Ironman Wales - I picked a doozy for a first Ironman!
"Never again" - Matt Bee, 13th September 2015
They were the first words out my mouth after completing possibly the hardest thing I have ever undertaken. While I might be coming round to doing another iron distance triathlon, it'll be a slightly easier one next time!
Preparation with Paul Butler as coach was good, up until the birth of our first child, Freddy - who interrupted the training just a tad! So 2 months of very little training and we were off to Wales.
The week started horribly to be honest by getting a cold that eventually resulted in chesty cough race day. Enough excuses already!! But I'm not one for giving up so plodded on and didn't want to miss the opportunity to get an Ironman out the way!
The swim was tough, but I managed a respectable 1:24 for quite a rough sea swim I think - despite a few hard knocks and probably adding a bit extra distance onto the 2.4 miles!
There's little to say about the Ironman Wales bike, except for f**king hilly. Excuse the profanity, but it's the only way I can see of getting across the sheer relentless nature of bloody big hill after bloody big hill for 180km! I should have plucked for a road bike with more gears or at least spent more time in the TT position in training, but with the chest, just getting round the bike course with time to spare was a result. The local support all round the bike was amazing though, and plenty of people cheering and having a good time watching us 'athletes' plod round for 7 hours 48 minutes (a really slow bike for me I think - https://www.strava.com/activities/393347070)
I've never done a marathon before. Now I have. And now I never want to do a marathon! Another set of hills and a town centre full of people enjoying their evening and cheering us on with great gusto! The long hill out of Tenby was a drag and I ended up mostly walking sections of the marathon, trying to avoid knee problems and coughing fits, but on completion of lap 2, Sam told me I have plenty of time to finish, even if I walked, so I got on with the last slog. 5:32 marathon topped off the hardest day of exercise I ever thing I'll experience.
But also something I am incredibly proud of finishing at all given the circumstances!!
Lots of people have congratulated me on completing one of the toughest Ironman courses out there - and if you can find a tougher one, you're welcome to do it. But I'll stay away for the time being!
Have to say thanks to Val, Glenn, Debbie, David Truman for their long distance advice, Dan Goscomb for lending me bits of carbon, Paul Butler for his coaching expertise, Tom for sorting my swim technique out in the first place and Jon at SwimMotion for a last tune up of technique ready for the sea swim. The Bike Warehouse, Sevenoaks did a great job sorting my bike out last minute too! But mostly to Sam for putting up with Ironman stuff with a new baby!
Thanks to Sam & Freddy (and the rest of my supporters!)
Not feeling too bad here
Scenic but bloody hilly day on the bike
And a very, very welcome finish line.