Posted: 18/09/2014 at 14:25
I signed up for Ironman Wales in Sept 2013, I'd really wanted to do this race since hearing about the amazing atmosphere and the difficulty of the course.
I booked the accommodation in Oct 2013 and this was maybe a little late, but found a nice hotel on the esplanade which just happens to be the finish line. Training went really well I'd followed a 30 week training plan focussing on a lot of hill training on both the bike and run, but unlike the previous year I had stuck to heart rate training, this was difficult because it meant not going out with the "Badgers" running club as I knew I would not be able to control my head thus chasing the guys faster than me. I really missed the social side of running with the club. My target was under 14hours,
My race report. I started the morning by walking down to the beach with my better half Sarah at about 06:30, she found a spot on the promenade right opposite the swim Australian exit which was a great spectator spot as she would be able to spot me between the laps. I'd been really nervous about the swim being choppy and if it was how I'd cope. Had last hugs and was one of the first into the water to check goggles, gosh it was choppy. Got out and got my spot on the left of the start pen in the middle of the pack with the other 1800 starters.
The starting horn sounded and I followed the mass in front of the into the water, attempting to start swimming to the first buoy which was about 500 meters away, I just couldn't get into my swim stroke at all every two or three strokes I was getting hit by waves that had no rhythm to them at all. My heart rate was spiking and I had to give myself a right talking to as I was thinking that I wouldn't even make this point. I eventually got to this buoy and started the longer stretch to the next one, this wasn't half as bad and I actually felt like I was getting somewhere, round this one, and then another smaller stretch into the swim exit. Ran round a timing mat quick wave to Sarah and get back into the sea for lap two. Getting to this first buoy was worse than the first time, but eventually got round and exited the swim... thank goodness. Swim complete 01:22:43
T1 -1k run to transition, full change into cycling gear in the post box size area for those stripping off fully and off onto the bike - T1 - 00:14:50
The bike route is a two lap course the first lap being the longer of the two, but the second loop you complete twice and this is also the hillier loop. I planned to stick to heart rate as much as possible, only going above the planned HR when needed to climb the hills. For the first hour I could feel I had been panic gulping air in swim and had quite a rumbling feeling in my stomach, sipping water for the first hour and not having my gels or bars seemed to help. After this I stuck to my plan of sips of gel from a gel bottle at 20mins and 40mins and on the hour some energy bar, having water as needed. I was a bit disappointed then the bike bottles didn't have an Ironman logo on but hey ho.