Jodie’s Roth Race Report – 18 July 2010
Woke up at 3am after a surprisingly good night sleep, I was really tired the night before the race so slept for a solid 6 hours – stoked! Gulped down my hearty breakfast of two vanilla ensure plus and got into my gear, nerves were creeping up on me now. We all piled into Tommy and Niamh’s people mover and headed to Hippolstein to the swim start. We got there when it was still dark and as we walked over the bridge chariots of fire was playing at the race area… It was quite funny.
Arrived at the swim start and proceeded to our bikes where we added the final bits of nutrition, filled up aero bottles, pumped up tyres and ensured the gels we had taped to our cross bars hadn’t been pinched… All was well.
Niamh and Sarah were going to go to stand on the bridge so they could see everyone leave T1 and as they were the team pack horses (very good looking ones at that) it was time to don our wetsuits so they could take all our gear back to the car. Handfuls of vasoline applied to all sorts of places and we were ready to go. As we threw our final few things into our T1 bags, Chrissie Wellington zipped past us on the way to join the pros at the start. Ed, Annie Jax and I made our way into ‘the cage’ where we waited for the pro’s to start and then the sub 9-ers (yellow caps) and the first age groupers (Ed’s group – blue caps). They were off and it was our turn to cross the time chip mat and get into the water.
The water was surprisingly warm… We made our way towards the line and tucked ourselves in just behind the boat holding the start rope. A bit to my surprise the gun went off and we were away! I sat on Jackie’s feet for a second and stuck by the buoys closest to the centre of the canal. Annie was next to me looking comfy. I felt very relaxed and comfortable in the water, breathing was good, was breathing only to the left as I has been doing in training. It was misty as the water temperature was warm and the air temperature was cold so there was a haze on top of the water which made it hard to see far in the distance. I tucked in behind a group of about 4 girls who were just slightly faster than me and not as navigationally challenged – bonus.
I finally caught site of the turn around buoy which I was pretty happy to see, seemed like a lifetime of swimming to get there! As I came to the turn around buoy my face engaged someone’s foot and my goggles were kicked off. Bit frantic I tried to just throw them back on and continue on my way… unfortunately this didn’t work, water started gushing into my goggles so I had to stop, treading water and trying not to annoy all the swimmers coming up behind me as I had parked myself right in the way! Smashed my goggles on again as I didn’t want to lose my group, and just kept swimming… My eyes felt like they were being sucked out of their sockets so I stopped again and took the time to fix them but in the end still felt like my eyes were being pulled out of their sockets – but I couldn’t waste anymore time faffing… was very uncomfortable!
Pissed off by the goggles debacle I had lost the group that I was swimming with and was literally on my own for about a kilometre..! Got over it and calmed down, told myself to worry about the things I can control and found a nice rhythm – passed a couple of sub 9 people (to my surprise!) and some blue caps as well which perhaps put a bit of confidence in myself that I was doing ok. Eventually found another pink cap swimming with a blue cap as well, sat in her draft for a while but then passed as she wasn’t going quite quick enough, knew I could go a bit quicker and didn’t want to be too lazy! Back on my own and trying to sight the buoys in the distance I realised if I just aimed for under the bridge I would be ok. I came past the start line again where another group of age groupers were about to start… at which stage I started to get the burps and subsequently had a puke, which spooked me a bit.
Onwards and upwards I knew I didn’t though and rounded the final buoy and headed towards the marshalls standing in the water pulling people out. Got out of the water and felt a bit queezy, was a bit dizzy and quite hot and my eyes looked as though they had indeed been sucked out of their sockets!!
I had no idea what my swim time was as I had decided to swim with no watch as it was hard to get the wetsuit off with the watch on. Out of the water I started to take off my wetsuit running up to grab my T1 bag – got my arm caught and struggled a bit with the suit so ran into the tent to get it off properly. A burly frauline helped with my gear, she spoke not much English bit we spoke in sign language and the commonly used globally accepted yes/no language.
Arm warmers were a bit of a nightmare to get on, and I was off out to my bike. Stupidly I forgot to put my watch on while still at the bike so rode the first km with the watch in my mouth, was struggling to get it on so pulled over just before the first turn on the bike and put it on properly – another rookie error!
