of the lake with someone hoping for a similar time run wise but lost him at the second drink stop and he never caught up. Running over the first timing mat to 3rd in ag was a shock. I ran the first 15 miles with a bottle which really helped. Drinking what I wanted and when. I counted off each park run. At half way I knew run, walk or crawl I was going to finish… few more tears. The second long out and back was hot and into headwind so I pulled it back a little and felt good on the return journey. Last 10km. I thought of Rich having a lay down, decided against it. 2 laps of the lake to go. Time to walk the feed stations tip water on head and cola down the throat. I checked the finish clock, 27 minutes to do the last 5km and not sure I was going to make it. Completely convinced at 1.6 to go I had gone over 11 hours, but didn’t check the watch as wanted to enjoy the last bit. 1km to go! Picked it up a little, 500m again pushed a bit, 100m to go and hit the red carpet 10.59.16 GOOOOOOOO! I gave all I had to the immense surprise of the commentator and came in an hour quicker than I had hoped. Congratulated the girl ahead (I didn’t know she had won my age group 😉) and found Ellen and dad and burst into tears.
If you’ve made it this far well done and thank you! After way to much caffeine the next few hours are a bit of an emotional blur. All that is left to say is thank you to everyone. I could not have got to the start, let alone the finish without the incredible people of this club. The advice, the support and the general amazingness of Tri surrey is unparalleled.