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Mountaingirl's IMUK race report
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Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 1278
Location: Newark

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:40 pm    Post subject: Mountaingirl's IMUK race report Reply with quote

Sunday 20th August 2006


Iím standing on the banks of Sherborne lake, watching the start of the IMUK swim. The atmosphere is electric. Iím so envious of the triathletes in the water, I wish I was in there too. Itís only my first year of tri, but who knowsÖthis time next year I want to be in there too.

Sunday 19th August 2007


One year and many, many hours of training later and Iím in Sherborne lake, waiting for the start of the IMUK swim. Iíve survived a weekend of camping in the mud and rain, the swim out to the start line and the 20 minute wait treading water. It all feels so unreal Ė I feel as if Iím watching a movie of someone else Airborne I canít quite believe Iím here.

Suddenly thereís an ĎOggy, Oggy Oií, the sound of a claxon and we are off. Iíve tried to start near the back but I have people swimming over me straight away so I stop, get myself upright and let them pass before setting off again. Iíve worked out the route I want to take Ė staying left on the outward legs, and tight into the buoys on the way back. This works well and, despite ending up entangled in some water lillies at one stage Rolling Eyes I reach the turn point sooner than Iíd expected Smile Thereís a bit of a bun fight getting around the buoy, and I have to rethink my philosophy of not kicking back Fight I reach the second turn at 39 mins, and thatís where things start to fall apart. It seems like an age until I reach the final turn Ė Iím really, really cold and my neck is stiff from breathing on one side. By the time I turn I am nauseous too, and desperate to be out of the water before I vomit. Iíve never felt this bad in a swim, never Crying or Very sad For the last 200m Iím thinking thereís no way I can carry on, Iíll just make it to the exit and stop there. Iím clearly not up to this, not cut out to be an IronMan.

About 5m from the bank I stop Ė I can see people pulling us out but Iím feeling so awful I have no idea how to get to them Confused Somehow I manage a few more strokes and I see two sets of hands reach down to me. But Iím so dizzy I canít get myself upright and they just hold me there until I can look up. By some miracle my friend and training partner Lynn is there as race crew and can see what a state Iím in. She helps me up and on my way to transition. Just seeing a face I know helps so much Very Happy and somehow I wade through the mud, into the tent and find my bag.
Swim time:
Very Happy

I go into the womenís change area Ė itís packed. I find a place to stand, and then stand is all I do. I cannot think straight, all I know is that Iím cold and dizzy and there are some warm clothes in my bag. I just canít work out what to do with them Confused I knew Iíd feel bad at some point during the race, I just hadnít expected it to be so soon. I just have to hope that things will get better Please It takes me more than 10 minutes to sort myself out, especially as itís so cold that I need armwarmers and a jacket to start off. I decide that Iíll have a little Gatorade, ride to the top of the first hill and see how I feel then.
Rolling Eyes

By the time I reach the top of the hill the nausea has almost gone Smile I decide to take on some powerbar and see if I can ride on for another 30 mins. Before I know it Iím nearing Lyonís Gate and feeling quite good again. Yes Very Happy The TT support at the top of the hill is just the boost I need Party Ė I see my name on the banner, hear people shouting for me and I just want to cry Ė I know now that I have a chance of doing this. I fly along to Dorchester and am ready for those hills. Iím not quite prepared for the wind though Ė itís blowing hard in my face, which makes it difficult to keep my effort level down. Just when I think Iíve cracked it and am over the worst I turn for the final leg towards the end of lap 1 and it blows harder. But Iím feeling strong so I battle on. I have a sudden wake-up moment Ė Iím riding along and suddenly I think ĎF***, this is IronManí. Iím no longer watching the movie, Iím in it Very Happy Very Happy

Iím looking forward to seeing all my Serpie friends at the turn, and that spurs me on Very Happy As I pass them Iím feeling really really good, and start to fly down to Dorchester again. Iím well on target for a 7.30 bike at most, maybe nearer 7. Iím delighted Very Happy Everything is going well until I reach the 54 miles gone sign. As I go to change into the small ring I hear a loud ping and my chain jams in the big ring Mad I manage to unclip just in time. A quick investigation reveals that the cable to my front derailleur has snapped where it joins the gear lever. My immediate thought is Ďthatís it, race overí. I am no bike mechanic. But then I think no way, Iíve come this far, Iíve survived that swim, there has to be a way. With a bit of experimentation Ė not easy when going up those hills Ė I find that I can put the chain manually into the small ring, and that as long as I donít try to use my 3 smallest cogs on the rear cassette, it will stay there. The chain is rubbing on the hanger which makes a terrible noise and is making pedalling much harder, but itís that or nothing. I carry on, and still reach the turn around on schedule for 7.30.

