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Germany 2009

Where to start, ferry over from Newcastle to Amsterdam and then a couple of days work before driving to Frankfurt. Fairly uneventful drive other than getting to play on the Autobahn's. It was getting ever hotter the nearer I got to Frankfurt, and the Air Con stopped working in the car.

Arrived in Frankfurt to 37deg, this was certainly going to be a good dressed rehearsal for Hawaii, but not what I was expecting. Normally I'd arrive at least a week before a hot race to acclimatise, so 2 days was going to be a struggle. Only saving grace may have been that I had done some long turbo session in the swet box at 25deg.

Onto the race not a good result 9:54:56, 80th in Age Group, 256th overall. Her goes for the blow by blow account.

Lead in to race

Nit a very good nights sleep, noisy campsite and the owners were having a party so couldn't really go and complain to anybody. Up in the morning had a good breakfast and then utilised the super efficient German transport system to get to the swim start. Feeling good despite that lack of sleep and looking forward to the race.

Swim

A good clean start, pushed hard for about 1min and then into fairly clear water so eased back a bit. Water was hot 24.5deg, only 0.4deg below limit for non-wetsuit swim. It was roasting in a wetsuit. First loop went well but as soon as I got out of the water to run the land loop I was absolutely out of breath, looked at HR monitor and it was 160+. Flopped back into the water and immediately felt myself overheating. Slowed down for the first half of the next lap to cool down a bit, then picked it up again. Finished swim in 54:50 19th in Age group, so pleased with that, thought it might have been slower. In hindsight it would probably have been better to take the time penalty of not using a wetsuit and used my swimskin, would have meant not starting the bike quite so de-hydrated, and overheating.

Bike

The bike went well for the first 1hr, feeling good and keeping power level where planned to. Felt better for the first 20mins than have done in previous Ironmans, normally takes me about 20-30mins to get the legs warmed up. After about an hour the drafting problems started, not to worry I though they'll be a draft buster about soon. No longer had I though that than one appeared, drove up beside the pack of 20 that was up in front of me and proceeded to do nothing! Draft buster sat beside the pack for 40mins with the odd hand gesture but no penalties dished out. At which point I'd had enough put in a big effort and passed the whole pack, slowed enough to ask the draft buster if they had any intention of handing out penalties. This was great and managed to stay ahead for about 20mins until the inevitable happened, the pack passed me with draft buster in tow. Must admit this got to me mentally and I thought why bother racing with all these cheats. Spent the next 2hrs passing an then being passed by the pack, but all the time keeping the power level where I wanted it. All seemed to go well until after about 4hrs, started feeling horribly sick, managed to trudge on until 4 1/2hrs when almost threw up, went slowly for 10mins and could feel myself getting cold (sign of heat stroke when it's 32deg). Stopped at the aid station at the top of heartbreak hill (not really heartbreak a relief to get there as means only another 10k of downhill/flat to go). Luckily a volunteer was on hand to feed me bananas, water and poor cool water over me for about 5mins.

Then completed the bike slowly but still not to shabby a time of 5hr4min.

Almost forgot about the cobbled section, only 600m long (twice), I don't recommend trying to do it on tri-bars. Well not if you're a bloke anyway!

 

Now tell me he's not drafting!!!!

 

 

 

Run

A relatively slow transition and out I went, plan was just to run slow keeping hr down and concentrating on getting the water and gels in. (If I raised my Hr to much instantly started to feel sick). First 4K was horrible, even thought about and almost did start walking. Thought it would be a nice day to walk 24miles. Gave myself a good talking to and just kept plodding on telling myself it would get better. Glad to say after the first lap I was a changed man, energy levels were back (thanks to the Torq Forest Fruit Gels!) and stopped feeling sick. Picked the pace up slightly for the next lap and went from being passed by lots to overtaking people. Onto the 3rd lap and feeling better still, another pick up in pace and felt like I was flying.

I was taking care to ensure I got as much fluid in at each aid station as possible, including getting ice and water down the tri-suit to cool me down. Started having to hold myself back on the 3rd lap, still knew it could go horribly wrong. I was still on for about a 3hr 26m marathon, someway of my target but not bad considering how bad I felt to start with. Onto lap 4 what a relief, could finally let myself go and run the pace I wanted to. All still going very well (hadn't walked at any point throughout the marathon) until 3K to go and then bang! Started feeling extremely sick and then threw up. Started feeling completely spaced and running was a struggle.

I was always going to finish but just a matter of weather on two legs or on all 4's. Stumbled helped by the banisters for the next 2.5k until the medical station with 0.5k to go. Sat down for 5minutes there as just wasn't with it, felt like I was going to spew again. Eventually after much encouragement from other competitors and medical crew I got up and plodded on half walking half running I think! I don't really remember much about the last 0.5K (it's slowly coming back) but apparently I sprinted past 5 people in the last 100yds followed by and instantaneous collapse, and stretchered off to the medical tent.

I only really came around when some Dr.Frankenstein was trying kak headedly to put a drip in my arm. He failed after two attempts and the nurse did it instead. Must say felt much better after 1 1/2hrs and crawled of to the beer tent, not really the best re-hydration but I felt I needed one. I've had to order a personalised DVD so that I can see the finish, hope the got the collapse in!!

 

See I did finish, although there was some debate whether it was me finishing, the stretcher.

 

 

Post mortem

Believe it or not there are some good points. I was definitely in better shape than previous events and until the stomach problems was on for a sub 4:45 bike, better than IMWA. Also was having a solid run until the last 3K, had the mental strength and experience to know how to sort myself out and keep going. Muscles recovered quickly as hadn't pushed myself so much on the run. Walking without limps etc 2 days later.

Lessons Learnt

Shouldn't have worn wetsuit in the swim! - not a problem for Hawaii non wetsuit swim

Didn't drink enough at the start of the bike, enjoying myself to much and not concentrating on getting the fluid in - need to concentrate more on this.

Don't use a black tri-suit! - speaks for itself really!

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