Wimbleball Race Report

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Post  karen on Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:29 pm

Here's my race report. I hope it doesn't bore you too much or send you to sleep!

Ironman 70.3, Wimbleball
Said to be the ‘toughest IM 70.3 in the world’, and my first middle distance race!

Well Sunday 17th June, 2012, finally arrived! I was ready. I was rested. I had tapered. However, the days preceding 17th June had been wet and windy, and my confidence was shattered as I doubted being able to complete the toughest 70.3 in the world within the very tight cut-off times. However, by Sunday morning the wind had dropped and the sun shone! My fundraising for Hospiscare had topped £1,000 and this spurred me on.

4am – yawn – Race Day! We arrived at the lake around 5.30am. Bike and transition bags had been racked the day before, so it was just a question of putting nutrition on the bike, queuing for the port-a-loo, and changing ready for the swim.

The start was delayed by 30 mins as some competitors were having difficulty getting to the site. Following the National Anthem at 7.30am, the first wave finally set off, then at 7.45am the rest of us followed.

The course was a single clockwise triangular lap, and I started left and near the front, just as I’d planned. I had space around me and got off to a good start, however, it wasn’t long before I became penned in with swimmers overtaking on both sides, a slower one in front, and someone touching my toes – I kicked hard! Having decided I didn’t like being in the thick of it I moved out to the left some more, and although I probably swam a little further than the 1.9k, I was much more comfortable with some space around me. Sighting was easy as the red buoys were massive. The swim back to the finish gantry was fantastic, you could see the crowds and hear the commentator. 36 mins later and the best bit (for me) was sadly over! Happy with my time I ran up the 400m grass slope towards transition.

Entering the T1 blue bag tent I collected my bike gear and had to steady myself as I felt a little disorientated and dizzy. The changing tent was heaving. Helpers kindly pulled my wetsuit off my legs. Another competitor helped pull my cycle jersey down as it stuck to my wet back. 8 mins later I was running through the mud to find my bike amongst the 1780 other bikes (ok, so maybe not that many by the time I got there, but still a fair few!).

I was extremely thankful that I knew the bike course well, and felt this gave me an advantage as I knew what was round the next corner, and when and where to have my nutrition. Unfortunately after a few hours my stomach started to play up and I didn’t feel like eating any more. I did force more down, but decided in the end to just drink lots, and let things settle a bit.

On the first lap at Haddon Hill my quads started cramping, so I took the second lap a little easier and the quads held up, just. The second lap was much quieter. Many riders experienced bike mechanicals. I was very lucky and got round without any problems, bar the stomach upset, and quads cramping.

I knew what I had to do to beat the bike cut off time, and even with a slower second lap was thrilled to finish the bike leg in 4hrs 17 mins (almost 30 mins to spare!). My decent swim time certainly helped here as it gave me an extra 15 mins.

As soon as I dismounted my quads cramped good and proper – ouch, ouch, ouch! I could only hobble into transition to rack my bike. There was time to stagger to the port-a-loos, then off into the T2 tent to collect my red run bag. I’d packed my bag in the order I wanted to put things on. A kindly volunteer came along and tipped the lot on the floor! I was passed caring! 6 minutes later I started the run.

Ouch, ouch, ouch - quads very painful! I staggered around the first lap, the down hills hurt more than the ups! There were lots of spectators, and it was lovely to see family and friends popping up at different places to cheer me on.Thank you if you came to support – it meant a lot.

During the second lap I perked up a bit, however my stomach decided it was going to get itself noticed again, so I kept having to walk until it settled. I wasn’t sure whether I was actually going to complete this IM 70.3 after all. I’d not given much thought to the run, except that I needed to get round each lap (‘run, walk or crawl’ the rules said) in about 55 mins or less. This I managed to do, somehow or other – and I did avoid the crawling! I knew the race was going to hurt and I felt strong mentally and determined I would, having got that far, be a finisher.

On the final lap I realised that I may even come in under 8 hours! That would be fantastic! So I jogged, walked and chatted until the finish shute came into sight. A smile spread across my face as I turned and made my way along the red carpet. The crowds cheered, and I stumbled towards the line. I smiled for the cameras, received my finishers medal, then thankfully heard my husband calling me. What a relief! I fell into his arms - and burst into tears!

7 hrs 46 mins! I’d done it! I was an Ironman 70.3! I was overwhelmed by what I’d just achieved: by the pain I’d just been through, and the pain to get there; by the amount of money I’d raised from the generous donations of my family and friends (£1,000 and still rising); by the help and support from everyone. I hoped my Mum would have been proud of me.

Two years ago I went along to watch and support my ETC friends taking part in this IM 70.3 race. I was in awe and inspired. I set myself a goal and a target, and said that I too would do this event in 2 years time!

It’s been quite a journey. From overweight swimmer/ leisure cyclist (1/2 mile to work and back!)/non-runner, to IM 70.3 triathlete in just 3 seasons, and it’s all thanks to the fantastic support, help and advice I’ve received from the wonderful members of Exeter Triathlon Club, and the support from my fantastic family and friends!

Thank you for helping me make this dream come true. The t-shirt says ‘Anything is possible’, and they’re right! Give it a go!

Karen xx

Last edited by karen on Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:32 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post  BEEF on Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:39 pm

Congrats Karen...... #inspiring #oneday


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Post  Bernie E on Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:13 am

Well done Karen...such determination.
Have to echo your comments re support, thanks to club members for their advice. The support on the day was massive not only from club members but from so many strangers - the crowds cheering and ringing cowbells at Haddon Hill made it a real KOM experience! Thanks again to all who braved the mud to come and cheer us on.
Bernie E
Bernie E

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Post  simon on Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:36 am

well done everyone. it was brilliant hearing the "come on exeter" from strangers as well as the more personalised support from familiar faces. it was a real credit to the club that not only were we well represented on the course, but also had supporters who had made the effort to get up there to cheer us all on - sincere thanks to everyone who came


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