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 :-)