*** many thanks to Raymond Thomson for this race report ***

My First Ironman

The summary below is for the novice, if you are not a novice please stop reading now, for a more productive 5 mins, I can recommend you pair some socks.

So, getting off the couch and starting to do some exercise began in October 2013.

Weight: 112Kg.

Various events later, and 3 Half Ironman distances done, slowly (Austria / Las Vegas / DIT). I decided it was time to test myself, and give the Big Tamale a go. A full distance Ironman. Kieran Ballard predicted this back in the day, how?  I have no idea.

I had what I considered a good result in the ITU Abu Dhabi Olympic distance at the start of the year, Time: 2:43, if I recall, meaning I had a small base to train from.

I downloaded the 20 week Matt Fitzgerald plan free from the Internet, which I adapted to basically fit around Hasan’s IBN Battuta swims, and weather conditions for long bikes here in Dubai.  On reflection, and looking at my actual training, against planned training I would say I completed 70% of my plan, this included the additional optional sessions & (Venny and Fordham’s  crazy 177 k night ride etc).  I used a highlighter to cross out or adjust any differences to the plan. I have it on a spreadsheet so if anyone wants to use it just, drop me a mail, I am happy to send through.

Ps, in future I won’t  pick a full distance race date after the end of May, due to training restrictions here in Dubai, it’s too dam hot with short windows of opportunity to train, May, June, July.

Pre-race, no excuses, “On reflection with other life commitments I could not have done more physically”.  However Nutrition plan / prep cost me about an hour.

Race weight:   95Kg’s, I need to be 82Kgs/.In future I will be. If I can cut out 15 pints a week, and 2 take aways. :(

Swim:   1:28 - Slightly disappointed, I was hoping for 1:20. Anyway the lake was the best freshwater I had ever swam in, you could see the bottom. The start was a rolling start 5 people off at 5 sec intervals. I really enjoyed the swim, felt like I could have swam for ages, which was probably due to the speed I swam. :)

T1:  8 mins, took my time, rationale being it’s going to be a long day, get it right.

Bike:  7:20 - 2 X 90K loops. Disappointed I thought my prep on the bike was pretty good, but the hills were tough. Lesson, do more hills in training. I used HR and feel on the bike. I ate loads of power bars and took a salt stick every 30 mins, because I thought that was what I needed to do!  “Bad Idea”. I used High 5 Nutrition which was fine. Second loop on the bike my feet corns on both toes started to hurt / bleed, I had previously envisaged this. On one of my routine Cardio checks with my GP, he provided me with super strong painkillers, and said, “Only take these if you are desperate”. At 140k in on the bike it was either pull up, or take the medication. I took it, it was class 20 mins later, perfect, no pain. However I completed the bike feeling massive and bloated. I tried to take a leak, nothing. The plot thickens.

T2:  9 mins as above. Took my time.

Run:  6:04 - 4 x 10.5K loops. Sorry I use the word “run” very loosely, jog at best, with a power walk after 12K. So by this time I had eaten 6 power bars, took 12 salt sticks, about circa 4 – 5 litres of electrolyte drinks. I tried to pop to the loo again, nothing. I called into the medical tent for a bit crack, to see what was going on, explained what my intake had been, they told me in order to finish you might want to sip water only. I had taken far too much salt, it acted as a binder according to the medical lady, who was not surprised to hear that I could not take a leak. On the run it was like having a basketball stuffed up my TRI Dubai bike top, on top of my already ample gut. I stopped for a while on the run course to speak to an old colleague / spectator, who informed me his son did 11:30, I congratulated him, I was on the 2nd of 4 loops at the time, in a state, anyway I jogged / walked on.

Very disappointed not to have ran or jogged all the way, or even half the distance.

Along the way on the bike and on the run I had some bizarre thoughts, and thoughts to stop. I took a little pic of my two kids with me, stuck it next to the Garmin on the bike, and took it with me and put it in my pocket for the run. Each time I looked at it, stopping was NOT an option, zero, never, no chance. If you are a parent you will understand the pride and boost this would give, and the feeling when they ask, “Did you do it dad” ?. It’s a great way to ensure you at least finish. Without the pic, I would question if I would have finished. :)

For some people finishing is not so important, well it is to me, irrespective of the time. Each to their own though.

Finish time: 15:09 - Not happy at all, but if you ask would I take it for a start, hell yes, and next time I will pay more attention to nutrition. Best time I could have possibly done, if every egg was a bird, and all the stars lined up on this course, was about 14 hrs. I have huge respect for the full distance, the people who smash it, the good age grouper, and those novices, who like me, try our best just to complete it.  Next priority sub 6 hr 70.3, then another full distance.

PS..I’m having the Tattoo, and for the record I don’t care if the time was pants, the time won’t be on it :)

Go and do an Ironman…It’s pretty cool. If I can anyone can.

Big thanks to my family and friends, & TriDubai who have helped me achieve this.

I wasn’t last. :)

Rank Overall:   1474 / 2077