Sunday, 6 October 2013

Getting back into training after long rest

Its been a while since last blog entry, but to be honest not much been happening lately.

I have started running after a few weeks off and but only doing average 4 miles each time.

The swimming going well as I’m starting to enjoy it more. Feeling that it’s pretty important to relax and not to worry about counting laps or if others are overtaking me.  I’m enjoying doing the weekday 10 mins freestyle and 5 mins drills (backstroke, one arm drills and a couple of breaststrokes’) I am trying to get back to basics and enjoy the swimming as opposed to feeling like it’s a necessity to do.
A few times when I have been coming out of the swim pool to my car I get the shock of my life when I see a car like mine (before I see my own one) and for an instant I think someone has damaged it.

Over last couple of weeks I have been getting back on the bike since the Ironman event. I have done a couple of commutes to work and really enjoying these and even a some weekend cycles. I'm feeling like on the long bike rides I’m trying to push myself a bit harder than the earlier part of the year when I was regularly churning out the long rides.  Although I feel like my speed is increasing and my time should be lower than previous times , I’m finding that now I’m actually slower. Not by a great deal but it’s probably a combination of weight gain, smoking before the ironman event and total lack of training last couple of months. Thankfully with help of the patches I have stopped the smoking and if I continue with the training I should improve.
In other news....I got myself branded

Minimalist Running

Tried the minimalist running recently. The theory is that yonks’ ago we all ran about naturally on bare feet with our feet naturally adjusting to the ground contours.

The recent trend of thick soles takes away the bio kinetic ability of our foot muscles to adjust, strengthen and increases the likelihood of injury than forefoot/barefoot/midfoot running.

If you re-adjust to mid or forefoot landing of foot you should end up with a springlike finish and start of each strike landing and send off.
Over the last couple of years I have been hearing more and more about different running styles and I think the jury is still out on the barefoot style. The book ‘Born to run’ is one of the main reasons the last few years people are debating whether they should adjust footwear of running style. Even the major running shoe companies that for years have pumped out the thick soled trainers are seeing new sales opportunities by developing more partial minimalist running trainers.

I have a couple pair of thick soled Asics which have done me fine over last few years.
Last year I bought the Saucony mirage 2 which are 8 mm thickness (I think my Asics are 12 mm) . I remember the guy in shop advised me not to go drastically down to the likes of Five-fingers minimalist shoes and the Saucony mirage trainers are a step down or compromise trainer. To be honest I like the Saucony’s and didn’t really notice a great deal of difference although I think they are a bit lighter. So although I will prefer more minimalist for shorter runs, obviously on marathon type distances your form is going to get lasy and it is in those cases you would want the extra cushion to protect your feet I think. 

I recently tried to a run whereby at parts I would start to consciously run on my forefoot. This was a bit awkward as if trying to unlearn my natural style, but after a while I got into it. At times my forefoot got sore, so I lapsed back into landing on my heels but I was more conscious of another thing I learnt about that if you land of your heel this results in a stiff shock going from heel up your straight leg resulting in lack of spring in mid/forefoot strike . see another video commentary 40 seconds in -
I didn’t really check my results to see if mid/forefoot running was quicker for me but I did get a little pain in forefoot area, probably because I had not done it before. About a week later I tried the next level of barefoot. I have a pair of surf shoes which are probably the closest thing to barefoot shoes.

Very little depth to them so I only tried a mile run which went ok, but I think the jury is still out on whether I should change my style. I cant realistically see myself in the future doing a marathon forefoot style with a pair of Newtons or those crazy Five Fingers minimalist trainers.  

Stevo Mourne Olympic Triathlon - 31st August 2013
For the second time this year Stephen my brother did an Olympic triathlon. This one was in the beautiful Mourne area around Castlewellan. I had hoped to do it with him but because I got a tattoo recently I wasn’t keen on getting it dirty in the lake.
Stevo arrived calm as a cucumber and set off in the lake for the swim. Thankfully the water was reasonable around 15 degrees so not too cold.


After the swim he came out mid pack and quickly got ready for the long bike ride in the windy weather conditions.

