Wow. Arriving in Barcelona felt like a baking hot summers day with the temperature edging 25 degrees. I took the coastal train line along mile after mile of sandy beach past the sun worshipers topping up their tans. As I reached Callela the adrenalin begin to kick in as I set eyes on the huge Ironman expo set up on the beach with some seriously fit people with pointy hats and top end time trial bikes cycling along the promenade.
There is a real buzz here and as I made my way to registration you could sense the excitement. For many folk like me this will be their first Ironman. Many, many hours of training has finally brought me to my first long distance triathlon. That’s 2.4 miles in the Med, a 112 mile fast coastal ride, finishing with a 26.2 mile marathon. Bring it on! This weekend is a celebration of all the hard work over the last 18 months. I plan to enjoy it despite the inevitable pain and suffering that lies ahead.
I have appreciated the support and shared the journey with many people. My pals and coaches at Long Eaton Running Club, Long Eaton Tri Club and Broxtowe Tri Club. They have taught me an enormous amount and I’m truly grateful. It’s also been great fun along the way. You can’t train, race, sweat, suffer, celebrate along the way without making some deep friendships.
My family have also been enormously supportive. Feeding me after training sessions, coming along to events like the Outlaw Half and the Big Swim to cheer me on. Their support has made an enormous difference and I am very grateful for it. I’m delighted to have Daniel over from Uni in Marseille and my parents who have been fantastic supporters every step of the way.
Over the next couple of days I’ll be soaking up the atmosphere, making some new pals, attending the race briefing, then racking my bike and handing over my transition bags with my kit. They after hopefully a deep sleep on Saturday I will be up and at it.
My (very) approximate times for the race will be: my age group starts at 8.53am and I plan on a swim time of around 1 hour, 15 min. After 5 mins in transition I’ll be off on what should be a 6 hour, 15 min ride. Another 5 mins in transition followed by a 5 hour, 15 min marathon (heat permitting!). That should put my overall time at 12 hours, 45 mins, finishing at around 9.30pm. There are so many variables that this prediction may well be wide of the mark. Will I get the nutrition right or see my body seize up without sufficient carbs? Will the heat sap my strength? Have I done enough of the right training to prepare? I’ll know on Sunday – bring it on!