Ironman Barcelona was to be my 4th IM distance event I had competed in, having already claimed a Finishers T-Shirt at IM Austria in 2014 and the Outlaw Triathlon in Nottingham in 2015 and 2016. My times were however heading in the wrong direction with each event from just over 12:30 hours in 2014 to the last Outlaw at 12:56 hours. I was determined to improve on my times as I felt with some improved efforts I could possibly go below 12 hours.
Training – February to June
In February 2017 I decided to sign up with coach Karl at DeZeiner Fitness. I met with him initially to talk over my goals and realised that I would benefit from his style of coaching. I liked the method of supplying Karl with my availability and he would then work out the training allocation. The training gradually picked up and was going really well, the one other planned event was the Cotswolds 113 in May 2017. I had also completed this event in the previous couple of years and was pleased when I was able to shave 25 minutes off my PB. Training was now going well and I was feeling in good shape, that was until a cycle commute home at the end of June. I was 10 minutes into my commute when a car driver failed to see me on a roundabout and drove straight through me. My bike was a right off and after an ambulance ride to the ERI and wounds patched up it would be a further 3 weeks before I made my first tentative steps back into some easy swimming. It took a further couple of weeks and physio sessions before I was able to cycle again. There were a few moments when I gave serious thought to cancelling Barcelona. Karl however remained optimistic that I could make a come-back in time, this gave me some belief and confidence.
Training – July to September
After the accident and with Karl’s guidance I gradually picked up the training again and in a phased approach eventually returned to the training volumes I was at before. A replacement bike was also purchased during this time! Karl highlighted he carefully monitors the come-back after an injury to ensure no set-backs. I am not sure what the outcome would have been had I not received advice at this stage of the plan.
After some long weekends and a lot of cycling I was feeling great in the weeks leading up to the event.
Ironman Barcelona – Race Day
Arriving in Barcelona, I was feeling in the best shape ever. I had lost over 1 ½ stone since the training commenced.
With the race start a very sociable 8:30am, breakfast wasn’t needed until 6.30 and we didn’t leave the hotel until 7.30am. Transition was only 10 minute walk so plenty of time. I did a quick check of the bike, loaded the nutrition, set my Garmin up, and re inflated the tyres.
The sea was calm and ideal swimming conditions. I seeded myself in the 1.05 hour starting group and managed a respectable 1.10 hour swim time. I took it easy on the swim as I didn’t have too much experience of sea swims and had a largely uninterrupted swim.
The cycle is 2.5 loops on mostly flat sections with some small hills at the start. I took steady again on the cycle leaving enough in the tank for the marathon to follow. My Garmin decided to pause at some point into cycle so lost track of overall times. I was delighted to later find out my cycle finish time was 5.03 hrs. That was almost an hour faster than my previous IM cycle. The extra cycle training had clearly paid off!
Onto the marathon run and 3 loops to follow. The first 2 loops seemed to pass without any majo
r issues but the last loop was one to battle through. A run time of 4.20 hours was very respectable for me.
I was truly amazed when my finishing time of 10:44:42 flashed up on the finishing board.
I cannot thank Karl enough for all his excellent coaching over the last few months and particularly getting me back successfully to training after the accident. I was thinking about a year off but then again……sub 10 next year?