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Ironman race report

Went to Bolton on my own, just how I like, to stay in zone and focused.Saturday was a long day of registration, bag packing, dropping everything off etc etc but have to say everything was well organised and went smooth.Went sleep around midnight, 4am woke up and headed to Pennington Flash.A lot of nerves but positive excitement kicked in after dropping white and personal needs bags and all toilets stops. Already in queue for swim and here we go. It started to rain just before start and there was light showers throughout swim with a bit wavy lake. Started nice and steady, too relaxed as Swam off the buoys again 🙈 adjusted quickly telling myself off, it's a long way, can't afford swimming in zigzags all the time. Sighting regularly every 6th full stroke. Smiling to myself everytime realise I'm front crawling ☺️ First lap went great, tried to keep it among other athletes as much as possible apart from the pit stop, I mean piss stop 😂. Just over 40min I think and I'm out the aussie exit with a little help of volunteers. Tried to jogg but everything felt weird do walked around to the start of 2nd 1900m lap. Deep breath in & out and let's go. 2nd lap was less busy but still managed to find other swimmers to swim in group. Much better navigation however water got much more choppy. 2 pit stops this time, one of each took a long time. I didn't swim longer than 2600m in my training so was curious what would happen once I get to around 3km. But it was all good, from buoy to buoy and I see finish already. That's when ( around 200m before end) left lower leg got cramped 🙈 - calf and foot. Great I thought, I'm cramping already man and it's only a swim.. Managed to get to the end with that leg and with a lot of help from volunteer came out the water. Luckily after short stretch it all relieved and I started a pretty long walk to transition 1, probably took like 2-2 & a half minute. Rainy, windy and cold decided to put not only arm sleeves on but windproof too, good decission as it kept me warm. Spent quite long time in T1 making sure everything is spot on, went toilet too 😉 Mounted the bike and off we go Started Hydration straight away and had a cheese and jam sandwich then magnesium and salt tablet. Heart was in zone 3 and I took it steady with short bursts to see how it reacts after swim, how it recovers and if its safe for me. Soon found out I'm all good so started getting into the rhythm. Sipping on electros & carbs alternating with plain water and taking cbd jellies, chewy carbs, chewy magnesium, nitro bars, carb gels & bananas regularly. I knew its gonna be tough, a total of 3000m climb (9000ft) over 180km (112miles). Weather although not as bad as 2021 was horrible. Rain, slippery Road full of patholes and head / side winds all way, stronger at the second half of race. Cold and wet and can't go fast. Cant go fast anyway with those hills lol. Ride first bit steady and got to start of first of 3, just over 50km long Laps. The key here was to stick to the plan - don't waste power, keep cadence 80-90 and be aware of heart rate. And I did. In training I only managed to do 115km ride twice and I knew the hard work would start after that. First lap nice and smooth with avarege speed of 25+ km/h. Fastest I ever did that laps. All felt great. Its the mid second lap when crisis came up. Started feeling fed up with them hills but also exhausted and kinda ready for bed. All kind of thoughts coming through my head, not giving up ones though! When I saw Marlena, Maks and Przemo they must have thought I look like shit lol 😂 Think it was time of the day, usually around that time I have my work break so thought that must be it plus I only slept 4h.. The crisis has gone and I picked up 2nd wind. Soaking in atmosphere in town ( best part of race where was less windy and loud with music etc - at the top on outskirts was bit quieter with only few slots with spectators) and enjoying being out there  I carry on. First pit stop as per plan at 80miles. Picked up my personal needs bag, topped up cbd jellies and other nutrition ie salt & Caffeine tablets. Had another sandwich and went toilet. Quick stretch and back on bike. And thats when I thought I'm done. My upper legs! Both started cramping, I could literally see my inners quads trying to explode, pop out of the legs. I'm thinking, there's no way I'm stopping, if I stop this will get so much worse, won't be stoppable once crumpled. So I'm peddling.. Its been a good few minutes then cramps started moving to middle quads, I'm still peddling with pain. Took double