Jet setting, Ironman addicted couple Time and Claire visited Mallorca, where Tim faced his demons and a rather tough course…
“OMG Tim, I’ve never felt one so long and hard!” exclaimed Claire, my long-suffering wife, at the end of what had indeed been a long and hard season. “Are you sure you can manage it a second time… especially at your age?” she inquired with the resigned acceptance of one who’d been let down before. “Come again love?” I retorted with an air of bemused indignance. And with our repertoire of sexual innuendo exhausted, our minds turned to the matter in hand; our second long distance race of the year and last chance to slay a few demons. (Editor: This is a family blog. If you two are going to start pushing boundaries with poor smutty jokes, we will be in search of a new guest writer)
Having breathed a massive sigh of relief the day before the race when the water temperature miraculously fell to 24.49 degrees C, my usual race morning nerves were fuelled by a now all too familiar challenge – squeezing into tight fitting clothing without ripping, tearing, splitting or bursting something. On this occasion, emergency repairs to a six inch gash in the leg of my wetsuit. With precious little time to implement the helpful advice of TES FB friends (“eat less chips and lard fat boy”) there was nothing but black witch and gaffa tape to rely on.
But with a job seemingly well done, I hauled my neoprene-clad frame the 50 metres from our apartment to the start line. In no time at all we were off and swimming into a beautifully calm Mediterranean Sea; a rolling start, two loop course, with Australian exit in the middle. Pretty uneventful really other than for the stark realisation of just how hot 24.49 degrees is when you’re all wrapped up in rubber (something I believe the Team Pie boys know all about). Stuck pretty much to the line and climbed out in 1:24. Not the 1:20 I was hoping for, but not bad for someone taking on water faster than an Aegean dinghy.
Long run into transition, quick change, and long run out of transition aside my beloved steed. With the words “the first 30 miles should feel really easy” ringing in my ears I eased right back and then started to hurl abuse at my Garmin Edge as it completely discharged itself precisely 1 minute and 59 seconds in. Oh well, heart rate it is then. There’s one big climb on the bike which you hit at 68 miles. The secret is to fly up it as fast as you can, as if starring in one of Collins’ fables, without ever leaving zone 2. Unfortunately I haven’t quite mastered the art of tall story telling yet though, and so have to admit to more of a steady grind. Pleased nonetheless to complete a well-paced bike in 5:52, beating my predicted time of 6 hours with a few minutes to spare. (Editor: I agree that you still have to master the art of bullshi**ing, I’ll put you in contact with Richard Collins, we delivers 1-2-1 coaching).
Through T2 and onto the run and felt about as fresh as I could hope for at this point. Pacing on the bike certainly seemed to be paying dividends early in the marathon. Got through the first few laps without too much discomfort and maintained target pace of 5:20 reasonably well. But then things started to get real around the halfway point. The mental strategies which had proved quite helpful earlier on deserted me when I needed them most. Even the cries of encouragement from Claire, and the cold water she lovingly poured over my shoulders (and into my running shoes and socks) each time I passed her lost their revitalising effects. Eventually with just one 9km lap to go the desire to walk became too much, and before you could say “Wales on one leg” I had succumbed.
So the last lap was more of a run walk affair and I eventually shuffled over the line in 11:37. Against a target time of 11:40 I shouldn’t have been too disappointed; shouldn’t have been, but unfortunately was. I also allowed the words “never again” to rest on my lips for longer than ever before this time, but came to my senses the following day and agreed with Claire which two long distance races would form the basis of our 2016 race programme. So, a few weeks off now, a winter of turbo hell in the pain cave (aka the garage), and then back leaner, meaner and with even better excuses for 2016.
Editor: Well done Tim, excellent report and great dig at Team Pie in the middle of it all. Enjoy your recovery and I’m sure there’s more to come next year, especially if you avoid the chips and lard.