I am an Ironman!!!!

Sunday morning started super early, the alarm went off at 4:15am… Time to shower, a few last minute checks everything we would need after the race was in our street wear bags, struggle through breakfast (cornflakes for me, chocolate covered doughnuts for Simon!) then we left the hotel at around 5:30 to walk to the station.

Of course as we were arriving at the station, Simon realized he’d forgotten his street wear bag which was needed for transition as they don’t accept any other bags… We’d put our stuff in our backpacks and planned to put them inside the bags for ease afterwards. Cue a nervous dash back to the hotel to pick it up!

The next challenge was finding which train we needed to get… That early in the morning the Danish metro system was a little confusing to say the least! Luckily there were a fair few people around with Ironman backpacks so we followed the crowd and found the right train.

A short while later we disembarked at Amagar Strand and had a short walk to the swim start area. It was a beautiful morning, with the sun rising as we arrived. A good sign…?    We headed into transition to check on our bikes having let the tyres down the day before to prevent them exploding in the heat. After queuing for what seemed like forever for the loo, I borrowed a pump and re-inflated my tyres. Happy that everything was ready, we changed into wetsuits and dropped off our bags. 

 

A little dip in the sea to warm up, it was pretty warm… 21.8 degrees and wetsuit optional! Obviously most people chose to wear wetsuits, I don’t think I saw a single skins swimmer but then it’s a no brainier really isn’t it!

Before we knew it, it was time to line up in the start pen with the other nutters in our age group. A few minutes of nervousness ensued, and a couple of hugs later it was time to get in the zone.

The buzzer sounded bang on 7:30 and that was it… Our Ironman Copenhagen 2015 was underway! 

 

The swim start was a bit frantic, a large group of athletes running into the lagoon and starting to swim at the same time = lots of kicking and splashing. I managed to find some open water, alongside Simon, and we splashed along this way for about 500m or so, then he overtook me and shot off. I didn’t think I’d catch him so kept going, turning my arms over, quite aware that my shoulder was getting a little tired but just tried to keep a rhythm… 2 strokes, sight, 2 strokes, breathe… 

It was just before the last turn buoy that I saw a blue backed wetsuit out of the corner of my eye and thought, you know what I bet that’s Simon… So I went for it… Overtook him and that was that!

The rest of the swim was uneventful, the field had spread out quite a bit and I found myself overtaking athletes from the wave in front and breaststrokers from the wave in front of that… Result!

Out of the water in 1:03, 7th in my age group, and a quick dash into transition, feet dried and socks, bike shoes and helmet on, I ran out to find my bike.

As I ran out of transition with my bike in tow, I glanced over to the left around the point I knew Simon’s bike was racked and had a mini fist pump moment when I saw it was still there… Boom, beat him out the swim πŸ’ͺ🏻 I spotted his mum and dad as I was running out of T1 and yelled hello, I seem to have a crazy knack of spotting my supporters often before they see me!

Just after crossing the mount line I spotted the rest of the support crew, Simon’s cousin and school friends, a ‘helloooooo’ and then I was off on my way. 2.4 miles down, 112 bike miles to go. 

 

I settled into a comfortable pace on the bike, had a gel and a cereal bar within the first couple of miles to bring sugar levels back up and was feeling strong. Simon sped past me within the first few miles and yelled ‘cheeky monkey!’ Which made me smile 😊

The miles went by, cycling along the coastline which was lovely. A little windy in parts but all in all beautiful sunshine and nice to see the sea. I was careful to keep drinking plenty as the sun was relentless and although it didn’t feel warm on the bike I was aware it was forecast to be around 25 degrees. The volunteers at the three aid stations we passed twice were fantastic and so effocient. I swapped out my water and High5 energy drinks each time and even grabbed a few bits of banana, which broke up the monotony of oatcakes, gels and cereal bars!

There were a couple of hills on the bike course, it definitely wasn’t completely flat! They were manageable though, and I kept smiling 😊 after about 45 ish miles we ascended Geeles Baake, a hill that was lined with spectators about 3ft apart, Tour de France style, yelling shouting and cheering the athletes on… It was awesome and totally pulled me up the hill, overtaking a number of riders in front!

I made it through 56 miles in 3:20ish, an improvement on my half ironman bike time by a good 10 minutes. 

 

Lap two was fairly uneventful, a few dark moments where I started to tire but shoveled in a few more calories… Lots of encouragement from other athletes along the way which was awesome! 

When I got to 76 miles I was feeling really positive- the furthest I’d been on the bike on the road… 

And when I got to 86 miles I was PUMPED as that was the furthest I’d cycled EVERRRRR! 

The last few miles went by and after 6:33 I rolled into T2, 30th in my age group! Getting off the bike and handing it over to one of the amazing volunteers my legs felt like jelly and the outside of my feet were in agony. 

I trotted to pick up my run gear bag and headed for the changing tent to change shoes, socks and shorts and had a few jelly babies before heading out on the run.

The first couple of miles my feet were in agony. The pain was along the fifth metatarsal and I think it was from my cycling shoes which really need replacing. Anyway the miles went by and the pain in my feet slowly went away.

I had said I wanted to race with a smile, I couldn’t help but smile I was doing what I love, in a race I had worked so hard to get to, the smiles came naturally!

  
 

The atmosphere was amazing. So many spectators and a constant flow of runners, I kept looking at the other athletes wrists to see how many colored wristbands they had collected… I tried to pass as many people as I could 😊 about 7km into the first lap I saw Simon’s parents who said he had passed them about 10 minutes earlier. I was uplifted by that and really wanted to see him. There was a portion of the run where runners were running against each other and I saw my boy running towards me… I shouted and we had a high five 😊 

Soon enough lap 1 was done, and it was back round again for lap 2… Halfway round this one just after an aid station I overtook Simon who was walking due to cramp in his hamstrings and calves. I plodded on. 

My pace fluctuated from around 7:35-9 minute miles but they kept going by and before I knew it I had picked up band number 2.

On laps 3 and 4 I decided to walk through the aid stations, taking on coke and water and sometimes extending the walk a little further after the aid station.

At about 22 miles into the marathon I caught sight of a clock, which showed the time of day as being 6:45pm. Some mental arithmetic (albeit very slow) I figured out I had 45 minutes to run 4 miles and I would be under 12 hours. I could not believe it. 

The last 5 km felt soooo loooong. But I pushed on and as I turned the corner to head for the finish line I saw Simon’s cousin and friends and thought for the first time, ‘I’m going to do this!’ 

Running down the red carpet towards the finish gantry is a bit of a blur. I could see the clock at the end and I just went for it, running alongside a guy in a bright yellow top I tried to out sprint him to the line but didn’t quite manage it and as a result we crossed the line almost at the same time… Annoyingly for the finisher photos!  I finished the marathon in 4:09, and finished 21st in my age group/ not bad for a first timer!

 

I instantly burst into tears after crossing the line. All the emotions of the day, and the months of training caught up with me… As well as the fact that I finished the race, and not only that I finished in under 12 hours… A full 30 minutes faster than what I was aiming for. 11:55… I’d had an almost perfect race. My mumma was looking down on me for sure πŸ˜‡

My boy was waiting at the end, having finished in 11:08, and I went straight over to him and just wept… Sobbing and in shock I couldn’t quite believe what I had achieved…

I AM AN IRONMAN!!!! 

 
I will never forget that day and the race… Best experience of my life!!! 

 

Now for a little R&R, but already thinking when I can do that again…

Thanks for reading,

A sub 12, extremely happy Ironman triathlete πŸ˜€ x  

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