Going into the Steelman, my first half distance event, my main concern was getting the nutrition right. With a bit of help from Ollie I was able to calculate the amount that I would need to keep me going. I loaded my bike with tailwind, gel cubes and chopped up chunks of chocolate and caramel hi5 bars!! Oh, and of course I had a sandwich before we started.
The Swim is my favourite part. I managed to keep myself to myself for most of the swim although people pulling on my legs really annoys me. Rounding the final bouy, I heard loud shouts and looked up to see the swimmers who were behind me missing out the final bouy before exiting the water. That made me sprint to the edge of the lake!! 1st lady out the water. Great start. Wetsuit came off easily (phew!!! Always a worry!) and out onto the bike.
The Bike leg was my worry. Having run out of steam on the bike in the past, I know that if I was going to fail, it would be here. My watch had been set to remind me to eat every 20 minutes. I was so paranoid that I would miss it I ate anyway. It was lovely to see friends marshalling and the first lap seemed to fly by. Many friends caught me on the second lap. I didn’t recognise Andrew H as he flew by, shortly followed by Angela who was looking really strong and comfortable as always. The final 30 mins were hard work. By that point I felt as though everyone was just miles ahead whilst I was just puffing and panting away stuffing my face with nutrition which by this point was going round and round in my mouth.
Coming off the bike and waddling into T2, I wondered how on earth I was going to make my legs run a half marathon. I knew however that, having completed the bike leg and dealt with the nutrition reasonably successfully thus far, I was going to complete the race even if I had to walk. It was great to see some more friendly faces and have a breather. I even popped to the loo, a very good decision!! The muddy puddles at the start of the Run were a great distraction for getting into a rhythm as I had a stitch which I needed to run off. Running alongside the road I stopped for a girl who was having a panic attack. I walked with her before realising that my legs would seize up if I did any more walking so I had to wish her well and keep on running. About half way around, I was met with the most wonderful sight; a hose pipe!! I was soaked. Bliss. By that point I couldn’t tell if I was hot from running or hot because of the weather. The second half of the loop was much easier through the cooler wooded areas and returning to the lakeside. Starting the final lap of the run route, I knew exactly how far it was to the finish. Laps are definitely easier to deal with as you approach the end of a race. A second hose down and hearing the words just 5km to go were music to my ears!
It was a great feeling to cross the line!! I was absolutely delighted to have finished. To have finished as 6th lady, and 3rd Vet was a real bonus . The reason I did this race? To see if I think I could do a full ironman. It’s made me realise the massive amount of training required, as well as the mental determination to finish. I have a newfound respect for anyone who has ever completed a full distance race, and yes, I am determined to at least give it a go next year. Watch this space!!