For some time now Ironman has been on my bucket list so in August 2015 I approached Linda to see if she would take me on and get me fit for the event. Thankfully she agreed and before I knew it 10 months had flown past and race weekend was here.
I arrived in Klagenfurt on the Friday 24th and what a beautiful place it is. The weather had been very warm all week and even walking around I was struggling a bit with the heat, which was a mere 35 degrees! Keeping fingers crossed it would not be too hot on race day.
I spent Friday sorting out my bike and had a swim in the Worthersee. The lake is in a beautiful setting, mountains all around and the water is crystal clear and lovely to swim in.
Race brief was on the Saturday morning. and all the details of the race were explained thoroughly. To everyone’s delight it was to be a wet suit swim. The applause was deafening. Transition opened in the early afternoon so headed over to get bike and kit bags set up. All the volunteers were extremely helpful and friendly. I walked around transition a few times so I knew exactly where my bike was and where the entry and exit was as transition area was massive and it wouldn’t be the first time I had difficulty finding my bike!
Sunday – Race day. Up at 3.30.am to get some breakfast. Weather seemed calm at that hour although forecast for the day ahead was to be stormy. Transition was buzzing with people and volunteers gave everyone a great welcome as they came in. Lots of nervous chat as I checked bike and kit bags and a few tire blowouts around me from some over zealous pumping!
It was a rolling swim start, which suited me, as I didn’t relish the idea of 3,000 swimmers in the water aiming for the same buoy. I went into the 1.10 -1.20 pen which I felt should be just right for me. It did seem a long way to the first buoy (1,200m) but I suspect this was not helped by the fact that it took me a while to get my breathing sorted as it was reasonably wavy. At the turns sighting was a bit tricky as the sun was right in your eyes and for the last 800 m the race bottlenecks up a canal. At this point you didn’t have to worry too much about sighting as the collective force of many swimmers around you was pulling you along. The main thing was to try and stay in the centre as a few people did manage to bang their heads off boats that were moored at the side. (Ouch!) The exit was a sharp right turn into a kind of bay and the volunteers practically lifted you out of the water, which was great as my legs were a bit on the wobbly side.
Transition was well set up. You had to get out of your wetsuit in the tent area and volunteers were there to help with kits bags.
Out on my bike and I was aware that the clouds were coming across and the sky was looking onimious. The bike route is very scenic as it takes you along the side of the lake and then through a few villages with a few juicy hills thrown in to challenge you. There was plenty of food stations and encouragement along the way. Managed to finish the first loop and then the heavens did open. This did slow things down for everyone especially on the descents, as they were a number of sharp corners. Sadly, I did see a few riders come off but thankfully not seriously injured. Second lap was hard so pleased to finish.
Back into transition and I was thinking only 26.2 miles to go! Legs were tired and back was stiff but managed to break into a slow run and things eased off. The run was two flat loops. The rain had stopped and the heat was rising- it was going to be a hot run! The food stations were situated every 2.5 k and my plan was to try and take some fuel in at each station but that didn’t happen as I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything. My gut was not very happy. I
managed to take in fluids and keep myself cool with the wet sponges that the local kids were handing out. The marathon really was just that for me and with a combination of walking, running and family encouragement I did manage to keep moving in a forward direction. With the finish line in sight I had a burst of energy and started to run a bit faster. I was absolutely delighted to cross the finish line.
It’s a great race well organized and definitely worth doing. Thanks Linda for all your help and encouragement.Posted by admin Posted on 29 Sep