By then itís chucking it down so I stop to put my rain jacket on and get some TLC from my supporters. The ride to Dorchester takes much longer the third time. I canít get any speed up as Iím using such small gears, and the clanking is driving me insane Mad But a song comes into my head that keeps me going Ė U2ís ĎItís a beautiful dayí Sing Itís not an obvious choice for the situation but it does the trick. I listen to it over and over again Very Happy

Itís then that I notice that my stopwatch has stopped, so I have no idea how long Iíve been out for. I ask another competitor and try to work out the maths from the clock time. The last 20 miles or so are hard, really hard, because the wind has picked up even more and I am struggling to stay on my bike at times. On one flat section Iím down on the bars doing all of 6mph Rolling Eyes At long last the final downhill is on sight and I roll into transition. Iím so glad to see the back of my bike that I tell the bike catcher he can keep it Laughing
Bike time:

Having waded through the mud I grab my run bag and set about changing my shorts and shoes. For some bizarre reason I ask a race crew member what the weather is like and what I should wear. As if I hadn't just been out in the weather for over 9 hours Rolling Eyes There is a woman in the tent who is quite distressed. I feel bad not helping her but I just canít deal with it. I leave her to the race crew. I just have to start running. I have to get out of there.
Very Happy

The first few steps of running are magic Very Happy The sun is almost shining and the swim and bike a distant memory. Iím doing a run/walk-through-the-aid-stations strategy, and as the first station is about 200m in, I take my first walk then. I start on the gel and water straight away. My goal is to start running at a pace I can maintain for 26 miles, and it feels good. Iím worried that my legs will have been shot to pieces because of the gear problem on the bike, but only time will tell. I enjoy the hills of the first lap Ė I like hills, the ups and downs give me small targets to aim for. Running through the campsite is great Ė one of my clubmates has his caravan decorated with Serpie t-shirts and his kids primed with great support Very Happy I carry on, up and down, up and down.

Before I know it Iíve done my 2 laps and Ií m heading out of the castle grounds. Time has flown because Iím loving it Very Happy Over the railway bridge I see can see my mum and dad Ė with relief all over their faces. My dadís face goes white when I tell him Iíve still got 17 miles to go Shocked The next few miles are hard, not on my body but in my head. I see one after the other of my clubmates going the other way, on their way to the finish. Iím pleased they are doing so well but it makes me realise how far I still have to go. I reach the dual carriageway feeling a little down but am soon cheered up by the fact that there are now lots more people to run with - or more importantly to pass Very Happy I plod along, keeping to my strategy. I only break it on a couple of the uphills. I am feeling a little nauseous again so I switch to pepsi and find that the extra walks help. Soon Iím at the turnaround and appreciating the tailwind on the way back. My stomach is settling nicely and Iím back on to my run/walk plan Very Happy

Back at the hotel I get a nice surprise Ė my friend Cleo has walked out there to cheer me on. I wasnít expecting that and it makes me feel even better. I stop to put my thermal top on as Iím getting a little chilled. Cleo tells me I can go sub 15, Iím not so sure. I really have lost all track of time. My brain is addled and I canít work it out Confused Itís much quieter now, the runners have thinned out. It suddenly dawns on me that I am one of the few people actually running now. This makes me feel really, really good, so I start to run more Very Happy I see Paul L and he tells me to be off the dual carriageway before dark. So I decide thatís what I have to do Aim

The final turnaround is in front of me before I know it and then I am off, really off. I run those last few miles faster than I have done the first 20 plus. I have to constantly run round people who are walking but I donít care, I am on a roll. A big one Very Happy Very Happy Iím having the time of my life Laughing I have to laugh when I pass two guys who comment ĎOh my god, itís a woman and sheís still runningí Shocked as I fly by. Back over the footbridge, through the park and through the town. I just keep running. Faster and faster. Iím overtaking every single person around. It feels fantastic. As I hit the road up to the castle I can hear the noise at the finish line Party and I know Iím going to be an IronMan very, very soon. As I reach the final turn uphill over the grass I overtake two guys and one tries to come with me so I sprint away and onto the red carpet. I look up at the finish clock and see a 14:38:something. I cannot believe it, a sub 15 finish was my number one goal. Thereís so much noise itís overwhelming Party Party Party Screaming, shouting, clapping, whistles, horns. I hear my name over the PA and that Iím the one thousandth finisher. I am an IronMan Very Happy Bounce Very Happy
Run time:
Very Happy Very Happy

Total time:
Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

There are a million thank yous Iíd like to say to the people who helped me cross that line. I canít mention them all individually but here are a fewÖ.

