Editor Liz Hufton has decided to take on another long-distance race for an elusive sub-13-hour finish time. But first she has a few weaknesses to tackle: namely swimming, cycling and running
At the end of my first marathon in 2002, a friend asked me whether I’d do another one. My response wasn’t positive, and it wasn’t polite. But I’ve never met anyone who said ‘never again’ and meant it; the lure of the PB is too strong, and I’ve run seven more since that day. The same goes for triathlons. You know how you read research saying that 80% of women believe they’d be happier one dress size lower? I think the same must be true of triathletes and their PBs: I’d be happy if I could do a 2:45 Olympic distance. Then a 2:30. Then just five minutes faster again.
After my first Ironman (that’s me on the right, with my friends Robbie and Rachel), no-one was fool enough to ask if I’d do another. As plenty of you will know, Ironman training is an all-consuming affair. But after a summer of sprint racing this year I actually began to miss spending half of every Sunday cursing my way round Somerset on my bike, and the other half lying on the sofa in recovery tights, eating. I was pretty pleased with my 13:43 in Switzerland last year, but as time goes on you start doing daydream calculations: what if could knock 15 minutes off my swim? I wasn’t going that hard on the bike, I could take half an hour off there… and with a bit more training I could push that run under four hours. Before you know it, the ‘what ifs’ are overwhelming and there’s only one way to answer them.
So I’ve decided to give it another bash next year. My swim was pretty appalling first time round – it took me 1hr48mins. So with the aid of some swim drills by our regular coach Doug Hall (to appear in issue 21 – click here if you don’t want to miss it!), and my favourite new toy, the excellent Poolmate, I’m after getting that down to a more respectable 1:30. I was happy with my bike time, 7:05, but if can bite the bullet and get my hands on a TT bike, there’s time for grabs there. And running is still my strength – despite a pretty lackadaisical approach to training, I managed a 4:30 split. There’s just a small problem with both bike and run at the moment: my never-ending ITB band injury. At the moment bike and run training consists of 2 x 10mins per day on my foam roller, and later in the week I’m visiting Profeet in London for a proper bike fit to make sure nothing’s wonky.
So roll on Ironman take two. If I can just get under 13 hours, I’ll be happy.