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IMA Race Report - Some motivation for the weekend ;)
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TomW




Joined: 22 Aug 2005
Posts: 1177

PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 8:04 am    Post subject: IMA Race Report - Some motivation for the weekend ;) Reply with quote

Having recently experienced the 'cabin fever' associated with the Ironman taper I thought I'd give all you IMUK athletes something to pass the time and increase the motivation. July the 16th this year was the best day of my life and i'll be there cheering you all on on Sunday morning...

I hope you find this hits the spot...


Good luck card from Helen.

My alarm went off at 3.30am allowing me time for a quick shower and to make sure everything was ready to go before a 4am breakfast. The hotel we were staying in was full of other Ironman athletes and all around were nervous looking men and women all extremely focused on what was sure to be one of the most physically challenging days of their lives. In no time at all breakfast was done and dusted and it was time for one last check that I hadnít forgotten anything important before wandering down to the jetty for a 15 minute speedboat trip to the start finish area by the side of Lake Worthersee in Klagenfurt.


James Bond style to the start.

Arriving at the transition area at 5.15am it was already buzzing with the type of pre-race atmosphere that I have only ever witnessed at Ironman events. Going straight to my bike I inflated the tires to the correct pressure having let them down the day before in order to stop them exploding in the previous days sweltering heat. It was then off to the bag racks to confirm my T1 and T2 bags contained the relevant items (it would cause some panic to come running out of the swim only to find running shoes instead of bike helmet). Then came one of the toughest moments of the dayÖ walking away from my bike in T1 knowing that next time I saw it Iíd be in the thick of the biggest challenge of my life!!

Itís now 6.45am and thereís 15 minutes till the gun. Putting on my wetsuit and saying goodbye to H, my mum and all my mates who had travelled out there, the emotion that had built up over the previous 40 weeks of training came flooding out. Giving everyone a hug with tears rolling down our faces it felt like I was leaving for good rather than just popping off to the start of just another race!


Saying goodbye.

6.59am and with 60 seconds to go thereís no going back. Here I am treading water amongst 2,400 other wanabee Ironmen ready to race hard over 140.6 miles! The swim was supposed to be pretty rough in Austria with lots of kicking and punching and as someone who has never been a particularly strong swimmer this bit was way out of my comfort zone. BANGÖ the gun goes and weíre awayÖ not a bad start, not too rough and within a few hundred metres I find a nice rhythm and settle in to a long relaxed stroke. It wasnít until the first turnaround at 1,500 meters that I got my first taste of action with a solid kick to the nose followed by a swift forearm to the back of the head. Water and adrenalin are great anesthetics however and it doesnít really hurt. Coming in to the canal for the final 800m I realise that Iím looking at a pretty good swim time and knowing that H and the crew are somewhere amongst the screaming crowds lining the banks I put the hammer down coming out of the water in 1.01 in about 300th place.


That's me 'sans' arms!

7.01 Running through T1 I can hear the lads screaming my name and with a swift change from wetsuit to bike helmet I find myself flying out of Klagenfurt past screaming crowds and cheerleaders in one hour and four minutesÖ already ten minutes up on my target time.

The first half of the bike (56 miles) seems like nothing. Before I know where I am Iím back in Klagenfurt for the turnaround point in 2.37 having averaged 21.5 mph. At this point my better than expected swim probably didnít help that much as, feeling like Lance Armstrong, every time I pass the my support crew (who by this point had painted Tom GO GO GO on the road in giant writing) Iím dishing out the Ďhigh fivesí and upping the power output. I calculated that another bike lap at that speed would leave me a 3.40 marathon to break ten hours (a full hour faster than my initial target)Ö how hard could it be? Harder than I could have ever imagined is the answer to that!!!!!


The Barmy Army.

