A group of us had signed up for the relay of the Ironman triathlon 70.3 in Dun Laoghaire (a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run).  We had 5 teams and one very active whatsapp group.

When I agreed to the run part, I had that ever-ready “do it as a tempo” in head but then I was alerted to the price – €415 entry for the 3 person team.  So upgraded my plan and set 90mins as the goal.

Our team was Shane out swimming first, then changeover to my boyfriend Pete for bike and on to me for the run.    Athletes are tracked and you can follow progress on an app, with estimated times given for bike and run as you progress – these are really necessary for relay as you need to be ready for your teammate coming in, especially as bike times can vary by 2 hours.  The only issue with the tracker is that estimated times were based off swim and bike average.   So probably the funniest bit of the day was when a biker on our other team had a really good race, arrived at changeover but his teammate was only out in blackrock dart station making his way in.  To be fair to him, they only lost 26 minutes waiting around.

I also fell victim to this.  Was sitting on a wall, drinking coffee, having the chats, away from the formal changeover area, when my phone pinged to tell me that Pete had finished the bike – a full hour faster than estimated time.  Turned out my most pressing matter of concern was getting garmin satellite reception.  Then squeezed in through spectators and officials to the transition area.

Then the most bizarre run ever, and I really didn’t like it.  It was 3 lap course around dun laoghaire (up/down the east pier and as far as monkstown and back) and I had started with the mid pack gang so there were 100s of triathletes on the course all having done swim and bike and all at various points of a half marathon.  And me, fresh as a daisy trying to weave through them all – knowing that these lads had just completed, by all accounts, a horror of a bike course with 1,300m climb up the rainy Wicklow mountains.  Generally one gets a boost from overtaking – but that’s true in a race, everyone doing the same event; this was completely different and I got zero boost, actually minus boost.  Here my whole run was just overtaking and I did not find one person who was running the same pace as me (they would have probably finished earlier).

I really tried to get into important race mode mindset and kept trying to keep pace consistent.  I was doing fine until maybe around 15k and legs just felt really tired.  This is normal but by that stage I really didn’t have the investment in the race to find my pain cave (© Gareth Murran) .  I plugged away, was hurting but the adrenaline wasn’t there to force the body to really suffer (ah gotta love this hobby).

I knew this as I was able to raise a smile for the superb supporters Naoise, Catherine on WAG duty and Margaret and indeed Louise who was volunteering.  I was also able for a sprint finish at end.  Now I feel really bad about this part – other members of relay team can rejoin and go down the finish shoot (Ironman is ALL about the finish area).  So as in any healthy relationship, when I met Pete at rejoin point, all I wanted to do was outsprint him.  So we had a race down the line with no heed for the others who were finishing as individuals (probably also ruining their finish line photos).  I feel really crap about this.  We just didn’t think.My time was 94mins.  I can’t complain but I really should have been doing a road race.

Big thanks to Clodagh who was our group leader and managed to co-ordinate at least 15 people for the event, the gang are very diverse and lots of different hobbies so this was great way to get everyone together.  Also fair play to Margaret Crowley who was one of our fine swimmers!

Actually re the swim – I was chatting to people after and apparently a buoy marker moved and lots of people had an extra 400meters to swim.   Seemingly just one of those things that happens in triathlons.Anyhow, the whole day was really enjoyable – Ironman put on some show and it’s inspirational seeing all the triathletes finish and proud families. And the really cool bikes.

Finally big well done to Nigel Mulleady Elliott for completing the entire thing.  Hopefully we have report from him too.