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-Kevin-'s IMUK Race report
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-Kevin-




Joined: 08 Nov 2007
Posts: 51
Location: Livin' on the edge, near Leeds

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:22 pm    Post subject: -Kevin-'s IMUK Race report Reply with quote

Sit down, cup of tea etc, you know the drill.

So, we had driven down in torrential rain to be greeted by further torrential rain and news of flooding and expected torrential rain! It was disheartening to think that despite your best efforts to arrive at the race start line after a training journey of many months, with equipment in good mechanical order, that the experience could STILL be compromised by the weather. A successful Ironman campaign, even with meticulous planning and preparation and training is still a lottery for it all to work out on the day.

Race Day

Thank goodness my alarm was set for 3.15am because I woke at 2.30am and it’s race day! Dressed and down for a subdued breakfast of cement masquerading as porridge, tea and toast then the drive to the castle in the dark.

Into transition to be body marked left arm, right leg with my number then went through to check on my bike. I had covered it with plastic bags which were still in place although pools of water were sat in the bottom of them from all the rain the previous day. Tyres pumped up to lucky 110 psi and we’re ready to roll.

In the changing tent where everyone was getting changed into wetsuits, small talk was rife “Done it before?” “Ready for this?” “Good luck” etc – I would be cr4p at speed dating.

Said my goodbyes to Bev who was also up at silly o’clock with me and I’m off to wait in the transition area to again work on my small talk skills whilst waiting for it to get light.

There’s movement! The mass of rubber clad bodies is moving! And so begins the shuffle of the condemned man, what a dreadful feeling “walking the mile, walking the mile” as we edge towards the lake – it’s still dark FFS!

‘Is my cap on right? Have I got enough bodyglide on? There’s mud between my toes, where are my goggles? WHERE ARE MY GOGGLES? Oh, they’re on my head, Was that rain? Wetsuit feels tight’ etc etc

Most people around me are silent with different variations of the ‘rabbit in the headlights’ look as we continue on the conveyor of doom.

The first ones on the water were in there some 10 mins before the later ones and it’s only just starting to get light. I reach the waters edge – it starts now.

Swim

The water is cold (surprise, surprise) and I particularly dislike the part where it starts to seep into your suit but here we go, face in the water and swim. HOLD IT! face out of the water! How cold is that? Back under and we’re swimming to the start line about 200 metres away. I think I’m sort of in the middle of the bunch but it’s really hard to tell from the water.

A bit of booing and a few ‘oggies’ and the hooter goes – the race has begun!

Now, when I was on land most of the people I saw had the requisite number of body parts and I can only assume that the organisers had helpfully provided a number of spares because I was swimming, nay battling through ‘arms and legs soup’, where did all these limbs come from? I was getting hit and kicked and just man handled out of the way – what’s that all about?

The first 400m or so continued in this fashion, I was concentrating on trying to swim and not get kicked, trying to find any small area of clear water whilst remembering to breathe every now and again. Thankfully it settled down into a pretty uneventful swim after that and even the turnaround points were civilised. The only slight glimmer of potential problems came during the last half a mile or so when a bit of a swell (imagined?) made me feel a bit seasick for a few seconds and a collision with another swimmer gave me a twinge of cramp in my right calf no doubt exacerbated by the cold water. Anyway I’d recognise the swimmer in question anywhere; he was the one in the black wetsuit and blue hat, wearing goggles.

The end of lap 2 and I’m heading for the blue arch of the finish, arms pull me out of the water – the swim, she is done!

As always after the swim, I felt disorientated as I began my stumble/run to T1. Where was my bag again? Number 727, second rack in, right to the end, at the bottom – there.

Into the changing tent again, sat down and a helper appeared, whilst I removed my wetsuit she emptied my bag and waded through all the kit I had packed. On with the socks, shoes, cycle top loaded with all manner of edible produce and a water proof jacket. ‘No’ to the armwarmers, ‘No’ to the gilet, ‘No’ to the oven gloves (how did they get in there?) Helmet on and I’m outta there. Along the lines of 1600 bikes to the toilets, 4th cubicle then turn right and about 10 bikes down - there. Grabbed the bike, ran through the exit to the mount line and we’re cycling. One discipline done, two to go.

Bike

The first part is a climb away from the grounds of the castle, here I’m trying to take it easy, settle my heart rate and get my eyes to work properly. At the top of the first hill the first of 3 loops begins.

After 20-30 mins or so things have settled down and I begin to eat and drink….pedal, pedal, pedal, eat, pedal, pedal, drink, pedal, pedal, you get the idea.

The first part of the loop is South and the wind seemed to be in your face. From the start of the day I was concentrating on small parts of the race, semi consciously holding back but only thinking as far as the end of the swim, then the end of lap 1 of the bike, then lap 2 etc.

At the most southerly point the course turn East then back North and the wind seemed to be in your face. This section was where all the climbing was, nothing really steep but a series of lumps to slow you up and of course that wind. Through a village lined with spectators banging pan lids with wooden spoons and singing “I want to ride my bicycle” in a Queen stylee – you couldn’t help but smile. Past the dead squirrel….pedal, pedal, eat, pedal, drink…… At about 80 miles I was counting down and looking forward to getting off the bike and doing something else (run a marathon though?).

