Debut Ironman Experience – Lanzarote
May 26th, 2015 by Will
Well, I can officially call myself an Ironman I guess, what a huge day trip that was in Lanzarote.
I felt like preparation went ok for my debut Ironman. I can’t say I was in top shape at all, just didn’t have the time to get that, lets say I was inconsistently good! I personally thought it was enough to get a good result here but not this time.
The swim was fine, I didn’t know what to expect from a 3.8k swim, I thought it’d probably bore the hell out of me but actually it went very quickly and wasn’t too bad! It was almost backstoke-able at times so really it was more of a warm up for what was to come. Pointer to all the athletes who raced! Did you see that GIANT Manta Ray that swam under us?
T1 went smoothly and we spit the pack into 2 groups. I was with some strong guys and to be honest they were riding a bit too hard for my liking. I had the aim of finishing the bike with 285w best case scenario. 280w maybe more realistic. That meant probably being on 290-300w at the top of Mirador after 3hrs of climbing. These guys had me on 320w just to follow so I left them to it (got dropped). I rode the rest of the race on my own which was humbling but fine because I could see on my power meter that I was doing well for me. The bike course starts at one side of the island and basically takes you 100km into the a super strong headwind (the sort that haves you leading sideways to stay upright) up around 2100m of climbing before flipping it and going back to the start which is obviously quite fast but then you hit the worlds worst road ever in Nazaret which brings you back down to reality. They it’s more climbing and a tricky decent home. At the top of Mirador I think I was around 10mins down join the leader and the other guys who went with that early pace started to come back to me which was nice and by the end I had caught back up with and passed 2/4 guys.
I knew that there would be points where I’d have bad patches where I’d have to really fight and stay positive and of course the little voices in your head that tell you that if you took the turn in Costa Teguise and went back to Sands Beach you’d probably enjoy it more there! However till 140km I didn’t have any of this. Energy was good, I was in full control but then I hit that bloody road in Nazaret, the eventual race winner caught me and we rode together for another 10km before I had a mechanical. I didn’t know the course 100% and got to a roundabout flipped the bike round too hard from a standing start and my back wheel went into my breaks and lost me a few mins. On the way home, more headwind and many 4 letter words from me!
So I’m now in 5th place, 283W and 10mins down on the leader who’s certainly pushed really hard to get there so anything can happen right?
It’s funny I didn’t think about the marathon till I got there. Till that point I almost rode as hard as I could and it’s mad to think that I now have to do my joint longest ever run after 6hrs of hard exercise already. I set off and of course my legs were feeling sluggish but not too bad. I had everyone warning me about being cautious on the first half. I tried to bare that in mind but almost couldn’t run slow enough. My K splits were almost always 3:50-4mins all the way up to 21k which I covered in around 1hr22 ish.
This is the point it went pear shaped!
I don’t know what happened next to my mentality. It all went so bad so quickly and I’m not sure how I got there. I decided then to take my first toilet stop as I was bloated from all the gels and drink and thought it’s better out then carrying it around for the rest of the race. I started running again but I wasn’t good any more. I knew this was my first bad patch of the race and I have to ride it out and I tried but I couldn’t run any more, I was exhausted. I stopped, walked again, stopped, jogged, ran, stopped again, walked the aid stations. Even when Romain my team mate came next to me to motivate me (which he did) I couldn’t run for more then 200m without stopping.
The spectators were amazing, as were the other athletes. Some of them recognised me, some didn’t but either way they were so encouraging and they really got me round it! When I’ve been stopping and walking for the past 20km and I’m still on 3hr 15 pace how can I possibly pull out when they’re probably struggling more then me and still running? Everyone who finished that race, hats off to you. Incredible show of strength and character.
I’m not sure what’s next now…certainly a week off here at Sands Beach resort before building again but I need to think about what I want from the year and have those discussions with my coach and team staff.
Should I put it down to an incredibly hard conditions at probably the hardest Ironman event? Was it just a bad day and a learning experience and am I’m actually ready to perform at this distance? It is a good 5hrs longer then me longest race prior…Who knows? Trying to figure it out now!
As always thanks to my great sponsor Uplace BMC and special mention to a new company I’m working with called Indurance who gave me peace of mind over my health status with their blood profiling. Thanks for all the support and messages everyone as well! Love the attention