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Ironman Kalmar 20th Aug

Ironman Kalmar is stated to be the most recommended Ironman throughout the world. The city of kalmar is in the southeast of Sweden by the Baltic sea. This was the choice of Verity-Jane Lacy and now home, we thank her for setting out her Ironman adventure and triumph. Verity forgot to add her finish time but as it was rather good, and with her permission, she finished in 12 hours 24 minutes. Huge congratulations from everyone at Tuff Fitty.

“I feel like an epic event calls for an epic write up, so please bear with me as I thought I would share my story with you:

Three years ago I had a crazy idea to sign up for an Ironman, a bucket list event, that would probably cause me to kick the bucket if covid didn’t delay it for three years. Having not completed a triathlon over sprint distance, the idea really was crazy.

I decided I would need to some help to give me the best chase of getting to the start line and hope of getting me over the finish line: Q Wardy coming on the payroll!!

The 4 weekly plans began around October 2019 to begin building the base. Little did we know that this base would continue to be built for the next few years as the event got postponed from 2020 to 2021 to 2022.

The delay gave me the chance to sign up to the Cotswold middle distance triathlon to gain some experience of a longer race.

By now most of my friends and family were pretty bored of listening to me talk about ‘The Ironman’, nutrition and training plans but I cannot fault the support that continued all the way to race day.

Finally, the day came to jump on the plane and head to Sweden. We had a few days with friends before packing up the cars and heading across to Kalmar.

We headed to the race village on the Friday to register and rack the bike and the atmosphere was absolutely electric. This was heightened by the fact that Alistair Brownlee was in town and was down to compete as it was the last chase for the pros to secure one of two spots at Kona.

Race Day – alarm went off at 4am ready to get to the city for 5am before most of the roads and carparks were closed. Spent some time in transition loading the nutrition onto the bike and into my bike and run bags. Once set we headed down to the harbour to wait for the swim start.

The pros were off first just before 7 and we watched on whilst they warmed up in the water. The time came to head off to self-seed for the swim. I decided to aim for 1 hour 20 minutes in the hope to catch a few feet.

Swim -The event started with the loudest cannon going off, we gradually filtered through to the swim start where it was a rolling start jumping off a pontoon. I went to the side to stay firmly to the far side out the way of flailing arms and legs. Another good bet as I managed to settle in to the swim with plenty of space around me.

I kept it pretty chilled on the swim with the aim to exit the water completely relaxed and warmed up.

T1 – I took my time getting prepared for the bike. I had decided I wasn’t going to do complete changes but to stay in my trisuit throughout so it was just helmet, socks, shoes and gloves to don before heading to the bike.

Öland Bridge

Bike – excitement almost got the better of me and I nearly mounted the bike too early. Disaster averted, I was off and on my way. The route took you over the 6km bridge to Orland that is normally closed to bikes for a loop of approximately 70 miles before heading back to the main land to complete the final 42 miles. The bikes course was almost completely flat so played to my strengths of just getting my head down, finding a gear and holding it.

T2 – I’m not going to lie, I was ready to get off the bike, 112 miles is a long way and I was starting to get uncomfortable and my feet were aching like mad because of the constant pressure. I also realised that my stomach was not sitting right so took my time in transition again in the hope it would settle a bit before heading out for the run.

Run – wow, sitting in transition with the realisation that I still had a marathon to run was a really surreal thought. Trainers on, camelback on it was time to head out for the three-lap course. The atmosphere again in the town was incredible. The first 2 or so miles of the run were through the main part of the town along cobbled streets. The run shoots were lined with people cheering you on, it was an incredible experience. My run started ok but I very quickly realised that I had a bit of runner’s gut that wouldn’t settle. I spent the first lap run/walking to try and get it to settle by switching the normal nutrition plan and swapping to sips of water and salted crisps at the aid stations instead of electrolytes and gels. The second lap was slightly easier and by the third it had settled.

The final stint through the town to the finish line was electric, having run past the finishers shoot three times I was final able to run to the finish. I cannot describe the feeling of finally being on the red carpet with thousands of people cheering you on, it was definitely worth wait.

There were a number of points throughout my training that I thought I would give up. I knew I didn’t need to constantly train when the event kept getting delayed but I knew if I stopped, I would never start again, especially the running. Many of you know I could barley run 2 miles when I first signed up to this, but perseverance and damn right stubbornness saw me gradually build the miles and increase my pace.

Various people have inspired me over the last three years and I really hope that some of my story inspires others to challenge themselves and attempt something that seems impossible.  I can honestly say that anything is achievable if you dedicate some time and if put your mind to it.  Signing up to the Ironman has literally changed my life for all the right reasons.

Lastly (yawn) – I can never repay my friends, family, training buddies and most importantly Wardy for the support and getting me to the start line. All I can say is a massive thank you for believing in me especially when I doubted myself.”

Until next time……………………. 😉