09: The aftermath, a secret package, winter training and figuring out what to do next.

So it was done! Ironman Wales 2016! Completed in 13 hours 42 minutes and 2 seconds. And boy was it an eventful day!! 

Now apparently a conversation took place very soon after this photo was taken. 
I was busy in the recovery tent getting pizza and a hot drink.

One of my best friends, Owen, was talking with Katie and apparently said “ah well, that’s Simon signed up for next year then”. I came out shortly after, pretty much saying “That didn’t go to plan, I’m not finished with this place”. Owen knows me well, he knows just how much that bad luck I had would be playing on me. It must have been minutes after crossing that finishing line when I had the urge to want to do it all again. There must be something wrong with me.

It’s hard to explain. Im absolutely over the moon to have finished that day. Things were going so well before my day got turned completely on its head. From that point on it turned into a mammoth journey, a journey that needed to have a finish. The day wasn’t just about me becoming an ‘ironman’, it was far far deeper than that. It was about health, it was about family, it was about Latch the charity I raised money for, it was about meeting new people and trying new things. It was becoming part of a fantastic community which I am proud to be part of and talk about every single day (to my wife’s disgust). There were lots of reasons to me being there. 

So yes, I was absolutely thrilled to have battled through with all that had happened, and experience that red carpet finish. However, there is another side of me, and this side of me is competitive, on a personal level this side is extremely important. This side of me is responsible in getting me up at 6am in the middle of winter in the pitch black to go for a swim or a run before work, this side of me pushes myself to the limits without anyone else shouting at me to do so. This side of me was very quick to look back at that day and see that I was able to achieve more. Deep down I wanted certain times for certain splits. When you train that much, you’re aware of what to expect on the day. I wanted a sub 4 marathon, which just didn’t happen on the day. It was this side of me that on reflection, had a word with the other side and said ‘we’re not finished here’.

This started something new. Katie was NOT happy. 

So a few people have asked about the legend of a bloke who helped me out that day, that random act of kindness. Did we see each other, did we catch up etc. So unfortunately other than seeing him when I ran though the town, I actually missed him. The finish chute was busy, and there were heaps of people to see. However, a few days after the event, I had a thought. I remembered I phoned Katie off the other gentlemans mobile. So we text that number and asked if we could have the contact details for the legend. We got hold of them and I had a nice package full of goodies from wiggle sent to his house, along with flowers and a personalised card. It was the least I could do. 

So October came. I had signed up to Cardiff Half Marathon, a race I hope to do every year now. My friend Owen was racing and wanted a sub 1:40 so I agreed to run it with him and pace him. The weather was good, support was awesome and we made it over the line in 1:38 mins!! Awesome stuff. It confirmed that my legs had recovered from Ironman Wales, and it was time to settle into winter training and figure out my plans for next year!

Number 1 top supporter Katie caught an awesome photo of me and owen coming g down the finish straight. Owen was in a serious amount of pain, but fair play battled through!! 

So winter came. I don’t actually mind winter training. I set up a nice pain cave. I use this program called zwift. For those not familiar let me just explain, because it sounds insane. So I log on to a computer program called zwift. I have a trainer that I attach my bike to. I then cycle within a virtual world that has hills, bridges, water, mountains, snow, rain, cobbles, and all sorts. As I’m going along if I hit a hill my trainer increases resistance. If I go downhill I can stop pedalling and it keeps going. Very realistic!! If I go over cobbles it even replicates that feeling!! Not so good. So then in this virtual world other people log in. We can ride together as a group or individually. So I could cycle with someone from Australia, Japan and America all at the same time!! It’s crazy. My character on the screen even pedals the same speed as I am actually pedalling. Anyway, there is enough tech involved to keep me amused and geek out for a couple of months. 

Here are some photos of me in my pain cave on zwift.

So that kept my cycling ticking over nicely. I get out and run through the winter, I actually really enjoy the cold temperatures. And I obviously move my swimming into the local swimming pools. I try my best to do my swimming around my shifts, usually if I’m on a morning shift I will go before work to avoid the traffic, and this usually means I manage between 2-3 swims per week. This year I wanted to try and keep as much of the fitness that I built last year and keep it going through to next season. Time will tell. 
So. Events. 

What have I got lined up!!

Me and Owen had a good chat with each other. Obviously last year I did a lot of my training with Owen and we wanted to continue to train together, so we thought it would be wise to enter the same events. One of the first ones for the year, one that we have been meaning to do for some time, was the Carten 100. It’s a charity cycle ride that leaves from Cardiff city centre all the way to Tenby!! It’s actually 108 miles. We thought that would be a good opener to the season as it’s nice and early at the start of May. Somehow I actually managed to convince a load of friends to do it, so there will be six of us in a convoy!!

Next up we entered the Exmoor Ironman 70.3, this is known as one of the most challenging 70.3 races on the circuit. The bike is extremely hilly!! Apparently there are 52 hills within 56 miles!! That should be a fun one, and then a hilly half marathon. That is June 25th. 

Then two weeks later, it’s back to Tenby! We decided to do the full Long Course Weekend (LCW). Which is the same as Ironman Wales but over three days. Swim on the Friday, bike on the Saturday and run on the Sunday. This is my key race at the moment and has been something I wanted to do for a while. It’s going to be challenging to come back off that bike, rest up overnight and then run the marathon on half rested legs!! Ouch!!

Then the big question. Ironman Wales. I’m yet to sign up for Ironman Wales, I can’t quite decide!! Maybe I’ll wait for LCW to be over with, and see where I’m at? Or maybe I will have a moment of madness sometime soon and sign up!! That’s what usually happens. I really really want to do it. There are a few things I need to sort out, but let’s wait and see. 

In between this I have a few smaller races which I will include in the blogs. I start my season off with Llanelli Half Marathon which I plan to attempt a PB, and then I plan to race my first ever duathlon. It’s a short one in the Vale of Glamorgan. I’m hoping to push my limits on that one too to see what I got in the tank. 

Obviously the other stuff that I have been up to is starting this blog!! I spent the winter months going back to how I got into triathlon and where it took me, and why I have to keep doing it etc. Obviously the main reason being that I love it, and get to meet awesome people!! So I’m pretty much up to speed. 

Once I do my next blog on the three events that have already taken place (Llanelli half, Duathlon and Carten) I will be able to blog current stuff!!

Make sure to stay tuned!! Got heaps of funny stories to share with you and some amazing news too, which is all thanks to you guys!!

If you haven’t checked out my other social media channels then go take a look!! I update my instagram daily with my training exercises and adventures. Click the links below to go straight there!!

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Here’s an example of some posts: 

One thought on “09: The aftermath, a secret package, winter training and figuring out what to do next.

  1. Beast of a man, Simon. Looking good mate. I started training for road cycling about 2 years ago, this time last year I was under 15st and putting in 200 miles a week. Fast forward a year and I’m a 19st mess and barely manage 30 miles pw… I’ve started making changes to diet and set up my turbo, so time will tell. Who knows, next season I may see you at an event.

    Like

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