After another good night's sleep I was up at 4:30pm for my Race Day breakfast . Then it was time for an early check out, and on to the shuttle bus to Rainbow Park for the start....
Swim - 2.4 miles
Alta Lake was absolutely stunning. The low mist over the water, with the mountains above, was a really special site, and an amazing place to start my first IRONMAN!
Swimming has always been my weakest part of the Triathlon but after joining EAST swimming club last year I have improved massively. My fiancee, Sarah, has been great at encouraging me in the pool, and thank you to Jane Blackwell for the new Polarised googles!
So, I was feeling confident. I knew I needed to stay relaxed and keep my strokes long. All the practice paid off and I had a great swim, coming out of the water after 1h 10 mins, which was the same pace as the Holkham Half IRONMAN 3 weeks ago.
Cycle - 112 miles
As I have never actually cycled over 100 miles before I thought I would break this down into 4 sections...
1st Quarter - The fun bit!
This was an amazing part of the race!! We cycled up the Callaghan Valley, the site of the Nordic skiing events in Winter Olympics. The decent was unreal! I looked down at one point and I was going 45mph! It really was a contest of who had the least fear, to be able to get the most out of this crazy decent!
2nd Quarter - the obsession with 20mph average
Im sure you know that I am pretty competitive!, so when I saw my pace was hitting 20 mph average I wanted to keep it. I spent this quarter of the race going back and forth with an incredible female triathlete. Her body position was so flat that she would fly on the downhills, and my legs were strong so I passed her on the uphill.
3rd Quarter - the flat (yes there was some!)
Going through Pemberton was incredibly flat for miles and miles. My main focus here was to ride with good technique - keeping my core strong to keep my upper body still, and also keep a good cadence with my legs. I was absolutely cruising, and the countryside here was beautiful!
4th Quarter - the hills!!
After getting to 100 miles with my average still over 20mph I realised this would now change! The hills for the final section were brutal. So many athletes were struggling, with the sun beating down on your shoulders. Gas Hill did not really pre-pare me for this! But I kept pushing to the end.
I came in off the bike in 5h 50 (average 18.9kph) and I was happy with that.
The Run - 26.2 miles
Straight away I could tell this was going to be a battle! My game plan of running 8:00/miles went out of the window straight away! I ran 7:40/miles in the Half Ironman but this was so different - I quickly realised that this Ironman run was going to be a battle for survival!
So, I broke the run down into 5 mile chunks in my mind. The plan was to run each 5 mile chunk, then walk 1/4 mile through the closest feed station at that point (this would bring it up to 26 miles). This plan worked for the first 10 miles but I slowly found it harder and harder to keep running! I have never had this before, as running has always been my strongest discipline. However, I was in all sorts of pain - the stomach cramps were the worst, then the stitches, then my knees.
This 2 loop course was tough and the sun was still so hot. I managed to basically just get myself through the last 10 miles, knowing the pace was slow but now i just wanted to get it finished!
Coming into the finish line I saw my brother, Mitch, on the corner. It was so great to have him there cheering me home!!
I went over the line to the words 'Ross, you are an IRONMAN'