Ironman?Wales is 2 weeks today. Yesterday I ran a very hilly 26 kilometres. Tomorrow I’m riding for 6 hours. I can do no more. Am I ready? I don’t know. Nervous? Certainly.
If I look at the three disciplines in turn I will try and summarise where I am. Swimming is my least favourite of the 3 and as usual I have done the bare minimum to get me round. Last week I swam around 5km which is probably as much as I’ve swum all year. Next week I’ll do the same, maybe a bit more. It’s enough to complete the swim, but no more. Let’s hope for a calm day! The bike is looking better: I spent 3 weeks in Spain over the summer cycling up a lot of hills including a 7 hour epic with 5,000m of climbing. Overall, though I haven’t done enough miles, particularly really long rides. I’m sure I’m strong enough to get round but I hope I’m not too trashed by the end. Finally, unusually, the run is looking to be my strongest discipline. I have already reached my total mileage for last year and have put in several tough half-marathons in training. In terms of uphill running I have nearly doubled last year’s total elevation already and virtually every training run I’ve done has included trails and hills. Will I be able to hold back enough on the bike to make the extra running miles count?
In terms of racing, I have done two half-ironman races including the super-tough “A Day in the Lakes“, which, at 7? hours is much harder than a “normal” half. I’ve also done a couple of hard trail and fell races to underscore the improvement in my running. So, having written all this stuff down, it seems to me that on paper I should get around the course. In practice, I’m very nervous about race day. It is now 4 years since I last did an Ironman (Regensburg 2011) and it feels like going back to square one. My hope is that I can channel my nervous energy into a good performance on September 13th.
I still remember coming down the finishing chute at Bolton in 2009, the tears, the hugs, the announcer saying “You’re an Ironman, John!” At the time it felt like the end of a long road. What more was there to do? Within days I was thinking that I could have done better; my training could have been more effective; my nutrition strategy improved. I signed up for Bolton in 2010 and by the time I got to Regensburg I was feeling that I could go faster still. Injury intervened and although I have done 8 half iron distance races since that day, Tenby feels like a massive step into the unknown once more.