There were 3 feed stations on the route manned and womanned by the Rotary Club I believe; they were great all day. I successfully negotiated these stations each time and reloaded on Gatorade along with bananas neatly cut in half (no, not lengthways) or half powerbars although I was pretty fed up of their offerings towards the end.

Pedal, pedal, eat, pedal, pedal, squirrel, pedal……..The last part of the loop turned West and the wind seemed to be in your face but stronger. On the third and final lap I was turning right back to the castle and not left to do more laps. Back down the hill with the crowds thickening and the noise rising the nearer to the castle I got. Back into transition and my bike was taken from me as I went to find my run bag.

Change of shoes and socks and shirt, turn my number around, thanks to the helper who took my bag and filed it under ‘727’ and I’m running.

Run

I’ve done plenty of brick sessions although none after a swim and bike of this magnitude and boy, did it feel different, wrong, impossible – I was in trouble. My legs didn’t work, I couldn’t get my heart rate under control, the gels I had brought work bouncing uncomfortably in the back of my shirt and worst of all, my number had a tear in it!

The first aid station comes immediately, I threw away the gels and slowed right up to try and get some semblance of running order. The first 2-3 miles of the run course are the hilliest and as I trudged on I was thinking I had never been on any run where I felt this bad this soon – How does this end, I wonder?

I took Pepsi and pretzels at the next aid station and this coupled with the fact that the course turned slightly downhill at this point, allowed me to finally find my stride which I pretty much managed to keep up thereafter.

My plan was to take something from each aid station be it gels and water or Pepsi or pretzels/bananas and so I had to force myself to stop running whenever I reached one to allow this. However at some stages I had to force myself to keep running UNTIL I reached one.

My longest training run had been 20 miles on fresh legs and so by 20 miles I was really heading into the unknown. I had always expected that at some stage on the run the lights would go off and I would be plunged into a dark, cold world of hurt where I would have to decide just how much I wanted this, fortunately that time never came – It certainly hurts in places you didn’t even know you had places and everything would be pleased to stop running but you CAN continue. By mile 20 I was counting down again and knew I would be able to finish, now its getting a bit exciting. 21 miles, 22 miles through the town section for the last time, I seem to be running stronger. I bypass the last few aid stations; I don’t need ‘em. 23 miles, 24 miles the last stretch towards the castle grounds, this is it! I didn’t see the 25 mile marker but I knew the 26 was just up ahead. Past the girls giving out the bands to mark the number of laps you had completed, “Have you got 3 bands? …….then you are a finisher, turn left into the finishing chute”

Along the chute the noise was incredible, then I can see the red carpet and the gantry with the race clock 50 yards and closing

I AM AN IRONMAN

12hrs 3 mins

I am now the proud owner of an Ironman UK medal along with a finishers t shirt which will allow me to blend right in should I decide to frequent any bowling alley on match night.


Thanks

I have heard much criticism of IMUK concerning lack of support, poor organisation, lack of facilities etc - I have to say I disagree, the crowds were great, the marshals and aid station staff were fantastic to the end and I thought all the facilities worked fine so thanks to everyone involved.

Thanks to the coaches and members of Leeds & Bradford Tri club who have helped and advised throughout my training and pre race, you know who you are.

Last but not least, thank you to my long suffering iron widow/partner Beverley who has been nothing but supportive and encouraging from sincerely feigning interest at my daily training exploits to spending a loooonnnngggg day as head of support on race day – Thank You. Your understanding and patience has made it all possible.
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Rob_T




Joined: 05 Dec 2006
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Location: gosport

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice work kevin.
ironman Cool
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Cleo




Joined: 15 Aug 2006
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Location: at the top of a hill shaking my pom poms

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wooohooo! Well done!
What is it about porridge the day of a race? It tastes lovely the rest of the year!
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Toyota_Crown




Joined: 07 Mar 2005
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Location: Lincoln / Scarborough (Algerino-Land) / Fircombe-on-Sea. sandbagging for daveM

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not bad (for a wezzie)

nice one m8, kev-tastic. good time! Exclamation Cool
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MoJon




Joined: 24 Sep 2007
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Location: Back in MojoTown

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice report IronKev
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bfd




Joined: 25 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great job kevin
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Weds




Joined: 08 Aug 2006
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Location: In recovery!

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

brilliant race report - thanks for sharing that! And a cracking time .... after reading about the start of your run I was expecting a much slower time!

xx
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TriHarder




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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report and great race-well done
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FatPom




Joined: 26 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good work Kevin Cool
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p00key




Joined: 24 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice one Cool
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RichO




Joined: 09 Feb 2006
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Location: Cornwall or Azerbaijan

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good work fella!
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mudman




Joined: 11 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent report, well done that man Smile
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-Kevin-




Joined: 08 Nov 2007
Posts: 51
Location: Livin' on the edge, near Leeds

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your comments, much appreciated.

I seem to be training for Sleepman UK now - nearly 11 hours last night and still don't feel great, what's that all about?

"STEP AWAY FROM THE FRIDGE, STEP AWAY FROM THE FRIDGE"

It's all good

Very Happy
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Tin man




Joined: 03 May 2006
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Location: Putney

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report - top time - good job Cool
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MrsTricky




Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 1278
Location: Newark

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant report Kevin - loved the oven gloves bit Laughing

I say sleep and raid the fridge all you like...
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