Sunday, 14 October 2007

This time next year?

Last night H and I spent nearly ten hours glued to the live video web-cast of the 31st Ironman World Championships from Kona, Hawaii. Having followed our friend Martin's progress from his first ever Ironman race in Austria 2006 it was amazing to see him cross the finish line and complete the journey that H and I are so desperate to emulate. The Hawaii Ironman is the ultimate test of one-day endurance and in order to take part you are required to qualify at one of the many other Ironman events around the world. Martin qualified at Switzerland this year with a time of 9 hours and 15 minutes, in the same race I was 20 minutes away from qualifying, with a time of 9 hours and 56 minutes. On a ridiculously hot day Mart conquered the challenging wetsuit-free sea swim in 1 hour and 8 minutes, the relentlessly windy bike in 5 hours and 5 minutes and the red hot run across the famous lava fields in 3 hours and 23 minutes for a total time of 9 hours, 44 minutes and 11 seconds giving him 187th place out of 1800 of the fittest athletes in the world! To complete an Ironman is a massive accomplishment, to qualify for Hawaii is something else, to then break ten hours is phenomenal!

In the men's elite race the hype surrounding the rivalry between the German 'uber-athlete' Norman Stadler (2 x winner) and the brash Australian Chris McCormack had reached fever pitch. Unfortunately the 'Norminator' succumbed to a stomach bug and having struggled to make the start line pulled out of the race about a third of the way in to the bike. At the time 'Macca' was lying a few places further down the field but with his main rival out of the race it was his to lose and a blisteringly fast marathon of 2 hours and 42 minutes saw him finally take the title of World Ironman Champion. There's a great interview with him HERE (somewhere between episodes 65 and 66) and the fact that he has given up so much and worked so hard for so long to achieve his ultimate goal is more inspiration than I could ever need. I'd really recommend anyone who's set themselves a goal which at times may seem out of reach to listen to the interview with Macca and take something from his positive 'never say die' attitude.

The women's race provided British Triathlon with one of (if not THE) greatest moment in its history. Having only turned pro in February this year and completing her first ever Ironman seven weeks ago Chrissy Wellington (this week's picture) blew the high quality field away finishing with a 2:59 marathon to card a time of 9 hours and 8 minutes and become the first ever British athlete to take the crown. Working her way slowly through the field on the bike she was first lady out of T2 and with the run as her strongest discipline proceeded to run away from the greatest female athletes the world! This was one of the truly special performances in the history of British sport, and hopefully the sign of things to come with Lewis Hamilton and the English rugby team in action this coming weekend.

Details of all the racing in Hawaii can be found by clicking HERE.

How's my training going?... With Dublin Marathon two weeks tomorrow I'm desperately hanging on to what fitness I have left from this brilliant season. I really am ready for an easy month (scheduled for November) and am just about managing to do the bare minimum required to hit the start-line in something like sub three hour shape. It looks like there will be four of us running together in Dublin and with the other three having half-marathon pb's of 75, 79 and 81 minutes respectively if I'm not on the ball it could be messy! I have managed to get all my long runs in and did a very hilly 22 on Wednesday in 2 hours and 35 minutes, which equates to about 3:04 for a marathon. I also know from my Great North run performance (81 minutes) that there is some speed in my legs so hopefully I can keep things turning over for another 15 days and have a good run on race day. Other than the key runs everything else is no more than ticking over, I've not been on my bike for over a week and swim volume is down around 8k per week. Andy KJ and I have kept the twice weekly weights sessions going which has been great, and this week we started a challenge to complete 100 press-ups in one go... On Friday morning my first attempt saw me manage 50, 30 and then 20, with about 45 seconds rest between each set. Overall, I'm starting to feel a little sluggish though and really need to have a big 10 days of training to get the athletic feeling back.

Talking with H today and having watched the Hawaii webcast last night we are even more focused on achieving our goal. It's great to be able to share such an exciting journey with her, to the point where neither of us really care who gets there as long as one of us does. I can honestly say I'd be as happy for H to qualify as I would be if I made it... hopefully this time next year the photo of the week will be of one of us standing where Martin, Chrissie and Macca all completed their epic journeys yesterday evening.



1 comment:

Debra said...

Tom, you and Tony B and who else in Dublin??