Ten miles into the second lap and Iím starting to struggleÖ with over 40 miles of cycling (including all the biggest hills) and a 26.2 mile run still to go Iím rapidly revising my goals which go from sub-ten to 10.15 to 10.30 to sub-11 to ĎI hope I finish this thingí! All the while I can feel myself slowing down. The hills which were on the first lap merely a chance to feel like a Tour de France rider now become serious serious challenges. Grinding up them in my lowest possible gear with other competitors flying past me on both sides it takes all my effort to just keep moving and not to get off. The downhills which on the first lap were all-out 40mph white knuckle rides are now a chance to rest my legs whilst still keeping the speed close to 30. I know by this stage that my second lap is much slower than the first but by how much Iím not really sureÖ. Passing the guys with about half a mile to go I realise that Iím still good for a 5.34 bike which at 26 mins ahead of target will allow me a 4.20 something marathon to break 11 hours. Round the last few corners and my left quads are cramping really badly, so much so that I canít bend my left leg and have to coast over the lineÖ

With a nearly seven hour warm up, around 7,500 calories already burnt and legs cramping for fun I wonder whether Iíll be able to stand up let along run anywhereÖ. People had said to me that by this stage you just canít wait to get off the bike and do something different. Itís actually true, even though youíre faced with the toughest few hours of your life youíre just glad to be runningÖ.

A swift 2 minute T2 and Iím out on the run course, previously tired legs suddenly feel refreshed and I settle in to what I know best and fly through the first km in 5 minutes only 41 to goÖ.

By this stage the sun is on max power and the temperature is well in to the mid 30ísÖ having chosen to run without a hat I soon realise that Iím in danger of serious overheating. All around the course people are handing out cold wet sponges which Iím constantly squeezing over my head in an attempt to keep my temperature down. Thankfully H and my mum have realised that I could be in trouble if we donít do something and seeing them for the first time at about 10k Andyís leaning over the fence with my mums white baseball cap which I thankfully grab hold of.


Feeling the burn.

The challenge is now to keep running, Andy from Planet X had told me before the race that it all comes down to whether you can run the last eight miles or not. With this in mind I decide to adopt a survival strategy aimed solely at running the final 13k. I still wanted to break four hours for the run which meant 9 minute miles. With an aid station every 2k or so I figured Iíd try and run 8.40ís and allow myself 20 seconds at each station to take on water, energy drink and gels. Over the course of the marathon I drank somewhere in the region of 6 litres of water/energy drink and had around ten energy gelsÖ compared to my normal marathon strategy of two gels and a litre of water!

With 10k to go I passed everyone for the final time and had to fight back the tears realising that the next time I saw them Iíd be about become an Ironman! Concentration and focus now became vital as all around me people were breaking down to a walk or even worse pulling out of the race altogether unable to take any more punishment. Having come so far itís easy to get carried away and think youíve made it when in reality youíre by far the most exhausted youíve ever been and thereís still a 10k run in 35 degree heat to go! Rounding the final turnaround with only 5k to go and 10.05 on the clock I realise that even if I have to crawl on my hands and knees I WILL finish and I WILL realise that dream of becoming an Ironman. Over these last 30 minutes I can barely control my emotions as tears of pain are replace be tears of joy.

Entering the race site with less than 2k to go itís clear that Iím going to finish in around 10.30 something and I can now hear the crowd roaring as each athlete crosses the finish line. 800 metres to go and Iím approaching the finish chute, having watched video of this pretty much every day for the last ten months it feels somewhat surreal to be in the middle of it all. Iíve not yet seen H and everyone and knowing that theyíll make themselves pretty obvious begin to realise they must have managed to get in to the finish line grandstand. Then as I turn left for the final 200m to the line I see my great friend Andy KJ stood there with the Leeds/England flag that heíd taken to the world cup the previous month in Germany. Iíd already decided that regardless of the time Iíd stop to thank everyone that had supported me all day in the sweltering heat and take my time to enjoy the moment and seeing Andy stood there I realised this was it Iíd actually done it!! As we ran towards the line proudly holding the flag between us I was truly LIVING MY DREAM, this was my Olympics and my World Cup Final all rolled in to one. Half way down the grandstand there they were, H, my mum, Ray, Greg, Sam, Ben, Lies, Ian and Andy. All of whom had supported me throughout my year long journey and all of whom I was proud to share the greatest moment of my 32 years with. I couldnít have done it without them.


