IMUK - Three years in the making
The excitement is there, the nerves too, which means it must be almost race time. Ironman UK will be my second Ironman...It took me three years to get over the trauma of the last one...! While I've been feeling a lot calmer about the whole thing, there's still a huge sense of uncertainty too. I'll come on to that shortly. When I did Ironman Austria in 2013 I became totally obsessed by my training schedule, to the point of not enjoying it. I remember sitting in the carpark at the local pool wanting to burst into tears. My dad phoned up my now husband, saying he was worried about me. It all just got pretty miserable. I was tired, I resented having to go out for long rides, I avoided chocolate, I gave myself banging headaches as I quit caffeine a few weeks out and I didn't drink a drop of alcohol for at least a month.
This time it's felt different. Perhaps it's the confidence of knowing I have completed an Ironman before, maybe it's because I've got three more years of training under my belt. I've also realised a small amount of chocolate or wine makes me happy. And feeling happy is key!
I've enjoyed the training more and for the first time in three years, the turbo wasn't banished to the garage as soon as the first daffodil peaked through back in Spring.
Instead it's featured all the way through. I've even been on it outside in garden in the sunshine. That really is dedication.
I've also worked hard at getting to know the Bolton bike course. Five recce rides later, the potholes don't get much easier but going up Sheephouse Lane does. The more I've ridden the course, the more I've enjoyed it. Its gritty, it's technical, you have to work hard on it. If the weather isn't favourable the wind and rain will batter you. However catch a glimpse of the sun and you're treated to some beautifully British scenery.
The run is the big uncertainty. I know I can run, but going into a race unsure of whether my body will be up for running is a whole new game.
Five weeks ago I hobbled into the physio in pain. I hobbled out with a diagnosis of a partial tear of my Achilles, promptly burst into tears and started looking into refunding or transferring my entry.
My research didn't last long. Ironman made the decision for me. I'd missed the deadline to get any money back or switch races. So reluctantly I decided I'd swim and bike and then drop out. As soon as I had made that decision I felt a weight off my shoulders. No pressure, I could just go and enjoy it.
Then the rehab started. Gradually the pain subsided and three weeks ago I jogged, pain free, for thirty seconds. It felt so weird, but after minute or two of walking, I tried again. Still pain free! I've progressed to a few minutes jogging so I know I can at least start the marathon.
I may have to pull out after 5 miles. I might make it to 15 miles. Who knows? I may even get to the finish line... Well this is Ironman after all.