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Ironman blog: Middle distance time… Do you fancy taking a risk?
The graphic below says it all really.
This time last year I went to Belvoir Castle and did the Sprint Triathlon. Whilst I was registering, the Middle Distance athletes were finishing. I thought fair play to them, but it’s not something that I have on my list of things to do! It’s funny how things change, as a year on I found myself registering at 6am on Saturday morning to do just that – the Middle Distance ‘Beaver’ Triathlon.
As the graphic says, ‘ You have to be willing to take risks and try new things, get a few things wrong to achieve more than you dreamed possible’. This is what I am doing, to raise money for my best friend, Emily, who lost her baby last year, and hopefully to inspire others that anything is possible, even if you don’t think so at first.
The last time I did an Olympic Distance was in July 2009, the rest have been Sprints so this was a step up. ‘So how was ‘The Beaver’ Middle Distance then?’ I hear you ask…
As the sun rose above the lake, we all jumped in, resembling seals in our wetsuits. The horn went and we were off. Swimming with about 150 other men and women was a test to keep rhythm. Yet, by focusing on my breathing and siting regularly, I found myself clambering on to the bank, 1900m later with a very ‘swampy’ face from the silt in the lake.
This was followed by quite a long run up the hill, into transition and on to my bike for the 48mile ride (a little shorter than a full distance half Ironman). Three laps with a good climb in the middle (perfect for the Ironman) made up the distance. The bike is the phase I am slowest at, so I watched and learned as people overtook me, looking at their technique to see how I might improve. I love hills though, and managed to climb past about eight riders each time – however once on the flat they all whizzed past again! I know where I need to improve.
During the ride I ate a TORQ bar and Peanut Protein Energy Ball (tasty, honest!). I find these things work better for me than endless sugary gels. It’s all about finding what works best for you, especially in the longer races. Hydration and nutrition is key, and I saw many suffer in the run, combined with the heat and what looked like too much gel. I hope they are fully recovered now.
Jumping off the bike, I pulled on my socks (normally I don’t wear them but at this stage in training I reckoned comfort was key) along with my trainers and cap (so hot!) and headed out on the half marathon. I decided to view it as four 5km’s and that this was totally possible. Due to the cyst in my knee I was low on run mileage, but knew I could do 5km. So with a steady pace, getting that left buttock working, lots of water and sport jelly beans I jogged along the hilly loop. Belvoir Castle is stunning, I felt truly lucky to have been given the opportunity to race here, and really proud that as I ran down the last hill, I would complete my first Middle Distance.
As I ran over the finish line in 5hrs 27mins (yippee!) my brother Fred was there, wearing a Keep Calm and Be Energised T Shirt – so good to see his smiling face along the course (big thank you Fred!). The commentator was the GB Team Manager Steve, who I work for at World Championships when I am sports massaging and mental strength coaching. He gave me a really good shout out, thank you too. A couple of fab ladies I have met on Twitter, Corinne (post heart surgery – inspiring lady) and Claire, were racing too with brilliant results. They are heading for their first Ironman in Austria in June – massive good luck!
Here are a few of the things I did that might be interesting:
- Write a plan down the night before of how you can have your best race possible, and any strategies for things that could limit this from happening
- Model excellence – have pictures, thoughts and words in your head of people who represent excellence to you to draw on when you need to
- Stay calm, bank any nervous energy as positive energy inside you for later in the race. Focus on your breathing – deep and long
- Put waterproof suncream on the night before, and another layer the morning of the race – I used Piz Buin Factor 20 Water & Sweat Resistant Block which really worked
- Plan your sleep, hydration and nutrition for the three days leading up to the race, during and after
- Get support, be proud of yourself whatever the outcome as you will have done your best
- Enjoy it!
After the race… Fred and I went for a big ploughman’s lunch – good times.
What’s next? A hard two weeks training including a 101mile ride for the Bristol Rugby Foundation, and the Ironman Wales Bike Course – lots of run, strength and swims. Plus quality nutrition, rest and sleep of course! Quietly quite excited… do share your achievements with Sportsister too!
About Kim’s blog
‘Kimpossible’ is what one of my clients calls me – I might need this name for this challenge!
As the Founder of Energised Performance it is my aim to help people get fitter, stronger, increase their confidence, wellbeing and performance. I love what I do and the amazing range of people I work with from complete beginners, to GB Athletes and media personalities.
I love adventures, challenges, meeting new people and stretching my boundaries to see what is possible. However, I never thought I would ever enter an Ironman, until now! So, I welcome you to follow my weekly blog, my thoughts and my experience!
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