Anyone who has looked at the club's Facebook page will know that there has been a lot going on with members covering every distance and a few things in between! While I catch up here's a tale of Ros's adventure in Wales:-
I thought my 1st Ironman 2015 would be my last. Happy with race results of 2016, I decided I wasn't done with long course triathlons. At peace with sea swimming and looking to test my new found power to weight ratio, I entered Ironman Wales.
The sea was calm, so sadly no body surfing. Officials decided neoprene booties were allowed, but I swam without as water temperature was not as chilly as some lakes this time of year. The two humongous jelly fish I saw were sensibly keeping below the frenzied splashing. Stunning landscape, architecture and huge bouys made sighting a doddle. I exited the swim with a new PB. Feeling strong and spurred on by the crowds I ran the 1km transition - probably a new PB in itself.
The bike section was an experience I'll never forget. Coastal areas and countryside of Tenby and Pembrokeshire is breath taking. I'd done a recce and trained on the course. However, unsurprisingly I had not cycled in: torrential and unrelenting rain, headwinds that started at 25mph and finished on 35 mph, with gusts of 48 mph. Each time I passed a gap in the borders of fields, all you could hear was "eek aka s£&@t!" Slippy, sandy roads soon looked worse with tree debris. The mindless actions of a saboteur who had poured diesel on the four most technical descents, ended some athletes race before the bike course ended.
The route itself is technical, with steep and windy climbs and descents. It's constantly up and down. The final loop is where Ironlegs are made. My FTP, 5'2" 100lb frame served me well on the 25% climb that is Wiseman's hill. I cycled past a group of strapping men who were walking their bikes. Eating the spray of the Pro's sprinting past me was mind blowing. The ride became a psychological battle of needing to dig deep to make the cut off without risking my life. After all, this is just for fun!
I can honestly say, the only reason I survived the hilly and disorientating run (still windy and rainy) was due to the crowd support and not wanting to let anyone down. I'd been practising downhill running and that paid off. No pain anywhere in my legs. However, at one point I felt as though I were sleepwalking. Flat coke and tortilla chips helped. My brain said sleep, my heart said man up and overtake someone.
Tenby folk and all the supporters are amazing. Throughout the whole 17 hours they are with you at the hardest climbs, every corner, every village and every change in direction, There was fancy dress, music, screaming, cheering, cowbells, people asking for my phone number - it was all going on. I was offered chips and kebab on the third lap of the run. If a pint of Guinness had been on offer too, I might've been tempted.
In the words of Coach Cox; "One of the toughest races in the World just got tougher." Over 1 in 5 triathletes did not finish. It has earned the accolade as the hardest IM Wales since it began.
I'm not injured, am able to walk and inflammation is going down quickly. My size 6 jeans now feel like compression tights. I am however, starving. For those that know me, the best bit is still to come 🍔🍺🍟