Firstly there was Ironman Barcelona which I entered as a backup but honestly had no intention of racing, but after a puncture in T1 at Ironman Mallorca the previous week I decided that I'd go to Barcelona. I was disappointed that I couldn't defend my title in Mallorca but I knew that whichever race I did I wouldn't be on top form. I have had a lot of trouble running since May due to an injury and that's was when I did my last long runs or proper run training sessions. Coach kept things realistic for me reminding me that I wouldn't be at my best but I could still have a go. I considered withdrawing and approaching the race I was still a little nervous about the run. Because of my preparation I really didn't have any expectations for the race. I knew it was a flat fast course and that there was the potential for some girls to go under 9hrs but I honestly didn't count myself as one of them. I just wanted to make it round, I really wasn't sure I'd finish.
I had a little panic on race morning, when I couldnt get any air in my rear tyre. I thought it would be a simple fix but it wasn't and suddenly the race start was very close and I was standing with the mechanics when I should have been on the start line. Eventually told me to go and that they would try to sort it while I was swimming. So I left it with them to fix it and rack it for me. Quite a stressful start to the day.
The sea was not as choppy as the days leading up to the race and I found that I was in a pack as we rounded the first buoy. The swim distance was 3.8k but I am sure we swam a couple of hundred meters extra. We were all over the place and off course a few times so I was happy to get out of the water.
On the bike I rode pretty steady, it was possibly the most controlled I've ever ridden in an Ironman. I wasn't desperate to make up lost time or hammering up the little inclines. I was happy to go easier as I wasn't sure of my fitness for Ironman and planned to build the last 90k if I felt OK. I was on my new Ventum bike which I had had on the road twice before the race but it felt super fast especially on the flat sections and extremely comfortable in the aero position which made my job much easier.
On to the run and I started very very slowly and instantly thought that I wasn't going to finish. After about 2k I saw the first big load of Irish supporters and suddenly thought I'd feel very guilty if I quit so I said to myself I'd try 10k. I continued slowly that in 4th place for a long time and wasn't really thinking about times or records just moving forwards. With around 7k to go I had a look at my watch and was trying to work out roughly what time I was on, (my maths is terrible at the best of times so it was quite challenging). I thought I'd maybe be able to beat my old Irish record of 9.05 so I pushed on a little then I started thinking I could go sub 9, so with about 5k to go I went for it. It felt really strange to run hard just for a time rather than for a position. I was a little disappointed not to make the podium but going sub 9 (8.56) and getting a new Irish record was great so I was very happy.
Following the race I decided that the best thing to do was to end the season there and get my injury sorted. I was very lucky to have a trip to Hawaii with my team Alameda ON just after my race. It was an amazing experience to be there and definitely very motivating.
After a longer than normal break from training Ritchie and I headed off to Cyprus for a kick start to winter training with Mark Livesey from Train Xhale (www.trainxhale.com) and F2 Events (www.functionalfitnessevents.co.uk). Cyprus was an amazing place to train and It was very refreshing to meet new people who are so passionate about our sport and about helping others.
This week I’m off to Egypt with Alameda ON Triathlon Team, I’m really looking forward to catching up with the whole team and meeting our new members. We have some exciting plans for 2016 some of which will be revealed soon.
I feel so privileged and grateful to have had such great people and support around me this year. Thanks so much to my main sponsors for standing by me in what has been a tough year, Alameda ON, FSG property Ltd, Trisport Arabia and Ferrer Hotels. And also Ekoi and On running.And a special thanks to WK fitness for your help and support.