First 30km on the bike was mentally pretty tough, was doubting if I was going to be able to do this bike and worried that I would flake out, I think this was my fear of the hills that I knew were coming, the first at 19km. This photo was taken as I was having all these thoughts clearly I am trying to pull myself together:
I flew up the first hill which gave me a major boost. My arm warmers were bugging me so I used the downhill to rip those off and shoved them in my pocket. At about 30km was desperate for a pee so decided to try and pee on the bike… another rookie error. In dubai we tend to sweat out a lot of our fluids however in Germany when one needs to pee, there is a substantially greater volume of fluid… I peed for what seemed like about 5 kilometres and decided my next toilet stop would be off the bike and behind a tree.
Epic fail: peeing on the bike.
The nastiest of all the hills was coming at 38km and I was ready to take it on… crossing over the highway then gradually over some undulating ups and downs the approach is on the decent and a sharp left (thank god we drove the course)… changed into my little ring as I descended and off I went around the corner and up the hill, there was a DJ encouraging people up the hill, he said my name and where I was from, the hill was steep but I just spun spun spun up – and much to my delight it was comfortable. It did go on for quite a long way but they cleverly put an aid station at the top so it took your mind off the hill, I stocked up on High 5 and water and I was off to the top of the hill. My plan for each aid station was to get a bottle of High 5 and a bottle of water which I stuck to like glue – worked a treat and only in the last 5km of the bike did I empty my aero to the bottom.
The bike course from 42km to about 58km odd is up a gradual incline, this was a lot harder than I thought and drags on for a quite a long time… then you get to the BIIIG downhills and the switchbacks which were lots of fun – my god there are people that absolutely FLY down those hills, I felt like my nana with a basket and a bell on my bike but I managed to get up to 52km per hour – was a total buzz… this is me hooning down the hill looking a teensy bit scared and absolutely frozen:
Solarberg was coming and I was getting nervous and excited, needed to pee again (this was becoming annoying now) and worried for about 5km before that I would get really excited going up solarberg and pee all over the crowd… (funny what you worry about during an ironman).
There is a nasty little hill before it that Beje had warned me about which throws you a bit, as you make your way down the other side I could literally feel the floor rumbling, round the corner and 20,000 people are there to welcome you! Words cannot explain the feeling you get as you ride up this hill, my heart was in my mouth I was madly looking for mum and dad and/or Niamh and Sarah but couldn’t see anyone in the sea of faces… my fears of being surrounded by people and/or falling off went out the window and I powered up the hill it was absolutely magic!
After Solarberg it’s pretty much downhill to you get to the swim start… where it all starts again!! Took a couple of panadol at the start of the second lap just for good measure. Ironically all the hills that I flew up and found easy on the first lap were hard and all the hills I struggled up were easy…. Go figure.
Stopped for another comfort stop at somewhere around 120km where I took my jacket off as it was warming up and enjoyed the beautiful german country roads:
After Solarberg the second time which had much less people and hurt my legs twice as much I sat with (legally of course) a girl called Carrie from the USA… she was on a red Trek Equinox and looked the part with her aero helmet, I made it my mission to stay with her until the end of the bike as she was going at a good pace that I knew I could keep up with.
As I made my way to the swim start for the last time through Hipolstein I saw my cousin Kirsty screaming my name which made my day! There was mum, dad, my cousins and Janahan’s wife Shyamala all standing there belting my name out – what a perfect way to end my ride. I was really keen on doing a 6.15 bike so put foot towards the end averaging about 33.5km per hour… unfortunately came in just over at 6:21.06 but felt really really good, still right behind Carrie who did a 6:20.47.
Into T2 changing area and mentall preparing for my walk/run mission. I had worked out that I needed to run/walk at an average of 8.3km per hour and walk a pace of 6.5km to do a 5:15 marathon (my A goal)… so that was the mission. I got a fantastic lady who covered me in sunscreen and helped me with my shoes, fuelbelt, visor and even turned my iPod on for me – champion. Quick toilet stop and I was off… legs felt a bit wobbly but didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought they would, I was off – this was the first of 15 x 15 minute runs that I would do today and I was so relieved to be off the bike and onto the last part of this challenge.
