Ironman Hamburg

After deferring this race due to covid it finally came round we seemed to be in luck as it was half term in the middle of eldest child’s exams perfect a break for her and family race at the end of a week away then home in time for rest of her GCSEs. Not exactly the case I wanted to go Tuesday to Tuesday so could have a day to recover before flying back couldn’t do that as her exams wouldn’t allow it. A flight got cancelled so options were Wednesday to Monday or go for a full week. I wanted to as long as possible in case anything went wrong.

We stayed at a hotel at the airport as the flight was at stupid o clock and with problems at Manchester airport we had to get there earlier. Bag and bike drop off took over an hour over 45 mins the flight was fine got to Hamburg got the cases but no bike. After waiting filling in forms they located my bike and it had been left at Manchester. Couple of nervous days waiting and hoping it would are but trips out with the family and knowing had time took the stress out of it. Late Tuesday evening my bike arrived at the hotel after being rushed via Frankfurt.

Thursday got to the athletes village to register early I like to get kit organised then can check it. Early registration got lower numbers closer to bike exit also means further from run but still easier to run not as far with bike. Then relaxed really nothing to do till race brief Friday afternoon that was only half hour. Had a couple of beers and chats with others around. Saturday went down for the practice swim just so I knew what I was getting into this was before the tunnels in a quiet corner . Water was warm it was greeny brown no worse than the flash short loop job done happy with that gave me confidence. Pasta for tea early night no sleep usual before any race.

4:40 alarm the sun was already up dressed and ready and porridge pot tried to shove down my face and on the train by 5:15. Out the train station that led straight to transition computer and bottles on bike pumped up tyres. Back to katie and Edward wetsuit half on nerves we’re getting to me not sure what to do with myself. With it being postponed and dragged out for so long it felt like it meant more like I was putting more pressure on myself. I had an actual plan and goals for each part think that’s why was in my own head. Went into the start pens pro women went off was chatting and bored waiting in the start music was playing lots of 90’s dance NO THINDERSTUCK! that’s never a good start. Made my way back to the barriers went and talked to Katie as was moving no where fast took about 40 mins before I got in. Straight down the ramp plenty space straight into crawl perfect.

Buoys kept on right shoulder easy enough swim straight for the tunnel easy enough swimming through the tunnel was weird short gap then a bridge out into main lake. This is where swim started to go wrong. Sun made it impossible to sight yellow buoys and the turn buoys were small triangles so again not easy to spot got swam over but found some feet got to the turn bigger lake meant was little rougher than before the tunnel just wanted to make it back into that part. Swam wide came back in swam wide again couldn’t see goggles were hurting my face they were to tight but had leaked last time so hadn’t got them just right. Got back to the tunnel felt like getting dragged through hardly had to swim after fighting the current from turn then swimming on a diagonal as the exit is different from the start I’m good at that. Under another tunnel and out onto the steps. 10 mins slower than I wanted still well within cut off worst bit over.

After a ridiculously long transition (length not time) I was happy to get out on the bike. Roads were flat and decent out into the centre through the middle of the red light district then out into little towns it was an out and back out seemed to be a headwind then a left turn for about 3 miles a u turn then back really easy to keep on TT bars slowing at aid stations to refill bottles sticking energy bars in. Nutrition seemed spot on it was hot and sunny so making sure kept water going in. There was a section that made me laugh was signposted for bumpy and uneven for 2 miles and was probably better than 50% of Ironman uk course. Four times tool bottle came out of holder on the full course I’m going have to change that. First lap was 3:01 was aiming for between 6 and 6:15 for bike so this was spot on wind picked up a little more second lap but still kept going dipped below average I wanted but came in off the bike 6:20 so not to far off

Under the fast tunnel into transition feet out of shoes and put them on top no way was I running all that way down transition in cleats good dismount just on the line easy to rack bike had to keep helmet on and fastened till get to change tent. Full change and out on the run total transition time 19 mins considering it’s half a mile from swim exit to bike exit and .4 mile from bike to run that’s not to bad in my plan had allowed 20 mins so that was good.

Out transition onto the run first bit felt fine legs felt ok first 1-2 miles are always hard to tell what going to be like didn’t make it a mile before started walking not because of legs or head but because of stomach. Just felt really off from start first aid station is .9 miles in tried flat cola had water see if that helped tried running felt off again really burpy and just wanted to be sick. Took me till about 9 mile to figure that salt water and salty snacks helped by that point didn’t have run legs was just about plodding and finishing. Breaking the laps down in my head run to aid stations walk round the u turns gel every 5 miles run through the tunnel run the sandy path there were certain groups that cheered and remembered each lapped the crowd always helps when your on your arse. Don’t think I saw katie again till 3rd lap. Edward wanted to be on the course and run with me he spurred me on so much ran virtually all that lap

Pace wasn’t great but felt better to be running and passing people struggling and walking good music near the lap band point 4th band the magic red one the pain goes away 1k to go to the finish to that carpet to here those magic words and finally by that man Mike Reilly 13:17:05 so an hour and a bit over my A goal the swim and bike were ok so classing that as B goal of DBS and definitely the C goal of finishing when had others dropping out on the run.

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