I really do try steer clear of post race excuse blogs and I realise I’ve milked my recent injury for all its worth. So for those of you sick of hearing about it - sorry but you better hit the red cross at the top of the screen! But I really am proud of the way I got back up after my crash in 70.3 South Africa, and managed to drag myself into a shape where I could be competitive at Ironman South Africa, only 10 weeks later.
When I start training for an Ironman I usually sit down with Rob and start planning out what I need from my next block of training. Starting my training for Ironman South Africa with a broken elbow, lots of gooey road rash and a wire poking out of my arm was far from ideal.
Initially, I called off the Ironman and started drinking the South African wine I’d brought home instead. I was staying with my parents instead of moving back home with my Rob as I needed help doing just about everything. On the positive side, my dad learnt how to tie my hair into a ponytail for the first time, an achievement he’s very proud of.
Getting back on the horse
After a week at home I realised Rob wasn’t going to let me get away with not doing IMSA so I’d better just man up and get back on it.
My weeks looked something like this…
Week 1: Drink wine. Eat chocolate.
Week 2: Drink slightly less wine and start jogging with my sling.
Week 3: Run a bit faster on the treadmill holding onto my shoulder with my broken arm. Sling starting to get smelly. Turboing now possible with an adapted Computrainer and Wattbike with an additional seat bodged onto the top-tube to rest my chest on! Still far from being able to go back in the pool partly thanks some sticky road rash.
Week 4: I’m back at home. Rob’s taken the wine away and I’m beginning to think I may be able to race IMSA. I’ve been left with a baby chicken arm. How does muscle waste so quickly?
Week 5: Kill me. I can’t take so much turboing. Up to doing five hours on the turbo. Everyone is in the shape of their life but me… According to Twitter. Do I really have to race in 5 weeks time? A few tears. Back in the pool at the end of the week. Smashing a 1km kick set. Dry my tears.
Week 6: Feeling tired now. Must be doing something right. First swim set, couldn’t be happier. Progressive long run faster than pre Kona. Even happier. Turbo at six hours. Not so happy after that.
Week 7: Back on the road. On a real bike that moves forwards! No better feeling. But still very nervous and twitchy on the corners. By the end of the week the excitement has worn off. I’m shattered.
Week 8: Last week of proper training. Elbow still sore swimming, closing the car boot and slicing bread but surprisingly I’m not swimming much slower than pre crash. How did that happen? Maybe 4 weeks of monster kick sets 5 times a week ain't all bad!
Week 9: Fly to South Africa. I’m ready for a taper. What ever happens I couldn’t have done more to get back to the start line.
Standing on the start line I was beyond happy to just be there but deep down turning up and validating wasn’t enough. I had gone into training with low expectations and no pressure but I had come out of training fitter than expected and in relatively good shape. As soon as I walked into the press conference and claimed I was a contender for the podium I turned this no pressure race into one I was actually very excited for.
The swim was a surprise. I’ve been swimming well in the pool and thought I may be able to get on Dede’s toes. I did that and gave myself a pat on the back, although I felt I was swimming well I don’t think I’ve ever gone so off course. It felt like we swam 10km. Out of the water in 4th position, I’ll take that.
As always the bike for me was fairly uneventful. The course is beautiful, there wasn’t much wind and I just tried to stay out of trouble. I knew I’d missed a fair amount of volume, hadn’t ridden my race bike or even a real bike enough so I rode conservatively. Even having ridden what I felt was conservatively I died towards the end and it took quite a lot out of me.
My favourite part of an Ironman is getting off the bike, for me it feels like this is when the race starts. Although the run hurts me as much as anyone else I love it! I was in sixth by this stage and worked my way through the field. It wasn’t until the last ten kilometres that I thought I may have a chance of catching 1st but unfortunately for me I couldn’t close the gap to Kaisa. Great race from her and so awesome to see such a well deserved and emotional finish.
For me now, I’m planning a few 70.3’s and then the next big one will be Challenge Roth. It’s a bucket list race and I can’t wait! The timing is great and I think the course will suit me so I’m looking forward to working of a few things from South Africa and getting to the start line in good shape. I also promise not to write a post race excuse blog!