From Ironman 70.3 Zell Am See, Austria on Sunday the 1st of September to the tough Half Ironman at Gerardmer, France on Saturday the 6th of September
Day 1 MONDAY
Usually I sleep quite well after a race but this time I didn't sleep much at all and woke up with some very sore legs and an extremely sore foot (from the injury I have been dealing with for some time). Packed up had breakfast which was a great hotel buffet breakfast (with lots of eggs) and headed off on my 8 hour drive back to Leysin. The journey actually took a total of 10 hours with a lunch stop and a lot of traffic. I wore some Compressport compression socks and For Quads for the whole drive and used my Firefly devices any time I was stopped or in traffic and when I got back home. I arrived in Leysin late in the evening, had a light dinner, got a fairly early night and slept really well.
Day 2 TUESDAY
When the alarm went off at 6.45 I really didn’t want to get up but I dragged myself out of bed and headed to the pool for the usual 7.30 swim start. I swam for just over an hour with a few sprints to loosen up the body. My legs are not as stiff and sore as yesterday but they are still much more painful than usual after a race though this time it’s just muscle soreness which is much better than the muscle fatigue you sometimes feel after an Ironman. I set up the bike that I will be racing on at the weekend (a road bike) and headed off for a short bike session to see how the feel on the bike. My legs felt a little sore and tired then in the evening I went for an easy recovery ride to spin the legs out and got another early night.
Day 3 WEDNESDAY
Up for swimming as usual this time around 4k of mostly 400’s then out on the bike around one of our regular loops from Leysin which is around 3 hours and has a few decent climbs. I rode easy, my legs didn’t feel too bad but I didn’t want to test them too much. There is still a lot of muscle soreness so just getting up the climbs was enough for them. In the afternoon I went for a 30 minute water run (I run in the shallow end of the pool with shoes on). This didn’t feel great, my calves ached and my quads were screaming with fatigue but this eased a little and in the evening I went for a massage which really helped. Right now I am wondering how I am going to do a tough half ironman at the weekend!
Day 4 Thursday
Last night was a really bad night, I woke up with bad stomach cramps and feeling very sick. I went to swimming as usual hoping I would feel OK but this didn’t help and I had to get out after a very short time in the water. I was going to do a water run before heading to Gerardmer but fell asleep instead and when I woke it was time to get on the road. I think my sleep helped as I felt a little better on the drive. I arrived early evening, didn’t make it out for dinner as I didn’t feel like eating so had and Ignite Naturals shake instead and went to bed but again didn’t sleep well.
Day 5 Friday
Pre-race day suffering a little with the same symptoms as yesterday but managed to eat a decent breakfast and went to the expo to pick up a few gels for the race. Spoke to the Sailfish Wetsuits guys who recognised me from Ironman Zell am See and lent me a wetsuit for the race as I haven’t been feeling comfortable in my own wetsuit lately. I did a short bike and swim, my legs are actually feeling ok but I am still wondering whether I will be able to start tomorrow as I’m am having a lot of problems with my stomach and don’t seem to be keeping much nutrition in me. Fingers crossed I’ll be on the startline tomorrow. I managed to eat normally at dinner which is a good sign.
Day 6 Saturday (race day)
Woke up feeling the same as I have for the past two days so wasn’t feeling very up for racing. Went to breakfast and managed 2 scrambled eggs a black coffee and a cup of tea. Had a lay down after breakfast which helped me to feel a little better. Started to feel a better on the way to the swim start.
Swim- a battering session at the start to first bouy, found feet but lost them when I got dunked by another female athlete. The trial Sailfish Attack wetsuit felt pretty good!
Bike- it felt like the whole world was coming past on the first lap, I kept trucking on by myself. Alexandra Louison (and a friend of hers, a man who she seemed to be biking with for the whole race) came past me at the start of the second lap, I bike with her for a while and tried to get away a few times but her and her friend just kept catching back up so it was wasted effort for me. It began to rain on one of the last climbs of the last lap and it seemed to revitilise me. I got a gap, passed another girl and got to transition in 3rd.
Run – I began running at my normal pace and was instantly catching the leaders. Before the end of lap 2 I had the lead and soon after the wheels came off and I was struggling to keep it going. I pushed but had nothing, Louison passed me near the end and Tamsin sprinted to catch me right on the line… we have the same chip time but she got 2nd. Very frustrating for me as running is usually my strength and today it’s where I lost the race. Feeling quite disappointed but I guess after the week I have had its not that bad.
Gerardmer was my last race in Europe for this season. The plan is to pack up in Leysin, drive back home to Ireland and go out to Cozumel to train hard on the swim and bike while my foot injury recovers. I have been told to bring 2 pairs of bike shoes because I will be biking so much I will need them!!