Clicking “submit” on your entry into an Ironman always has a slight air of unreality about it, not least because for most races you have to enter so early to secure your slot that there?is nearly a year of training and racing to be done before the fateful day itself finally rolls around. It is now only 2 weeks to go until Ironman UK 2017 in Bolton. The dawning realisation that it’s now too late to do much more about your race preparedness is brought into sharp focus when that email with your race number pops up in your inbox.

This will be my 5th Ironman which I guess makes me some kind of veteran. However, I have yet to put together what I would consider a decent performance from start to finish. My personal best is 13:36:28 set at Ironman Regensburg in 2011, but on that day my wildly over-optimistic bike performance?(6 hours 14 minutes)?led to a meltdown on the run. Only at last year’s brutally tough Ironman Wales did I finish a race without feeling utterly spent. Wales, though, was my slowest Ironman to date (mainly due to the nature of the course).

So how will I do at Bolton? I think the training has gone pretty well. I’ve stayed healthy and reasonably injury free for the most part and although I haven’t done enough volume of training, I have been pretty consistent and have worked hard throughout. In fact, checking my training diary I have done about the same volume overall as I did for Wales, but in a 2 month shorter timeframe (Wales was mid-September). As usual my swim preparation has been rubbish and I now have a sore shoulder from trying to cram in some last minute mileage. The big advantage I have this time around is having done the race twice before and being able to train on the bike course. Although the course has changed somewhat from a 3 loop to a 2 loop configuration it’s character has not. My previous 2 bike times at Bolton were 7:33 and 6:54 and I’ll be pleased with anything sub 7 hours this time around. I think if I can restrain myself sufficiently on the bike I should be able to set a PB on the run so if everything comes together on the day (including the weather) I should be close to a sub 13:30 time. Fingers crossed.

The last thing in my favour is that for the first time I’ll be racing at IMUK as a member of COLT (City of Lancaster Triathlon Club). Not only do we have 27 COLTs on the start line, we also have the legendary COLT Alley. Renowned for its Tour de France style atmosphere, COLT Alley is where non racing members of the club congregate to support all the competitors. Such is the level of noise and enthusiasm that its reputation has spread far and wide and has become a key part of the Ironman UK experience. What more motivation do I need? So if you fancy getting along to support, what better place to go than Babylon Lane in Adlington (map location).

Race website:?

My Athlete Number: 2013

photo credit: Endless Road via photopin (license)