I feel like I’ve come a very long way since my last blog post on my Ironman journey. I have completed a 100 miler on the bike on an even hillier course than the one that awaits me on race day (just under 6,000 feet of climbing) and managed to do it inside the pace required and seen a huge improvement in my swimming while training in open water. The only negative was not achieving a PB at the London marathon but my running hasn’t slaked off too much and that has never been a worry for this event anyway.
Last week was a real turning point in the water. On Tuesday I swam well inside my 1 mile PB bringing my time down to 30 minutes (my first 1 mile attempt back in February took 55 minuets), then on Sunday, exactly 1 week before the 2.4 mile swim in Bolton I recorded a time of 1 hour 30 mins for 2.65 miles/ 5 laps of the Box End park lake. This gives me a massive confidence boost as the cut off time for the swim is 2 hours 20 minutes so I’m well inside that. As long as I cope ok with the mass start and having people around me for the entire time then I’ll make some time up which will further help me going into the bike which is still my biggest worry.
My cycling has improved and although I still can’t say I enjoy it, I can say that I definitely don’t dislike it as much as I did. Although I’ve got that century of miles under my belt my next longest ride is still the 100k/ 62 miles I did back in early April. I do find it easier to rack up the miles now though since my speed has significant increased. My problem when it comes to training on the bike has always been lack of time.
Within the first month of training for Ironman I knew the bike section was going to be my hardest challenge and that’s not changed. That 112 miles will make or break my entire journey. I know I have the fitness levels, yet I know it will hurt like hell going up some of those hills and mentally it will be the most draining thing I’ve ever done. I just have to keep telling myself I am mentally as well as physically tough enough to do this.
I also need to remember why I decided to take on this challenge in the first place and that was because I wanted to do something that was going to truly put me out of my comfort zones and test everything I have. On Sunday that is going to happen and although the mere thought of that scare me it also excites me. This is the real deal and the time has almost arrived. In life and certainly in sport I have always thrived on pressure. I’ve put the hours of training in, it’s time to make it all count, stand up and be counted, swim, bike and run like I’ve never done before and become an Ironman.