So life after Ironman Austria continues, this time in the form of Ironman 70.3 Dublin. If I'm honest from the outset I had not expected big things with this event on a performance level but it wasn't going to stop me enjoying the day. If you read my last report, you'll remember me talk about post race blues which is a very real condition. I have had it after all big events in the past, rugby cup finals, marathons, swim meets and now Ironman events. What this meant was that getting pumped for Ironman Dublin was difficult, really difficult. Physically I wasn't up to much. I found training hard as I was still deflated and the lure of Dublin's weather (which was terrible all through July) meant that this event would never compare to my Austrian outing. Enough with the negativity. Race week rolled around and as I said I was nowhere near ready. The week running up to IM Dublin felt quiet. I was concerned that the m-dot hype wasn't taking hold and feared for the brand that it was going to fall on its face. How wrong I was. No sooner had Friday evening arrived and the weather took a turn. It was mild, the wind had died and anyone was anyone was talking about the Ironman circus coming to town. Racking up on Saturday was great fun. The familiar voice of Ironmans famed PA echoed over Sandycove strand as soon to be Iron men and women racked their bikes and tested the water. I got down early and swam half the swim course and to my surprise it was bliss. Maybe this wasn't going to be a bad event after all. I racked up, left my shoes clipped in and made for the Phoenix Park and race briefing number 5. Like always, I hit the hay early and woke excited for the day but again not expecting much. My training in the run up to IM Dublin had been tame to say the least. How much fitness had I lost? I'd soon find out.
I said my goodbyes to the OH and made for the swim start on Sandycove beach, here I was about to start the second Ironman of my life on home ground, to hell with the lack of training I thought, lets give this swim a good go. Armed with my newly sponsored Orca Aplha wetsuit, I hurtled down the ramp and set off with the lead pack. The water was fresh but not cold. I knew immediately that the currents were strong and times on the day were going to be slow. Despite Orcas ultra thin 'freearm' system the cold did not get in and I literally sliced through the water. For any swimmers out there, you'll know what I mean when I say that this suit really lets you feel the water. I maintained my place in the top three but as we came closer to the wave before us (AG 40-44) the bodies piled up and I lost sight of my competition. I navigated around the remainder of what felt like a longer than usual half distance swim and clocked in a 32 minute swim, good enough for a 6th place exit. Not bad. Here's where things went badly.
When you pay top dollar for an Ironman event, you want and expect everything to perfect. So far it had been, but to arrive into T1 and your bag to be missing is not cool. Cock up #1. My official time in T1 was clocked at 8 minutes 30 seconds. This is how long it took them to locate my bag that had been hung 100 pegs down from where my number was. I mounted the bike in a rage (never a good thing) and pedalled hard. About 5km down the road, I noticed my skewer was on the right hand side and pointing forward. Now, I have always been told it HAS to be on the left and so have followed that advice although I have never been told why. Superstition got the better of me and so I pulled in for a quick switch around. Cock up # 2. The ride from here on in was magic. Cruising down closed roads and literally 200 meters from my house in Blackrock was special. The city looked awesome crossing the East Link Bridge and bombing up the Liffey past the four Courts etc. was something I will never forget. Imagine they managed to close the city down for this, epic! The rest of the bike was uneventful bar and inordinate amount of drafting and at 60km (right after the last aid station of the route) my bottle loaded with nutrition popped. This meant no more stores for me from then till T2. Cock up # 3. I cruised home to an average speed of 34.1kmh which I was happy with and made for the run leg. It was here that cock up # 4 took place.
If any of you read my Tri Athy race report, you will recall how I almost caught hypothermia on the bike after a 55 minute swim in the river barrow. I swore this would never happen again and so for IM Dublin I opted for a long sleeve compression top on the bike. It worked a charm and I will be using that technique in future Irish long distance races. However, what I did forget to do was pack my short sleeve tri top for the run. What this meant was I ran the hottest most restricted run of my life through a sometimes very muggy Phoenix park. The upside was that the crowds were out in force, the deer all came by to say hello and the finish line was incredible for the simple reason it was LONG. I clocked in a 1:45:21 run which was a PB for me this time last year in my first ever half marathon so I will not complain. The thing is, I expect more from myself each time I compete so I was hoping for better. My total time was 5:07:35 which is still a good time and gave me a 56th place category finish but minus some of the aforementioned cock ups, that should have been so much faster. All in all, Dublin looked immense, Ironman put on a stellar show as they always do and you can all be confident Ironman is coming back. Well done to all.