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IMUK 2009 - Wiganers Report...very long, bit like my race...
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Joined: 01 Oct 2006
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Location: walking in a Wigan-Wonderland..

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:43 pm    Post subject: IMUK 2009 - Wiganers Report...very long, bit like my race... Reply with quote

Ironman UK Bolton – 02 August 2009

For those who don’t know my history with this race, I finished in 2007 at Sherborne in my first year of being a triathlete in a super time for me of 13.01 and came back to last years race feeling really good about improving on that time…..time was all that mattered back then and I learned a very harsh lesson. The 2008 race was a disaster that left me pulling out 65km into the bike leg and gave me my only DNF to date with a virus that turned into a chest infection that had me bed bound for a week afterwards.

At the time, that was me done with IM racing….I was so depressed about it all. But after a short while I resolved to bounce back and a couple of months later I completed the Ballbuster in under 4hrs which I was very happy with and I felt that at least I had shown I could get round a tough old course. But I was still done with IM…….right up to the point where the email dropped into my inbox with the news “the new race venue is BOLTON” …….oh dear, how could I possibly decide to miss this now !!!! My wife had suffered two years of IM widow-ship and wanted me to take a break, but when she found out about the venue she just smiled and said “sign up, I know how much this will mean to you….we will manage” – part of that deal meant that I would be restricted with training though. My wife had just signed up to a teaching degree and the course ran from Sept-May, so the deal was she had all the spare time until the end of May and I had June/July to prepare for the race……not ideal for me, but she has supported me so much in the past, that I was happy to support her during this time. I still managed to squeeze in between 6-7hrs a week but they were usually 2 long runs and 1 short bike (no swims at all)……but as May approached I started to swim once a week (OW) and was able to increase the volume a little.

Her course finished and I decided that as I had such a small window I would sign up for some coaching and I am so glad that I did. It transformed me as a cyclist – not necessarily in terms of speed, but in terms of pacing and strength for an IM bike leg…….and we had a programme that had my volumes up to between 9-12hrs per week.

I live virtually on the bike course, so I rode it twice a week for every week and got to know it perfectly. I knew that I could ride to my set HR at 2.10-2.15 per lap (10 mins slower if it were windy) and then run strongly afterwards. Normally I would have tried to kill the bike leg but my new strategy meant that I was going to be slower than normal, but that I would have the legs to run afterwards…..sounds like a plan….mmmm a plan !!!!

Race Week

One of the hundreds of emails I got through the unofficial site was from a dutch triathlete who was competing in the 18-24AG and wondered if I could help him with accommodation. Anyway, my parents were already thinking of signing up for the homestay so quickly I had a room for him and his brother and I would act as his taxi for the weekend….I would help as much as I could in a small way to get him to Kona…….and you know what HE BLASTED IT !!!!! – He finished 15th Overall and won his age group by 30mins in fantastic time of 9hrs 34mins – Diederik Scheltinga….a future pro and an absolutely tremendous fella !!!! we shared some champagne last night and tales of the race and it was amazing to hear that everyone suffers the same things no matter what speed you go !!!

On the Thursday night I met edlscre (Chris) and Shane (all the way from the Shetlands) and on Friday I met up with Mark Alderman, Doddsie and Joebow and gave them all a drive around the bike course and wished them well….time to sleep eat and get ready.

The Race

I didn’t sleep much on the Saturday night and woke at 2.00am ready to get going. Had the usual race breakfast (orange juice, weetabix, toast, coffee, banana) and went to collect Diederik. He was relaxed and focussed – he knew exactly what he was going to do and I didn’t doubt him one second.

We arrived and I wished him all the best and left him to it, whilst I met up with my training partner Tripunk

It was great that Mrs W was there too for the start and as we waited in the village to go down to the lake. We had left the kids with grandad and she watched me swim and start the bike for the first time ever. I had lots of support on the day and lots of friendly faces around me in transition and I was feeling ready and relaxed. Super supporter Cleo came and said hello and out of the gloom there was The Rofster…and then Paisley said a quick hello and the superfast WindMonkey (well done on your Kona slot too mate) it really was a great place to be…..

