I’ve just got back from a much needed break with my two girls, Charlotte and Emma. We chose to head to the South Wales coastal town of Tenby, yes that Tenby, the home of Ironman Wales. Not that that particular fact was a reason for visiting but it certainly made out stay interesting as I saw parts of the course. It certainly isn’t for the faint hearted, you need fell running shoes just to make it from the beach to T1.
Ironman Wales was never a race that I considered, it just didn’t appeal to me – hills, british sea swim, it was Wales etc… Now I’ve actually been to Tenby, I’ve fallen in love with the place and plan on going back. I’ve been lucky enough to see some amazing coastlines in South Africa, Australia and North America and I can tell you that the beaches in that part of Wales are up there with the best of them. I really wish that I had taken my wetsuit as the sea looked so inviting, that was until I started to paddle with Charlotte. It was cold, very cold, unbelievably cold, so cold that….anyway you get what I’m saying! If I wasn’t retired I’d be doing Ironman Wales in 2014, no doubt at all. Luckily I’m retired 😉
I was lucky enough to meet up with a couple of local lads, Billy and Scott who are both racing their local Ironman this September. Billy successfully finished it last year and Scott is taking on the challenge. We had a great few hours in the pub talking about strategy, war stories, the merits of sheep ( it is wales ) and how you get used to being stung by jellyfish if you swim in Tenby harbour. Hmm I wasn’t convinced on that last point. It was great to meet two such great blokes and I wish them all the best for September, I have no doubt they’ll smash it.
So apart from eating ice cream, visiting the zoo ( they let me out again ), building sand castles, talking ironman, looking at castles and huge lillyponds and paddling with Charlotte I did a little bit of training.
A couple of days before we went my new toy arrived, a Garmin Swim, a fancy watch type thing that tells you how crap you are at swimming and gives you lots of data to accompany the fact that you are crap. I figured any device that makes me want to swim has to be a good thing and my initial impression is that it is the best thing I’ve bought in years. I love it, I no longer have to worry about counting laps, which when as I was on holiday, swimming 4km in a 15m pool is a lot of laps ( 267 ). I’ll do a full review at some point. I also tried a bit of aqua running to help my injured knee and although you look and feel a prat it was actually a surprisingly good workout.
So that’s the Sand castles and Splashing covered, so what about the Suffering? Well unfortunately when I was in Tenby my knee gave way and I jolted forward causing immense pain ( the worst I’ve felt in months ). It was so bad that I couldn’t bend my knee at all and I had to physically lift my left leg with my hands onto the clutch in the car so that I could change gear. Last Wednesday I almost drove to the nearest car dealership and said “Sell me an automatic, I don’t care what make or cost.” Luckily the pain eased off and I could drive the 200 miles home. Then on Sunday I had another setback when my knee locked as I was at the top of a flight of stairs, I fell with my considerable weight trapping my leg under me. I was actually in a crumpled tearful mess after that and it is still sore now, meaning that I haven’t been able to ride my bike. I have physio tonight so although that will hurt I’m also looking forward to it as I know it will help.
But I can’t end a blog on a downer so I’ll leave you with the fact that I did an organised 2.4 mile swim on Monday night, I couldn’t use my left leg at all, and I was convinced whilst swimming that I was last, when in reality I finished 23rd out of 38 in a time of 1.23:50 – given my pb is 1.19 I’ll take that 🙂