The run: As I made my way through the forest and onto the canal I took two panadol and an anti-inflammatory (this was on the race plan!)… lots of things were racing through my head, I was happy with my bike time, but should have put foot a bit harder to do a 6.15 but it was all good, I had finished, managed to not crash and no punctures – happy days. Once you get to the canal you head left… and run along the water on a lose gravel track, it is really neat, quite narrow and fantastic as you are running alongside people coming the opposite direction. Just as I headed out along the canal I saw Tommy Gun who was looking very happy followed by Marshall who also had a smile on his face – was so exciting to see the guys. I stuck to my 15:5 walk run mission right the way through and promised myself I would not deviate. Aid stations every 2km were fantastic, I had my fuelbelt which I was topping up with water when I could but it was more to carry all the crap that I took with me: second skin for blisters, vasoline, pills, spare headphones, gels, gu chomps and last but not least the kitchen sink. The sun managed to stay behind the clouds for most of the run which was good as it meant that I did not get crispy fried and overheat which was another one of my biggest worries. Nutrition was going well, I had 4 gu chomps on the first walk, a gu the second walk and 4 gu chomps on the third walk all with lots of water – did this for the first half of the marathon.
A little loop through the first village past lots of beer drinkers and kids lining the streets giving out sponges etc and it was back in the direction of the canal to run the way I had come already… much to my delight I saw Annie P for the first time the whole day running towards the village looking happy and comfy – was good to know she was ok – to be honest I thought she was in front of me.
In between km’s 12.5km entering the village area and the next mark at the end of the canal my speed dropped quite a bit to around 8.21km/hr, mainly due to the hill on the way back up to the canal which unfortunately didn’t fit into my walking sequence. Battled mentally with the next few km’s as I thought the run course was 2 loops of the same course… I was seriously unhappy about this and was wondering how I was going to get through it, spent a good 20 minutes worrying about my mental state by km 42! As I ran along the canal I saw Jackie looking great and Janahan with the biggest smile I have ever seen – he even high 5’d me – another boost and all the bad thoughts were gone – I could so do this. I was also a little overwhelmed that I was at the front of the Ninja pack… I thought I was behind Annie and that Jackie wouldn’t be far off my tail – but I was ahead by 30 minutes which was a huge surprise – and a good reason to keep ticking over!
As I ran towards the junction where I thought I would turn around I saw people running on a bridge above us – I was really confused as to where they were going but my thoughts were interrupted much to my delight by my fan club of cousins, mum and dad + Shyamala again all screaming and yelling for me… what a boost as I thought I was about to turn around and do that bloody run course all over again… but the course didn’t go back the same way and looped through to the other side of the canal where you run out similarly to the first half, along the canal then up to a village – hence the people running on the bridge over my head into Eckersmuhlen village. I was so delighted that I wouldn’t be running the same course again I tootled off and continued my run/walk – in hindsight I probably should have looked at the course map and saved some unnecessary energy – what a muppet.
It was at this point that I noticed people all around me started to break, girls that had floored it past me both on the bike and I headed onto the run I was now passing including my biking buddy Carrie from the USA. I guess this was the biggest boost of the day – I was passing people that were broken at 21km and I was still feeling absolutely brilliant. I popped a couple more panadol and an anti-inflammatory – that was me at the end of my drugs quota for the day. I had to tighten my fuelbelt twice as I was obviously loosing a bit of weight as I ran – at one point it fell off all by itself. It was also around this point that I made a mental note to myself that my nutrition had been fantastic up to now and not to let myself down by mucking up the plan. I reduced my food to 2-3 chomps (or whatever I could get down) on the first and the third walk of every hour… and coke at every aid station – I just kept telling myself it would get me through to the end even though I didn’t feel much like eating or drinking at this point.
Through a spooky forest the sun was shining through the trees and loads of people were blowing up – it was like a bit of a triathlon horror movie… over the timing mat at the start of Eckersmuhlen (and a quick comfort stop) it was at this point (21.5km) I started drinking coke. It got quite hot at this point, the sun had come out and everyone around the place was melting – another advantage of living in the desert was at no time during the run did I feel hot – it was brilliant. There were sponges, sprinklers and people throwing water over all the runners but I was very comfortable. Crossed the bridge that I saw everyone running over from the canal when quite suddenly I felt tired, sore and quite sick. I wanted the turn around to be closer than it was…I seemed to run forever around the village and not see any turn around – knowing that I had to run back again to the big timing mat at 31.5km mark. This, from memory was one of the toughest parts of the run by far. My tummy had started to play up a bit. I finally reached the turn around and headed back out of the village towards the big timing mat and aid station – I just kept telling myself to stick to the 15:5 method and it would all be over soon. I saw Annie P as I got to the timing mat and aid station at 31.5km, my tummy was quite unhappy and had to stop for the bathroom – glad I did as I felt MUCH better.
