Saturday 27th September, 2014
Weather: Sunny, Very Humid
78.8F / 26C
Total Time = DNF
Overall Rank = DNF
Division Rank = DNF
It was the ultimate aim; a two-year journey from complete beginner to IRONMAN finisher. This included a few DNS along the way, including a DNS at Ironman Kalmar, open water anxiety and to many training miles to count. I had finally made it, I was at the starting line of IRONMAN Mallorca, albeit with a nervous stomach and being very grumpy!
With an early start on race day, the day already began rather ominous with me managing one bowl of Bircher Muesli and half a bottle of Torq Energy Drink. It felt like I was already undermining my race strategy before having even started the race. Yet all this was put out of mind with the swim start looming and it being a non-wetsuit swim. Always a bonus doing your first Ironman as a non-wetsuit swim!
Swim Start – Time aim was 1hr10mins; so a position towards the front and left seemed like a good enough plan to avoid the washing machine
100m – Mass start of 2000Swimmers results in me panicking and trying to return to land! Lesson learned of don’t ever turn around in an Ironman swim start! Its not a pretty result
80m – Trying to find space to collect myself, get breathing under control and trying to focus
100m – Finally I m feeling race ready. Time to play catch-up
300m – This feels like NASCAR racing. Constant overtaking and bumping my way through
500m – Still overtaking swimmers
700m – Stuck between a few swimmers and trying to get out from them and get a punch in the face as a result
1200m – Keeping slightly wide to ensure a constant speed without body contacts
2200m – Australian Style exit, with a brief 20m run on land before re-entering the water for final 1.6km swim
2400m – No more overtaking; it seems I have reached my limit in speed
2800m – Always nice to use a Triathlete wearing just red-speedos as pace setter
3800m – Fantastic feeling; a panic-attack & non-wetsuit swim and final time of 59:44. Result
Time to get moving with T2 being relative long and subsequently my T2 time was relative slow. Need to practice Transition more to speed up; could have saved at least 2minutes!
200m – Feet in cycling shoes and starting to settle down for a long day ahead
3km – Trying to ignore the fact that I m already being overtaken by a bunch of triathletes. Advance to end of having been overtaken by around 300 cyclists
15km – Just rolling along at my own pace
22km – First climb, and definitely drafting, but course is overloaded with triathletes so no way around it
30km – 1st water stop and almost crashed. Need to pay more attention to my line
50km – Starting to suffer from full stomach feeling and are unable to take more food onboard
70km – Starting to re-evaluate my nutrition plan after 2hrs on the bike and having only drank 1l of fluid, one gel and one bar. Not the route to success
90km – Slightly running under my power aim, with energy levels suffering from stomach issue
111km – Finally a pee stop & knowing that one climb left and I m home dry
120km – Longest Climb ever and am just spinning my way up in my granny gear, aka 32speed cassette. Yes I know it is a little cheating
132km – Made it, and actually feel fine. Way behind my nutrition plan, but legs are still moving
155km – Stuck behind a few other triathletes; too many to overtake without burning my legs! Finally they are close enough, and I make my move. Yet they decide to sit on my back wheel like a train. I don’t like wheel suckers, and 10minutes later I have dropped them
168km – Last Aid Section and trying to get my head into the game for the marathon coming up.
Arrival in T2 after 182 km in 05:46:53 which is within the target time set by myself. Although I felt slightly disappointed not to have gone a little faster, I put this down to not wanting to burn my legs and having struggled throughout the bike ride with my nutrition. Total nutrition intake on the bike leg was 2l of drinks, 4 gels and one bar. Far less than what my body needed! So whilst in transition I m trying to get a gel down with some fluid, which is not easy on a stomach that is still feeling full, yet empty.
Now only a marathon to go, and I knew I would have my work cut out. The first 4km showed that my legs felt okay, although not very fast, but at least they were moving. But then suddenly it happen, my stomach finally gave up, the lack of fluid and solid food during the bike ride, mixed with the gel just before starting run had finally gotten to me. The question was only where was nearest bathroom, yet the sick feeling on top of the empty stomach meant that although I wanted to be sick, I could not. By the time I somehow managed to get to the 8km mark I knew my race was over, as the prior 3km I was already walking as any running resulted in my stomach wanting to be sick. Sure I could have walked the remaining 34km and still would have made the cut-off time, but deep down I knew that I did not have it in me to walk. Call it being embarrassed, or simply to ashamed to walking past the crowds for 32km.
I always said that when I do an Ironman I would do it properly. So there I was with a great swim, an acceptable bike leg, and a fail on the run due to my nutrition failure. They all say that ‘nutrition’ is actually the fourth discipline and one of the most important. And yes, I learned it the hard way, and it resulted in a DNF. And although I got a DNF I don’t feel like I lost out, except maybe on the medal. The past two years have been great; I learned a lot, the training miles will benefit me in the long run and I have not lost my desire to complete an IRONMAN in the future.
So yes, I will try again. Not this year or the next, but in 2016. The next 12 month are to have fun on shorter distances with the aim of working on my speed and sorting out my nutrition!
Until 2016 then.