The Ultra X Triathlon Completed!!!
Not only did I finish, I came 1st female and 3rd overall!
I am super happy how this brutal event went, really happy everything went to plan.
Something like this isn't just about your fitness but also mentally challenging, I admit I am not fastest athlete but can definitely keep pushing when my head and legs are saying no. Well most of the time.
Lead up to the event
I travelled up to the Lake District on the Monday with my folks and my sister as we were having a little holiday before the race. It was a long trip up there, however the pro's were that I got to dive my folks BMW truck thing. We arrived and already I was getting excited and nervous about the race which was 5 days away.
We had a lovely chilled out week leading up to the race, I would wake up early in the mornings to do my Vitor training sessions leading up the race, then when my folks and sister were up we would go out and do a bit of sight seeing, the Lakes are so beautiful I am absolutely in love with the place.
Friday came around quickly, this meant it was time to get focused and prepare for the next day ahead. I went to register for the race and then headed back to the lodge to pack all my stuff, by the time I had done this Trevor and Craig (my sisters boyfriend) had driven up to come and support me at the race. It was so nice to see Trevor as it made me relax a little more about the race.
Saturday 2.30am and my alarm went off, it was time to get up and try to eat before leaving for the race. It was so early ;-(
Once I had forced some food down it was time to pack the car and head off, we left to get to the race about 3.15 am. Trevor and I drove down and my folks and sister followed. The bike was racked and kit laid out, well it wasn't really laid out but in a plastic box hiding from the rain that was about to happen. The lake looked quite peaceful at that time in the morning, but once we started swimming it was definitely not peaceful.
Swim started slightly after 4.30am, there was 120 of us in the water fighting to get behind some good feet. My plan was to find some feet and draft as much as I can to save energy as it was going to be a long day. Drafting was a little harder than normal as it soon got really choppy in the water and everyone began to swim off course. I decided to give up trying to follow anyone and swam on my own so I could sight the bouys better. I was beginning to think I would never get to the end of the swim as swimming out to the furthest bouy took forever, however it did mean swimming back to the shore was pretty quick. It was 2 laps and then swim back to shore.
I got to the shore and walked out of the water, I was feeling rather dizzy, which I think was from where the water was so choppy.
I got into transition and took my wetsuit off, it took rather a long time to get my arm warmers, gabba jacket and shoes on.
The bike was epic! I rode the hills slowly and pushed a little harder on the later bits of road. I knew you couldn't push up any of the climbs as this would have meant less energy for the run.
Ok, I had some competitors pass me up the climbs but then passed them over the top of them.
It was hard to eat and drink on the bike as the weather was horrible, it was raining so much I couldn't always see, my hands were cold so I struggled to reach into my pocket to get my food. Oh my it was a mentally tough 7.5 hrs, but in a strange way I loved it!
I was so happy to climb all of the hills and not once had to get of the bike to go up them. Going down the climbs was a different matter.
To begin with I was able to descend safely and carefully, however it was slightly different going down Hardknott. I began to descend, but my brakes didn't feel right, they began to judder a lot and my back wheel lost grip. I then panicked and decided to walk down. I was so cold I couldn't feel my hands when braking so perhaps I was braking too hard.
Once the bigger climbs were down I had completed 100 miles, the last 10 miles were then undulating and very slow. I think I began to get hypothermia as I am pretty sure I wasn't cycling in a straight line. I knew once I finished on the bike I would be able to warm up on the run, I just had to get to the finish of the bike.
I got into transition and struggled to take my cycle clothing off to put my run jacket and off road shoes on. It was the longest transition ever!!!
Trevor had to help me change as they allowed us to have help as it was impossible to move my hands. Finally got out on the run I my legs felt strangely good, my back on the other hand felt like it had 2 rods either side of my spine. Ouch! I waddled out towards the first check point, which was in 7 miles before the start of the mountain.
I felt good on the flatter tracks but every time I hit a slight incline my lower back was screaming at me for the first 5 miles, but then after that it settled and felt fine.
I got to the first check point and didn't need any water so carried on running, we ran on the cumbria way which lead us to the first big climb. I had a lady run past me and I thought I had been caught but then she said she was in the relay team so not to worry. I then started to think I might be able to win this!
Although I wanted to go faster I held back as knowing there was a mountain to go up, I would need save as much energy as possible. The first big climb had started, it was rocky and went one for ages, well thats what it felt like. I could see other runners ahead and focused on trying to not loose sight of them. I had reached the top and had to go down a little to then go back up. Sadly we were stopped slightly before the summit due to the weather being really bad. I was disappointed but also relieved, as I was beginning to find the wet weather not amusing anymore, I think it would have only been another 15 minutes to the summit.
I then began to run back the way I came up, you would think it would have been easier to run down but where the rocks were wet and slippery it was lethal, especially for someone like me who is very accident prone.
Once I got to the bottom I breathed a sigh of relief, I was then only 7 miles from home! I decided I didn't want to get caught and felt good so began to push on a little, my legs pottered on and passed a few other runners, I wasn't sure how long I had to run after the 7 miles as must have pressed stop on my watch. It must have the last 15 mins I startred to feel drained but knew it I couldn't be far. When running around the last corner I saw my mum and dad, I was so happy to see them. I ran through the finish line with lots of people cheering, I was so happy I wasn't sure whether to smile or cry. I think I just swore a lot quietly ' f**k that was tough.'
I absolutely loved every minute in a strange way, I might even be tempted to do it again............
Time to rest and recover ready for my next race, Ironman Wales in September!
I would like to thank my family, Trevor, Craig for all there support whilst I was racing and for putting up with me over the past few months, I know I haven't been much fun to be around sometimes.
Also thank you to Team Vitfor and sponsors for all my equipment, nutrition and advise over the past few months. I couldn't have done it without everyone. Cheers all!!!!
Hope you enjoyed the read.