On Friday I went to Embrun for the Ironman. It was my 3rd trip to Embrun. In 2002 Boss took me there to try my first Ironman. It was 1 week after the 2002 Commonwealth Games which had been to that date my “goal” in life! But that race at CG was my last Olympic distance race! Boss had thought that the longer distance might be good for me, and of course, he was right! I have never looked back!
I won that day, and in 2006 I went back again. I did’nt have such a good day as I made mistakes but still managed 2nd place.
This year I was physked up for the day. I remembered the challenges of EmbrunMan. if your not fit enough or organised enough, it shows. It is such a true test! Many mountains and the weather can also test you. I was physked up for the prize purse too!! The win would would help Stephen’s and my bank balance!
It was a little unsettling at 4.15am when we arrived to the race start in the biggest and scariest storm I have been in! To begin the day in storms was not the best! ..but what can you do! I had to laugh and then put my thinking cap on to how I should go about my day.
The swim started at 6.50am for the women, (unknown to Boss who thought I had swum on Stephen’s feet when I passed him at 1km on the bike!!! …he was WELL happy!)
Its a bit scary starting the swim in the pitch dark, but once we started I quite enjoyed it. I was the fastest girl there so I was right on the tail of the canoe with the light on! So navigating in the pitch dark was pretty easy! The men left 10 minutes after us so my little aim to myself was to get out the water before Stephen! Ha!! And I did! I was first into transition, ..but slow onto my bike as I had to put all the bike clothes I had in my wardrobe!!!
I began the 188km bike ride in first place, and after the steep first climb I settled into the day and tried to imagine I was just doing a nice long training ride, ..to prevent me from riding like a maniac! I enjoyed the ride and the challanges of the ride. Although when Audrey caught me on the climb of the Col D’izoard I felt a bit nervous, but I think I made her nervous by staying with her!
I dropped her at 2km before the top.
It starting hail stoning as I approched the top of the Col so I put my jacket on. After 10km of decending I was passing grown men who were shivvering like babies cos they wer’nt wearing enough!
Once I warmed up I took my jacket off and stuck it up my top, that was all fine until I was climbing the next mountain and the jacket fell out and got completly stuck in my back wheel. I really struggled to get it out, and whist picking it out, Audrey passed me. DAM! Once I got it out I left the stupid jacket on the side of the road as the weather had improved. I got going again and when I had decended and got round the corner I saw the biggest looking black cloud. Arghhhhh! I had no jacket now!! How stupid to leave it behind!
I re-caught Audrey and at 180km (where Boss had told me the race starts!) I rode up the final 6km climb feeling good. I dropped Audrey and came into the run with a few minute lead. Also feeling happy that that huge black cloud had’nt made me toooo cold.
I felt great running to begin with. I began to get tired legs about 13 miles. Boss told me I best eat a bit more. Once I started eating more, ..the more I ate the faster I went!
I put 18 miinutes into Audrey and won in a record time of 11 hours and 26minutes! ThankYou to the man who gave me the British flag!!
Met by my lovely boy on the finish line! It was so good to stop and have a rest! Stephen also had a great race coming 2nd. I nice pay day for us!
And also met by my Coach. The best coach in the World.