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Ironman ambitions - Part 10

by Paul Hayward
Friday 11th September 2015
Tags  Paul Hayward   |   IRONMAN   |   Ironman Wales   |   Tenby

Our obstacle racing columnist Paul Hayward has been inspired to become an Ironman and, finally, race day has arrived...

Ironman ambitions - Part 10

I came into the last two weeks of my training plan on a real high after the London Triathlon and was looking forward to the rest during the taper. The training has caught up with me and I am constantly tired at the moment.

What I did not plan on was the weird effect the lack of training would have on me and how much time I would have to think about the same issue - finishing.

I find myself shifting from “I can do this, I can do the swim in 1 hour 45 minutes, the bike in 7 hours 15 minutes and the run in about 4 and a half hours” to “how am I even going to make the swim? The waves are huge and then there is current. What do you mean it is raining? How can I do all of this in heavy rain?”. It seems as though all of the faith I have had into my training has suddenly left me and I am filled with doubt. I am worried that I should have (somehow) trained more.

This being said, half an hour later I am eating a piece of cake and thinking that I can do it, I can be an Ironman. There is no medium, I swing from one to the other, to the other, all day long. It is enough to drive me mad.

On leaving the office Wednesday evening and putting my 'out of office' on, I thought to myself (after 12 hours of work that day and feeling a little dead) that the next time I turn on my PC I could be an Ironman.This led me to well up a little and be a little short of breath. I guess it just had not dawned on me just how important this race is to me and how all the blood, sweat, time and issues over the last seven months now come down to one day. I wanted a shot at making the red carpet when I started this journey, now I want to finish. I really want this. 

I was (and I am) a little shocked by this feeling and according to my girlfriend I have become “a little quiet” over the last few days as all this seems to set in. No more so than when I was in the line on Thursday evening, picking up my race pack and Ironman branded bag. On speaking to the volunteer, I could hardly muster the words out as the nerves flew out. Thankfully I clearly was not alone and he was used to this so helped me through everything.

It has made it sink in, how much I want this - I want to make the red carpet and hear Paul Kaye (the Ironman announcer) say those magic words of “you are an Ironman”.

Ironman ambitions - Part 10

I took the chance, to try and keep busy, by attending a Tri Training Harder (www.tritrainingharder.com) swim session, to take on some last minute tips. Although I was leaving it a little late, I thought that any help is good help so I should go. One of Tri Training Harder’s coaches, Phil, took us through the warm up (which included squats and press ups) and a lap of the practice swim course.

Phil’s tactic of swimming against the sea is to liken it to a 'rolling pin' coming towards you. If you go under the wave you are helped through it but over and you are dragged back. This sounded excellent advice until I was three huge waves down, I was all over the place and it was all I could do to keep momentum let alone remember to dive! Thankfully I settled into a pace and, with some further help with sighting, I think I may have sussed it from the classic breaststroke switch. Just in the nick of time really or at least hopefully!

The session was really good and I was pleased to get some further guidance about the waves and the sea.

I now have an hour and half until the race brief and I think I am going to be quiet again on the way home. It is one day and one race. However I now understand just how special this event series and the race is. To finish one, after all those months, is a momentous achievement and I am going to do everything that I can to get through the swim, bike and run to make it. If I do not, then I know I did not scrimp on training and I gave my best. For the first time in ages I was truly dedicated to something - just hope it was enough.

With thanks to Zone 3 Wetsuits, more information can be found here: www.racezone3.com

Ironman ambitions - Part 10


About The Author

Paul Hayward

I am 33 years old and spend the majority of my life within an office environment. Whilst I played football, I never really took an interest in sport let alone athletics. In 2011 I joined a gym as I was slightly concerned about my weight. However I was, like an awful lot of my colleagues, coasting and I considered spinning three times a week a workout.
This changed when I took up a circuits class and found myself entering Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest London in November 2011. I was assured by my friends that this was a good idea and would be a “challenge”.
I had never entered any form of competitive event before and training for this run changed me. I listened to my personal trainer, who assured me that if I quit drink I could be dangerous, and sorted out my diet, stopped drinking so much and focussed my training. I completed the race in just over an hour and I was instantly bitten by the racing bug, I loved the challenge the event offered. 
Nearly two years on I have completed a half marathon in 1hour 49 minutes, came 6th in the Rat Race Horseplay 5k event and usually come within the top 30% at Obstacle Course races. I am also a part time triathlete and I am lucky to find myself in a running club where we have a great coach and the focus is on members. If I am honest - I came to running through these events and I am not alone.
My aim through Run 247 is to promote, discuss and publicise Obstacle Course racing. It is becoming huge and over the coming months we will cover all of the major races and the new competitors entering the scene. 

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