It has been a suitably long time since I raced. About time I gave you all an insight to my race experience.
Getting to Italy was fairly easy. I flew straight out of Gatwick to Bologna, hired a car and drove to Cervia. The drive was straight forward but in hindsight i wish i had planned it a bit better, as i drove the car twice in total. Complete waste of money. Highly recommend car pooling if you can.
Okay so I stayed quite comfortably for me at a place called Wu Hostel. As it is basically at the end of the season, the place is pretty bare. The hostel however was fully booked due to the ironman! My room was simple, clean, comfortable and it had a balcony where I was able to put my bike box etc. It was also walking distance to the race start/finish. All in all, as I was traveling on my own the accommodation was more than fine.
I decided to head out a couple of days before the race as we raced on the Saturday. Getting it on Wednesday afternoon, I built my bike and of course i knew my friend was already out there, so that evening we caught up for dinner and a catch up.
So funny because as I travel alone I realise I’m never actually alone, as no matter where I race, I’m bound to know someone. Which is one of the reasons I love this sport so much. It’s such a community.
Race registration was really simple. Rock up, show your id and grab your stuff. Of course i added to my Ironman collection by getting a top and trucker. As i was heading back, it was great to bump into my mate Reece.
Following day i went down for a practice swim. I had been really naughty leading into this race. I hadn’t swum for 3 weeks, so i was so happy to finally get back into the water and the sea too. I managed a 1kmm swim and i saw quite a few big jellyfish. I had been warned but didn’t worry about it too much. The water temp was lush, you could absolutely have swum without a suit. Me however, i went in, swam a 1km and then returned back to my room. As it was Friday, it was the day to rack my bike, drop my transition bags and attend race briefing.
Race briefing is always great when Paul Kaye is delivering it. Plus it’s always great to see my dear friend.
Now before I move onto race day, let me just explain the best way I can how long transition is!!!! O m g it is freaking long. It is the longest transition on the Ironman circuit. Ive never bothered with the whole shoes on my bike business, simply because, honestly I’m not fast enough to worry about it. However in this instance, i wish i did have the skill because i hate running in my shoes with my bike. Especially for a km.
It was warm, we’d be warned at race briefing that it could be a non wetsuit swim, so when the announcement came over the airwaves in transition that it was a wetsuit legal swim there was a sigh of relief by many. I was grateful too.
We would also be faced with a lot of large jellyfish and yes they do sting but hey at the end of the day we are swimming in their home so harden up!
The swim is self seeded. In the past I would go in the 1:15 to 1:20 but I find I always get stuck amongst too many swimmers, so I decided to seed myself in the 1:10 chorale.
Whilst waiting I ended up chatting to a couple of guys who were doing their first Ironman. I made sure to tell them to enjoy every minute, especially that red carpet. You can never repeat your first Ironman finish, so enjoy every second!
Swim – 1:12:07
Before I entered the swim, I managed to bump into a friend and fellow Trisutto athlete, Domenico. Of all people to bump into. Was so good to see him and wish him a great race. Also gave me a boost to know that I was swimming in the same chorale as him, as he is good.
Okay back to my swim, I entered the water and found my rhythm and swam. I felt good. There was no pressure on me, so I just swam.
As I got further and further out I saw the jellyfish but as my hubby would say to me, I kept a calm and peaceful mind and thanked them for sharing their home with me.
The Italy swim is an Aussie exit, so you swim a loop, come back on shore and run back into the water.
On the second loop, I must have found some fast feet because I felt like I was flying.
Only one incident on the swim, as I turned the final buoy to headed back to shore I ended up placing my hand right into the centre of a massive Jellyfish. I freaked out and felt so bad for the jellyfish, and I kicked my leg so hard I felt like I had pulled a hammy!
Anyway I regained my composure and returned to shore exiting the water in a record time!
I managed a 2 min swim PB!!!
When I saw Nicki, my Possibilitty Race teammate and her partner Gary, I was like OMG I just swam a PB!!! Woohoo!!
Also saw my mate Liz, from TriSpirit events and gave her a wave.
Omg this bloody transition was never fucking ending lol.
Hand and face was stinging from being stung by jellyfish but I just got on with it. Wetty off, helmet, race belt, socks and shoes on!
Boom off to walk/run the transition.
It wasn’t fast by any means!
Everyone knows how much I love the bike. The bike in Italy is fast and a 2 loop course, however there were far too many athletes.
This meant there was drafting, from deliberate to unavoidable.
Where it was blatantly obvious mate did I let them know it.
I fucked up during the bike leg. I burnt far too many matches speeding up to pass packs. Made me so mad.
The first lap was speedy, come the second lap god know what happened. It felt like a chunk of people decided not to do the second lap as the roads became clear.
I wasn’t slow, I still rode a decent enough time I though but I messed myself up for the run leg.
God knows that I was doing in T2 other than feeling my legs were blown. I knew then and there the run leg was a goner
I don’t have much to say about my walk leg of the marathon.
Simply that I cooked myself on the bike so much that I was unable to do anything on the run leg.
No excuses but I probably still had some fatigue from the Ironman I had done 4 weeks prior
The course was 4 loops. The course had a lot of turns. The road surface is not fabulous and as it gets darker, you need to be careful of your footing.
Crowd support is fine. I was lucky to know many of the awesome Havering Tri Club athletes, so to get cheers from the whilst on the course was a boost.
It was amazing to see on every loop of the run leg and throughout the whole race actually, Liz, Nicki and Gary. You guys are legends.
I would have never thought I had gone to an Ironman by myself, that is for sure.
My overall time for my 10th Ironman including transition was 14:09:22
Post race comments
1. I would not recommend Ironman Italy I’m afraid. The bike course is far too crowded. Seeing this is a large portion of the race, rules it out for me.
Roads were far too narrow in many sections which made the drafting impossible but also frustrating!!
2. I was grateful to know so many people, and I finally met not only clients of Stomp the Pedal but made friends with an amazing tri club – Havering Tri.
That is it for this race report. Definitely in future I should write everything whilst it is fresh in my mind.
Thanks for reading
Till next time!