Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Lanza bonanza :)

What a fantastic week. What an amazing race. What a testing course. What a beautiful place. What an Ironman I am :) :) :)

Apologies for being late with this blog entry but as our mystery man explained, the good old t'interweb is not as accessible in the hills of Famara in Lanzarote.

After a great 5mths of training we were ready, really, really ready. Our week leading up to the rcae couldn't have gone any better. We were more prepared and organised than we've ever been before and we were super chilled out in the days leading up to the 23rd. As the clock began to tick closer though my nerves really started kicking in. So much to say that I almost didn't want to do the race. I've never been as nervous as that before and can only put it down to the anticipation of it being my first triathlon since last September. And I imagine I knew I was in good nick too so had hope for a great race.

A great race I did have too. Well if you ignore the last 5km but I'll come to that. Here's how the day went.

3am - alarm call for a breakfast of porridge
4.20am - leave to get to Puerto del Carmen for 5am
5am check - bike in order, put race nutrition in right bags, pump up tyres
6am - say hi thorugh the wire fence like monkeys in the zoo to our friends and family that had come to support
6.50 am - (10mins before start) lose goggles!!! How I don't know but lose them I did
6.52am - borrow Tom's spares
6.55am - cack myself (not literally but the butterflies were elephants


Hooter goes and 1300 wetsuited athletes run into the water all vying for what seems to be the same piece of salty agua. Have I got a magnet attched to me to make everyone swim on me, over me, punch me?? A fairly brutal 3.8km I have to say, I managed to get myself boxed in on the second lap which was a bit of a bind. I'm certainly capable of a sub 1hr and had hoped for that having achieved it in both Austria & Germany. It seems the swim was a little long but not 1:04 long, I think I struggled with being beaten to a pulp and not getting as clear water as I'd hoped. Still 1:04 it was and it was rime to hit the bike.


Onto the bike after the long run up the beach and through transistion and I was away. The bike course is amazing. Really challenging, really hilly, really beautiful. I know it like the back of my hand having been here for a few training camps, this was such an advantage and made me feel more confident as I battled with the wind (actually not that bad about 18mph rising through the day) and the hills. I tried to stick to heart rate to stop me hitting the hills too hard and cruising on the descents, my aim was to be as even as possible, I think I managed quite well, never going above 154 or below 138. I was desperate to get off the thing though by the time I approached Conil and Tias which is about 8 miles from the end. I'm really happy with my 6.38 bike split :)


A quick wee stop in transistion, my trainers on & off I went to hit the run course which was something like 5.25km out and back x 4. It's not a flat run there are a few rises in it but I quite liked the variation and was running really well, very conservatively and feeling good. The energy I was taking on board (Powerbar Gels) were going down okay and I was keeping cool using sponges and pouring water over my head. Tick, tick, tick and I was going good.
Then I turned to go out and back for the last time and started to feel a little bit dicky. I got to within sight of the turn-around point at the other end and with just over 5 km to go, how hard could it be??? Really hard is the answer. Feeling faint and in desperate need of the loo I had to stop, put my head between my legs and consider my options. Not finishing was certainly not one of them but the way I felt I wasn't sure I wasn't going to hit the deck. I found some loos to my glee and emptied my stomach (not nice) and so between the loos on the course and a restaurant loo I knew I was only going to be able to walk those last 5km. Then I started being sick. Our friend Al who was out on the course and going well passed me and saved me with his little bottle of water, thanks Al :) So I strolled to the finish making it in 12:32. I had hoped for a sub 12 but 12:32 it was. I loved it, I really did (excpet the last 5km) it was a great, great day. Oh! And I managed to avoid the medical tent for the first time :)

The support out there and from home was amazing, thank you, thank you , thank you, it means so much. Tom's ma and ray were out all over the place which was fab and Ek and Ozzer were on pigeon patrol the whole day giving us all love. The Kj's were incredible and I loved passing them on the run and Steven Lord who was out watching his girlfriend Jo Carritt (who won our age group, great athlete) screaming random things at me all of whihc made me smile. Cheers guys you're all amazing.

One slot for Hawaii and it rolled down to fifth place, I was seventh. My puke and poo escapade seems cost me a slot. But not running the last 5km is what you hope happens to the girl your chasing so it's very much all part of the game. It's all about the last man standing and so I'm not one for saying 'if only' because that's the way it is. I'm over the moon with the day and am looking forward to Ironaman Switzerland to say goodbye to the Ironman life and become an Ironman wife and hopefully mother in the near future :)

Time to recover and see how to put a stop to my dicky stomach problems!!

Thanks again and good luck to all Ironman-ers with their up and coming events.

Oh, and here's weeks fifteen & sixteen in pix, the latter all being iphone pix, enjoy...

H. x


Anonymous said...

Good work Helen - You are THE F****** B*******!

Mama Simmons said...

Oh congratulations, Helen!! I'm so glad to hear that you are happy with your day! Sounds like a really tough course out there... One more Ironman to go this summer, eh? Hope you recover well from this one. :)

Anonymous said...

huge congrats well done you are brill and the best is even when it did not go to plan you smiled through it! Awesome job girl, well done!

Spanker said...

H - aside from buying you a cork for your arse for Zurich, wanted to post my congratulations - and ceaseless admiration - for yet another Bionic Woman effort! You had me roaring you on reading the blog!!! How you do it, and where you get the stamina from, I've no idea. But you do it. Through piss, poo and sick, you bloody well do it and YOU'RE BRILLIANT! With love from LA xx

Anonymous said...

Great race and report Helen. - really, really well done!
It's a shame you had tummy trouble on the run again but we don't always have control over how a race pans out. We can only control our attitude and there's no doubt you were a total winner in that respect.
Looking forward to seeing you in Switzerland!
Emma xxxx

Khara Mills said...

OMIGOD! Totally amazing H, I just don't know how you managed to keep moving! What's so incredible is that we clearly haven't seen all that you're capable of yet, so I really hope you can get that tummy under control ready for IMCH. An awesome performance physically and mentally so far this year. Keep it up and watch out Switzerland...
Khara x

Khara Mills said...

p.s forgot to say, loving these 2 weeks of pics, best so far I reckon x

Jevon said...

Top race H. And great attitude too. Ironman is about living on a knife edge for the day and sometimes we fall off - it's inevitable. One day you won't and that will be your day.

Ben G said...

Great to spend the day out there with you Helen, nice race report and great photos as always. Rest up well, I don't want to read that you've done anything for at least 10 days, except relax, eat and enjoy, while you reflect on the whole Lanzarote experience :)

H said...

I had all of that love with me for 140.6 miles and I used most of it in the last 3 when I needed it the most :) Thanks for the postivity people, life is good and you're all amazing, I couldn't have done any of it without such a superb network of support and advice at the ready. xxx