Ironman UK, this was the race that my whole season had been working towards, the big one, my A race! Despite this I felt surprisingly calm the week leading into the event, with many of my taper session leaving me feeling confident. Deep down I knew I had done everything within my power to make sure I was ready. Finishing 2nd at IMUK 2014 and just missing out on a Kona slot had been my motivation for every training session leading up to the 19th July 2015. It certainly hadn’t been easy! I like to reflect & remember some of my hardest sessions; those dark winter months out on the bike battling the elements. Arriving home in tears because my hands were so cold & painful that I couldn’t get the key in the front door! I can now say that all the blood, sweat and tears was certainly worth it!
I was excited to be racing alongside my fiance Reece, once again! Three of my fellow team mates from Hoddesdon Tri Club; Ian Brinkley, Dave Raymen & Steve Childs, as well as close friends; Gary Lock and Derek. I was also lucky enough to interview a good friend of mine, Lucy Gossage pre-race on Friday afternoon. (Interview can be found on the link below, lots of top tips for Ironman racing!)
I have never experience support like I did on race day in Bolton, nor rain & wind actually! The swim went as planned entering the water at the front of the new rolling start format. I swam in the lead pack with my fiance Reece and another strong swimmer James Gill. On the second lap our little pack split as we passed the group of pro athletes and swam through the majority of age groupers on their 1st lap. I am fairly competitive to say the least so exiting the swim leg in the lead (ahead of my fiance) was what I wanted (don’t tell him!). I completed the 3.8km swim in a time of 50 minutes 45 seconds, the fastest female swim split, including the pros. A big thank you to my sponsor Zone 3 for supplying my wet suit for the event.
Now for the short bike leg, only 112 miles…
I couldn’t believe how many supporter had lined the course despite the horrendous weather that cursed the start of the bike leg. I might not of been able to see much through my rain blasted glasses but I could certainly hear the supporters, if it hadn’t of been for them I would of struggled to begin with. I was so cold for the first hour on the bike I was struggling to change gear and dropped every yellow Powerbar bottle I attempted to grab at the first feed station. Thank goodness I had taken CurraNZ two hours prior to the swim start, that kept my energy levels up where I needed them.
Luckily 90 minutes into the bike as I descended over the other side of Sheep House Lane the sunshine started to appear. Since last year in Bolton I have dedicated the most time to cycling as this is where I felt I needed to improve the most. I can safely say this was worth all the miles on the bike as I completed the bike leg 30 minutes faster than last year, in much tougher conditions. My bike split was 6 hours 23 minutes.
Just a 26.2 mile run to the Ironman finish line…
After a quick toilet stop in T2 I was ready to run, this is my favorite part of the race (the run that is, not the toilet break!) I exited T2 to see all of my family and Hoddesdon Tri Club supporters giving me the loudest cheers, a perfect way to begin the marathon. Such a boost, thank you guys!! My target pace was 5 minutes per km to give me around a 3:30 marathon split. I was slightly ahead of pace for the first 7km as I just wanted to get onto the looped section of the course, as from memory that is where all the supporters line the run route. There was an extra hill on the 3 laps this year so my pace slowed down a little bit in the middle section of the run.
By the last lap I knew I had a safe lead, a supporter informed me that my fiance Reece had won his age group. Hearing Reece had secured his Kona slot I ran hard and happy for home, giving everything I had left to the Ironman finish line. Somehow managing my fastest 10km of the run. I completed the day in a time of 10 hours 58 minutes and 44 seconds! I was so overwhelmed to get under the 11 hour mark and secure my Kona slot alongside Reece. What a day! My post race interview can be found here: http://www.oxygenaddict.com/podcast (you can here me at about 36 minutes).
Congratulations to all my fellow team mates and friends for completing Ironman UK, it was fantastic to race alongside each and everyone of you!
Me and Reece with HTC head coach Anthony Collier, a big thank you for all of your help & support over the last two years.
Next stop is the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Zell Am See. Let the training recommence… after a few rest days!