This year I targeted a spring marathon then a late European Ironman as my A races for the year. I’m not a great runner so had the target of getting a sub 4 hour marathon to build confidence to deliver a stronger IM marathon, alas this didn’t happen, ended up needing too many toilet stops and not achieving the goal. So with disappointment parked it was time for the triathlon season to start.
Three middle distance races later – Holkham half, Cowman and Vitruvian it was time for IM Italy. My training as always had been consistent in the build up so my physical ability was on schedule. Then out of the blue we lost my sister-in-law at the end of August, to a very short battle against cancer. She left behind her two daughters whom through their own strength have carried on to a level that she would be proud of. My focus throughout this time was my family, IM is a selfish pursuit that at times needs to be put in context and cannot be completed without the support of loved ones – there were conversations had where pulling the pin on the race were a real possibility, however with the support of the family it was time.
Managed to get there early enough to get a warm up in and get in the 70-80 min pen, go time. Hit the water after a rolling start and found clear water from here I was picking people off and just what felt a leisurely pace around the buoys to the Australian exit when getting out after 2.3km I notified there were a lot of gold AWA hats around me??? Now they were either having a bad start or my swimming was at point that was OK the next 1.5km went with incident and was out on the long run to transition…..
I wished I had remembered to reset my bike computer as I mounted the bike I realised I hadn’t so spent the next couple of km’s sorting this out and trying to keep up with the guys that I had got out of the swim with, once back up and running I attempted to hold my race NP easier send than done. The bike course had a mixture of surfaces, new tarmac, old with ruts and tree roots under neath which made for interesting riding. The course was through some beautiful farm land and a reservoir that was home to flamingos. However there was one section that wasn’t great – a stretch of closed dual carriageway, that I would later really despise. The course was two loops of 92.5km and after the first lap seeing Michelle was a welcome surprise. The second lap was uneventful even the 12% climb at the mid point, which was fine it was just from 140 to 180 that you were into a head wind which really did start to make legs feel toasted – but it’s at this point you start to want to get off the bike and run…….
At the dismount line and through transition to the run start line was over a km, it was confirmed as the largest transition in IM Europe and it felt it….
From here it was the usual 4 loops of 10.5km through the old square, harbour and the salt house, out to a local wood and back through the streets of Cervia, temperatures were in the high 20’s, which felt pleasant on me, however the legs didn’t feel like floating as they did two weeks prior at Vitruvian, they felt heavy and not wanting to play. However seeing Michelle pop up in different locations certainly helped – most of the time…..
As always there is no better feeling than to hit the magic carpet however this time I didn’t have my bounce, the legs were toast.
Finish line crossed and received my finishers medal.
You will have noticed I’ve not mentioned through this about my times, the reason for this is that 2.5 hours after I finished I was disqualified, so there are no times. I get to keep my finishers t shirt and medal but not the times. Gutted would be an understatement especially as I was allegedly served with a penalty whilst out on the dual carriageway I say allegedly as previously I have seen them served with a blast on a whistle and the appropriate colour card being shown. I didn’t receive either so didn’t stop at a penalty tent – the offence drafting, now since getting home have reviewed my power file and on the dual carriageway there is no let up on my power it’s all consistent, IF I had have been drafting, which I still dispute you would have seen a let up and some soft pedalling – there was none I even set a NP of 214 for the entire bike leg!!!
However there is nothing like a roller coaster of an IM, met some great people, used Race Force again would so highly recommend their service, spent some time with Lucy Gossage ( what a star)…. Got to grieve and be emotional the cathartic powers of long course can never be underestimated. Most importantly got absolutely smashed on prosecco post discussions with the race referee.
Me and IM Italy have unfinished business
Thanks again to Jimmy and VO2 for the personal coaching and the team for their banter and support.
What’s next – some down time, some reflection, holiday and regroup. Once back it’s time to start training for the 1st of next year’s IM, yep it’s going to be another multiple year.