He later reported that thankfully this race he didn’t loose his pro-plus tablets for that mid section pickup to help keep you going or like last time get his laces tangled up in the chain ring.
I knew from riding with Stephen a few months back that biking was his strong part and it was good to see him later set off with a good steady pace for the run.

Whilst my parents and Stephens little supporters waited at the finish line for him I went down to the lake circuit and got a chance to cheer fellow competitors on and see Stephen each lap he did.
Now that I have been doing this sport a few years it was strange to be on the spectating side of things, but I did enjoy trying to work out different things to motivate runners at they ran past. At times I reverted to cheering club names and I got a couple of thanks from some weary runners and saw quite a few fellow triathletes that I know through races I have taken part on or are facebook friends.  Towards the end of the second lap I could see he was still running strong so I made my way up the hill to the finish area to capture him finishing.

After Stephen finished he was pretty pleased and thankfully later got the correct recovery cold bath just above legs (not up to chest and neck like last time eh Bro!)

Have to say, im very proud of Stephen. Not only did he complete the difficult Olympic triathlon, but he managed to raise almost £700 for North Uganda Outreach Project . Well done Stephen !

Other stuff happening, let me thinks……

Insanity workout – tried few days of these. I think there is a total of about 60 days workout scheme. Pretty much like a bootcamp free weights circuit type thing. Last about 40 mins with some parts just stretching, but boy do they make ya sweat!

Peanut butter smoothies – only discovered these after trying one in local shopping centre. Yummy. Bananas, milk, coconut, peanut butter, honey chocolate powder and if you want some canned fruit. The great thing about smoothies is you can play about with the ingredients and they are good for you as long as you don’t put too much sugar stuff in them. Better still if you make green smoothies with veg in them.

Well that’s about it until next time. Hope you like the blog entry and feel free to let me know what you think either on the blog post or my facebook. Cheers

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Ironman UK - Bolton 4 August 2013

Since last blog I fell of the wagon in with regards to maintaining my training plan. Although at the weekends I pretty much kept to the longer distance workouts, the mid week sessions were almost non-existent. I did the odd 4 miler run and kept swimming but the swim sessions were 10/15 minutes each time. Unfortunately I occasionally hadn’t given up occasional cigarettes as well which didn't help.

To be honest a few things were playing on my mind and the nervousness of the event coming up very soon didn’t make me too confident going into the race. Despite this, I had prebooked the event about 8 months in advance, so there was no backing out now.
Thursday – arrival in England

I went over in the ferry and stayed in a B & B at Shaw which is almost an hour away from Bolton which was reasonably handy. The staff at the B&B  were pretty helpful allowing me a rear room away from the busy traffic. This helped a lot.

Friday - Event registration

On Friday I went and registered for the event, got my race pack and bought a few things before heading down for the pre race briefing.
I got to meet and briefly chat to the famous Prof Greg Whyte from Comic Relief fame who asked me “are you feeling strong?” I blubbered some nervous reply and shook his hand with my sweaty hands and let him go on his merry way.

Whilst waiting for a picture with Prof Greg I noticed someone asking a lot of questions to this tall American gentleman whom I initially mistaken for Mike Reilly of Ironman fame. Reilly is the guy who says ‘You are an Ironman’ at many races. His quote in triathlon circles is similar to Arnie’s ‘Ill be back’ saying. Many people refer to him as ‘The Voice’ in ironman terms. The American guy beside Gregg didn’t turn out to be Mike, however I heard that his first name was John from a girl I spoke to and shortly later he ended up after registration sitting at my table for the pre race briefing.

Just before the briefing after chatting to me a guy next to me began to chat to John who was sitting next to him. When the guy asked him had he done IM UK before, the John said ‘no’, it was his first time. When the guy then said to John have you done any IM’s before the American guy said with a wry smile “Oh, too many”.

After coming home I tried to find out who this guy was and found out he was inducted into Ironman’s hall of fame and is probably likely done more Ironmans than anyone else. In 2012 John Wragg had clocked up more than 137 ! And is still doing more!!


