I’m not chasing Kona I’m chasing Survival

With 16 days to go until Ironman UK I probably should be starting to panic / flap / stress but I guess the reality of the challenge ahead hasn’t hit me yet, either that or I’m very chilled about what’s to come on July 20th.

Personally I think I’m chilled, it will be my 6th Ironman, I’m still a novice at the distance but I’m an experienced novice. I’ve been reading comments on Facebook and twitter from those about to embark on their first race of 140.6 miles and I recognise the fear and trepidation that is starting to sink in as the race edges from the periphery of life into their full frontal field of vision. That’s natural, I hope they embrace that nervous energy and use it to their advantage, I know it helped me on my Ironman debut. It mostly centres around “Can I do it?”, “Can I beat the swim cut-off?”, “Will I make it around the bike course in time?”, the answer to these questions for 99% of the competitors is YES. The training is done, the hard work is behind you, now all that remains is to get the head right. BELIEVE.Once the head is right you are one very important step closer to crossing the finish line. I know from past experience that I can complete an Ironman, I’ve done it 5 times, so I don’t have that level of fear. But I do still wonder what level of suffering I’ll go to on the day.

I won’t actively go looking for it as this time around Ironman is a different animal for me but I do wonder, where will I be when pain finds me? And it will find me.

Maybe the pressure is off because I was lucky enough to be given a place by the organisers? I don’t have a financial burden around my neck but trust me I’ve spent enough on the time and commitment away from my family in the build up to this one that I owe them much more than the entry fee.

Maybe the pressure is off because after genuinely believing I’d never do an Ironman again I have no desire other than to finish. I hand on heart really don’t care if I come last and beat the 17hr deadline by 1 second. I really hope that doesn’t happen but if it does so be it.

Maybe the pressure is off because I’ve approached the whole thing as a ‘bit of fun’ and that’s how I intend to race. Enjoy the atmosphere, be aware of my fellow competitors, chat a bit on the run and even when pain finds me still try and smile. This is my hobby and one that I’ve genuinely fallen in love with again after a dark year away.

Maybe the pressure is off because although no where near in the shape of my life ( too fat for that at the moment ) I’m actually going well in training. Everything is ticking over nicely, had a couple of good races in the last month or so at the Liverpool Half marathon and a local 5k race in Tampa where I placed 7th overall. My cycling is steady and my swimming has improved this year. So I have the tools in place to get the job done.

Could I have done more? Of course I could, but I’m not chasing Kona – I’m chasing survival.

We’ll find out on Sunday July 20th if I caught it.


11 responses to “I’m not chasing Kona I’m chasing Survival

  1. Thanks for the calming words for a first time novice.
    Yes I’m scared of the enormity of the day but I need to trust in my Taino g and believe I can complete.
    I’m sure I’ll be propping up the back end of the field feeling guilty at keeping marshals out there but I just want to finish within the 17 hours.

  2. Rock on Holgs – just go out and enjoy yourself πŸ™‚ go hard PIRATE!

  3. Thanks for today’s post- it hit my inbox just when I needed some encouragement after a tough week of training. I’m not doing the official IM race but another Iron Distance a few weeks after (Cotswolds 226) and needed some encouragement this afternoon…quite appropriate that it came in the form of your post as it’s all your fault – you and your bloody book made me do this πŸ™‚ Thanks for the post and good luck on the 20th.

  4. All the very best for Bolton, enjoy !

    Sent from my HTC

  5. Thanks for the post ! Just signed up for my first IM next year and will re-read it nearer the time to put life into perspective :). Saw lots of COLT athletes at IM Lanzarote and looks like you have a fantastic support network

  6. I love your approach to this Ironman. That head of yours seems to get you through anything so I really do hope you enjoy it (well soak up the atmosphere). Good luck.
    Your books have inspired me to get off the sofa, quit smoking and do some exercise. Today I’m in Scotland about to start the Three Peaks Challenge yikes! Next stop a triathlon. So thank you.

  7. Jane Priborsky


  8. Good luck Andy, I did IMUK last year and you cheered me on when on the bike course and then again on the run where you stood out in the heavy rain, encouraging us back up the hill out of Bolton centre. It was after reading your first book that I decided I would do an Ironman, ( had to learn to swim first). You are an inspiration to all but especially to the slightly chunky ones like myself. I hope you get everything and more out of your day REMEMBER we do it for fun. The people of Bolton are amazing and help make the day – Enjoy

  9. I’ve read both of your books and thoroughly enjoyed them both. I’d saved the second until this week in my own build up to Bolton. Was kind of cool when I found out you were giving it a go. I broke my collarbone 3 weeks before last years race for what was and still will be my first full distance ironman. Like your own approach, this year I’ve tried my best to just relax and enjoy the experience…not always easy at certain times. Good luck on Sunday.

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