Finish line tears.


Finish line cheers.

Thanks again to every single person who offered their support and encouragement over the last 12 months. Not only could I have not done it without you, I wouldnít want to do it without you! Itís been a phenomenal journey and one which has taught me so much about myself along the way. Extra special thanks to my amazing other half Helen who has allowed me to selfishly live my dream over the last 12 months.



Now itís you turn and Iíll be there waiting at the finish line!!!

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Bigron




Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 1868
Location: London (South of the River!)

PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom,

Top report - motivation in itself!!

However, I think this weekend we shall be replacing the sun for the rain! Well, it is being held in the UK - and in August!!
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TomW




Joined: 22 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Brolly' already packed Wink
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gah




Joined: 07 May 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent report, weel done on this

If you are doing IMUK learn from this;

Do Not Push the first part of the bike, you will feel good, you will feel strong, you will suffer if you continue to push hard
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TomW




Joined: 22 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

great advice, a million people told me this before the race even Mitch Anderson who I bumped in to the day before but did I listen? NOPE!!!!

I can't describe how good i felt onthe first lap of the bike and in turn how bad I felt on the (25 minute slower) second lap!!
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Bigron




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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is one of the reasons why TT has been invaluable in my quest to become an 'Ironman'!
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Whisk




Joined: 09 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report Tom! It brought all sorts of memories flooding back. I think I must have something in my eye....

I fully endorse everything said here about not over doing the first lap of the bike. I don't think I suffered quite as badly as you, but the 2nd lap was certainly a lot tougher than the 1st.

Good luck to everyone at IMUK this weekend. You'll have a great experience!!!!
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JimboP




Joined: 07 Jul 2004
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Location: SW18

PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:32 am    Post subject: Re: IMA Race Report - Some motivation for the weekend ;) Reply with quote

TomW wrote:




great report. It's a real shame that the 4x4 isn't moving though. Would be a great pic for the mantelpiece Smile
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TomW




Joined: 22 Aug 2005
Posts: 1177

PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the only way I'll ever get that pic is by practising my photoshop skills as opposed to training any harder Very Happy
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AMBERETTA_1998




Joined: 29 Jun 2006
Posts: 354

PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Am SO bored at work so defect for a moment from RunnersWorld and come check out the TT action. And find a fabby Austria report from Tom - hurray! Smile Still in the post-Ironman slump but thanks to you and H, am dragging myself out of it - cycling in the torrential rain yest and burning up the pool this morn! Hope the three of us have a fantastic Ironman journey together this year!
Rach
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AMBERETTA_1998




Joined: 29 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ps. Good luck this weekend to all racing! Esp those Ironman virgins - you'll be grand. It is an amazing experience. Nothing can replace the feeling of achievement you get when you cross the line after working so hard the whole year to get there.! Very Happy
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Matty W




Joined: 04 May 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whisk wrote:
Great report Tom! It brought all sorts of memories flooding back. I think I must have something in my eye....

I fully endorse everything said here about not over doing the first lap of the bike. I don't think I suffered quite as badly as you, but the 2nd lap was certainly a lot tougher than the 1st.

Good luck to everyone at IMUK this weekend. You'll have a great experience!!!!


My 2nd bike lap time was a hole 20secs slower than my first! Shocked Wish the same could be said about the run 35mins difference between the 2 half mara's!

Great report Tom well done again.

Will get round to writing my report some time.
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TomW




Joined: 22 Aug 2005
Posts: 1177

PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheers Matty, was great to meet you in Austria, perhaps you could give me some lessons in bike pacing Wink

Just signed up for Switzerland next year, hopefully three laps will help me keep my speed in check Rolling Eyes
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IRON MONKEY




Joined: 06 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report and a great race.
good pics too.



well done.
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mattie




Joined: 13 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

good work tom.i learnt this time on the bike taking it slightly easy on first lap 2.33'then felt great on 2nd lap doing a negative split of 2.00total of 5.03.but screwed up on marathon big time.went through 1st half in 1.33 to fast for me then 2nd half in 2.10 Shocked we all live and learn
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