Saturday - The day before the big day

On Saturday I dropped off my bike at T1 and left my transition bags at each station.
Then I drove to Pennington Flash reservoir before driving up Sheephouse Lane.
When I returned back to the B&B I loaded up with my carbs

Sunday –Day of Event

On the Sunday morning of the event, I got up at 2am, checked weather forecast (which was still pretty poor for the day) and got breakfast before setting off. The night before I had asked the B&B to leave me out some hot milk in a flask with some porridge, but unfortunately it didn’t materialise so I ended up just taking some fruit loaf with peanut butter on it (weird combo) and a banana before going to the Reebok Stadium for the shuttle bus to Pennington Flash Reservoir for 6am swim start.

 Swim  - Time - 1hr 28 mins

The swim had a cut offs were entry into 2nd lap by 7.15am with a total time allowance of 2hrs 15 mins for the 2.4 mile swim, with T1 exit by 8.30am. In the days leading up to the event I had only properly read the race instructions and this time when I realised that I might be in trouble. Looking back at previous iron distance events in the last couple of years I realised that my swim times were 2hr 40 minutes when doing the Tri Limits event. I initially panicked when I read this and only the next day when I checked my time again I realised that I had misread my swim time and it was 1.40, not 2.40 for previous event.

On arrival at Pennington Flash I was like the other 1800 competitors pretty nervous but at the same time exited to get going. Surprisingly the water was pretty mild, not too cold. It was a bit weird swimming just as daylight was breaking.
As usual there was quite a few kicks, thumps etc during the swim and I suppose that’s why they refer to the swim as akin to a washing machine with all the craziness you just have to expect it and not get to upset at it.

It was my first Australian exit ( i.e. two laps whereby halfway through the swim you exit out of water for short run back into the lake for a second loop) the reason behind this is historically it reduced boredom for the spectators as they get to see competitors run out then back in and it saves on manning and marshalling a larger swim course. On the first loop I managed to draft mostly which I find really helpful, however the second loop by which stage I was nearing the back of the pack I found it harder to find someone to draft behind so it was more of an effort for me to complete.
Thankfully after finishing I found out that I managed to beat the cut off time as I wasn’t being called off the course, but I had no idea of what my swim time was.

After the swim I headed into transition tent for changing into my bike gear.
Transition time in T1 was just over 16 mins.

Bike – 8hrs 12min
Looking back at previous training, I was once again worried about cut off times. I thought if I roughly took 2 hrs do the swim then I had 8 ½ hrs to do a transition and 112 miles on a hilly course. IM Bolton is notorious for their bike course as it has 1600m elevation gain throughout course.
My closest training ride was an 85 miler which I did and it took me 6 hrs 40 mins to complete on 1100m elevation gain. I knew I had a reasonable chance of completing the swim ok, but my main worry going into this event was to complete the bike course without being pulled off at the end for not meeting the cut off time of 4.30pm after the start of the race.

I knew that if I got through the bike course without being pulled off I should be ok on the run. The bike course was a 14 mile point to point to start off which was a slight gradient throughout, and then you began the 3 loop section of the course. The beginning of each loop was the hardest part with the infamous Sheephouse Lane (approx. 2.5 mile steep climb part of the loop).

Although I saw a few sheep on the road side they didn’t attack us J

At the start of Sheephouse Lane it is pretty cool seeing over a couple of hundred spectators ring cowbells and cheering you on. The laneway closes in on you with spectators so close on either side that they could easily reach out and touch you. You get a feeling like you are about to embark on one of the infamous Tour de France mountain climbs such as the Alpe D'huez.  This wee clip gives you an idea (on a bigger scale) of what it looks like from a riders perspective (although I don’t share Voigt’s opinion on spectators standing on the roads as well as the pathways)

A couple of minutes later as you leave a little village area that you are in you enter the mighty Sheephouse Lane and its gradual ascent takes force on your legs. It goes on for a while then just towards the end the gradient increases and there is a long straight part. To overcome this I found that a couple of techniques helped me. Firstly, I tried to closely monitor my pace. I kept focusing on really thinking to go slower than I could comfortably ride certain parts of the steep climb; in other words, if at parts I felt slightly out of breath at any part, I purposely slowed down a little and made sure I was just steadily turning pedal stroke by pedal stroke.
Another trick I had was to avoid looking up ahead. Every time I looked up each part of the next few hundred metres appeared to be gradually getting steeper and when I did look up all I could say to myself was ‘ah shit’ and feed those voices in my head saying ‘awk sure Phil, why don’t you just walk up this part, then cycle the rest?’ so I purposely avoided looking up ahead. I felt that the first loop of Sheephouse Lane went pretty well and I loved seeing the scantily dressed bunch of guys dressed in retro outfits drinking and cheering us on right at the top of the hill. These guys were pretty drunk but very funny with what they said and very happy and they brought a welcome smile to all our aching faces. It was also motivating towards the top of the hill seeing many painted and chalked messages on the road to motivate us riders.

