As I write this I’m sat on the plane flying from Kona to Las Vegas to do all the eating drinking and nights out I’ve gave up leading up to this race it’s going to be a busy 4 days in Vegas
3:45am Alarm goes off but I’m already awake excited and nervous about what is about to kick off in a few hours. I get up and put on the filter kona coffee machine and have my breakfast of oats, banana, raisins, apricots, toast and peanut butter. I grab a shower and then read everyone’s messages on twitter and Facebook to give me some thoughts to think about whilst out on the course I arrive at transition at about 5:45 am with over an hour until race start so I check everything is ok with the TT01 and pump tyres upto 110 psi praying they don’t go pop whilst I’m in the swim
Swim 2.4 miles 7am cannon goes off and me and 2000+ athletes are away. Gotta say this was the scariest swim I have ever done I started about 10 deep back from the front as I new I would be swam over if I started Anywer further up. Plan failed I spent the next 20 minutes fighting for a breath in the water it was absolute carnage I guess because the field was so strong we was all in the same position. After 10 minutes in the water disaster my garmin got kicked off in the carnage of the water as I swam I just saw my £300 gps watch sink to the ocean floor nothing I could do but continue on. After the 1.2 mile turn it calmed down a little and I managed to get some sort of stroke going and was able to relax. My planned target time was to be under 65 mins for the swim and I was out in 1:04:10 so target achieved.
In and out T1 with no problems in just over 3 mins.
Bike 112 miles As I’d lost my garmin I had no idea what speed I was doing but my legs felt good so I pushed it. I seemed to be overtaking loads of people and thought I must be pushing to hard but still felt good and was concerned about the strict drafting rules on this course so figured if I keep overtaking everyone I wouldn’t risk getting a penalty. At the first out and back turn on the bike I clocked robbie coming other way so work out I had 8/10 mins lead on him and wasn’t sure if this was enough to hold him off into T2 turns out it was as I actually posted a faster bike split than him :-). At about 30 miles into the bike I saw some nice looking green black and white kit ahead Luke so he had had a great swim as I was hoping to beat him out the water. As I rode up to him he dropped his water bottle in front of me an attempt to take me out ha !!!! , we passed words of encouragement and then I was off trying to put some time into him before the run as I didn’t know how that was going to go. My target time for the bike was to go sub 5 and I did a 4 hour 49 min split (PB) and moved up over 300 places!!. The bike course is fast but very windy and I would recommend any one doing it in the future to save a bit for the last 30 miles as this is when the notorious Kona Headwind kicks in and makes you suffer.
As I rode into T2 and saw the clock still showing under 6 hours I was buzzing as I new a sub 10 was on
T2 Change of socks Loads of sun cream Quick number 2 and I was away
Run 26.2 miles
As I set off I was nervous as I just didn’t know how the leg was going to be but it felt ok the trouble was I just didn’t feel my normal springy self as I usually do when running. I just told myself hey at least your able to run and your ahead of all the people I’d hope to beat. Up Palani hill I saw my dad and joe a fireman from my old brigade GMC (he had qualified to race but was a DNS because if injury but had still come out to watch) they both gave me a shout I gave them the thumbs up as I ran past. Onto Alii Drive I felt a bit better but still everyone I had past on the bike was coming past me (again i had to remind myself this was a strong field and these guys was running fit) so I was just trying to hang on to people’s shoulders asking what pace we doing as I had no garmin to go off. At the far out and back turn on Alii drive I clocked robbie and Luke both about a mile behind me so figured I had about 7/8 min lead on them both. I tried to look relaxed and strong to show I was feeling good as didn’t want them to know I was dieing. At mile marker 9 I saw Em and asked what time was she shouted 14:15 so quick calculation I figured I’d done around 9 miles in 72 mins not great but not to bad plus I was still running and still ahead of the other guys.
After 11 miles it got tough as you climb up the full length of Palani hill to the queen k and I was now struggling with really heavy legs and my nutrition plan changed to get as many calories in as possible at each feed station without over doing it.
I hit the energy lab and was now 17 miles in and the tap on the back and a smile from robbie I said to him fair play and to keep pushing. Next aid station I took on 3 energy gels and loads of coke as a last ditch attempt to get a boost I stopped and took a leak and got myself ready for the last 8 miles.
At the turn at the energy lab I counted in my head from robbie to the turn 47 seconds so double that and he was still only less than 2 minutes ahead RACE ON as Luke was only about the same amount of seconds behind me!!. I thought about everyone back home at this point following us on tracker (even my mum had bought a iPad to follow me and a few had said they was up for an all nighter to track us all. So hear goes the next person that comes past me I’m hanging on to to them is what I told myself just suffer and find something and that’s what I did. Back on the queen k and now heading back I must of been doing 6 minute mileing for about 5 mins and I caught robbie thinking to myself what do I do now? so I shouted at him come on mate get to work with me and he did he stuck on my shoulder even though I’d told him to I actually hoped he wouldn’t but he did my thoughts came to iron war a book I’d read before I had come out to kona about the greats mark Allen and Dave Scott running shoulder to shoulder. This was now the OTCF Race Team version and I wasn’t about to let myself lose. I overtook to pacemaker increasing the pace again and could hear robbie breathing hard so I upped again his breathing sounded further away so I counted to 30 seconds still keeping a suicidal pace and then looked over my shoulder he had gone I’d got away at this point I felt terrible but got to the next timing mat and thought tracker now has me back in the lead I hit the top of Palani hill which was a steep down hill this time and my quads was locking every stride the last turn I looked over my shoulder looking for robbie as I’d seen his dad and new he would be giving him a time check . Back into Alli drive last few hundred metres getting emotional I just gave it everything I had left looking for Emily and my dad in the crowds but couldn’t see them as it was so busy but could hear them!!I saw Jo gave him a high 5 and crossed the line just 28 seconds ahead of Robbie in 9 hours 40 minutes with a run of 3 hours 38 my worst marathon time at an Ironman Race but probably my best for the way I just hung in their and suffered and found something within myself in those last 5 miles.
To come home in sub 10 hours at Kona with the summer I’ve had with the stress fracture in the tibia is a result I’m really proud of probably my best ever and to beat quality athletes and friends like Robbie , Luke and Mat Stephenson out here is just awesome.
But the racer in me still thinks what if i was run fit as I know I’m capable of such a faster run split so yes one day ill be back here for another go.
CHASE2RACETHEDREAM goes on
I’d like to thank everyone who supported me out here especially Emily and my Dad and everyone at home on tracker and at Dobbers HQ it really made a difference and all the kind comments have been unbelievable some from people I don’t know all I can say is I hope you enjoyed tracking the race and that you found it exciting.
OTCF Race Team all finished within 6 mins of each other and all sub 10 proud to be part of the team in Kona Robbie and Luke’s race blogs to follow so keep checking website
Lastly a massive shout to my sponsors who have supported me this year Claud Butler, Scott Running, Metres 2 Miles, Sigvaris Compression, Mcbrides Physiotherapy, Zone 3 wetsuits and Humberside Fire and Rescue service