On the way to Wales I stopped off in Dublin to meet up with Rob and Aisling from Wheelworx bike shop. My bike got a quick pre race check and we went for a run in Phoenix Park. After the run we had an amazing picnic in the park in the dark which was great fun. The following day I headed to Wales and I arrived in Tenby on Thursday afternoon. Tenby is such a pretty place and it seemed like an amazing location for a race. My hotel was right on the seafront and right next to the finish line. It was in a perfect location for the race and a big thanks to Rob and Aisling for helping me out with this too!
On the Friday morning myself and a few other pro athletes headed to the local school to talk about the Ironman. It was strange for me to be back in a school when I wasnt there to teach. I have to admit that there wasn't even a little part of me that wished to be teaching but I know I'll be getting back to my supply teaching job soon enough! It was nice to chat to the kids and hopefully we inspired a few of them to get in to sport.
That day just after the briefing and a quick swim a few of us headed off for a drive around the bike course and I was so grateful that Debs from Trisports Lanzarote (www.trisportslanzarote.com) was happy to drive as if I’d done it alone I would most likely have ended up lost in the middle of Wales. Her husband Daz was also racing and they had Ironman UK men's champion Dan Hawksworth saying with them so we all saw the course together. It's hard to concentrate for that long in the car but the course looked pretty tough.
The day before the race during my pre race bike check I noticed a funny feeling in my cranks or pedals so I took it to the SRAM mechanics at the expo. I have to say a big thanks to the guy there, he was great and he has looked after my Bike at three of my main races this year. This time it turned out that I needed new pedals! Once my mechanical issues were sorted I racked my bike, said hello to Compressport guys at the expo and off I went to chill out and get ready for the race.
I had been feeling bloated and had a few stomach cramps in the days leading up to the race especially when I lay down to sleep. The night before the race just as I was finishing the preparations for the next day (which always seems to take forever) I suddenly felt a wave of nausea and lay down to rest for a few minutes to see if it would pass. I woke up 3 hours later and was feeling ok by then; I took it as a positive as normally I can't get to sleep at all pre race. After that I had some broken sleep before my alarm went off just before 4am. I made my way to transition after my pre race coffee and set my bike up. It went much smoother than at Ireland 70.3 as I had no mechanical issues. I even had the time to go back to my hotel to change in to my wetsuit.
The swim was a mass start and we had been told that the professionals would be given a good gap from the age groupers at the start of around 30 metres. We were held at the start and given about 5m! This increased to about 10m but by that point it became a deep water start for us and a running start for the age groupers so when the gun went it didn't take long until we (or at least some of us) were swallowed up. It was like a washing machine and for once I wasn't that bothered.
During the bike I felt like the whole world was coming past me but I decided to stick to the plan which was to go pretty steady for the bike. The bike course was amazing and one that I should have been taking full advantage of as it was hilly, hard and fairly technical, just what I like but I didn't seem to be making the most of if. I was riding very conservatively and was careful not to push the climbs too hard. In hindsight this wasn't the best thing to do, I should have worked harder to make up some time but I just stayed at a pretty steady pace all the way. My pacing for Ironman needs a lot of work as I haven't managed to get it right just yet.
Second place in my third Ironman race and was happy enough. I didn't have a brilliant race but it was a fairly solid performance and I definitely can feel myself gaining strength and confidence with every race I do both good and bad. I had many positives from Ironman Wales, learned a lot from it and I can truly say that I enjoyed the whole day. The funny thing about it was that the whole race didn't actually feel like a race, for some reason it felt like a really big training day. When I finished I didn't have then post race muscle soreness I would have expected, following day I only had minimal muscle soreness and my by day 2 I was feeling pretty much normal. I'm not sure what I put it down to but I have been taking Extreme Endurance supplement (http://www.xenduranceuk.com/) recently which definitely helps recovery.
I’m not exactly sure of the plan from here. I’m considering one more 70.3 and another Ironman before the end of the season but I will see what happens and make the decision after I have had some time to think about. I gotta say I am looking forward to a good end of season party whenever it might be and I'm pretty sure it will be EPIC :)