Here is a video clip of the infamous Sheephouse Lane :-

It rained in fleeting showers but thankfully it wasn’t too severe during this stage (especially on those dangerous descents).

Occasionally on the bike you would hear a motorcycle coming up behind you then a loud ‘right’ being shouted (pro cyclers shouting at us age groupers to get out of their pathway) then the pro’s would  wizz past on the fancy TT bikes. God knows what speed they were doing but it looked pretty fast!

On this type of triathlon there are pretty strict drafting rules – no drafting within 10 metres of other bikes and 1.5 metres whilst overtaking within a 15 second time limit. There are penalties and possible disqualifications if seen to be doing so. Thankfully I actively don’t try to draft, but I know from experience in the Dublin Belfast Maracycle I did last year it can save you about 20-30% of effort level if you can draft behind another rider.

At the end of the section I gave my bike to one of the volunteers to rack and headed into Rivington School transition changing room T1 (transition 1). On the way out I heard a ‘hello Phil’ and to my surprise was a fellow Tri Limits athlete Gary who was also doing his first official IM. We chatted briefly and set our way.
Transition time was just over 15 mins in T2.

Run 4hrs 51 mins. Just under 11 min mile. AHR 146 BPM

The route was initially a 8 miler point to point canal path run and a bit of road until we got to the main loop section in the Bolton town centre. During the start of the run point to point section  a fellow runner was matching my pace. We at times took over each other and I can distinctly remember the rhythm of each of our footfalls matching each other exactly. Although I didn’t know him from Adam if you picture the classic ‘iron war’ footage of Dave Scott and Mark Allen the scene was similar to this : -

I decided that I didn’t want to get into some sort of race with this guy so a went for a quick pee stop and paid my water taxes and allowed him to run ahead.

My planning going into the marathon part of this event was to go at my own pace and try to continue running without stopping throughout. In my first full distance iron event last year I ended up after about 6 miles turning into a run/walking for the remainder of it. This occurring last year was pretty demotivating.  I realise that the run/walk technique can work quite well for some people but I find it tough to get back running when I start walking at intervals.

Fair enough throughout this run I was finding many people overtake me because I was maintaining a steady pace, but I didn’t mind this. I was very focused and tried to maintain this focus of mind and not get too distracted. I did regularly thank and clap hands with spectators as I passed smiling as I did so, however I didn’t stay too long even at the feed stations. The feed stations were great I have to say with the young Army cadets manning them and being very helpful giving out various drinks and energy foods. I tried their gels which happened to be Powergel which were horrible, so I only had a few of these. The half bananas that had also been given out during the bike portion were working out well for me so I just stuck with them every so often.
Towards the end of the run I was dying for salt as all I could think of was salty meals and I remembered in the race briefing being told about that after the finish Domino’s pizza was going to be dished out to participants. I was really looking forward to stuffing myself with this after finishing. Thankfully the feed stations started giving out cheesy cheddar biscuits and despite being soggy with the constant heavy rain I beat handfuls into me as I passed the stations. This helped get the salt levels back up again.
The run loop was a slight gradient into the town. Nothing too bad, thankfully not as tough as the Belfast Marathon Antrim Road part. Although harder going up initially at the start of each loop, you had just left the town centre after being pumped up from the large spectator crowd cheering and the music to get you going each time. Even along the route I was amazed at just how many people there were throughout the day in the rain. This helped us all and half way up there was a pub which had quite a few ‘happy drinkers’ giving each of us words of encouragement. There were a couple of guys as if they were on a night out with their pints in hand shouting so loud I could hear them even at the end of the loop! I gave these guys special thanks on my last run into town.
Although not of me here is some footage taken of the whole event from another competitors family for the day -
On the last loop coming into the finish of the marathon I saw Gary  ( a local lad that I know through Tri Limits events in Dungannon) overtake me with some speed. I had a rough idea that we were around the 15 hr time and I knew that I had about 1 mile to go. At this stage I probably could have pushed myself to go faster, but bearing in mind I had ran the entire marathon without walking at any stage I didn’t really care about beating the 15 hr time, I just wanted to finish and not hitting the wall like Sian Welsh and Wendy Ingraham in the 1997 Ironman: -

