... or 'How not to do an Ironman'!
Firstly, big congrats to Ted with a fantastic finish time of 11 hours 21 mins - and fame as he was interviewed during the run and is on the official DVD!
My day didn't end quite so well ...
Swim was OK at 1:13. The bike leg wasn't too bad at 7:25, especially as the wind was a lot stronger than last year. So far so good - I'm a bit faster everywhere despite the increased wind and heat. First run loop (half mara) was around 2:15 so I thought I come in under 5 hours.
Then on the last 10k loop I crashed. I could hardly run, was sick 3 times, everytime I broke into a jog I went dizzy and had to sit down. I had spells of walking like a drunk and I had 2 officials ask if I was OK and was worried I would get pulled out. I remember thinking at the time I was in a bit of trouble and that I had never felt that bad in my life.
Anyway, upshot was that the last 10K took me 2.5 hours and a total run split of a horrendous 6:45! At least I ran across the line with a smile! The only thing that got me to to the line was sheer force of will. I wanted to stop and lie down so many times but I don't do DNFs. I would have had to collapse and black out (which I thought I may do a couple of times!) Finish time was nearly an hour more than last year (and I kinda took it easy then as it was my first IM!) at 15:46.
So, what went wrong?
1. Not enough training
I have never been one for training much, relying on general fitness and determination to get me through. Bad idea that!
2. Not adjusting for conditions
I pushed harder on the bike as I wanted a better time than last year (which I did but at a cost). If you change your pace over that distance in those conditions it's only going to end one way!
3. Inadequate and incorrect fuelling
This was the most significant issue. Don't ask me why but I took only 5 gels out of a planned 12 on the bike and 2 of 8 on the run. I also did the bike leg on 3 750ml bottles of electrolyte and 1 bottle of water. The run I drank mostly coke and water, and a few orange segments. I did all this because that's what I felt like taking - last year I was regimented, taking a gel every 30 mins and drinking every few minutes on the bike (getting through 6 bottles) and at every aid station on the run. I also had caffiene gels only and all the same flavour and made the cardinal mistake of not training with them.
The clues were all there - I found myself gulping a drink down at the special needs stop at Haria 100K in on the bike, not remembering the adage 'if you're thirsty it's already too late' at the time. I tipped off my bike on the way up to Mirador del Rio due to lack of power (hurting my knee in the process which also didn't help!)
So when I started running I felt like I had very little left - which isn't how you want to feel at the start of a marathon in approx. 30 degree sun and a stiff headwind. I knew then I was in for a tough afternoon but thought all I would have to contend with would be pain and fatigue, not nausea and dizziness. I never want to feel that way again!
Looking on the positive side, this was a 'proper' Lanzarote IM, with the wind and heat as it should be. I didn't quit and I finished the right side of the cut-off. The post-race talk was all about how hard it was this year (I hear there were over 300 DNFs but don't know if that's true). All of which makes Teds time even more impressive!
So, for Wales I will train properly and stick to my fuelling strategy. I'll come in sooner and feel better at the finish!
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