For those of you who have been following my journey through life and racing, thank you, I’m very grateful.
Ironman Kalmar was my 9th Ironman. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be up to 9 Ironman’s in 4 years but like a mate said to me, I’m a race junkie.
In my last post, I made it very clear that I had one goal and one goal only. Check it out here!
My lead into this race has been very consistent. Yes I did miss some sessions or choose not to do them either because of work or being tired and that was fine for me.
I arrived in Kalmar on Thursday afternoon, after a delayed flight and a delayed train but hey I got there in the end and I met a mate who follows me on Twitter, so in the end I didn’t travel alone. Got to love social media hey!!
Travel note – I flew easyJet from Gatwick to Copenhagen, then caught a train from airport with bike box and luggage to Kalmar. Really very easy, all in all it works well when everything runs on time. Once I arrived in Kalmar, there were plenty of taxis, all accept cards,big enough to put bike box and they speak English. Very easy!!!
With Kalmar being such a popular race, the line to registration was long but it also moved quickly. It is worth noting that the last day to register is Thursday, as you rack on Friday and race on Saturday.
After registering, I headed to my Airbnb which is about a 25 minutes walk to transition or 7 minutes car trip.
Race briefing and pasta party was at 6:30pm at the tennis hall (about a 15 min walk from my Airbnb). Once I dumped everything at the house, I went to race briefing, caught up with my fellow team mate and her partner. Also caught up with other friends attending.
Race briefing notes – 1. No warm up swim before the start of race. 2. It is a 16hr cutoff 3. Oland can get very windy on the bike course. 4. No riding on the bridge except on the day of the race. 5. There are also no race tattoos which is great. 6. Race bib must be worn on the bike.
Friday was a pretty relaxed day, I did an easy run and bike before heading down to rack my bike. I ate pizza for dinner, chilled out and went to sleep, although I did keep waking up on the hour as I was afraid of sleeping through my alarm.
Okay enough of the boring shit, let’s get to the race!!!
I woke at 4am, left the house at 4:30am giving myself plenty of time to make my way down to transition. I walked down, and the whole time I was a little nervous. Nervous because I wanted to make sure I stuck to my run plan.
Got to transition which opened at 5am. Did my usual checks, got bottles ready, checked my bags etc and once I was done headed down to the harbour where the swim would take place.
The walk to the swim start from transition is roughly 8-10 mins depending on how quickly you walk.
I had so much time before the start, I found myself a position near the 1:20 swim pod and just chilled with a cup of coffee.
After getting wetsuit on, I dropped of my post race bag in the bins numbered clearly and then headed back to my position where I felt best to swim.
The race began at 7am, I had seeded myself in the 1:20 area, I was a little nervous but as we got closer and closer to the entrance to the water I felt ready.
The swim is an interesting course. Lots of twists and turns. I found that I never really had any clear water for myself. So many men and geez they cannot sight for shit. Several times I found myself pushing guys away from me. However because I had no pressure for time on the swim leg, I just enjoyed it.
The water was beautiful. So clear, and even though salty not real sea salty, like you could absolutely drink the water without any issues at all. There are little tiny jellyfish but the no sting kind.
I finally exited the water in 1:16. Not a PB but hey that was never the objective.
Now something to note with transition, there is no grab bag and go to marquee, they simply don’t have the room. So getting to your transition bags can be a bit of bum fight. You basically run through the guys down to your bags.
I wish I had taken a picture of the set up to better set the scene.
Look, I can be much quicker in transitions but that was not the objective for the day. My race didn’t actually begin until the marathon leg of the Ironman.
As I exited T1 onto the bike, within the first few metres my chain came off. In the past I would have freaked out, but I kept calm, fixed the chain and got back on. A spectator said to me, don’t worry love it is a long day you have time. He was right.
The bike leg of this course is fast. It’s fast in my opinion because of the road surface. This has got to be the best road surface I’ve ever ridden an Ironman on. There is one section between 40 – 50kms where the road surface is dead road but other then that, absolutely smooth and beautiful to ride on.
Crossing the bridge was quite special. The views and the descent on the out and back was beautiful. The support on this course was awesome as well. So many cheers.
In terms of drafting, I didn’t see too much of intentional drafting but I would say in parts it was difficult to keep the 12 metre distance. Just too many athletes.
Once back on the mainland, this is where I found the wind. I had to keep reminding myself that I am riding the bike I should and not the one I could. This was so important for when my race actually started. So you’ll see in my times the last bit of the bike dropped off a bit.
As I was not worried about a bike time, I was happy to sit up and just begin mentally preparing myself for the toughest part of my day, the run!