On the last loop of the run coming back into town to finish I began to realise that it was quite likely that I was going to finish ok without any problems and finally achieve my ambition to become an Ironman.
I became a bit emotional. The only way I could describe it would be when I hear some women saying they feel ‘emotional’ and they are not sure why. From one minute to the next I was so happy, then feeling really sad, feeling tired, and then feeling ok. It’s hard to describe but instead of the earlier part of the day focusing on technique, timing,  nutrition etc,  my mind-set now at the end of the run had its first opportunity to wonder and think about the journey over the last four years or so getting to this moment.

I then began to truly appreciate motivational sayings such as ‘Anything is possible.”
As I finally came into the last bit of the run I turned off into the finish straight last 100 metres. It was amass with people screaming and disco lights and blaring music. I sped up and sprinted though the finish line. I felt as if I was just completing my first marathon and was so pleased with myself smiling from ear to ear, I was so, so happy.


After the finish line I was quickly presented with my medal and shown into the finishers’ tent. I scoffed down a few pieces of Domino’s pizza followed by some yummy Swiss Roll. I chatted to some other folk for a while before later heading off to collect bike and then back to the B&B for a much needed cold bath. Needless to say that night I slept like a baby with a giant smile on my face.
Monday – The day after

The day after it was kind of sad having to rub off my treasured IM race temporary tattoo. I hear some people simply refuse to rub it off and will go for days proudly looking at it in proud admiration. Maybe in the future I might get a permanent one, who knows?
A couple of hours before I was about to set off to get the Ferry back later that evening home I got a phone call from the Ironman staff to say that I forgot one of my transition bags. They said they were closing in half an hour which led me to a speedy panicky drive down to Reebok Stadium to collect my bag. Thankfully I just about made it in time as they don’t post lost/left athlete property if forgotten.

After Ironman – What now?

Looking back on the blog I started it in May 2011 with the view to one day to give myself a view on progress towards making my goal of one day calling myself a proper Ironman. The idea of a blog was helpful to me as I charted my progress. At times I could see the positive steps I was making, at other times I could see the difficulties that I had encountered and overcome along my journey. Finally I achieved my aim of the whole idea of ‘philtoiron’ namesake of the blog and can say to myself, 'Philip Ward, you are an Ironman!'

Is this the end of the philtoiron blog?

As for whether this is the end of my blog, I doubt it. The wheels of ambition have certainly grown on me. Along the last few years I have met and learned inspirational stories from so many. I have made some friends and they have not stopped at achieving their initial goal, the goals just change into new ones. Doing sporting goals whether it be running a 5k or swimming your first 1 mile in a pool changes you. Its like the quote I hear at the start of this amazing film (Spirit of the Marathon) I watch each marathon time of year says ‘when you cross the finish line, no matter how fast or slow it is, it will change your life forever’

 I have memories of loving my runners up high jump medal, or when learning to swim in early twenties finally making it to the other side of a 25 m pool without having to stop half way across. These achievements I made eventually meant so much to me and encouraged me to build on them. Months of practice doing a flip turn in a pool to loving to death my early days of getting into my long morning runs of 6 miles before going to work. The endorphins and feel good factor after a run cycle or whatever should never be underestimated.

