What’s the reward for six months of training and building up to an event thats in your top three events of the year? For me, it’s that surge of adrenalin I got as I saw the race clock at the finish line and sprinted to it, with a big cheesy grin on my face knowing that I had smashed my target time.
The hard work was done over the last few months – on the day itself you can only stay calm and enjoy the course.
The water quality was better than I had anticipated. There was the expected tussling in the water, a slap in my face, a few kicks, but nothing that I wasn’t mentally prepared for. Starting at the side of the wave, I zigzagged through the course, trying to avoid other swimmers and focused on keeping a slow steady pace. I finished the swim significantly faster than planned and managed to avoid making too much of a scene taking my wetsuit off before re-entering transition.
The bike ride was fun. The course wasn’t the most engaging as the organisers had changed the route from one lap to two shorter laps as they had limited road closures and I was in the penultimate wave of the day. The crowds were good around the Excel centre, plus it was fun adopting an aero position through the tunnels. I found someone of a similar standard to me and we just went hell for leather racing each other over the last 20k.
My transition to run was fast. The course consisted of three out and back sections. Coming out of the Excel centre there was no shortage of spectators, followed by a row of enthusiastic charity supporters and a Bose music station, which all helped me to pick up the pace. The run route did bottleneck in some spots, but overall I was glad for the format of the run as it meant that after the first mile you have already familiarised yourself with the whole route.
I had purposely not packed a watch and I felt a bit sluggish so I was surprised that my 10k time was much faster than I had anticipated. The final stretch over the red carpet felt better than I could have imagined and I had an unexpected few minutes of euphoria after I finished.
As I was setting up before the race I was chatting with the competitor racking his bike up next to me and we realised that we are both about to do our first half Ironman distance event and that it’s the same event in Guernsey in early September. He even knows one of my friends who I’m doing that event with – small world! Before then I also have a mini expedition to China to explore a mountainous region so that will be interesting and varied training too!