After all the talk, I’m in. I’ve signed up to do the full 3.8km swim, 180.2km bike and 42.2km run… an ironman.
I’ll be taking on the biggest challenge of my life on the 10th July 2016, which gives me 336 days to prepare. I am going to be doing The Bastion, run by The Castle Triathlon series – which is billed to be the toughest iron-distance event in the UK. I did the bike leg last month with my friends Laura and Charlie as part of a relay, and we placed first in the ‘all-female’ relay team category, and I had a really fun day out. It’s a really small, friendly race, and only an hour’s drive away from home. I had really wanted to do a race overseas, as I was – still am! – worried the weather might spoil the day. However, on balance, I think that not having to plan flights, worry about whether my bike will survive the journey and having all my friends come and support will make the day far better than a really sunny day in Nice will. And it could be really sunny in Kent – stranger things have happened. I’d also rather not do an ‘M-dot’ event as my first event. I mean, it would be brilliant to have “Cathy Drew, you are an Ironman” boomed out for all to hear as I cross the line, of course, but I’m still an ironman without needing to swim with thousands of people and pay millions of pounds to do it.
I feel like this is exactly the right time to finally dive into doing an ironman. By the time I cross the line at Hever, I will have run 7 marathons and I know that I can ride the distance and ride the course, and am confident I can swim the distance without drowning. I’ve done – and LOVED a half iron event, and done enough triathlons now to know that they really are for me. I love the training, I love the atmosphere, I love the excitement of the race, I love the finish. I feel totally ready to start preparing for the biggest race of my life.
I am under no illusion that any of it will be easy, or that I’ll be brilliant. But I’m going to do my best. I’ve got it planned out in my head, and kind of just need January to get started now so I can get on with it. For 7 months, my life will become an awful lot of swimming, cycling, running and strength work – every other aspect is bound to take a hit, and I know this. I am going to train my absolute hardest, and really give it everything – no excuses. I am pretty good at balancing things and fitting things in no matter what’s going on. If a training session is in the diary, it’s in the diary – even if it means doing it at 4am in a hotel gym in Taiwan.
I’m very lucky to have a group of rainbows around me who I know will always be up for a long bike ride, a practice marathon or open water mermaid activities.
I’m incredibly lucky to have Bez. Although he’s not keen on events himself, because of the people, and thinks he’s too old for marathons, he knows how much I love to tri and how important doing an ironman is to me. He’ll be by my side when I’m training in the pouring rain and he’ll be hanging out my lycra and making me hot dinners for seven. Much as he moans, he’ll be the proudest of proud when I’ve conquered The Bastion. I’ll never be able to say thank you properly, so i’ll just have to get a really good time.
Expect plenty of triathlon talk from me from January onwards, but I’ll try and be quiet until then. If you’re already an ironman, give me ALL THE TIPS. Please…?!
Bastion – I’m comin’ for ya’!