4 Days to go until Ironman Switzerland

So.

I have been in bed for most of the day yesterday. On Monday I had a pretty bad headache at work but afterwards I went to meet some friends at the river and then to meet my friend Balazs. We walked around and then I had a glass of beer and some peanuts as I was feeling a little hungry. Bad idea. One sleepless night and an entire day of not being able to hold any food down later and I am still trying to mentally force this little digestive problem away!

Ah. I am sure it will be fine by Sunday. No panic. I am resting anyway so this is a good way to force me to take it easy! Thanks to everyone at work for their genuine concern too!

For the last week or so I have been taking it quite easy. After a tough tiple pass ride the weekend before last with a couple of strong guys I took Monday and Tuesday off the following week and then I did some runs and swims, a medium length bike ride and another 3.5 hour ride over sections of the Ironman bike course last Sunday. I also swam about 1 hour and ran an intense hour afterwards on Saturday and that felt good, I had no muscle soreness the next day despite the speed of the run. Tomorrow Thursday I plan to swim and do a short run of 30 minutes afterwards. On Friday morning I will probably do an intense but short bike to run session after picking up my bike from the mechanics. Luckily on Friday we are off work because of the big office move (we are re-locating) which means I can do all of the registration stuff then and pick up any bits and pieces I still need to get (like a spare tyre etc) and bottle holders for behind my saddle before racing on Sunday.

Thoughts on the race

I really dont know what to think and I am hesitant to document or say what my goals are. But I have been forced to for my friends and colleagues who want to come and watch : )

For most people, just finishing, is a realistic goal for their first Ironman. But in my case, having done so much ultra raceing already in Adventure Racing and MTB I have more of a “performance related” goal.

My only apprehension is the intensity of the racing. I have done a number of solo 12 and 24 hours and even a 32 hour, and a 5 day stage race with a 34 hour desert stage but they tend to be quite slow and in a team where we help each other out. But in the Ironman, it will be me, and me alone, no drafting, no chatting to other people, just me against the clock, no team tactics and none of the strategy that I am used to in AR.

I have also never raced in the heat that could be Zurich on Sunday either (hang on thats a lie, a 110km trek through the Abu Dhabi desert? Lucerne Rowing World Cup Regattas? World U23 Rowing Champs in 36Deg at Linz in Austria? Take that back : )

Ok – enough excuses

HOW WHEN and WHERE to watch!

The details of when and where are below. But how to watch an Ironman? This is an art. First study the when and where and the rest involves jumping up and down and shouting POSITIVE words of encouragement. Perhaps a portable CPR machine and a giant spatula that scrapes athletes off the ground at the finisline would be a good addition to your day bag. I would also suggest bringing food, water and sun cream. Us athletes know how to take care of ourselves, we are just nearing death for 10 hours but I worry about the supporters.

All the maps of the course for Ironman Switzerland can be found here

Swim




I guess I have been feeling a lot better about my swimming in the lake and I actually enjoy it but I still dont go particularly fast so I was hoping that anything around 1hour 10mins would be a safe bet for a decent swim time.

Bike – The Course Map

For a more detailed map click here

Based on my performance at the 1/2 distance in Rheinfelden I maintained a 31.2kmph average on the bike for 90km and I am hoping to at least maintain that average for the entire 180km. I didnt push it as hard as I could have for that race and now I have gained some speed  with the addition of aerobars and carbon wheels on my bike (thanks to netcycle.ch) and I have been hitting speeds like 42kmph on training rides on the flat so I feel a lot more confident. If I can hold an average of 32kmph I will get around the bike course in 5.37 hours. So my goal is to stay under 6 hours for the bike section.

Swim and Bike Timesheet

Run Map

This is where prediction is difficult! I ran comfortable 20km in Rheinfelden in 1hr 29. That put me at a marathon time of 3 hours however it would be very foolish to assume that after double the distance in the water and on the bike I could expect to maintain that speed so I would predict a 3.30hour marathon and knowing how uncomfortable I can sometimes be with the run sections in races (stomach and muscle cramping) I just hope to keep going, keep up a decent pace and keep moving forward (Eoin Keith always says that)

So all in all that puts me at about 10 hours 30 for a total time. ADD an hour? Maybe! Who knows! The important thing for me is to be able to focus for the entire race. Make it to the run and be able to keep going!

Run Timesheet

At the end of the day (literally) who knows what will happen! But I am looking forward to racing and seeing familiar faces out on the race course! There is a great hype about town already with athletes arriving in from all corners and it will be a great experience to battle it out against some really strong girls.

Irish at IM Switzerland

There is also a big Irish contingency competing  here is the list of Irish in the race and I just found out thatRussian Irish short course triathlete Elena Maslova is making her IM debut in my age group too, here is the list of all the women competing in the 30-34 age category there are a shocking 223 of us!

On another note, what inhumane and unbelieveable talent does it take to acheive a time like Chrissie Wellingtons recent world record at Roth? http://www.chrissiewellington.org/latest-news/wellington-world-record/ She won by over 1/2 an hour and her time would have placed her 7th in the mens category. WOW.

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