James Brock, (correctly sporting a well deserved smile above) submitted a report on his first Ironman 70.3!
We arrived Friday night in the pouring rain and checked into the Premier Inn. A sleepless night followed and then up early to start the registration process. To be honest it was a bit of a hack. We had to drive to the registration to collect three bags, one for each event. We did the race briefing then had to check in our run bag, we then had to drive 25 miles to the lake to rack our bikes then back to the registration area where my cousin’s son did the iron kids race! He won!
Race day morning I set the alarm for 04:30 and made our way to the lake. We parked in a muddy field then made our way to transition, put some air in the bike, then put my timing chip safely round my handle bars knowing full well I wouldn’t forget to put it on. I got in my wetsuit and made my way to the start. I watched the pros go off at a fantastic speed. Quite a sight to behold. I made my way to the pontoon then thought sh1t! I left my timing chip on the bike! I spoke to a marshal who very quickly got on his radio and told me to wait, one by one my wave of swimmers entered the water… After what seemed like an eternity my replacement chip turned up. I was last in the drink! I jumped in and started the swimming, the water was a warm 20 degrees! I settled in nicely. Gradually over taking one swimmer after another. My thoughts turned to my coaching from Steve ‘Lardy’ Jones: slow my cadence, sight, breathe… I was actually enjoying it! The swim was over in 40 minutes 27 seconds. result! I’m on target. Into transition, it was carnage! I wanted to properly dry myself, 8 minutes later I was on the bike.
Proudly in my Tuff Fitty cycling jersey I set off, 6 speed bumps ahead ( as discussed in the race briefing). One competitor ahead of me went at the bumps at such speed his water bottle fell under his rear wheel and bang! He hit the deck. Quite a humbling feeling. I passed the first casualty and started the first climb. At this stage the rain came. I contemplated going back and getting my wetsuit but alas I pushed on. There’s me on my Halfords Boardman entry level road bike and I was overtaking guys on their full speck TT bikes. I thought I would struggle with the bike but I absolutely loved every minute of it. Sadly, because of the weather, there were so many crashes. I managed to maintain an average speed of 17.1 mph and completed the ride in 3 hours 17 minutes. Into the final transition I put on some dry socks and set off, three hilly laps around the estate. I started to struggle almost instantly. I then saw my wife, mum, daughter, nephew and my cousins family. This gave me the shot in the arm I needed. I remembered coach Marchy & Wardy’s tips. Slow and steady finishes the race. I lifted my chin pushed my chest out and increased the length of my stride. I managed to keep this positive posture for a good 2 minutes before I slouched my shoulders and stumbled into a walk. I then heard a cry of “mental strength”… Gary locker had sent me a message of good luck telling me to “just keep running” so I did.. I took a look at my watch and I was now 8 miles into the run. I then saw my daughter and she shouted ‘ keep going Daddy’ that was it. A tear rolled down my cheek and I thought I’ve got to do this.. I collected my last lap band and could see the finishers chute. 2 hours and 27 minutes that was it. I finished with a sprint on a soaking wet carpet and quickly grabbed my finishers medal. Proud as punch! 10 months ago I couldn’t swim and weighed the wrong side of 17 stone. Here I stand at 12 stone 9 & proud that I can say I’ve completed a 70.3.
The medal looks great but I feel like a 140.6 medal would look nice next to it….. Maybe next year….
Ex-pat Tuff Russell Reardon also competed doing well in the wet conditions