Long report ahead sorry!!
I made a deal with my friend Claire in 2015 if she would enter a marathon I would enter a triathlon. Fast forward 2 years; I completed my first triathlon Lincolnshire Edge and a week later did a half Ironman at Steelman. After Steelman I casually mentioned to Steve do you think I am capable of an Ironman and was surprised to hear him say yes! So I went home entered both myself and Craig and began to train for the biggest event of my life. I am quite experienced at endurance events being a marathon runner, but I wasn’t underestimating that this was going to be a massive learning curve for us both. I was willing to do what it took to become an Ironman and that meant trusting Steve to train us. Training I fell into the routine quite well although it was hard; rest days were quite a mental battle as I felt guilty I wasn’t training. Swimming through winter in a pool is frustrating when you have people that don’t follow pool etiquette and timetables that don’t allow you the time to get your full sessions in, so we did the best with the time we had. Also early morning sessions at 5am on the turbo fasted were interesting. Luckily with Craig training for the Ironman we were able to support each other & we also have the most amazing support from our friends from running laps of park run in the ice and snow, to the long bike rides in all weathers. Training started to pay off early on as I found I was PB’ing all my races, so I was getting faster but running a lot less, at one point only 11 miles a week. 3 weeks before Ironman we took part in a Half Distance Triathlon at Hatfield. I had a great race, swimming faster than last year, cycling stronger and having one of the strongest runs off the bike. It gave me so much confidence going into Ironman and after doing 2 recce’s of the Bolton Bike course I felt strong enough to complete the course within the cut offs something that I had been worrying about during all my training. The week leading up to Ironman was a massive emotional rollercoaster for me. We found out on the Tuesday that the bike course had changed due to the fires that had occurred on Sheep House Lane and to add salt to the wounds the course was going to be cut short by 17 miles and it was still touch and go whether the swim would go ahead due to the blue algae. I was gutted especially when I read all the negative comments from various social media posts saying that even if the swim goes ahead you still won’t become an Ironman because of the bike distance. The race we had been training towards was looking more and more likely to not be happening. It was emotionally draining, and I had basically made the decision that the whole race was going to end up being a bike/run so I’d given up on the idea of becoming an Ironman. After a pep talk from Steve and some words of encouragement from amazing people I tried to push the negativity back & focus on the race. Anyways fast forward to Saturday morning…we headed to registration & I felt so queasy and nervous. I didn’t know still at this point if the swim was going ahead and I was starting to doubt my abilities, something I know is completely normal during tapering.