I read an excerpt from Paul Galvin’s book that resonated a bit when he talked about managing emotions on the football field. It resonated because I was nuts. My last footie memory is shouldering an opposing player, stamping on him and then denying it whilst getting sent off. I would have achieved a lot more if I could have, realized or educated myself to the importance of managing emotion. Thankfully life is a learning curve, and this year I put a lot of work into managing emotion throughout training and racing.
Simple things like sleeping, my own coach had me log the amount of sleep i achieved a night. Staying relaxed during training and racing , and not getting too up or down with good or bad results.
I went into last Sunday’s Ironman so relaxed that I think I swam a minute or two slower than I should have! 1:09. There was no sick feeling in the lead up, I was relaxed and focused. Taking everything in and enjoying the moments.
The bike leg of this race was super quirky, cycling through a city center early in the morning followed by German villages thronged with supporters drinking, cheering and generally having a blast. This race has its own personality that being cobbles at one point which were fun for 10 seconds then bone rattling thereafter. Heartbreak hill was something special, much like le tour alpine stages with hundreds of people either side cheering you on. My bike performance was not great, but not bad either. I did the first half in 2:45 and second 90 k in 2:55 giving me a 5:40 split. It rained heavy on the last 20kms and got very sketchy in spots. Some rode hard home, I’m not that ballsy on the bike. I felt a bit skittish on the final few kms and went for safety.
A long conversation with Michelle in Liquid Motion a few months ago reminded me how much I loved running. And why my marathon should be strong. I had blown up a few times on the marathon posting everything from 4:01 to 4:55 marathons.
I did feel great from my initial few kms, running at 4:55 to 5:00 km pace I started to dream a bit. But for some reason I just got really angry, first I could not get a free port a loo, and needed a dump! This put me off for a short while but when I was sorted I kicked on. Another athlete pushed me out of the way, I bollocked him. Soon later He blew up, I was going to say something, but left it.
I would pass my family at the same spot every lap, I barely acknowledged them. Even my 14 month old. I was in a zone and not coming out. Once you get in the hurt locker Its all about small things small wins anything to stay positive. Your feet start to get very sore, energy fades and its a constant battle to not give in and walk a bit. I had a 10 second period where I nearly did but managed to pull through.
With 20kms to go I just kept repeating work the 3rd lap and the 4th will take care of itself. It worked I managed to keep pace. I never entered the horrors or hit a wall but It was just hard keeping pace between 5:00 to 5:30 min kms and once it went high I found it really hard to speed up.
I did not enjoy being on the last lap, it was more relief but worry that a cramping hamstring would de rail my efforts. Heading up the shoot to the finish line my mam threw me an Irish flag that all of our liquid motion tri club had signed. I crossed the line and started to ball. I found a corner and continued to ball. It was not like emotion of previous Ironmans where I was just fucked. It was more pride this time that I said I would achieve a time and did it. It took 4 years and 5 Ironmans but I don’t give a toss. I do not have the genetics but over time I can grind it out. 10:43 sub 11 hours. I will go sub 10 hours in my next race.
Its not Ironman, the race the brand, the tattoo or T shirt. It’s endurance, It’s absolutely addictive.
And anyone can do it