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Before the Swim

Up at 4:30, usual porridge/grapes/yogurt for brekky before 5 and we left at 5:15. Charlotte dropped me and Ste off and we walked a little way to the bike area. A quick check of the tyres, loaded up the bikes with 2 waterbottles (one with Hydro Go tablet, one with PowerBar energy drink) and a poo and we're ready to get into our wetsuits by 6am. We hand in our white bags with clothes we wore to the bike area etc.

With our wetsuits on we walk to the start of the parade through the town down to the beach. Its taking a long time and we're going nowhere. Finally we start walking down. We get to the zig zags and take off our shoes, put them in the pruple bags we're carrying and hang them on our numbered hooks. As we get onto the beach we hear the announcer say thats the end of the swim warm up, and they wont let us into the water! Plenty of people were in the ater, they obviously hadn't bothered wasting time in the walk down - lesson to be learnt!

Where to position? We ended up several rows from the front, to the left of middle as we look out to sea.


When the start was signalled everyone walked/jogged into the water and into reasonable sized waves. People waded in until deep enough to swim and then swam off. There wasn't a mad dash as I was expecting, probably due to the waves.

Right from the off I struggled. I was breathing very heavily and couldn't put my head under the water so I did breaststroke all the way down the first leg of the triangle. The swell seemed to be huge, one minute down in a trough, the next way up high. There wasn't much contact with other swimmers. My breathing was crazy fast and I just couldn't  / didnt want to get my head uder water - I was scared! 

At one point on that first leg I really did think it was too dangerous and thought I might swim over to the beach to calm down, but when I finally got a look at the top of a swell it was so far away! I swalled many mouthfuls of water.

As I finally got close to the first bouy I started swimming fc, but only breathing one side. There were people everywhere so i swam very wide at the bouy, and once I was round I had calmed down enough to swim properly. I couldn't see the next bouy at all but vaugely followed everyone else.

Half way down that leg I came across a small anchored blue boat as I was was clearly a bit off course. People on surboards were furiously pointing people in the right direction. Occasionally a small boat/jet ski went past and the diesel fumes were sickening. The swell was getting bigger ir seemed, but as I went round the second bouy (again very wide) the waves were now behind and pushing me along.

The route went to the east of Gosker rock but plenty of people including me were heading to far north and were again shouted at and pointed to our rights. I did go around the final bouy properly and waded up the beach - 37 minutes! Terrible, but as I'd calmed down now 

The only good thing about the whle swim was my goggles - perfect!

Lessons learnt: ALWAYS get a warm up swim. Don't bother with the 'walk through the town' crap.

Summary: Horrible swim!


I waded out of the water and jogged pretty slowly up the beach - I was knackered. I got to the zig-zags and started checking out the numbers of the purple bags. I easily found mine, and just behind was a vacant bench, so I sat down, took my wetsuit off and put my (Ste's) running shoes on. I stuffed the wetsuit into the purple bag after taking my banana out, and then jogged at the same speed as most other people to the bike area.

Summary: No problems, possibly too relaxed (3 mins slower than Ste)


Summary: perfect


Summary: Again, no probs but too slow, minutes slower than Ste


I started the run 2ith 7:58 on the clock, so perfectly on my schedule giving me 4 hours for the marathon - I've broken 12 hours I thought. I was working out in my head that 9 min miles would be 3:56, so I had time to spare.

The run start was flat through the town, then down a short hill before hitting a steep up hill. I knew the hill was there and thought I could slow down to 10 min miles if needed as I'd make the time up coming back down. I ran all the way up the hill, only stopping for a pee in the toilets halfway up. I took a gel at some point. too.

The first lap was fine, almost easy, especially running back down the hill. Through town was a bit convoluted. After the first lap I was ahead of my own target by a few minutes and I ran into the second lap feeling good. I took another gel. I was walking through most water stations taking two cups, one to drink and one over my head to cool down, though I wasn't over heating.

I ran the whole of the second lap no problems, gaining myself a minute or more of time, but I must have been feeling it by now.

It was the hill at the start of the third lap that got me. I was through - my legs just felt empty and I had no energy. I had another gel but had to walk up the hill. I started ruinning again at the top but from then on any inclines were walked. Initially I thought I'd still break 12 hours as I had 10 or more minutes in the bank, but my walking was at 13 min miles, so I was quickly losing time. I was also beginning to get sore stomach pains, not sure if I needed a crap, or had wind, but it would come and go, really uncomfortable.

I started drinking the flat cola they were offering, and had a couple of half bananas. I think I felt better.

Into the 4th lap I knew I'd missed 12 hours, and if I carried on walking it would be 12:30, but I just had nothing left to run up the hills. As I was walking up the main hill on the last lap Steve Norris ran past me, so I jogged back to hime and ran for a mile or so with him, but by now I was struggling to run on the flats.

I was walking at 13 min miles, or running sub 9's. I needed to run at 10 min miles but it just felt uncomfortable and I couldn't do it. I let Steve run off (he was behind by a whole lap) and I walked more. I ran down the main hill but walked more and more. I walked through the town, and only started running again as I turned left onto the final stretch.

I think I'd even stopped working out my potential finish time now, being resigned to around 12:20-12:30, so was happily surprised to finish in 12:16:10. I couldn't find Charlotte at the finish line so took a foil blanket and sat by the fence for maybe 10 mins. The  I looked some more, before finally realising there was a finishers tent.

Summary: 1st half was perfect, possibly to fast (thought I struggle to run slower). Second half was not good, but not a total distaster by any means. 


The pizza in the finishers tent was tastless but I thought I should eat it and did so. Also ate some fruit. After an hour or so I though Ste or Steve should be finishing, and as a nice lady had brought me my white bag I got changed in the toilets and walked back to the finish line. It was then that I got a massive urgent need to shite, and from there for the next hour or more I must have taken 5 horrible, nasty, rank wet shites - all the gels and energy drinks were coming back out


Summary: If the swim had been 'normal' I may have broken 12 hours. . The bike we perfect and I wouldn't change a thing. If the run had been flat I may have broken 12 hours. 'IF'.

Still a great time, glad to have achieved it. Bring on Outlaw next year - 1 hour swim, 6 hour bike, 4 hour run = 11 hour target.

Leave a phone in finishers bag, so that can contact Charlotte etc at the end!

Triathlon/Ironman Wales/0800_002345
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