Thursday, 22 September 2011

Challenge Henley Iron distance event 10th pro

After a 3 month build up and countless miles training on the bike, run and in the water, it was finally race day.

Apart from a stressful last couple of weeks trying to sort out an ankle injury, the build up had been great, I know i am in great form currently in all disciplines.

The support i've had in the last week has been amazing. Care for Health in Godalming have had me in for Physio, Chiro' and taping me up to keep me running on an almost daily basis. Pro feet in Fulham were making me new orthotics on the Thursday before the race. My buddie's Sam and Cozza have been massaging and generally putting me in all sorts of pain getting my flexibility right. From not being able to run for an hour 2 weeks before the event I got round a marathon injury free on the day. Thanks everyone, just sorry I didn't get the result I felt i should have given the shape I was in.

I had a pretty good swim, coming out of the water in 55 minutes in a nice group with various other pro's and in 15th place overall. However in T1 I could already tell how cold I was, I could barely remove my wetsuit and get my arm warmers on.

Onto the bike and it took me 2 miles to get my gloves on, my fingers and forearms were so cold. I didn't want to drink as the cold fluid going down my throat was chilling me from the inside too. I was having trouble eating as each bar or gel was taking a minute to open as my hands were so cold.

For the first hour I rode pretty strongly and kept the leaders at a similar gap, and tried to hold the gap to a pack of 6 riders a few minutes ahead of me. I was going through the field and into 9th place. I started to force food into me, knowing that I needed the calories. Nearing half distance I faded slightly and the power wasn't there, and although I carried on gaining places I knew things weren't going right. I had been going so much better in training.

Amazingly, when I hit the run I felt a new lease of life. I think that suddenly my arms had warmed up and I was generating some heat again. My first lap I felt good, and i was running past the 1/2 Ironman competitors like they were standing still. I was eating at every feed station and keeping the energy coming in, however starting the second run lap my legs felt heavier. I thought I'd run through it and get better again, but it wasn't happening, and eventually I was just strugglnig to put one foot in front of the other.

I was confident of running sub 3 hours for the marathon off the bike, having run a 78 minute half marathon off the bike a few weeks ago and felt fresh at the end, but in the end people were coming past me left, right and centre. Luckily all on lower laps or on relay teams.

How I only lost 3 places I'll never know, but I finished 10th pro and 11th overall. Despite a 3hr50min marathon!! Given that is my first ever marathon, I guess that's my current PB!

I feel a bit better about the result today, yesterday I didn't answer my phone, texts or emails all evening I was so upset.

I think I'm trying to do these long distance races with the short distance attitude, and for an olympic distance event or even a half IM, you're only in the water for twenty something minutes and don't lose as much heat and attacking the bike warms you back up. Not so in a full distance.

The future.... Well I'm certainly not desperate to sign up for another IM just yet, and if I do, it will be some where warm. Being very lean (especially at the moment) all my best results have come in hot climates and I've never raced well in the cold. If i recover well in the next few weeks, i'll look to race the Xterra worlds in Maui.

Thanks again for all the support from sponsors, friends and family. Sam