My friends Cleo (Nadya) and Lynn, who trained with me, camped in all that mud and rain with me, and supported and looked after me from start to finish on the day. They are stars, absolute stars

My Serpie friends and clubmates for all their support, advice, encouragement and most of all inspiration, both all year and out on the course

The TTers! I will tryto list you all but I hope I donít miss anyone out! So to everyone who has read and replied to my blog this year, given great advice and inspiration, was out supporting on Sunday or out doing the race, thank you all, you are amazing people each and every one of you... the Slackos, pip, Paul L, GFA, p00key, vickich, cobbie, wiganer, ezduzzet, emmab, bluepoolshark, scottg, RobT, putt putt, snafu, towel...
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Joined: 05 Dec 2006
Posts: 4428
Location: gosport

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well done MG, i think the camping was an endurance event in itself Wink
we had great fun watching people get stuck in the mud and needing to get towed out by the tractor. Rolling Eyes
good to meet you shame i did not get to have my massage from cleo i just ran out of time in the end.

well done again.
was fat then thin, then fat again then thin, then huge. on me way back from huge hopefully to normal.
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Joined: 07 Jan 2004
Posts: 15159
Location: Harrow (Doonhamer in exile)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Clap
A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise. ~A.A. Milne
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Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 6710
Location: at the top of a hill shaking my pom poms

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report!

I'm so glad I could be there and that I could help in some small way. You've been a true inspiration. Can't wait for my next chance at IM.

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Joined: 24 Feb 2005
Posts: 3873
Location: The North

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i know exactly how you feel about doing 6mph on the bars.. well done brilliant report and great to meet you , i had xanadu playing in my head for the first 12 hours .....i never heard the song at the end through all the shouting and cheering Very Happy
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Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 791

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report, MG!

And a great performance, sounds like you were on a real high at the end. Very Happy
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Joined: 22 Apr 2005
Posts: 521
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, what a great report. So nice to hear an IM report where the race gets better and better throughout. You are obviously a natural.

Well done!
ONER moment of madness... - 78 miles, 24 hours, 2 feet
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Joined: 14 Mar 2007
Posts: 139
Location: Finally back in the UK!

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Ironman MountainGirl!! Very Happy Worship

Great race report, it really brings home the enormity of what you guys all achieved!
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Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fab report MG - the bit about asking the marshall what the weather was like really cracked me up. Love it Smile


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Joined: 12 Nov 2006
Posts: 4002

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know it sounds silly but we feel the wind and cold too, just out in it for a little less time.

Awesome performance, well done.

Whenever i get shat on out on the bike, i look up and shout..."is that all you got?"

Works for me!
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Mrs Slacko

Joined: 26 Sep 2006
Posts: 3258
Location: Milton Keynes

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad I got to read your race report before our hols. What a brilliant effort, I feel your pain out on that bike, it was bl00dy awful out there! Welldone, you were inspirational on the run and both me and Slacko were in awe of your seemingly endless focus. Welldone Ironman. Worship
I smile a lot!
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Joined: 28 Jul 2006
Posts: 1925
Location: Sunny Shaw

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welllllllllllllllllll done . Very Happy Very Happy
What's My Time. A new name in Chip Timing
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Joined: 22 Sep 2004
Posts: 5125
Location: Tooting (hopefully not for much longer)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done, i didnt know you had all that trouble on the bike as you had done so well. What a run split!

You did brilliantly.

So, another one?
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Paul L

Joined: 20 Apr 2005
Posts: 4357
Location: London

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great job MG! Cool Great to meet you and glad the clock still had a 14 on it when you arrived. Take care, Paul. Very Happy
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Joined: 01 Oct 2005
Posts: 605
Location: In retirement

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations, Its a hard race and you had tough conditions.

Great performance Very Happy
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