Well me and my big mouth! I recommended a half ironman triathlon to Mark for his Ironman training, this race would set Mark up well for his big day in September, however what I failed to tell him was it was in Pembrokeshire with plenty of hills which most of you know I quite like in a mad way !! Of course this got me thinking: could I do this after 2 weeks of running? No, not a chance! But it was an event I know well, been there twice before and a slim chance of a qualifying time once gain for GB so very randomly I entered. With 2 more weeks till race day I trained and trained and of course ran; I will be honest, though I have not been running I have worked on my cycling and swimming.
So race day arrived on 1st August, in beautiful Fishguard, Wales. Mark and I set off at 5.30am for the 2.5 hours drive; we arrived in good time with Mark’s van driving skills, arriving with 2 hours to prep for our race. Then the Welsh weather set in: rain and more rain. Thankfully this stopped 30 mins prior to start, we racked bikes, organised and were ready to go.
11am and one mass start of 500 swimmers set off, 267 for the half ironman 1.2 mile swim, and 250 for the sprint event, the sea was a little choppy but nothing major. I set off towards front as best I could, avoiding feet in face and fists as it was a bit busy; Mark, though I had no idea at the time, was not far behind, (reckon he has a personal coach !), I came out after one lap to run 100 yards before swimming another lap. I still could not see Mark, after many gulps of sea water I got to transition, finishing swim in 22nd and Mark 32th place; we saw each other in transition, I think Mark was shocked, then it was 56 miles on the bike. I went well on this, making up places to 5th, Mark went to 44th place, but now the half marathon run where I was very nervous and cautious, having only done two 10 mile runs in training. Well, I had no Achilles pain first time for years and kept pressing on with my new technique in my super orthotics and Mark was doing well with his form and he was making serious ground, on all 4 hilly laps he was edging very strongly up the field, I dropped to 19th place on the run, Mark went up to 10th place.
So to sum up: lots of pain, but relief especially for me in completing the event with a 1.40 half marathon, with no Achilles pain and Mark on his first half ironman boosting his confidence for Ironman Wales, a very good day.
Overall – me : 5.04.22, position 12th , 2nd in age group, Mark 20th , 5.14, 6th in age group.
A very mad Ironman