Time to go down to the lake…….a kiss and a hug from Mrs W and off we went down past the quagmire dropping off the white bags as we went….rhb (Andy) was there on the fence and I felt ready…..into the water and took my position up to the rear of the pack to the right hand side along with jpenno – my strategy being that I would have clear water to swim rather than get smashed up in the melee. The now obligatory Oggy Oggy Oggy…and OFF we go !!!! I settled into a nice steady pace immediately and I have to say that I really enjoyed the swim…..the first turn buoy was a pit of a packed affair, but some cheerful banter and we were off again towards the second turn…..Mrs W had gone to watch on the opposite side with Mr & Mrs Rofster and got this pic.

I seemed to lose a bit of navigation here and swam quite wide, but soon corrected that and got back into the thick of it. No issues whatsoever so far and all going to plan…the weather seemed to be perking up as well with blue skies peeking through the trees….second lap underway and I am actually enjoying this….round the turn buoy and set off for home….a last look at the hundreds of spectators on the far shore line and we are now heading for the big yellow Powerbar inflatable that is the swim exit…..nice and easy now, lets now spike the HR…keep it under control….perfect. I reached the exit ramp and swam right on to it, felt it with my hands and as the helper lifted me he said “mind the shelf”….”what shelf” said I just as my left ankle smashed into jagged concrete…..”ouuchhh, that stung….” Cue panic….my feet were cold and a little numb from the swim, so I wasn’t sure what I was feeling….stood up, felt ok…..I thought to myself just get to T1 and assess it, so off I walked up the steep exit pathway….saw Graeme4130 and asked him about time “ about 10mins slower”….I was more worried about my ankle……up the road to T1 and Mrs W grabbed this shot….

Grabbed my bag off the hook and into T1 – Ripski was next to me getting changed….nice one mate !!! – I looked at my ankle…cut, bruised and swollen….oh no, not my race over with again…..I wasn’t sure if the damaged area was above or below the top of my bike/run shoes…if it was below then I was in trouble….should I seek medical advice or should I just crack on…..errrrr….crack on…..put my TT shirt on and the zip broke and snapped off in my hand….I looked up at the sky and said “beam me up Scotty”….nothing I could do so I grabbed the shoes and carried them over the mud as I did with the bike…on to the road and I rested the bike on the fence and then cleaned off my feet with the small rag I took into T1 with me. I didn’t want wet and muddy feet at the start of the bike course, so the couple of minutes here would make the day more comfortable…..ok, time to see whats what….on with the left sock – sore – on with the shoe and thank god the top of it was just below the damage…right off we go then. Mrs W and the Rofsters were there shouting for me…

The exit to the bike and all the roads for the next km were packed, and I mean packed with supporters – the atmosphere was incredible and I was buzzing as I started Sheep House Lane for the first time…..there were riders flying up the hill…I sat there slowly spinning and grinning to myself….one guy at the side of the road saw my expression and shouted “dead on mate….lets see who climbs better on lap three eh !!”…. and so up we went to the sounds of cowbells, whistles shouts – it was just out of this world !!!! – the final part of the climb of Sheep House Lane will stay with me forever….my name in 8ft high letters on the hill was just awesome….whoever did that – THANK YOU !!!! – The super TT support crowd on the corner were brilliant – its been mentioned before, but PaulL was just the best….cheers mate, I really really appreciated it all and the airhorn was the business too !!!