cbd jellies, 2 salt tablets and drank half a bottle of plain water. Finally left leg eased up and right side went to hamstring now. Tried and stretch it as much as possible and after a while I was cramp free yet left with sore muscles. Didnt even know when I was on mile 95 and catching that 3rd wind, riding against wind too started powering through - in my opinion - hardest last 10ish miles of the race. Those last hills at the end of the race felt totally different to first 2 Laps. I've seen so many people giving up, trying to walk.. Although felt for them and cheered them up I thought to myself - it won't be you mate, not today. At the last climb of 1 mile with gradient between 8-15% as per garmin I've had to dig even deeper. There was that lady who said cmon, this the last hill of the day ( found out later on the run she was lieing) and it helped. Got to the top and then straight to bike finish line. On that last stretch I suddenly cried realising I have done it.. Transition 2 took me 12 min again 🤣 change from Compression calves to comp socks is a long process i found out. Rubbed my poorly legs with potent cbd cream and slide on hamstring Support. Toilet - of course. Let's go for a run. Run? Oh shit, that's roughly when I realised what I've done to myself lol I finished that bike so now I have to run a full marathon. Didn't plan / think about it much as the focus was the bike lol 😂 didn't even know the course.. It started of well, was kinda surprised. Went all around the town flying on great support. And then all went south once got to the park. Another Bloody hill 🤣. Thought about that lady from earlier.. Because there was 4 laps total quickly decided I walk up that hill and just recce the loop. Come out the park on the long stretch just to see it ain't flat 🙈 who designed that course I'm asking! But oh well, got to be done. Kept jogging from now on with a lot of toilet stops as my stomach was playing around and I didn't want to risk a fart 😉 water / gatorade / tortilla crisps / flat Coke ( first time I've drunk coke at the race, mistake) every aid station. Cbd jellies, magnesium, Gels regularly and Caffeine gel after 2h. Weather was a joker - that shit windy, rainy time in bike and now sun comes out and its pretty hot! But no complaints, sun brings out that positive energy.. First half marathon was great and that's when - roughly at 22km - things started getting scary. I felt dizzy, exhausted and everytime stopped at the toilet felt like I'm gonna pass out. Heart was weirdly low and I felt lack of oxygen. Told myself, you never was in this situation, must be part of the game. Started walking and tried to find anything to think about but the current situation still being aware of heart. Felt like panic attack is just round the corner. Couldn't talk, legs felt awful, dizziness, visual disturbance and there's stil 20km of hills ahead. I was running on empty. Started walking, still fighting against incoming panic attack feeling. And that's when I looked at One of my physio tapes on which I written "40% rule". Bloody David Goggings.. And I digged in, oh I digged in deep.. And here my legs started moving,brain started working. Got to personal need bag, decided no more Caffeine, Gels or other shit, just water, magnesium and solid foods. Had a sandwich, brioche with Nutella. Plenty water. That 3rd lap was a character building experience when the car was driving on fuel fumes. A  lot Toilet stops with no results, stomach feels horrible, head is spinning, legs are hurting but brain / mind topped up the tank and lap 4 was totally different story. I found it somewhere deep in there, I knew how much I wanted it and went for it. Although that run was a battle there was no single second, not split of a second, no single thought about giving in. It was an option but not for me. On the last lap I put a warm top on, had another piece of sandwich and I decided that I'd walk up steep hills and jogg all way round, and I did. When I got to that park for last time just laughed & swore out loud and just took it like a man lol 😂 Chin up, proudly and said out loud - you ain't no pussy. It's gone quick and I was back in town heading to finish line. Marlena, Maks & Przem couldn't catch up with my running. Few turns and I can see the red carpet. Few tears and I'm on the carpet waving at audience / supported to make some noise. And they did. Goose bumps and I'm crossing IRONMAN finish lane with raised arms, looking up to the sky, soaking in the moment of achievement, fulfillment, greatfulness & happiness. I am Ironman.

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