Tuesday 18th September 2018 (11.02am)
Friday 7th September, the training was done and there was no going back.
I had clocked up hours and hours of training totalling:
🏊🏼♀️ Swim: 121 miles
🚴🏼♀️ Bike: 2437 miles
🏃🏻♀️ Run: 554 miles
After last minute bike checks, bag checks and nutrition checks, I loaded up the car and headed to Tenby. Like a proper athlete, I stopped off for a cooked breakfast on the way. It is said that you should not change your nutrition and stick to what you know and I trusted that along my journey. The only thing that changed was the quantity. I was stuffing a lot more as I became addicted to aero bubbles and twirl bites. I planned to take this seriously 😂
In terms of my weight I was slightly heavier than what I was 12 months ago but healthier. My body shape became more athletic, my legs which previously looked like lifeless hot dogs after so much surgery developed muscles, my core strength improved and for once I felt fit to face a challenge. This is not to say that things were easy along the way. I still had moments where I looked at myself and said ‘I am not going to eat today as I am fat’ or I did not want to take my medication as it was making me put on weight. Being focused on my training and events did not take away the problems suffered with mental illness. I have written about such moments along the way in earlier blogs.
Myself and my partner arrived in Tenby early Friday afternoon where I was greeted by one very excited Olly and my parents (slightly worried *mother*). First up was registration where I had my orange (access all areas) and green bands (first timer) slapped onto my wrist. The much awaited Ironman back pack was given to me (impressed), I signed some sort of disclaimer thing to say that it was my fault if I die and collected my number (502).
I then collected my special needs bags before hitting the expo with my dad and his bank card. A lazy afternoon and evening followed, stuffing my face with my mothers chicken dinner and blackberry & apple pie. Even though my parents live in Tenby, I decided 12 months ago to book the Giltar hotel on the finish line and close to transition.
I had another cooked breakfast Saturday morning before having a walk around town to soak in the incredible Ironman atmosphere. I checked out where my hook was on the north walk to hang my pink bag (which would include my trainers and drink before and after the swim) and worked out where I would seed myself and stand for the swim start. I was planning to get the swim done in under 1hr 20 so found the relevant yellow marking on the road. This is where the Long Course swim which I did in July came in handy as it gave me an idea of expected time.
Next up was the all important job of sorting out transition bags. I had two bags, blue for bike and red for run. I packed the relevant kit which I would need for each discipline into each bag. Thankfully I had made a list earlier in the week, as at this stage, excitement set in and I would have probably forgotten something. Ticking off the items on the list as my helmet, shoes, trainers talc, towel etc went into each bag was like a military operation. These bags along with my bike needed to be in transition by 3pm on the Saturday.
To get into transition, my bands, bike and bags were checked against my number, I had to have my helmet on and strapped up and then have my photo taken. The bike racks were labelled up and signposted with numbers to make your bike easy to find (allegedly). I put my bike in my 502 slot then headed into the transition tent. The tent was full of racks with hanging blue and red bags. Once again I found my hook, chucked my helmet in my blue bag and hung up my bags. Only I could hang my bags the wrong way around, blue on the red hook, and red on the blue so after a quick look around to see if no-one was looking at my amateur skills I swiftly changed them around.
After making sure my bags were hanging up nicely and correctly I collected my timing chip. I put this on my left ankle and wore it around for the rest of the day like someone proud to show off that they were on tag. I left the transition area with the bike racked, the bags in and the chip on my ankle.
After all this hard work I rewarded myself with a well deserved Greggs corned beef pasty and my 3rd hot chocolate of the day. A few games of pool followed (pleased to say I beat my partner 2-1) before heading back to hotel for a chilled out evening (with a Dominos pizza for one).
I was surprisingly calm and relaxed as I sorted out my special needs bags (packed with sausage roll, pasty, 3 packs of ready salted crisps, chocolate bread, 2 Mars bars, small bottles of lemonade, ibuprofen, plasters and extra Tailwind to add to my water bottles). I also packed my small bike bag with cola power shots and whatever chocolate bread I could shove in it). **if anyone would like any ironman nutrition tips then please give me a shout.**
I took my evening sea sickness tablet and I went to bed knowing that all was ready for the morning, all I had to do was get up at 5am and rock up for a long day at the office.
I set two alarms (iPhone and Garmin). I never do this. Did I really think I was not going to get up for one of the biggest days of my life?
The road to Ironman part IV to follow