I’m sitting on the plane back to Heathrow now, after 2 weeks of adventure , trials and tribulations and thinking how to write this race report a bit differently. I always aim to give tips and advice in my reports, so that you guys don’t make some of the mistakes I do… and can learn from the parts I get right.
Ironman 70.3 Italy was the race I very nearly won derailed by a crash 48 hours pre race.
Very choppy. Swam slightly off course with person I was swimming with. Sighting poor as goggle misted. Average swim, felt comfortable but difficult to get rhythm because of waves.
Times overall were slow for everyone, but I was in a good position and minutes ahead those I used to come into T1 with.
Its rare I get onto the bike after the swim and feel good straight away. Legs/bum/lower back usually burn a bit and takes a while to get a rhythm. This is the first time I have raced on my Rotor Power Cranks and I was looking at the watt figures bemused as to why it felt so easy. I started to convince myself that I had calibrated them wrongly but soon forgot about it and went onto perceived effort and chasing the girls up the road. I chose not to wear an aero helmet as my Kask Bambino has very little verntilation and it was 27C.
Again, lost one bottle over a bump in the road – really must reassess hydration options . (Excited about FloeBottle!) Soon reeled in the girls ahead - Rachel Kung coached by Brett Sutton is a superb swimmer. I remember she put around 7minutes into me at Alpe D’Huez triathlon last year. Today it was < 3mins. I caught Rahel just before the 1hour mark (could see for a way the classic Sutton style grinding low cadence in the TT bars on the climb) and knew that just Celine Scharer, also Sutton coached (baby bike monster) was still up the road. It took me a while to catch her and I consoled myself thinking that Brett would have told her to go for bust and kill the swim/bike and hold on as long as possible.
I was confident in my run in the lead up to this race and buoyed by what felt like a comfortable 1.23 at 70.3 Mallorca last month , I had been thinking game on!
My continued work with Tom Bennett of T2 coaching is really helping my development as an athlete.
However, after the crash I was hobbling around, managing all but a jog.. I knew it was going to be a painful run ahead, I just didn’t realize HOW painful.
I caught Celine at around 60k and from then on saw only one other male pro the whole way back. It was a lonely ride… not knowing how far behind people were, no lead motorcycle and worst still no road signs for the 20k back to town. The motorway was shut and I had thought I had taken a wrong turn… there was no one around – ghost town – and it made me a little emotional. I pushed on, waiting to find a road sign for the direction of Pescara and 5k down the road I finally saw one, but still no Ironman race signs. Very poor. I’ve never had this experience before – of leading a race with no one around!
Before long I was off the motorway and back in town and T2 feeling somewhat bewildered.
The announcements were in Italian, so again, no idea where I was or if anyone was behind me.
Thirsty – very thirsty… aid stations on bike were few and far between.
Out of T2 and cheers!
"Numero uno delle donne"
I smiled but inside just felt very flat and sore.. like someone has taken me off a cloud and put leaded trousers on me.
My thoughts went like this:
‘Build into it Tam… the adrenaline will kick in and the pain will go.. just tick over 4min kms are good, ok...you;ve done this in training so many times…. Just keep ticking off the Kms… No you can’t stop and walk for a bit!”
Then I found out I had a big lead – around 6 minutes… but I didn’t know who to or where they were. The run course was 4 laps and twist sand turns, very few opportunities to see opponents and my lead bicycle man spoke no English.
I knew there were good runners behind me – but surely no one could run 6minutes into me?!
By lap 3 I felt no better, in fact worse. My right quad was like a block of wood and my ankle seemed to creak with each step. I could see my Km splits dropping and even tried to convince myself that it was ok, it was just windy, despite feeling like I was jogging, not actually running at all. I still had hopes of the win and the crowd were shouting ‘Number 1’!
This isn’t how its supposed to feel. Winning my first Ironman race and I feel like crap… I had hopes of feeling like Pete Jacbos winning Kona when he was full of joy and emotion and LOVE… I was just questioning whether I would actually be able to hold up the winning tape when I crossed the line!
Know those dreams where you need to run and run fast, but you can’t something is holding you, harnessing you, legs are moving but you’re not going forward. I was living this dream.
Last lap and someone shouted that I had 2.5 minutes to the girl behind whom I could see at one point was Erika Csomor and she had her battle face on. She was closing, but surely not 2.5minuntes in 5km. My homestay chap had cycled by on the last lap and was telling me to relax as I had the win, and he could see I was in a lot of pain. I really wish I hadn’t heard him, because I did back off a bit, took some deep breaths but then I heard someone shout something in Italian and next then I knew Erika was behind me. I have imagined these moments in training and I kick, respond, sprint...… its only metres. pain is temporary... glory.... etc...
But nothing worked.. Erika has had a few incredible sprint finishes and she is a tough tough athlete. Very experienced and really really wants to win. Sounds strange right… we all want to win right?? Winning is an art and its new to me as a Pro.
Crossed the line –less than 20seconds after Erika (3rd was a long way back) utterly spent and the medics gave me some attention as the road rash was bleeding & well I looked like I needed a big dose of TLC.
I lay in the medical tent – again bewildered, emotional, sad, questioning myself and why I hadn’t gone earlier, pushed a little bit earlier. I just didn’t believe – neither did the supporters that I would get caught. Never Let Up and chose carefully who you rely on for information. 20 seconds is 1000$ in prize money and a suprise gift for the winner of 0.6ct diamond!
People have said post-race that I’m being hard on myself and it was a great race.
Of course I am disappointed that I couldn’t hold it to the line and I wish someone had told me 3k out that Erika was closing - but they didn't.
Realism kicks in and I have to be proud for just keeping going on that run when the pain and sense of effort were rocketing. I pushed hard on the bike, but felt good, better than Mallorca and I am confident in my improved swim and run generally. So I’m healing up and getting back on that winning horse!
I was due to race Ironman 70.3 UK this weekend. I love this race as it was my first pro race and I grew up in Devon, however, I have to be realistic and my body is still not recovered from the crash pre race. I will be there supporting all the other athletes though and giving my wonderful sponsors some love, especially Tim Williams of CompressSportUK and ZerOD UK who has supported me from the start. I love their products and if you havent tried the ZEROD kit then get on it... it is the best :)
Always inspired pre-race by Al Pacino's speech in Any Given Sunday. Have a watch :)