The UK Ironman 70.3 Event has gained a reputation as the "Toughest 70.3 in the World" and having completed it I can certainly see why. My pre-race preparation was good; I was well hydrated and had eaten lots of carbohydrate rich foods. At the start of the race I was feeling pretty good.
The Swim (1.2 Miles)
I don't get put off by a mass-start openwater event like a lot of people do, so this definitely gives me an advantage. The swim start went well and I soon settled in and become more relaxed in the water. We were all wearing green swim caps, which corresponded to our age-group, so I was somewhat concerned when I started seeing more and more white swim caps. I kept thinking that the group behind, who were set-off 10 minutes after us, had caught me up. However I soon realised that the white caps actually went off before us and I had caught them up - this boosted my confidence and I finished the swim feeling good and in a time of 00:34:12
Transition 1 (Swim to Bike)
Just before I reached the edge of the lake I put into practise a technique I had read in a Triathlon book. To kick your legs faster and lower them slightly in the water in order to try and encourage the blood flow down into your legs and combat the dizzy feeling you get when you stand up from the swim. This worked really well and I was amazed that when I got to the shore I was able to stand up straight away and run to the Transition area without any problems.
The transition area was a few hundred meters up a grassy slope. I used this time to strip off the top half of my wetsuit. In the Transition area I took the time to put on some socks, collected all my bike gear, and headed to the cycling start. My Transition 1 time was 00:05:18
The Bike (56 Miles)
I almost fell off my bike right at the start of the bike section. I'd only gone about 1/2 mile and I was trying to eat food and re-hydrate with one hand on the bike, when the wheel slipped on a metal joint in the road by a bridge and this sent me swerving across the road and I just manage to re-cover it in time.
Despite this initial problem, I soon settled in to a good pace and was pleased with the first lap. The course was very hilly, especially towards the end of each lap. The second lap was a lot harder and I suffered quite a lot on the steep hills (a lot of people were actually walking up them!).
I completed the Bike in an overall time of: 03:46:57
Transition 2 (Bike to Run)
As I entered the transition area my bike was taken from me by the marshalls and I went straight into the changing tent to change into my running stuff and eat some more food.
My Transition 2 time was 00:02:39
The Run (13.1 Miles)
As soon as I started running I knew I was in for a very hard run, however for the first few miles I kept telling myself that the aching and uncoordinated legs would get better once they got used to running. Unfortunately that wasn't the case and I struggled around the run course, even walking in places, and my knee started to play up. It was also a surprise at just how hilly the course was.
The Run was completed in a time of 02:25:26
I certainly learnt a lot from competing in this event. If nothing else I have definitely learnt the importance of Triathlon specific training. Whilst I have been doing a lot of running and cycling separately, I have done very few, Brick Sessions, where you combine the two activities in one session. I definitely paid for this on the Run.
Overall time was 06:54:27
Half Ironman Triathlon at Wimbleball, Exmoor. 1.2 Mile Swim > 56 Mile Bike > 13.1 Mile Run