After the elation, came the next disaster in my day…..we reach the aid station and I had planned to ride the first 2-3hrs of the bike using banana’s….they work well for me…..I hold my hand out and shout “banana”…..aid station volunteers….”sorry mate, no bananas, we have powerbars”……”oh fecking brilliant….- sorry to the volunteers, its not your fault”…..ah, well I have to eat so powerbars it is….yeauch…… - angry now and I descended like there was no tomorrow…..I know that descent like the back of my hand and the other athletes around me must have thought I was on a mission the way I went down it… to the other side and it was quite obvious that the wind was blowing….ah well stick to the HR and get on with it – I was prepared for it and knew my lap time would suffer, but it was still in the plan…..felt good for the first lap…2.25 – about what I was expecting for a windy day……I was starting to feel a bit yacky with the powerbars now but pushed on for another steady Sheep House climb…descended like a nutter again and rode well for the lap….my family were on Pepper Lane and it was great to see them in their “Go Go Wiganer” t-shirts and banner !!!!......saw LeahnP around the course a fair bit and ribblerob so it was good to have a chat with them….and stanley too but seemed to spend most of it two-ing and fro-ing with Fixer……we had some good fun !!! started to feel more nauseous and decided to stop the powerbars and go to gels….didn’t really help though….and for the first time in my life I started to get stomach cramps…only very slight, but they were there…..Diederik flew past me along Ridley Lane sharing a brief word and then Bella came past with the TV on Tunley Lane…….then Phil Graves came flying by in Adlington….great times….……lap two done again in around 2.25 but I didn’t feel great…..completed another HR climb of Sheep House and shook Paul’s hand and then gave GrahamO the two fingered salute as he stood there grinning at my grimace !!!! ..pyschotic4fun (P4F) came by and said hello and we were off and on to the aid station, to find out….no water and no gatorade……great……..stay focussed, control the anger….I descended well again, past P4F…and onwards….stomach cramps really kicking in now……HR dropped about 20beats and I was struggling but pushed on…….I reached the family and it gave me a lift

….everyone around me seemed to be fading a bit, so I just kept it going….final lap around 2.40 which was disappointing but I was feeling rubbish…..again super super support up through Adlington and Rivington itself and back to T2….I decided to take my time in T2 and see if my stomach would settle. Nice and steady change and a check of the ankle… was more bruised now and slightly bigger but no more painful…next big test…will the run shoes go on and irritate ?....Yes they will go on, and No they don’t irritate….great stuff, at least I can start the run, but will need to keep a check on it…..felt much better now….quick drink and off we go……felt strong….yes, the HR work had done its stuff, I had the legs…..ok, then nice and steady….it was quite hot and sunny at this stage, but I was feeling much better so I continued at my pace….down the hill, past the reservoir and then saw Ray at the side of the road with his bike….a slow down and chat to hear about his DNF (really sorry to hear that mate) and off I went…first aid station….drink and gel……off we go again…mmmmmm don’t feel quite as good……next aid station…The Beehive….grabbed a gel and water and then some coke of Stealth Attack – I asked for Guiness but he wasn’t listening !!!! I had the gel and immediately started to feel sick……stomach cramps were back ……but the support there was huge and I carried on…..but quickly had to stop and double up with the stomach problems….the legs were good, but I couldn’t run, so I walked as hard as I could……got down to the aid station on the cycle path and still not understanding what my body was saying I mistakenly took another gel on board…….it didn’t help one bit, I felt worse….and was now walking with disillusionment…..saw lots of other TTers through this stage and lots of others were suffering with stomach issues too, pjbev was there and we chatted about the same stuff…… half way along and met up with aaron1985 who was also struggling……that little fella came out with us back in April for a loop of the course and on Sunday he kept me in the race….”we are not packing this one in now mate”…”no chance, we can still sneak close to15hrs”….and on we went, up the spiral path of doom…..and on past Bolton School…..and into Queens Park…..the aid station at the gates had banana’s…..”At last” I screamed” I have waited all day for these”…….”but now I can’t stomach them”….and on to the loop that felt like running the Eiger…..I was at my lowest and the two things happened……out of no-where appeared Lonestar and his OH (Lucy)…..just what I needed……for anyone not sure about LS, let me tell you his online presence is odd and at times un-decipherable…..but in the real world, you wont meet a nicer fella anywhere….we met at Rossendale and got on like a house on fire… was great to see them there clapping and abusing me along……the second thing that got me home was my support crew of all my family including parents, aunties, sisters, everyone….they were at the dead turn point in the park and made so much noise, there was no way I was wrapping this one up…and I found out Diederik had won his AG so it was just the inspiration I needed. This is me coming to the turn-point looking fecked and me turning to start the next bit….