Yes, up until now I have been concentrating on doing the official Ironman. Yes it takes hard work but I do feel that you should never feel that you cannot build on your achievements and try to do build on these. I took a few years and as you can see from what I have done since 2009, but I firmly believe that many people should ‘live their dreams’ and hold onto that hope that one day they can fulfil these dream ambition.
2009 – 2 sprints
2010 – 2 Olympics
2011 – ½ Iron
2012 – ½ Iron and Full distance Iron
2013 – Full distance Iron and Official Ironman
2014 and beyond – who knows! Cant wait! J
I have a few ideas of what I’d like to do. I know some friends that make up their own challenges and don’t just take part in an official challenge. Even in the last few months one on my good friends went up Donard 12 times in a row and last weekend he did a half marathon – backwards J From running the marathon with a wheelbarrow to doing 10 Ironman distances in a row – he’s done it – credit to you Keith!
I listen to a podcast which I would highly recommend and this guy just does his own self supported ironman in his neighbourhood -
Maybe I might do that next year?
Or maybe I might work toward someday doing a 50 miler run or maybe doing a double IM? Is this the end of PhiltoIron? Definely not, instead of my old PhiltoIron, I can now refer to myself as IronPhil J
I will finish this post with a couple of inspirational clips some of which have shown me of the true fighters that have overcome severe odds to achieve their lifetime goals –
You are great.  Go on – live your dreams!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Iron Distance - Tri Limits 31 May 2013

Last years event run by Tri Limits was the Deca Iron Man challenge. This year their main event for triathlete participants was the Double iron. Because it is such a huge challenge only 5 people took on the challenge including my good friend Eamonn. I, on the other hand was only doing half this distance.


Preparation for event

Since last blog I continued to follow my training plan apart from the long swims which to be honest I don’t really enjoy anymore. Its kindof strange as when I got into triathlons, I came from swimming only background and hated running and cycling, now I only don’t really like swimming – prob cause I just do same oul stuff every day with no drills or speed tests or form drills ect, I just swim for 10 minutes or so slowly then that’s me done.
on the plus side a few days before event I went up to Dungannon and had a practice swim session with Eamonn and some other folk . doing this open water swim really helped me

On one of my last training bike rides I decided to try some hill climbing. I did a ten mile loop which included a fairly medium length hill near where I live


I did this loop three times. On the last loop just before I set up the hill again I took above pic for the aul blog entry. All was goes well until smart arse Phil falls off the bike as he tries to start cycling one foot on clips and trying to clip the other one in whilst trying to push hard up the hill – this was never going to work and silly me fell over. Thankfully I only scraped my elbow and fell on my side, but the hips hurt for a while afterwards. Needless to say I was ok for the upcoming big day J

A few days before race Tri limits confirmed that the Lake's water temperature was ok for the event. last year it was cut short a lap as it was slightly colder.

Nite before

The nite before was nothing speacil, just the usual pasta meal and I have to say I got to sleep ok with no major worries as I was more confident going into this event than last time.


Morning of race

As I arrived in Dungannon that morning it brought back all the memories I had from being there last yr – it was almost a year since my last triathlon and it was good to be back. No sooner had I started to unpack my bike and gear when cheerful Keith passed by and said, alright Phil, 20 minutes to go. I then met Anne who was one of the two other participants taking part in the event and in the distance in the lake I could see some of the 5 double guys out in the lake that had started their swim at 7am, out start was at 8am.

Me and Anne having quick chat before the off.

during my swim I mostly drafted most laps and I think this helped a lot. near the end my feet started to cool off and I was in two minds at times as to either move then a lot to warm them up and risk a cramp (which I felt slight cramp when I did this) or leave and not use legs and feet so much which definitely would continue to leave feet cold .

