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Ironman Wales by Sarah Robson


Tenby was hot! Went straight to register, of course spent money at the expo used the hyperice massage legs, kept hydrated and ate loads. Checked into caravan at 4pm, unpacked, legs up with pizza in oven we had relaxing evening watching QOTSA concert whilst reading my book, a Patricia Cornwell crime cos when feeling stressed you revert to what you know right lol I used this time to sort my bike/run/additional special needs bags and the iconic pink bag. Taking advice from mark's experience I had can of Costa latte in both my special needs. A short walk into town to rack my bike and the bike/run bags, the guy racking bike/bags next to me was miserable and wouldn't even say hello (I finished before him ). Took time to work out where everything was, hung my bags, thanked the volunteers and then went into town. Continued hydrating all day knowing race day would be hot. Gorgeous mint choc chip ice cream too and Tenby was buzzing. Saw Nikki Bartlett, Bex & Titch and chatted for ages all things Tri - she is the nicest Pro! Back at caravan I sorted my bottles (precision hydration carb mix) and nutrition (malt loaf, protein bar, cheddars, Percy Pigs (thanks Moyna), snickers and peanut butter & jam sandwiches - kitchen sink, table, chair ) yes cut up small, it did all fit into my bento box lol Race day, slept ok ish. Up at 4am to eat porridge, drink tea and ImodiumSea sickness tablet cos despite it being v calm I hate salt water Imy put my battle braid in and we all walked to town at 5am. In transition put bike computer, bottles & nutrition on bike, put on wetsuit to my waist handed over my street clothes bag and headed back out to meet everyone, my support crew in tow we walked to North Beach where I could see the glorious sunrise and the sea still soooo far out. Fuccckkk. This shit was getting real. Hugs and off I went down the zig zag, hung up my pink bag and got to my swim start pen. Seeding at 1hour30 I was about 10 people from the front. Chatting, of course, to the guys around me I did a cheeky wee whilst standing there still calm until I heard the Welsh national anthem - I cried. I was here! I was so proud to finally be here & decided there and then that I'd just soak up the day as I looked in wonder at all the people competing & the support on the cliffs, it was unreal! Cannons, Thunderstruck oh my the goosebumps. Then the Pros going in - then called forward ...this was it... Swim: 3800km anti clockwise this year with an Aussie exit, meaning you get out on beach around Goscar rock and back in again. I went a bit wide out to first buoy but difficult to sight with the sunrise. Note to self to do better next loop Long back straight I settled enjoyed being able to swim, focussed on technique and breathing and was looking forward to this on second loop What a difference long straight on second loop was. More swell, from all directions I didn't have same rhythm and it was tough. I detest sea swimming because I retch, swallow too much and get sea sick...Didn't swallow as much or retch as much so this was my win. Glad of bottle of coke in pink bag to take away the taste and settle tummy. Up the zig zags and just so happy to see everyone I ran all way to T1 soaking up the route being chocablock with support. Looking at watch I was 10mins slower second loop but guy in T1 said exactly same so happy. T1: Having used water in pink bag to get sand off as got trainers on to run and talc in my socks my feet were ready for my cycle shoes, put dry HTC cycle top on, spray of sun cream & off I went. Bike: 112miles. Hard, hot, hilly omg was it hilly but I absolutely loved every minute. Freshwater bay glorious in sunshine, Angle had an awful smell that everyone commented on - consensus later it was rotting dead animals. Passed by Nikki Bartlett when going uphill in Narbeth, I was yelling like a banshee at her I was happy settled & chatting to everyone I passed (passing plenty on TTs!) and finally arrived at my first visit to Wisemans Bridge climb and what is called Heartbreak Hill out of Saundersfoot. OMG the noise, the support was EPIC - I was so emotional it was the best experience. Saw Mark & Nikki as cycled up Heartbreak & they then found me at special needs whilst I drank my latte ate a sandwich and pulled on bib shorts over my Tri suit ,which I was glad of. Got interviewed about coming up heartbreak too. Definitely took much longer here than should of (would have beat mark's bike time I reckon lol) Second loop quieter, hotter & harder. Definitely felt fatigue setting in. Continued hydrating and eating & a wee stop in Narbeth told me I was hydrating well so just kept smiling and chatting away, cat and mouse with few people but still overtaking loads who were finding the heat tough. Only two issues on bike. Little niggle behind right knee from around 15miles, took paracetamol and this reminded me to take a salt tablet. After freshwater climb my bike computer was telling me I was now running! the page telling me my stats wouldn't stay so I turned it off & on again so at 22 miles I was back to square one. This provided me with my maths problem that kept me entertained for ages as I initially was adding the distance markers to what bike computer was telling me - seriously am sooo blond! Told a guy off for chucking a gel wrapper! No excuses you carried before using it, carry it after!! Absolutely buzzing to be back in town and see everyone and confident that I'd done everything right to get out on run comfortable and healthy as sooo many had heat stroke. T2: just happy to get bike done, knowing I'd smiled and enjoyed every moment. Vaseline my friend as you don't want to chafe on run ate a few salt n vinegar crisps, another salt tablet, a swig of coke, I was good to go. Run: 26.2 miles run as 4 loops that is either up or down! I was so happy to see everyone as soon as exited and then at sooooo many different points on the course. Tenby is great to support at as can cut across roads. Si & Becky singing let's go round again when collected my first loop band. Imys inspirational signs along with sooo much support. I felt unsettled on first loop but then found a rhythm that worked of run/walk but I walk fast and got so many comments from people I was passing doing the renowned run shuffle. Continued to smile and chat and made a point of thanking every helper, I just loved every minute. Town was hot, full of drunk people encouraging you to run faster lol I just plodded on and my mantra just soak this up cos you won't do it again lol. 3rd loop I had my latte, a little warm but the caffeine hit was nice. I had two precision hydration gels on run not using maurten gels as not ever trained with them I just drank a water or two, threw a water on my head, drank a few sips of coke and salty crisps when fancied them. I'd done same at Lakesman and it worked. I was happy with my times but knew was getting more tired and it definitely harder when darker out of town. Especially cos can't see the catseyes and nearly went flying. Finish: what a feeling to hit the red carpet see Imy and Mark I was absolutely buzzing! I had done it. Hearing Sarah you are an Ironman - I was tearful, tired but oh so happy! Not only had I done it but I did it all happy, smiling and enjoying every moment. The BEST day ever - I slayed the dragon


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