This was written at close to 1 am the night of the race. I had it rolling around in my head and was so wired on all the caffeine and sugar I’d taken on during the race and I was so bloody sore I had no hope of sleeping so I went to the kitchen and made food and wrote this. I eventually managed to get about 2-3 hours of sleep. It’s also written with all the emotion, exhaustion, elation and disappointment of race day still clouding my response to it a little. I’ll post a less emotional review and analysis of how it went and how I feel about it in my next post.
Race Report Ironman Mallorca 2016
The day started with a surprise announcement. Our apartment was 10 feet from transition and at 6am I heard Paul Kaye say over the PA system that the water temperature had dropped surprisingly overnight and we were going to be allowed to swim in wetsuits. We immediately texted everyone we knew who was racing to let them know before they left their hotels. After all the usual transition stuff which I won’t bore you with we headed to the swim, wished each other luck and headed to our respective start corrals. Ais had been nervous about the prospect of a non wetsuit swim and I think she was quite relieved it had been changed.
I’m feeling ready to race, or maybe more accurately I’m ready for a break from heavy structured training. I’m looking forward to lie-ins and a return to eating cake (Ais would probably tell you I never stopped eating the cake) I’m looking forward to 3 hours being a long bike ride instead of 6. I’m looking forward to mountain biking for fun and trail running. I’m looking forward to doing all off the stuff that doesn’t really fit in with Ironman training like putting a bag on my back and heading into the mountains for a full days running with Ais and arriving home that evening wet, dirty, tired, sore and full of the stories of the day’s adventure.
Don’t get me wrong I love Ironman, Ironman training and the whole lifestyle surrounding it but every so often I need to switch the head and body off and recharge to get ready to go again. The last month before a race is usually when I start to feel like this. The training is almost finished and all that’s left is to go and do it.
I think I’ve gotten as much training done as I could have and I think I’m in decent shape. I just don’t have any markers to confirm it as I haven’t raced at all this year. There have been some “breakthrough” sessions which sort of indicate that I’m on track but it’s hard to know as so much of the training is done heavily fatigued. Either way I’m feeling strangely relaxed about it all now. All I can do is try to nail the best race performance I can, that’s the only thing within my control. If I do that I’ll either qualify or I won’t but that’s not within my power to control at the moment so I’m not worrying too much about it.
Two weekly blogs in one week? Where did I pull those extra 7 days from you ask? The training diary has been a week behind all year to allow me an extra couple of days float in case I didn’t have time to get it up when it was due.
As a result conversations were always a little funny when someone commented on what they had read in that weeks diary.it might go a little like
“So you’re flying in training then Rob?”
I would pause and try to figure how they got that idea, I’ve been floored for the last week and then the penny drops, I was flying 2 weeks ago and that diary was published yesterday.
I would then try to explain why the blog is actually 2 weeks behind where I am and that I’m not really flying anymore and I see their eyes glaze over as they think “Jeez I was only being polite making conversation I didn’t want your life story” they smile and nod and I try to change the subject.
So seeing as how you came here looking for the update here is the life story. Or at least this weeks instalment. Read on…
It’s funny that I didn’t go as crazy not training for the last week as I might have expected to or as much as I normally would. I think the fact that work was so demanding both in terms of the hours and the work itself for the last few weeks meant that I was occupied and tired every day and it was almost a relief not to train.
The other aspect of it was that being this close to race day (I’m less than three weeks out now) I was too afraid to risk training while I was sick, even with only a throat infection. I just wasn’t willing to risk tipping myself completely over the edge in the hope of gaining that last 1 or 2 percent.
I’m also not really willing to go and get antibiotics as I would be very worried about the effect they would have on the body this close to the race, I would be afraid that they could do more damage than the infection. But maybe that’s just me being paranoid.
I don’t know if I’ve done enough at this stage but I feel sort of calm and accepting of where I am fitness wise. I’ll go out on the day and just aim to go as fast as I can. I’m thinking that I’ll race without a watch or Garmin. My first and I think one of my best executed Ironman races in UK in 2011 was done without a Garmin on either the swim or bike. I used one that day on the run as I wasn’t experienced enough to be able too pace a marathon on feel back then. I think that a part of me would want to race to my expected time and if conditions on the day mean it’s slower than usual I might cook myself. I’ll decide for sure closer to the day.
I think we all have an internal image of ourselves, of what we think defines us. Whether it’s related to being parents, athletes, our job or business its can be a source of pleasure or pain, it can drive us or leave us satisfied with who we are.