Out of the park now, heading back to Horwich and then we met up with Leanne and Chris (a couple from London who emailed me back in May) and we were to spend most of the remainder of the race yo-yo’ing with them using the walk/shuffle/run technique……we tried to have a laugh, anything at all, just inane jibber jabber, but it helped…I had dropped all thought of food now and was on a strict regime of coke/water and a little Gatorade and I was feeling better…..aaron was too and about 1 mile from the turnpoint at the Crown he left us to try and get under 15hrs….I met Tripunk near the beehive about 1hr in front of me and we shared an emotional hug and knew we would get there in time……I was on my own again, but happy that I was on the final leg – only about 10km to go and I wasn’t struggling anymore, well in terms of stomach cramps etc……I then met up with Liam Shaw, who I think joined TT a few weeks or so ago…a proper northern lad from Sheffield, who like me was struggling with stomach issues……we decided that we would work together to get home…….so we ran all the flats and downhills until cramps got us, and we would power walks the hills……If I needed more inspiration, then up popped Cleo on her bike with her pom poms……she rode with us and we shared the usual banter and it kept us going…..we were now on the cycle path… was starting to get gloomy, but we were playing “lets run to that bush, then walk a bit” game… ankle was really hurting now, the wound and the swelling around the Achilles, but I was so close to the finish, I just had to keep pushing on….it would not beat me……up the spiral path…and past the school into the park…….we both wanted to run, but the hills killed us and we walked it……and then we were past the park and onto the streets….I saw the town hall and knew we were home…..we got within 500m and I said to Liam “crack on mate, its your first IM, you deserve it – go on and enjoy it and I will hold off”….Liam accepted and went off ahead…..I was on my own and knew I had done it……I had battled the course, the injury, the illness, the disappointment everything and I had got home, I was on my own and no-one behind me for a good km or so….….I started crying….I don’t mind admitting that, it just overwhelmed me completely….then up popped my dad screaming at me….it was brilliant…time to pull it together and off up the finishing chute……got to the edge of the red carpet and the noise was deafening…the music blaring and me on a 50sqft screen……WOW – then I saw Mrs W (Anne) and all the family at the side on the barriers….I went over to Anne and kissed her and kissed my boys and everyone else who had waited for me….then I ran across that line in 15hrs 06mins, which is 2hrs slower than my other finish, but do you know what it made not a jot of difference…..I had done it, I was an Ironman again !!!!

I didn’t want to leave the finish area….chatted to people, had some photo’s done and found Liam and hugged him to death……it was brilliant……eventually I was ushered over to the town hall and off to get changed…..met up with Shane, who tore his hamstring and walked with that for 10miles to get home (top, top respect for that and an absolute pleasure to meet you this weekend mate….thanks)…..about 5mins later Leanne and Chris came into the room, more tears all round……..and then to top it off for me, The Bunster came home…….me and Andrew met last year in Chester and we finished with 2mins of each other this year at Keswick, we finished together at Day in the Lakes and I was so pleased to see him home….he looked wasted, we all were…..the day was tougher than anyone expected.

I can’t thank enough people for their help out there on the course, I really cant… seemed that every 20th person knew me or shouted my name……I am sorry if I missed anyone off this report there are so many……My Ashurst Bike Club team mates.....Shillers, Karlos, Rich B and not forgetting Julie Harrison who won her AG and is off to Kona again......Sgt Earbash who was there at the Beehive having crashed out of the race, Robbo on every corner.........PIE8R (steve) and his family at the end of Rawlinson Lane on the bike, Stevie Mc with his Union Jack trisuit……jpenno who was there with me at the start of the swim, the welsh lads who I have forgotten their names, Hugo who was always pushing me on (2-1mate), the legend of a bloke that is Chris Rose (edlscre) who absolutely performed beyond belief….great work mate…….all the boys from the recce drive (joe, doddsie, mark), loads of people who high-fived me and shouted my name…….and the supporters and people of Bolton, the Lancashire Villages, my home town of Standish…….I made it.

The left ankle is swollen sore and stiff, but other than that hopefully will be ok…..

