BackgroundIt all started about six months ago at the end of March 2013, when I ran the Dunboyne AC 4-mile road race. I had done some light training over the few weeks leading up to it, but really had done nothing since the Dublin City Marathon the previous October. I felt sluggish during the race and although I posted a reasonable time, I was shocked at how many from the club ( Drogheda & District AC) had beaten me on the day. Driving home I realised that I needed a really big challenge to get me motivated to start training. A 10k or even a marathon wouldn’t scare me enough this time. I met with Oliver Harkin from Primed Coaching the following week and somehow I walked out of the meeting with the idea of an Ironman. Some internet research followed and it became obvious that the only one suitable was Ironman Wales. Firstly, it was the last one of the year, at the end of the Summer, so it would just about give me the bare minimum 22 weeks training to prepare. Also, it was close to home, meaning I could throw the bike in the car and get the ferry to Pembroke, which is only a fifteen minute drive from the transition in Tenby.
Training started in April and the months passed with training totals of:-
I show the table below to illustrate that with this amount of training off the back of very little in the previous six months, it is possible to complete an Ironman distance event.
|Training Spin to check all was in order|
|1600+ bikes racked the day before|
|Dad and I in the procession to the start line|
The RacePorridge was made and eaten by 4.15pm the next morning and we made our way to the transition area. Dad dropped me off and parked and then promptly joined me in the parade down to the beach.
|And they're off!! I kept way out left.|
On to the bike for 180km / 112 miles (7hrs 45mins) of hills, windy roads and relentless rain. It wasn’t
|Hill at Saundersfoot. Note the girl walking!|
Finally on to the run, which is a 10.5k looped course that you cover four times. The total elevation gain is over 400 metres, so it is a tough run course. I had Liam Dolan’s advice ringing in my ears here where he said to hold back on the first twenty miles and then and only then, if I was feeling good, go hard. I did exactly this and luckily felt fine the whole way. I am not saying it was easy but when you are running well above your threshold pace and eating and drinking properly, it is amazing how long you can go. I surprised myself. Now I am probably painting a very rosy picture, but from the moment I started the run, there was always a niggling doubt that you won’t finish because at any minute you could cramp or pull a muscle or get stomach sickness...the list goes on. I did have a sore left achilles from mile three, but thankfully it never got worse. On hindsight I think I had the chip strap too tight which may have aggravated it. Anyway, I finished the last 6 miles in 50 minutes for a 4.09 marathon. I couldn’t have been happier and having Dad there on the finish line was the icing on the cake.
Post IronmanAfter celebratory hugs, a much needed massage, a cuppa and a great post-mortem chat with Dad, John Connellan and family and John Neville, it was off to catch the 2.45am ferry to Rosslare and a long, but enjoyable drive home.
Core and strength sessions: I only added this element to my training in the last six weeks, but it really paid dividends. Danny Black from http://www.innovativefitness.ie is a good guy and knows how to get the most from you. I’ve only just realised he’s great at sports massage too.
Drogheda Triathlon Club and particularly Colin Lowth for the club swimming sessions. I’m going to try and link up more with these guys over this Winter for their infamous, lengthy, circuit training sessions.
Drogheda and District Running Club: the bulk of my training was done with these guys. Whether you want to run for the social element or improve your running times, this club has it all. Structured training, groups of your own ability with the option to move up or down, knowledgable members and of course, lots of good banter.
Now to get ready for Dublin City Marathon 2013!!