A blog post on the build up to the race can be found here: IM Texas preview
I had a decent swim for me coming out of the water in 55 minutes for the non wetsuit swim and felt great, I felt like I had lots of gears in the swim probably due to ll the speed work which I hd been doing with Tim. Also I was confident of a decent swim as I had experimented with the Huub Swimskin to see if it was actually any quicker then swimming in trunks it turns out that swimming with a shaved chest and legs is 1-2 seconds per 100 yards faster then hair, and a Huub swim skin is another 1-2 seconds faster still so if you want to swim with more resistance turn up to the pool with this great swim accessory.
Going Through transition I lost a reasonable amount of time due to the zip on my skin suit getting stuck. It caught me by surprise having to have to swim with it down to my waist underneath my swimskin (due to it being long on the arms and against the rules) and so wasn’t planning on having to do it up. So when in the tent and I had to get a volunteer to do it up it got stuck and I could tell the were panicking and yanking at it, I had to calm them down as I thought it would rip or I would end up loosing more time. We got it done up pretty much straight away then. What I would do next time is just get the zip started a little bit to stop this problem happening again.
On the Bike I felt really good and my plan of holding 300w was definitely on the cards as I was averaging around 310-315 after about 5-6 miles and I was really trying hard to keep the numbers down as I felt really good. Lionel Sanders caught me at around 20-25k which I was expecting and was hoping as I knew he was a strong cyclist and I didn’t want to use all my energy riding by myself 1 minute in front of him as it would have just been terrible tactics. I thought he might start off quick and that if I held target power I wouldn’t waste energy and if he caught me I would go with him and if he didn’t then I would be riding well.
When we caught groups up Lionel would get away first and I would wait until he had around 15 seconds on the group before jumping across to him pretty hard so tat no one else could get on the back of us as you don’t want to take passengers. On some of the inclines around 90ks in we were going across to the front group and I’m not sure if he was trying to drop me or what but we went up the hills at a decent power output 350w maybe more on some of them, I felt good though and went with it.
When we caught the lead group they looked pretty nailed and we went past them pretty much straight away. At this point Andreas Raelert and Matt Hanson were up the road. We soon caught them and Lionel put a dig in got away, Matt tried to close it but couldn’t but he was holding it. I thought now’s my time to go so put in a big dig and then said to Lionel when I went past come on mate lets go! He came with me, I did 10 minutes on the front and then did a signal with my hand to indicate to him to rotate, when he came past I said lets do 10 minutes each to the finish and put some time into them. I thoguht this was our opportunity to get decent cushion on the others and make it so it was just between me and Lionel for the win. Lionel dropped off the pace with around 30-40 minutes left. This was good and bad, good as I knew he’s hard as nails and a good runner, and bad because if we were both taking turns we would have gone much faster and been fresher starting the run so we would have put more time into the others and maybe run faster.
Onto the Run and I had 1m 20 on Lionel out of T2 although I had no idea until 2-3 miles in. At around 5 miles Lionel was around 20 seconds behind me, I didn’t dare look over my shoulders but I could tell by the cheers from spectators. When I started the run my legs felt great but after the first mile the heat started getting to me and I felt like I was getting cooked! I have no idea what the temperature was but when we left the race at 5pm the temperature was 91f (32c) and 90% humidity. Luckily for me Lionel started fading after 6 miles and I managed to pull away again. The run was one of the most miserable experiences of my life, I felt like I was going to have to walk after 2 miles and couldn’t even contemplate the thought of running another 24 miles!
I’ve never experienced anything like it and it was by far and away the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. When I got to 13 miles I was completely shot to bits and couldn’t believe I was only half way and that was the easier half! When I got to the last lap Matt Hanson was just in front and as nice a guy as he is I wouldn’t have been upset if he started cramping! :) On the last lap I had to walk the aid stations to take in fluid and cool myself down. I have never walked an aid station in my life yet I was having to do it for every single one now. Eventually I dragged myself round and managed to hold on to 2nd place. It was the hardest race I have ever done and couldn’t even stand after the line. I had to have Laura and the anti doping escort move me to a chair!
Unbelievable feeling and as much as it hurt its a great feeling when you’ve given it everything and for me the thrill of Ironman is pushing yourself to the limit and leaving it all out there. The pain was something else from this race I was almost in tears and felt like I was going to cry, I literally felt as though I had been beaten up. I said at the finish I don’t know if I can do another one but already I can’t wait for Ironman Uk and am excited to be racing Ironman Hawaii In October and causing an upset there as well!