Came into T2 off the bike in 6hrs 19mins. What would you know it was a bike PB! 😱
Note – There were plenty of aid stations, and fully stocked. The volunteers on the course we’re fabulous.
I took my time in T2. I knew as I racked my bike, the moment I left T2 there was no walking for 9 mins! In all my previous Ironman’s I have walked out of T2. So whilst in T2 I got my pack on (first time running with a pack in an Ironman), changed my socks, put on my shoes (with the broken cloud), trucker and sunnies and as I made my way to exit, I reminded myself, all I had to do now was stick to my run plan. No other objective than that.
Pressed the button on my watch and off I went. The first couple of Kms you run through the town centre. The crowd support is completely off the charts, not just in the town centre but on the entire course. Ironman Kalmar is smart because our bibs had our name on it. So throughout the entire race my name was yelled out as I passed by. It was pretty cool.
So the plan, 9 mins run 1 min walk. I pretty much stuck to the plan, with a couple of stops at aid stations to grab pickles and lemon. By the 30km mark, my Garmin decided to run out. No panic though.
I knew I had 12 Kms to go. I had no idea of my time at this point. So I switched tactics, run and walk the remaining aid stations. I was pumped and strangely enough I felt good. Must have been all the pickles and lemon I had eaten. Lol. This was also the time when I introduced coke to my run leg.
You will see the final 12kms I ran better than most of the day. So so so many people were walking at this stage. I was determined to stick to my plan and in my head I kept thinking of my hubby and a pro friend who cannot race at this time. I have the legs and an able body, so there was no giving up.
Now I am not a fast runner but I am a runner and I know more work needs to be done in this area. I will get my sub 5hr Ironman run leg, I know I will.
Grabbing my last lap band in the athletes arena knowing there was only 2kms to go was the best feeling. The Swedish motto for the entire race is ‘RACE WITH A SMILE’! and let me tell you as I began running those final Kms in the town centre my smile was so wide on my face. I was like, holy shit I’m going to finish my 9th freaking Ironman since March 2014!!!!!!
As you turn the corner to begin the nice long run to the red carpet I could see the big screen and I could hear Paul Kaye. His words, ‘here she comes, Irontarsh Tremayne…….what is this Tarsh, number 7…no number 9. My goodness he says. Well Tarsh you are an Ironman 9 times!!!! I’m sure Happy is watching, hi Happy.’
I later found out that Paul had stayed on the red carpet an extra 30 mins so he could call me in. Now that is what I call a dear friend and a Bloody legend!!!
As I crossed the finish line, I saw my friend and Possibilitty Race Team mate ready with open arms for a hug. I looked up and to my amazement I had raced an Ironman PB time of 13:14:32. This was a 16 min personal best time improvement. I couldn’t believe it, as I was not racing for a PB at all.
Run note – the course is 3 loops. It does feel long mentally. It is quite a nice course! You run through forest/woods. Then surface changes throughout, including cobbled paths, trail, camber, footpaths and part of an athletics track.
Post race feels
There are showers where you can clean yourself up, there was plenty of food in the food tent, massage and if you wanted you could get your race medal engraved with your result.
This Ironman is the most supported course I have ever raced. It reminded me so much of Roth and Ironman Texas. The support on the entire run course is unbelievable. Nothing quite like it anywhere.
The aid stations were fully stocked. The volunteers are amazing. One really important note, when you drink the coke or red bull ALWAYS CHECK FOR WASPS this is really important! Especially for those who are allergic!! They tend to hang around the sugar.
So my final words are, to those who are looking to do this race, I highly recommend this race. Everyone should do it at least once.
I dedicate this race to my number one human in the galaxy, Travis Happy Tremayne! Love ya babe!!
A massive thank you to my coach Stuart Moore in Australia. He understands me and understands exactly what I need mentally. This is bigger than any training session. Understanding and building a strong mind is the most crucial element in my opinion when doing this sport. Once the mind is strong and believes, EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
My husband, Travis Happy Tremayne, the freedom, support, encouragement, love, help, and everything you do for me, helps me to achieve my goals in this sport and in life. I am such a lucky human to have a human like you who sets no boundaries on me. You support my every decision in everything I want to do in this life. THANK YOU 💋
Finally to all those who support, encourage and follow me on social media. So many of you I have never met, and also there are so many that I have through this amazing community. I really appreciate all the engagement on my posts. Thank you! 😘
What’s next – Ironman Italy on the 22nd September. Yes that is right, number 10 in 4 weeks time. I am on a mission. To complete 12 Ironmans by end of next year. I am aiming for the legacy program so I can participate in Kona before my husband dies. Time is a ticking!!!! I need 12 to apply for legacy and then I need to complete at least one a year until my name comes up.