Two weeks on from Ironman Wales and a lot of reflection has been done on the event and the journey I have taken so far. Only 18 months ago I took up Triathlon after swimming to a National level in the pool and Open Water. I was looking for something that would fuel my passion I have for sport and exercising. I did a couple of Sprint/Olympic triathlons on a borrowed road bike in 2018 and competed in my first 70.3 event in Weymouth and gained some amazing nutritional support from Komfuel.
After competing in this event I felt inspired, motivated and had begun to believe that I could have some success within triathlon. Over the winter I begun training with Cycle Specific in South Wales, and using watt bikes and the amazing depth of knowledge they had I went from strength to strength on the bike and continued to work on my run!
A lot of winter work, a few races, a running injury and an upgraded bike I was suddenly about to toe the line in my first long distance triathlon at Ironman Wales. In the build up to the race I could say that my preparations were far from perfect. I picked up a IT band injury in the summer that took me off running for about 8 weeks (one of the most common new runners injury- which is exactly what I was). Aside from this, I rehabbed hard, I did the training in the pool and spent as much time in the saddle as I could to ensure I was capable of completing the Iron Distance to a good level!
The day before the race I travelled to Tenby early, picked up my registration numbers and transition bags before heading to the briefing. Following this it was back to the car where I spent a good hour faffing around getting trainers, helmets SIS gels etc into the correct bags before taking them to the transition and racking my bike.
On the race morning the process was made simple for me, Komfuel had provide me with everything I would need to keep me fuelled for the whole day! I filled my bike bottles and special needs bottles with Precision Hydration, Squeeze 11 SIS Gels into an aero bottle and broke up Clif bars ready to take on the bike.
I was standing on the beach listening to the Welsh national anthem when I took the time to think through what my plan was for the day. My aims were to race from the front and use my strengths, and make sure I keep to my fuelling plan. 5 minutes after the Pros start the age groupers were let off into the water. Using my strength pulled away from the age group race and went in search of the slower swimming pros. “47:03” the commentator shouted over the speakers as I exited the water! I had swum the quickest time of the day, out splitting Dylan McNeice by 24 seconds. It was a crazy experience coming out of the water and having such incredible support from friends and family as I headed to transition!
As I was getting splits on this lap I was aware that Nathan was closing on me, however, I was still extending the lead in my age group (25-29). A balance of expectation I continued at the same intensity and saw Nathan make the pass before we reached Narberth but knew I had to stick to my race and not empty the tank to go with him. The rest of the ride was pretty much auto pilot, keep drinking, take no risks on descents and get back to T2.
The 2020 season planning is now underway with KONA being the big goal next October. One thing is for sure; In Kona, nutrition and hydration will play an even bigger and more important role than it ever has.