Usually how we internally visualise ourselves is quite different to how the world perceives us. I remember doing a swim coaching weekend a couple of years ago and after showing each athlete their video they were asked what stood out about it. I answered that I was surprised that I didn’t look just like Michael Phelps in the water (that probably explained why I was so much slower than him too) Most people made a comment that they were actually doing the complete opposite of what they thought they were doing. When it came to Aisling’s turn she answered in a small, upset and somewhat disillusioned voice that she always thought that she was taller.
Like I said our internal perception of ourselves is often quite different to the actual reality or how other people see us. In my case I wasn’t actually Michael Phelps, in Aisling’s she was a foot shorter than she perceived herself to be. We were both a bit gutted.
Anyway what’s with the name of this weeks blog? What the hell is an experimental donkey? I’m the experimental donkey. Read on to find out why…
Only four weeks to go. You spend all year preparing for an event that seems so far away and then all of a sudden it’s almost upon you. Four week to go means I’ve really only got two weeks training left when you factor in the taper. A couple of long rides and runs is all that’s left before easing back.
I’m divided between the thoughts that I’m not ready, not fit enough, haven’t done enough training and the desire to get it over with. It’s the longest lead into any race I’ve done and I’m getting to the stage that I’m tired of the training and want my life back, I want to lie in instead of getting up at 5am to go out for another 6 hour ride, I want to have a morning reading or loafing around the city (this usually only lasts until about 24 hours after the race then I want to go at it all again) anyway let’s get onto this weeks update.
Very tired after all the excitement of Ironman Dublin 70.3 yesterday so just did some push ups and crunches and had a nap.
Tuesday 16 6:50 (2)
Bike 5:55 180k
Run :55 9.5k
Felt guilty after no training yesterday so I probably went out a bit hard to make up for it. A bit too hard as it happens and I was more than a little fried by the end of the ride. It was also a very long way off the usual negative split I would do on a long ride where I tend to start easy and build into the ride as I go.
I just went easy on the run off the bike. Not really out of choice but because that was the only gear I had today. I even had to stop at a shop and eat a Mars bar, a pack of Fruit Pastilles and a large Coke in the middle of the run I was hanging so badly. That sort of makes me think it wasn’t just poor pacing on the bike but also poor nutrition. I had to fight the urge to speed up on the way back to get it over with as the sugar overdose kicked in. I reckon I would have keeled over if I tried. Click through to read more
Ok so for those of you who maybe haven’t been around here from the start or have maybe missed some weeks lets recap where we are with things. We got ourselves a dog. It turns out that I’m allergic to dogs, or at least I’m allergic to this dog. It makes me very tired and it becomes rather difficult to train when I can’t get off the couch.
Lets go back to the start. It all kicked off a couple of months ago when Cooper came home. Actually, no, it started quite a while before that. Lets go back about two years.
2014: Ais excitedly waves her phone at me squealing isn’t he goooorgeous!! Can we get a dog?? Can we get a dog?
Me: Yes he’s lovely and no.
Ais; but why? he’s so gorgeous and cute and I’d look after him.
Me because dogs poo everywhere, pee everywhere and eat all the stuff and I know who will end up cleaning up the poo. And who will look after it when we’re away? It’s probably also important to point out that you are terrified of dogs.
Ais: Aw but I’d love him!
This conversation went on for months. Another cute pug picture or video on Facebook would elicit another round of doggy love and another round of the poo, dogsitter and terror answer.
This week will likely see a reduction in training hours due to work which as it happens is well timed. I’m starting to feel the effects of the last big block. Ironman visits Dublin for the 70.3 this week on its European Tour and we are the bike partner so it will mean a very busy weekend in work. It’s one of the races I would rather work at than race as I’m able to enjoy the buzz of a huge event without having to worry about racing it. Anyway click on through for this weeks update.
At the moment it feels like I’m getting stronger almost every time I train and that the body is really starting to handle and absorb the training load. I’ve hit almost 40 hours training in the last 10 days including some hard sessions and even with the increased training load I’m still feeling good. There has been a marked improvement over the last 2 weeks. I’ve gotten a new antihistamine which seems to have made a big difference. I’ve also had some time off work which is helping hugely with recovery between sessions.
This was a “testing the body/build week” after the last few weeks of not feeling great and I’m pretty happy with how it went. I managed close to 18 hours training again and I got a decent long ride as well as a couple of medium runs done. The only swim of the week was short but reasonably good quality and the splits weren’t bad. I’m hoping that the consistent 7 months of training has given me enough of a base that when we get what we think is the dog allergy problem that all of the built up fitness will just pop out.
At least that’s the hope.