Ironman Switzerland 05 - Dangerous Dave’s Diary

My Tri Profile
Age... 40
I have been running for...2 years
Strengths... drinking beer
Weaknesses... drinking beer
Ironman experience... none
PB's 5K 23:16, 10K 47:03, 10 01:19:32.
Favourite Races... Eton Supersprints, London Triathlon.
See my RW profile

About me
Until about three years ago I was total couch potato. I did no form of exercise at all. For the previous few years I had been spending most of my workday lunches in the pub, I usually had a couple of pints and an all-day breakfast. Obviously I was gradually getting fatter and fatter. When I left college I wore 32inch waist jeans and I was now up to 36inch elasticated waist - and they were getting tight.

I decided something had to be done - but I wasn't sure what. I started by walking more - i.e.. Walking an extra couple stops before catching the tube and walking in the park at lunchtime instead of going to the pub. And guess what? It started working! By Christmas I was down to a 34inch waist and I decided there would be no going back.

By Easter I could fit into 32inch waist jeans and was back to the weight I was when I was in my mid-twenty’s and feeling a lot better. I felt I needed a hobby that would maintain a more active lifestyle and decided I would give Scuba diving a go. To qualify as a recreational diver you need to be able to swim 200m non-stop.

I had not been swimming since college and then it had only been a couple of short swims. So I joined a gym near work with a pool - quite a revolutionary thing for me to do(my friends had begun to notice the change in me and I was getting surprised reactions to say the least). To begin with managing to swim 60m was a struggle, but I kept going and within a couple of months I could easily swim 1000m non-stop.

On my way to the gym one Sunday, to swim yet another 1000m (with no real reason anymore), I noticed a lot people getting on the DLR with various bikes. "That's a bit unusual", I thought "I wonder what's going on." Ah-ha, the clues were there, it was the London Triathlon that was going on. I only had a vague idea what a triathlon was, that it was swimming, cycling and running I knew, and that it was only for super-tough hard athletes I knew.

But I didn't know in which order or how far. So being the curious (some people find me very curious) kind of person I am, when I got back from the gym I fired-up the interweb and ‘Googled’ "London Triathlon". 1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run. Well I thought I could do the swim with a little more training, but I had no idea about the cycling or running.

I had a bike as a kid, but I'd never ridden it more than 3 miles and running was just something they made you do at school if you weren't clever enough to deliberately forget your plimsolls. When I next went the gym I thought I'd have go on the exercise bikes and treadmills that I knew were there but I'd never used. At this point I had no real intention of doing a triathlon, I still thought they were for Uber-Athletes only. But I did want to see what kind of distance I could do on the machines.

So after my 1000m swim I put on my JJB style trainers, and I headed over to the exercise bikes and started pedalling for the first time in twenty years. After twenty minutes the display said I'd gone 8k and I was feeling OK, so I thought keep going for 20k - half of the distance which at the time I thought all triathlons were. After 50 minutes the machine said I'd gone 20k so I hopped off and wobbled over to the treadmills. I started pressing some buttons and I was off.

I poked a few more buttons and it sped up and was telling me I was running at 10 kph - for the first 1k it felt terrible and I wanted to give up - but didn't. After another 5 minutes I feeling OK so I went on till the machine said 5k - that'll do I thought. Well the next day I was rather sore, but thinking about it a bit and after some research I realized I might be able do a triathlon after all.

So Ientered the London Triathlon, bought a bike, some proper running shoes and started training. Well I enjoyed the training and doing the London Tri was a great experience - I was on a high for days after and was hooked on running and triathlon.

The idea of doing an Ironman one day had already lodged itself somewhere in the back of my head before even finishing my first triathlon, but I kept thinking "it's just insane though, how the hell can a average bloke do that?". Around about February this year I started posting on the forums after a touch of IBTS had led me there, and started going to the London Socials (it would have been rude not to, Doggetts is only 5 minutes walk from work).

At the March social I met that Collier bloke. Well I was soon as drunk as he was and after a few more lemonades he'd convinced me in his own special way that I could do an Ironman - just not IM Austria 2004 as he insisted I was going to. When the idea of forum IM in 2005 came up I knew was going to have do it or be forever branded a ponce by the forum orang-utan. Also what better way to tackle your first Ironman than with a bunch of other people doing for the first time too.

Ironman target: To finish in less than 15 hours 59 minutes 59 seconds - and enjoy it! (well most of it)


Typical training week (till Xmas):
Sat: Swim 1200m-2400m
Sun: Cycle 60-120K
Mon: Run 10K-16K in the morning, 1 hour swimming lesson in the afternoon
Tue: Swim 1000m, 30 - 60min Turbo (optional)
Wed: Run 16-25K (5:30am), Swim 1000m (optional)
Fri: Run 10K-16K, Swim 1000m, 30 - 60min Turbo (optional)

October's highlight: Great South Run. (and buying a Garmin Forerunner - it's grrrrrrreat!)

October's lowlight: 2.5K run two days after Great South Run, legs like lead.

What I learnt this month:
Rotating the shoulders more makes you swim faster.