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Can't swim, bike, or run with Andy: An Ironman or a Sprint, it just doesn’t matter

Posted Oct 02 2011 9:00am

Fleetwoodbike2 Last week I wrote all about how my nervous energy was motivating me ahead of the last race of the Triathlon season. I somewhat grandly described the race as being my Superbowl, trust me Fleetwood Sea Front ( where the race took place ) is no Raymond James Stadium or a Soldier Field but it was the arena in which I won the right to say afterwards “I’m going to DisneyWorld”.

I recorded a new personal best, by just over 7 minutes, which when you think about it, in a sprint race is quite a big chunk of time. The best thing is I know I could have gone faster as well, I actually held a lot back on the run to protect my injured hamstring. I’d not run for a month as a precaution, and I won’t run again for a month.

I felt strong on the run and had to tell myself to slow down, I didn’t want my leg to go pop and set me back months, missing vital winter Ironman training. I finished the 5km run in 25.30, with no ill effects, which realistically in the long term is even better news than my 7 minute pb.


The day had started out brilliantly and I just seemed to grow from strength to strength. I’m never going to be a strong swimmer so my time of 10:46 ( including T1 ) for 400m won’t exactly scare Michael Phelps. However it was good for me, and I actually managed to lap one of the swimmers in my lane, which was a unique experience and one I guess I’m never likely to repeat.

But let’s face it this is me, the guy that loses a saddle in a race so something had to go wrong didn’t it? Well yes, but thankfully it was corrected by a scuba diver. My timing chip band slid off my ankle as I kicked off the pool wall after the first 25m lap was completed. When I returned to the deep end of the pool I scanned the bottom of the pool for the errant band but couldn’t see it anywhere. As I swam I resigned myself to the fact that with no chip I wouldn’t record an official finisher’s time.

That would be disappointing but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Approaching the wall at the shallow end I could see the red board placed under the surface by the race official to signal that I only had two more 25m laps to do. Next time I reached the shallow end I’d be on my way to getting dry. In a flash I was out of the pool, pausing briefly to tell the official I’d lost my chip. “Here it is” she said and handed me it adding “The scuba diver taking underwater photos saw it come off and retrieved it for you, have a good race.” I thanked her and told her to thank the diver as I ran out of the pool and into the car park that doubled as T1.

It didn’t take me long to throw my helmet, sunglasses and cycling shoes on. I was soon into my stride on the bike, the ROO seemed to be a part of me ( and in a good way this time, not the impaled way of my last race ) as my legs spun the pedals in cadence of 90rpm. The hours practicing one legged cadence pedalling on the turbo in an attempt to improve my technique suddenly seemed worth it. I lost count of the amount of cyclists that I powered past, sounds great but this was an event for all comers. Mountain bikes and Hybrids were common, they were no match for my Tri bike.

I soon had my COLT clubmate Chris Lawson in my sights, I shouted “Come on try and keep up “ as I sped past. Knowing fine well that my mate would react and chase me down. He’d set off fifteen minutes before me and was actually on his second lap whilst I was on my first. For the whole of that lap we traded places more times than Eddy Murphy and Dan Ackroyd, each time the banter just got funnier. It’s a wonder neither of us fell of our bikes. Chris, fresh from his Ironman training pulled away from me at the end of the lap. He was the only competitor that passed me on the bike. I was so pleased about that.

So there you have it, my triathlon season finished on a high. My performance has given me the confidence to face my winter of Ironman training head on. I’ll be back at Fleetwood in September 2012 and I will be quicker. The hard work and preparation has already begun this week when I attended the COLT coached swim sessions for the first time. But I’ll tell you more about that next week. So the 2011 Tri Season is history, the 2012 season will be here before we know it, how will you prepare?

Signing Andy Holgate is the bestselling author of “Can’t Swim, Can’t Ride, Can’t Run: From Common Man to Ironman.” He lives in England, competes in triathlon and enjoys life to the full with his family.

He has his own blog HERE and his book is available from all good bookshops including Amazon HERE .

Follow on twitter @ everymantri or view latest videos on YouTube .


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