this is me a each lap of the 9 loops , thumbs up each time.
bike - 8 hrs.( av 14mph ). start 9.51am
the weather 13 degrees.
To warm up when starting bike course I wore my jacket but took off after first lap. 
The bike route was 12 laps loop course totalling the 112 miles. I used my cateye new bike computer to work out how as was getting on as when you are biking for several hours u end up forgetting how many laps u have done.
There was an aid station for the bike loop but only small variety of things and as I had loads of bars/gels/oatmeal bars and buns in a bag at my car with powder sachets for drink bottles I decided on one of my loops to go back to the car and re-stack my bike up with stuff.
Towards the end I thought I only had 2 laps left, but Keith kept me right and advised I had 3 laps. thankfully the course was the same as last years so I was reasonably familiar and it was nice seeing the double guys out joining us after us doing a few laps. towards the end of the cycle route I noticed first of all Paddy finish fairly quickly in front of me after lapping me, then Anne lapped me near the end of my laps. although some people get annoyed at being lapped etc., I didn't mind as I treat these events as challenges for myself , and I am not out there to 'race' other folk taking part. throughout the race so far, both on the swim and the bike Anne and Paddy both looked very strong.
run. 10.30 pace per mile. 4.38 marathon. start 6.06pm
The run went really well from start to finish. I had hoped that because of my increased training since last year that I would be able to run a higher proportion of the 26 miles total. as it ended up I ran the entire marathon apart from one toilet break and several drink/food stops using a self made aid station beside my car on the 1km route which we had to run 42 laps of the loop course.
During the run midway the monotony was broke up with tri limits holding a sprint distance triathlon during the evening. thankfully the run part was not on the same course as the iron distance as only a few of us on the 1km loop was enough.
Paddy during the race had strapping on his knees and needed to walk some of the run. Anne ran most of the run as well with only a few walk breaks. As the night drew in and I watched the sun set I heard the loud claps and applause as I knew Anne had completed in first place. a short time later Paddy was heard to loud cheers as he passed the finish too. after this it was just me left on the course to finish. only when I passed the start loop part did I see other folk. each and every time loads of support crew gave me words of encouragement to continue and cheer me on including the two deca lads Keith and Bob that had been hosting the events all day. they were great as usual. as I was almost at the finish I saw that I might be able to break 15 hrs so the last lap I increased the pace slightly
Iron Distance Finish Times -
  • Anne Killen 14hr05.
  • Paddy johns 14hr35
  • Phillip Ward 14hr57
Does that mean I get the wooden spoon as I was last or the bronze as I was 3rd; or a combination of both :-) the bronze wooden spoon

Overall I was very happy with how I got on. on reviewing last years times with this years I think when I said last year I got time of 15hrs30min it should have been 16hrs 30 mins as I think I finished about 11.30 at night and started 7 in morning. this year I started 8 in morning and finished just before 11pm. that means I either beat my time by either 30 mins or 1hr30mins which is great. my swim went pretty good and was better than expected with no concerns, the bike section was fine with no flats and felt my nutrition plan worked well . As for the run, this worked out very well and to be honest after the event watching the other guys going further and continuing their double ironman efforts into their 40hr cut off timeframe, I finished my race with a desire to some day (hopefully soon) to try a double!
I got a cool t shirt afterwards and instead of a medal I neat trophy that is now I can proudly display
Post race I recovered very quickly as I had a cold bath when I got home followed by cold bath in morning, both of which reduced inflammation and then spent the day few hours walking around Belfast city centre which helped the legs big time.
The good news that throughout the entire race I never had any injury or significant pains from niggling injuries but my old £50 Lidl's surfsuit is really showing its age in wear and tear on the neckline. it was fairly sore afterwards, so  I will try and get new wetsuit before Bolton.


After finishing I had a chat with my good friend Eamonn whom was having a short break during his double ironman challenge. I found it totally amazing that even after me being at it for 15 hrs Eamonn was still out there on the course still cycling through the nite and the next morning he still had 52 miles to run! Crazy!

Tri limits continue to organise some of the best events for those wanting to go the extra mile in a challenge and their next challenge is unique as it is the Donard Dozen – 12 times up and down Donard non stop which Keith is doing at the end of June.
Now I am currently resting for week or ten days then in next few days back into a training plan for IMUK Bolton in August :-) 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Swimathon, Marathon and upping the Iron Distance Training 2013

Swimathon 5k challenge

The swim was something I have kindof got into the habit of doing each yr . although my swim sessions in mornings have dropped to about 10 minutes each session I did manage one proper 100 lap training session before this event, but I was still dreading this event more than the upcoming marathon. Thankfully I managed to get through it ok and my time was roughly 10 minutes slower than last yr from recollection but at least I did it. My brother and sis came to support me which was a nice surprise, especially as I was last to get out of the pool at the end.


Marathon 2013

Since last entry the only running I did was three odd 4 mile runs spread out over the weeks at times to test out the foot injury. The sprained right ankle area still gave me some pain which really pissed me off. The inability to get out there and do the training plan is really annoying and as I felt like shit I ended up eating loads of junk food and felt sorry for myself. The only good thing was I did do a few cycle commutes to work and at weekends started doing long cycle rides which I really did enjoy.
Nowadays, if on my training plan I have say a 50 miler to do, this used to scare me, but not now; I actually get exited and jump onto to plan my route around the beautiful Ards Peninsula.