That really is me done with IM for the foreseeable future – I lead the demon 2-1 now in the war and that for the time being will do for me……

As a final footnote, I spent last evening sharing a drink or two with Diederik and his brother….he was in pieces, we chatted and it was obvious that all the things us slow lads suffer from, those super fast, super fit guys at the front do as well, they are just built for speed and can handle it all better than us……he was elated, of course, but very tired and hadn’t eaten properly….we both sat there with huge grins and out IM medals on and he had his AG winners trophy too…….” You need to be going Pro mate” I said, he looked at me and said “yeah, in a few years, I need to get stronger first”….9.34 and he needs to get stronger - sheeesh !!!!

Congratulations if you managed to read all that, but the biggest thing for me is that I bounced back and I am once again an IRONMAN !!!
Martin Holden Images
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wigan-tastic Cool Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chapeau sir, not much more to say other than can someone PLEASE vacuum up this damn dust Wink
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dr dre

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

noce one for nutting it out mate
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a brilliant report, very inspirational, well done.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well that report cheered up a somewhat boring day at work !!

Great effort Martin - you dug deep for a guttsy finish, which is what ironman is all about.

I havent really followed the IMUK thread this year as I was not competing but what is clear from all the chat on TT over the past few days is that without you and your website and helpful tips on TT, the whole journey would have been a whole lot harder for most other people too. I would think that all the time and effort you have put into those have probably mitigated some of the (apparently) slightly below par organisation of the event organisers.

I also think that you probably helped to get a lot of those others round and made their days that much more manageable

Life is free - take it in big chunks.....

2006 IM CH, 2007 IMF, 2008 Norseman, 2009 100 hour Raid Pyrenees, 2010 Marazion, 2011 AXtri, 2012 - White Horse Challenge, Tonbridge, 2nd baby, 2013 - Aberdeen to Southampton bike, 2014 Gauntlet

2015 ?
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations, Wigs. We'll have to call that a home win.
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Mrs Slacko

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So pleased you didn't bin it when you got stomach probs. Welldone. You had a tough year, tough circumstances to train under and you've come out of it all well on top. Worship
I smile a lot!
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Paul L

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:05 pm    Post subject: Re: IMUK 2009 - Wiganers Report...very long, bit like my rac Reply with quote

Outstanding effort Martin. Cool

wiganer wrote:
... the final part of the climb of Sheep House Lane will stay with me forever….my name in 8ft high letters on the hill was just awesome….whoever did that – THANK YOU !!!! ...

Do you mean this?

Sorry, I've got no idea. Twisted Evil
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Top shout mate

A lot of people did this because of you and your enthusiasm both for the race and the area

Good to see you on the day and glad you made it
I am the Completely Fearless Overlord

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Stealth Attack

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr W Sir, the next time our paths cross, I will deffo be quaffing some guinness with you.

Unfinished business is a powerful motivator and just by the look on your face the first time past the beehive I just knew that not even wild horses were going to stop you from crossing that line and getting your ugly mug on the big screen.

Top bombing mate and please pass on my best wishes to the locals up there. They did Bolton proud (apart from a couple of local midges that have bitten my ankles to smithereens!)

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Superb effort Wiggy on the race, superb report - reading that I felt like I was there with you and shared your pain Very Happy

Also, top marks for your superb efforts in rallying support and enthusiasm for the race - Wigan should be proud Cool
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Superb matey, to keep going with those problems shows the kind of man you are.

Well done

Failure to Prepare is Preparing to Fail
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome report Martin...

really enjoyed our quick chat walking down to the swim... seeing a familiar face did make it a lot less daunting for a first timer.

missed you on the cycle route, but pleased to be one of those that "high 5'd" you on the run/walk/jog/shuffle route !

Well done mate...
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

so glad that you finished.

I'll be honest now because when I saw how bad you looked I didn't want to say it at the time. When I caught up with you I was in a world of pain I'd never been in before and wanted to jack it in so much. Just seeing the person that made the planning so much easier I couldn't stop and knew I had to carry on to keep both of us moving. Looking back I think I could have done the run 15 minutes quicker but "running" with you gave me more than that 15 minutes ever could. Thanks for the honour of being part of your Ironman.
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