As I made my way back to the forest at the T junction of the run I went over the mat at 39.7km (and had to stop again at the bathroom) I was absolutely delighted that I was on my way back into Roth and this was it – the last 3km – the end was in sight. I had added my new favourite song on my iPod the day I left for Germany and it came on as I ran through the forest, I will never forget that moment and every time I hear the song now I think of running through the forest with a massive smile on my face. According to my splits I started belting it here – it was downhill admittedly but I don’t really remember much. As we got to the little hill that takes you into Roth I decided that even though it was a run section I was going to walk the hill, purely because I would walk it as fast as I would have run it at this point. I knew at the top of the hill was the ‘new’ part of the run through Roth – and I was hurting by now, my quads were sore, my body tired and I couldn’t eat or drink another thing. I ran down to the town, over the final timing mat (40.05km)…
I looked at my watch and figured that I wasn’t going to make a sub 5 hour marathon – dammit! I was sitting on 4:58, my legs were really sore now so I decided to power walk for a couple of minutes knowing that I would be running up the finish shoot in about 5 minutes! About 5 guys around me had the same idea and we all walked together knowing what was around the corner. I made my way over the train tracks to the bottom of the shoot where you could hear the cheering and yelling and the MC… I was soooo stoked.
Still had no idea what my overall time was as I had only my bike time and my run time and to be honest maths wasn’t my strong point at the 42km mark so I thought it would be a surprise at the end to know my time. I ran up the shoot with a bunch of other people including a german chick and right on the corner as I came into the horse shoe was my cousins, mum, dad and Shyamala again – all screaming and shouting for me – that is when the smile on my face spread from ear to ear… I had done it. As I ran around the U-shape finish area I heard more people screaming at me – I looked up into the bleachers and it was Niamh and Sarah jumping up and down like lunatics – I couldn’t stop smiling and was so stoked to be there.
As I crossed the finish line a little bit spacey Chrissie Wellington put a medal around my neck and asked me how I was… I told her I was knackered! She then asked if it was my first ironman distance and if I was happy… I was so happy I could hardly speak! Mum and my cousin Kirsty were waiting for me in front of the media where I went over to talk to them… I was a bit out of it and it was all a bit overwhelming but my mum gave me a huge hug and told me in between tears how proud she was…. Here’s the pic of me over the line with my medal that my cousin took!
All the training, all the commitment and a whole lot of courage got me over that finish line and I surprised even myself. As I crossed the line it said 3:12 and my cousin said ‘oh that is great’ – I told her that I had to ADD 20 minutes as that is when the first age group left and when the clock started so it worked out that I had done 13:34… which I was still super happy with.
I went to the athletes tent, found my post race bag and eventually found Ed, Tommy and Simon, it was hugs all around and I was pleased to see three very happy faces. The first question I asked was whether Ed had done sub 10 like he worked so hard to do… and he told me with a huge smile he had done 9:57 – I started jumping up and down until I realized how sore my quads were…. Holy crap.
I had a rub down, got changed then went to collect my finishers certificate while there wasn’t much of a queue. I lined up with my chip, they scanned it and gave me the piece of paper. I handed it back to the guy and said ‘this isn’t mine’… and he looked at the piece of paper, then at me, then at the computer and said “zis is you yaaa” he then explained that I had added 20 mins onto the final clock time rather than subtracting and my official finishing time was 12:47.25. Apart from nearly wetting myself I ran out to find the guys… I couldn’t believe my eyes. SUB 13!!!
Not too soon after Jax arrived, then Annie and then Janahan – all had done sub 14 and were super happy. We met up with the crew after the race and headed home for a well deserved sleep – my body was going to hurt then next day – and boy did it hurt! We enjoyed roast pork and pints of beer in Nuremberg with the whole team to celebrate our success.