The 70.3 Ironman turned out to be a little bit less on Sunday the 4th.The weather was all over the place all weekend and it seemed as if all the seasons were rolled into one day. After getting the bike into transition and strolling around the Expo it was just a matter of passing time.I hit the bed around 23.30 and slept ok.Up again for 4.30am for some porridge and a yoghurt. We had access to the bike first thing in the morning so luckily I got to fit a second bottle cage I picked up in the Expo.
All sorted so off for a walk up along the promenade which was getting busy .It was hard to see in the dark how rough the water was. I found a place on a bench and sat waiting for light to break all the safety crew were getting ready down from where I was ..I heard one mention to the other how choppy it was I also ran into another cobh guy doing the event . Seven wasn't long coming around and over the mic came the announcement the swim was going to be shortened to sprint distance 750m just under the half mile. A general feeling of understanding and yet disappointment was in the air. I heard one girl say " well you`ll just have to do another one" to her guy this didn`t sit well with me cause it landed on me too....S&$t I thought so will I....
Lined up like lambs to the slaughter we watched the pros going in first they got to warm up in the water and we watched wow!! the pros...I really enjoyed it I must say. I knew Joyce Wolfe was in there as I had seen her at expo but was unsure if it was her and when I went back she was gone.... a cork girl and kinda claimed by cobh too as she works and I think now lives here I mean what more do ya want... don't argue... if she even visits shes ours... Off they went and wave one males between 34-39 green hats were up. We were told we get no warm up and the start line was ankle deep. Obviously in true Irish fashion we all went straight in to waste deep and got down....Over the mic came the American guy "everyone back out of the water guys" like spoilt children with hands hanging out we came....At this stage I had a concern I had fogot to bring my goggles from home and I refused to be robbed at the expo and pay 30 euro for a pair.. don't ask I just got this bee in my bonnet over it so went across the road to the leisure centre and as if to prove I could get a cheap pair I bought the cheapest they had 8 euro...ya rock on I thought...until later when I was stuck with my head in a sink back at the mobile home testing them out for leaks..no way was I going back down I thought to buy the dear one cause now it would have cost me 38 euro all in...so I stood my ground they held up to the rigorous testing of the sink...So anyway there I stood ankle deep...bang!! we`re off in we went about 100m from shore I came up for a look at the buoy and could only see the sky holy S*$t I thought and went into a breast stroke when on top of that wave I saw a canoe and swimmers all around who seemed to have a look of shock on their faces I breast stroked a bit more and was moving as fast as the guy beside me.. an instant thought of should I head for the canoe entered my mind and then another one F**k it I can`t now I bought the T-shirt yesterday ....drive on man...for God and country... so on I went I was kinda comforted by the fact that we were all in the same BOAT.....so then we came up on the first red buoy I avoided the traffic jam and got around it handy probably because I was last.... but felt a lot better now horizontal with the beach and then rounded the second red buoy and the longest stretch home was ok as it was back to shore 24 min 10 mins up on my last sprint tri swim which gave an indication of how hard it was I suppose..but more importantly no leak from the 8 euro goggles...
Transition was a long way off so into the blue bag tent.. unhook the bag take out the gear wetsuit off helmet on socks on cycle shoes on...this was the rule that you go into the tent and remove the wet suit put on the cycle gear and put the wetsuit back in the blue bag..it was the same for everyone so no bother there..out of the tent and ready for road I came...( stage exit 1 )but the bike was another 500m off and I couldn't run in the cycle shoes of course two guys passed me holding theirs so shoes back off and in hot pursuit I went..down to the bike out of bike area shoes back on and away...What is it with the shoes??
I had only two rules on the bike don't push to the point where the legs would burn or the run would be a killer and feed as much as I could. All I was short was a balloon and some candles on the bike I ate my way around the course..The journey was out and back for the most part the out was fine average speed 19.4mph but the minute we turned the halfway point we got a lash of it head wind all the way home and heavy too...and cold it was..I was glad I had put an extra top into the bike bag. The course itself was a good profile on a good day I'd say really fast. But the wind and rain were just murder..I had also a pair of gloves but they were the fingerless ones so on the journey back I was trying to get some gels out of my saddle bag and couldn't cause the hands were too cold so I came to the feed station and I must say I'm skitting as I write this ....I stuck out my hand to the line of volunteers handing out food and I may aswell have stuck out a tree stump cause I couldn't grab anything and just knocked all the food out of their hands...ok ya had to be there.....but I don't think the guy behind was to impressed....then again it's a no drafting sport........ so many guys passed me on the bike I kept looking at my garmin to check my speed if Im doing 19.6 mph 25 miles in on a 56 mile course what speed are them guys doing ?? It was a bit demoralising I passed a couple but felt like I should apologise after that...after what felt like a hundred or more guys passed me on the bike I finally got back to the run transition..ok it was time to take stock here into the red bag tent unhook bag whip off the top put into bag but I couldn't tie the shoe laces the hands were perished and the same for the guys around me it took minutes eventually got out and the guy next to me left a roar out of him Come OOONNNN as the rain lashed down on us....and then we both laughed.
It surprised me how fresh I felt at this stage.I looked at the garmin it read 7 min mile pace ...ok this was not realistic not after 3.24 bike/swim you might find it hard to believe but I never looked at time frames for the event I wasn't going to tie myself to a time my aim was to finish but I knew 7min/mi was too fast and was thinking 7.30/7.45 would be good.After another mile I looked again 7.07min/mi and that was it I didnt look anymore I just sat into a comfortable stride and kept going. Three rounds of a flat loop on completion of each you went through a kind of a short shoot area where you got a wrist band each guy you passed with the same number of bands was a place up the ladder.The run went well I passed what felt like all the people who took me on the bike earlier. It was like a cyclist V runners thing and I felt I was giving a bit back. I ran into a fellow eagle member too who seemed to be motoring away was nice to see a familiar face out there.... I felt good up to the last 2 miles where I had to dig deep and finally came up the last stretch in the home straight 5hrs 21mins 58 sec. Position 433 overall a happy man.Finished at 12.45 in the day.
The volunteers were amazing along the way and the supporters who came out in the lashing rain and wind along the route were a real credit to Galway and Ireland as there was plenty of international athletes here to. With all the economic doom and gloom on the news its nice to see families waving banners and having fun in around for the day.
As I was sitting having a coffee later a guy asked me how I got on I told him grand he said he was too cold after the cycle and couldn't run so had to give it up he was gutted. It's that easy I thought.. the wrong choice of gear what if I hadn't put in the extra top..my heart goes out to him and the others who didn't make it along the course I saw a guy lying at the side of the road bike in the ditch another girl with the bike parked up by a stone wall in the middle of no where crying...But there's always next year Ironman Galway have said they will be back for 2012. So lots more work to be done this winter season.
And now finally for me I know which is the most difficult between the Triathlon and Marathon.