I decided to enter a few events to break up the monotony of training. I cycled out to Cupar which is 24 miles from where I live in Perth.
The ride out was great. There was no traffic on the road and a slight tail wind. I left just after 6am and was at the venue just after 7:30am. Not a bad effort so I was very early as registration didn't open till 8am and I wasn't starting my race till 11:05am.
Did I mention it was freezing? Didn't think so, so from about 9am I hid in the corner of the changing room next to the heater. People were friendly but everyone had their game faces on, so there was a slight tension in the air. I love this feeling; the anticipation before you go and play/take part in something.
I had to give up playing cricket 2 years ago because of my eyesight so it's nice to have that feeling back! Jumped in the pool at about 11am; you go 5 seconds after the person in front. I hate swimming because I'm rubbish at it! Yes, I can swim but it is the most technical of the 3 disciplines (swim,bike,run).
After 30 lengths (750m) I'm the 2nd to last person out of the pool, not too bothered as I know I can make time back on the bike and the run. Out in transition and I'm taking my time as this is training for my Ironman. Spectators and race organisers were shouting encouragement but I tried to block this out and make sure I have the right kit on for the cycle as come ironman day, I plan to get completely changed at each transition.
This is because I have seen quite a few articles saying comfort is key in your first ironman. Anyway I get out of transition and I'm on the road. I'm on my own which can't be good! I'm riding for about 15 minutes before I see someone in front of me in the distance. I take an energy gel and give chase. Now I see energy gels like Popeye sees spinach. I don't think they work in the same way but it helps if only psychologically.
I catch up and see a big group of people not that far ahead. spurred on by the energy gel! I catch up and pass about six or seven people, nice one! That's the end of the first lap! During the course of the second lap, I overtake about the same amount again with no one coming past me, all good. Now though I notice the wind which is howling all around me, so now I'm fighting the conditions as well as fellow competitors. I head back into transition and as I'm coming to the bike dismount, I think I've unclipped both feet from the pedals but clearly I haven't as a fall in slow motion! Everyone asks if I'm alright? which I am, just wounded pride! Into T2 (transition 2 for the run leg) I'm a bit quicker here but again slow and methodical making sure everything is just so and off I go for three laps of the 5km course. 1st lap goes ok, then halfway through the 2nd lap I start to struggle. Legs are really stiff and are beginning to hurt. I'm now not going very fast as a couple of people pass me but I'm determined not to walk.
I struggle on and take a few places back and lose them again. Then the finish line, Great! I finish and the one of the race organisers asks me if I need to do another lap? I tell her in no uncertain terms that I have done 3 laps and will not be doing anymore! Race over only the cycle home left! Once the race was over, people were much more chatty in the changing rooms and I get talking to a few people who have done ironmen in the past and pick up some really useful tips. They all think I'm slightly unhinged as I still have to ride home in what has now become a gale outside! The ride home took 2 and a half hours!
The weather was beautiful except for the wind which nearly had me off several times and eventually I did come a cropper about 2 miles from home. Anyway I'm home, showered and eating smoked salmon and wholemeal pitta bread, washed down with protein shake and electrolyte drink. I'm pretty tired now so time to chill out. I've got a rest day tomorrow = no training! Oh yeah, I came 117th out 143. Not a great result but good practice and I feel pretty good about how the day went apart form the wind!