04: My lead up to the big boy… Ironman Wales!! No Father Christmas and a car boot sale!!

So I said the words. 

“I’m going to do an Ironman”

Was I talking sense or were my blood sugars low from the triathlon I had just done? Did I actually understand what it fully involved?

So the next thing to do was to size this baby up. I looked into it. It would mean I would have to swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles and then run 26.2 miles…. oh.. and all within 17 hours!!

That all sounded very long, so I thought it might be best to break it down. 

2.4 mile swim, that’s the equivalent to 152 lengths in my local 25m pool.

112 mile cycle, that’s the same as getting on my bike in Swansea and getting off at Swindon.

And then just to warm the legs up a 26.2 mile run. Well that’s my commute to work from Swansea to bridgend, but on foot!! 

It’s safe to say that breaking it down didn’t help my head AT ALL!! I kept reassuring myself that people do these things all the time. As long as I train for it, I will be fine right?

Next step was to figure out how I’m going to approach this beast. I decided I would look into different races and sign up to some which were longer in distance and work my way up that way. All seemed very logical. So the next on the list after the sprint was an Olympic distance triathlon. This involves a 1500m swim, a 40km bike and a 10km run. There was a local one coming up in Llanelli so it was a great opportunity to get stuck in!! I had a few months until the race so plenty of time to get some training in! 

So the race was on 28.08.2015, the only small thing in between the training and race day was our wedding, this was on 18.08.2015. Ah well… I thought.. she may as well get used to it, because training is going to get to a whole new level next year! To be fair, Katie has been great, and she supports me all the way. She supports my training and has come to every single race to cheer me on!! So anyway, the wedding went to plan, I worked my training around all the little bits and bobs we had to do in readiness for the big day, and there were no dramas. The wedding day was perfect. Great. Done. And now time to focus on my biggest race to date. 

So race day at Llanelli Standard Distance 2015.

This race had some comical stories. I did the usual ‘registration the day before’ lark, and all seemed fine. A fair turn out and a beautiful location. It’s based in Burry Port this one, a lovely costal town with a harbour and south facing beach over looking the gower peninsular. Lovely. My brother was down on this occasion. Now if you don’t know my brother here is a quick description. He doesn’t ‘do’ exercise, and he doesn’t ‘do’ early mornings. He’s just going to love this isn’t he!!

So again… alarm clock goes off 05:00. I’m up and getting ready for the race. Check through my gear, eat some food, pack the gear into the car. I go to see how my brother is getting on. He’s flat out. Still sleeping. I wake him up. He comes around thinking that it’s CHRISTMAS!! As that’s the only time in his life that he can associate with early mornings. It’s mid summer, I’m in a slightly nervous/ stressed/ need to be there on time mood, whilst having to counsel my brothers upset that Father Christmas hasn’t been this morning and isn’t coming!!  Here is my brother. 

So we get down there no dramas. There is talk that the swim might be cancelled due to the swell being too big. I was actually gutted at this news as I wouldn’t have minded seeing what I’m like being thrown about a bit. Anyway, after much discussion between themselves and the lifeboat crew, the decision was made to move the swim into the harbour which is protected from the horrible swell. They didn’t have an exact idea of how far a loop of this harbour was so they said to just do two laps. I still don’t know how far I actually swam that day, but I know I had more than my recommended daily intake of diesel in there. 😷

I did better this time!! I was adamant I was keeping these goggles so just pulled them down onto my neck!! 

Out the water, a quick cheer from my brother and Katie and into transistion to get ready for my bike. I had given a pack of Jaffa cakes to my brother so that he could pass me one or two as I was leaving on the bike but the numpty had eaten them all building up an appetite whilst I was swimming two laps of the harbour!! 

So off I went. The bike was out and back to Kidwelly, twice. Nice flat fast course. The bike went well with no complaints other than my support. When I had come back from the first loop to the roundabout to turn around for my second I didn’t see Katie or my brother. ‘Strange’ I thought. Katie is known as the loudest supporter of all time, I can normally hear her a mile off!! She must be somewhere else. I got back from the second lap to find them near the transistion area. They missed me as my brother got distracted by a local car boot sale going on, and wanted a sausage roll? 

So I was into transistion and onto the run. The run was great, again two loops of a flat 5km. Supporters were great. I think my brother felt guilty about missing me on the bike so decided to run a little with me. This photo tickles me every time I see it!! It’s not often you see him running!! 

The run was lovely!! I paced myself well, didnt push it in the slightest. Still had the whole Cardiff Half Marathon drama lurking over me. I can’t seem to shift it!! But anyway. Home safe and sound. Olympic Triathlon….. tick!!!

So that was it for 2015!! All my races done. Me and the wife were unable to get down Tenby that year to watch Ironman Wales, we were gutted but work commitments etc. We both stayed up watching it on the live camera until the last person came in!! That was gone midnight!! If you have never been to Tenby to watch the event before it really is a must see!! The athletes, the supporters and the atmosphere is just incredible!! So anyway, the next morning I got up, opened my laptop, made a few clicks, and BOOM!!

I was in. The 18th September 2016 was set!! 

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