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Lands End to John O Groats and Back!
Lands End to John O Groats and Back!
2016 was a rest year for me until I was asked to go on a long ride.

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Ironman UK 70.3 Race Report

Ironjediby IronjediAug 5th 2014
Ironman UK 70.3 Race Report
Well it’s been a while since I wrote anything, in fact it’s been a while since I raced. My last race was in September 2013 - “The Double Brutal Triathlon”. So here goes.....

Training over the winter went really well. I smashed out a number of miles running and as soon as the weather picked up I felt like the saddle of my bike had been surgically attached to my backside as I found myself riding most days.
One thing I have certainly neglected is swimming. There are a number of reasons for this. I really found my love of swimming in open water after the Channel relay swim in 2012. Since that date I have avoided the pool at all costs due to the horrible cold like symptoms I get from it. As open water venues are not that accessible for me I just didn’t swim. I had therefore only had one swim since the Brutal (about 10 days prior to the 70.3) up at Vobster Quay. Surprisingly it went ok. So with my one swim session I was ready to race.
Ironman UK 70.3 Race Report
I had put a massive amount of pressure on myself leading up to the race, this was mostly down to other people’s expectations of me. I was constantly told how this would be a breeze for me and that I would be super fast. Training for an ultra event is so much different to shorter races. You go long but slow therefore protecting your body more. I could see the 70.3 being an outright sprint at full blast all the way, and it was.

What was nice and very special was the introduction of the Ironkids event at Wimbleball. It was excellent for the family to get involved in racing and made the kids really feel part of the weekend. They also got a medal and T-shirt (after all, that’s what it’s about, right!). My daughter Maddy ran in her age group completing 1000M of the run course and finishing on the red carpet under the Ironman banner. At the line she doubled over and started crying. She has a number of medical issues, including a heart condition, so I rushed over worried about what was wrong, only to be told by her that she was crying with joy. Panic over, I felt so proud of her. Throughout her life she has overcome many obstacles and it always surprises me how strong and determined she is. Maddy, welcome to the Ironman family. Other family and friends also had children who were taking part - a very well done to all of them!
Ironman UK 70.3 Race Report
So Saturday was spent being a very proud father. I almost forgot that I had the small matter of a 70.3 to complete the following day. After a small amount of fuss I.e. no kit or bike until it finally arrived in a separate car, I quickly got sorted and went home for the night.

On race morning we woke the kids up early to a series of moans and groans and headed off to Wimbleball with loads of time to spare. As we headed in on the main road, panic set in as we hit a mass of queued traffic which didn’t move quickly. As time slipped by I got more and more concerned. People in the queue ahead were putting on their wetsuits, I was glad I wasn’t the only one. Eventually we got parked and I went off ahead to get sorted. In the rush I forgot my drinks for the bike, didn’t have time to pump up the tyres on my bike or set up my Garmin. I had never been so ill prepared. The queues for the toilets were horrendous so I darted behind a tent. I had just enough time to catch Wendy and the kids, say my goodbyes and go. Just before I left I spotted number "192", my name sake, he was however a much younger, fitter version of myself. The kids' comment was "he's hench!" We discovered that we were hoping to finish around the same time. That would be pretty cool, two people with the same name finishing at the same time - interesting.

I was in the first wave and off at 0700hrs. I started to walk down to the lake and saw Steve who was also racing. We walked together and chatted and then went our separate ways as Steve had to take his running blade leg off. He was the only leg amputee racing and I have the upmost respect for him. He's very quick too.
I got in the water and found that we were facing a different direction than when I had last raced Wimbleball in 2009. I spoke to a guy and asked him which way we were going. The look on his face said it all... “really?" So I headed out on the swim and with one swim session under my belt I felt quite good. I soon found a bit of space and splashed out the distance running over the mat in just over 36 minutes. It was a fairly non eventful swim thankfully. Well that could have been better and a lot worse so I was pretty pleased.
Ironman UK 70.3 Race Report
T1 was rammed, the heat in the tent was immense and I was glad to get out. I spent a little too much time in T1 putting on sun cream but I would be pleased of that later. Out onto the bike and I forgot to switch on the bike computer. I started overtaking people straight away and felt really strong. There are something like 56 hills in 56 miles. I love those hills and have ridden them many times, so started to crunch out the miles. I was on track for a 3 hour ride and was pleased when I came in with a bike time of 3:01. My bike was fuelled by Jackoatbar's High5 gels.

After a quick toilet stop and more sun cream I was out on the run. The run is a challenging course with a bit of everything, including the heat. The run was initially pretty empty with not that many other competitors on the course. A sign of a decent bike ride. I ran my first mile in around 7:21. Far too fast and had to slow down. My run was fairly consistent after that first mile. The second lap was a little slower and then I picked things up for the last lap completing the half marathon in 01:49. As I ran along the red carpet I was thankfully well aware of the hidden step under the carpet. I hopped over it and ran across the line in a total of 5:36:34. #Boom a PB! "192" and I finished within a couple of minutes of each other which was pretty cool. I felt really good and super strong. Still had some energy left in the bag so hung around for a couple of hours cheering everyone else in.
Ironman UK 70.3 Race Report
Overall not the quickest swim in the world, the bike was superb and I was really pleased, the run was my quickest half marathon in a triathlon so overall an awesome day. I was 145th overall and 20th in my age group (40-44). The roll down for the Worlds even went past me. This might have had something to do with it being in Canada and costing a bomb to go. Oh well there’s always next year. I think I may go back and give it a bash, try and knock another 30 minutes or so off and qualify for the Worlds! Everyone should have dreams….zzzzzzzz I may even line up next to "192" again, who knows....
 
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