The night before the marathon I ate the usual pasta and in morning had cornflakes and peanut butter and jam sandwichs with a banana. On arrival at the start area I was very relaxed and exited to get going trying not to freak myself out about the possible DNF due to injury.

Into the run after a few miles my foot started to give me some pain , so I kept my pace reasonably comfortable and decided not to try and do a PB as I was just setting myself up for a definite DNF instead of a possible DNF! Anyhows, as the milage crept up I got into a rhythm and just kept running. After the slightly difficult Antrim Road I tried to hydrate well with regular sips of water and one stop off to pay my water taxes. The crowd as usual were amazing especially Falls/Shankill area were huge amount people with kids etc come out and the little kids are high five’ing you as you pass. The atmosphere gave me goosebumps and huge smiles. Little did I realise that half way round the course the pain in my anckle started to ease and before long I forgot all about it.

Towards the end my brother Stephen came out to support me on the last few miles of the run. Thankfully this year it didn’t rain, the weather was reasonable. It was slightly warmer than I would have hoped, but not roasting hot.


The charity I ran for was the ‘North Uganda Outreach Project’ which is a charity run by my good friends Hugh and Becky. Now not just do they have a blog, but they also have facebook and a justgiving charity account that people can link their charity events to. This is their blog site -
That is now my fifth marathon and although my time was alot slower at 4.03  (last yr 3.55) I appreciate that I was not really run training in month coming up to marathon and doing a fair amount of biking and had a foot injury. iI you asked me to do the marathon a month ago before the injury i would stand a good chance of trying to beat my PB I think. This yr my main race is still bolton, so I wont stress too much about the marathon time, theres always next yr.

Heres a cool video my dad got of me. Im at 2.30 into it. it was funny as dad said later that he should have shouted philip instead of 'son' as i didnt really here him and he got a couple of blokes turn round looking out their dad instead looking at him :-)

Im not sure if you can pick up from the video, but each yr as soon as u hit the last straight at the gates u get a real burst of energy and i always sprint across the finish, dont know where i get it from as that ormeau road is tough and i can barely run round it after 25 miles!


Iron Distance - Peak Weekend Training 11/12 May

Well just had a busy weekend
Saturday - Bike
Had my longest every training bike ride 100 miler which was a good tester to see if I could do a really long distance, nail nutrition and hydration at the same time. Fuelled two 750 bottles which just about did me but I read that I really should have downed twice that amount. Ate well the nite before and had two toasties the morning of cycle, took aimee waterbabies, then after that went for my ride after lunch. Ended up returning 10.30 pretty late and by that stage it was dark by 9.30 so glad I had put lights on bike. The ride itself was great ards pinninsula and wheather ok with odd shower. Wore my long (green sports) tights and lighter altura yellow rain jacket which allowed me to open and close side zips to allow cool air in at times. I had relied upon my homemade granola/protein bars and some snack fun size mars bars type sweets to get me through. it ended up taking me 7.43hrs to do 103 miles , 13mph pace.

Sunday - Run
The next day, Sunday I had on training plan an 18 miler. I knew that due to family commitments this wouldn’t be possible to do long run in morning I decided to split it in two. In morning I did 6 miler with mcgregor our dog. After the family function I decided to head out for the 12 miler. In this afternoon I hadn’t eaten well for the long run eating the wrong type of foods and I had not drunk well with drinking coffee and Fanta at the family function. As the 12 miler went even at 4 miles between the sore legs from yesterdays bike ride and the morning run together with poor nutrition and hydration everthing came together and I really struggled. I mean it was very hard for me. I was tired and sore and hated ever minute of it. My speed slowed to a granny pace 11 mile pace! Eventually I finished thank god.

Well that was my peak weekend but unfortunately I didn’t do the swimming I was supposesd to do – 160 laps! No chance after that workload!

And now 3 weeks til tri limits iron distance ironman. Cant wait.

Hopefully next report is a successful completion of my second full distance iron