7 weeks; 49 days; 1,176 hours.. whichever way you look at it, the countdown is on to Hamburg!
It seems only the other day that myself and Marc completed the Wetherby Triathlon, yet just like Mamma Mia, here we go again…
Tom, sleeping beauty: It’s a moderately warm Sunday morning. I’ve had a solid 5 and a half hours sleep. I’ve had a cracking couple of days in London where I walked in excess of 30,000 steps per day, ate my body weight in an array of wonderful foods and drank far too many bevy’s. For those who have seen Love Island, the word ‘Bev’ will only refer to an alcoholic drink rather than a good-looking bloke… sorry Lucie but no Primark deal here. I feel bloated, heavy and lack the motivation to chuck myself in the lake.
Once again I spared a thought for our travelling away fans; my wonderful mother travelling from Lincoln and having being awake since 4am, and my other half who looked that morning like she wanted to drown me in the lake I was soon to jump into.
Marc, wake up call: After a positive training week clocking up the miles in the pool, on the Watt Bike and on the roads, I was chomping at the bit ready for Leeds, especially as it’s our adopted Hometown! On top of that, I wanted to do Tom over after the Wetherby defeat.
Despite my training, I had a busy weekend to squeeze in before the race even began. A couple of friends recently tied the knot so it was a dash up north to the Boro for the reception and back in the same night after promising Tom and his better half a place to crash before the race. To maintain my clean eating race preparation I limited my alcohol intake to one pint of Blonde Ale and 8 slices of margarita pizza and chips. With pick and mix for afters.
As I pulled onto my driveway at 12:30am as Tom and Jess were fast asleep, I silently mouthed “Fuck My Life”.
As I laid awake at 2am, I contemplated whether the can of Red Bull was a good idea on the drive home. It wasn’t.
The sounds of birds chirping at 4:30am ensured I was up and about before my alarm even went off. A trusty coffee and meagre portion of porridge went down the hatch as I zipped up the Tri-suit.
Let’s do it.
Tom, in the drink: I’ve signed in and prepared my transition zone as best as I can. I’ve used the stinking portaloo to lose as much weight as possible before the race and I’ve even polished off some overcooked and very dry porridge. I’m race ready for my start at 7am so I take a steady plod down to the lake, keen to get going. My aim today is purely to get round the course and pee at some point in the lake. I wasn’t giving up on mine and Massey’s competition, but I know he’d trained hard this week, despite his ridiculously late night prior to the race.
Finally it’s too late to think and I’m in Roundhay Lake. 49 other swimmers around me begin to kick viciously and thrash wildly in an effort to propel forward and slaughter anyone in their way. I let the better swimmers swim off and find my tempo in the middle of the pack. No world records today, just simply try not to drown. About a quarter of the way in I realise I need to pee, badly. It’s something you should do once you’re in the lake to warm you up and make sure you don’t need to later on in the race but unfortunately it’s something I’ve struggled to do. I continue to swim with my mind focused on my bladder, trying hard to push what needs to be pushed but it’s just not happening. Not yet anyway. 1000m later I try again, this time breaking my front crawl into a steady breaststroke which I thought would give me more mental strength to pee. Despite my change of movement I still couldn’t get the river flowing, not even a steady steam, and I was tensing that hard I was beginning to get cramp in my foot. Finally after 1500m of swimming and 2 more attempts at peeing I gave up, looks like I’d be carrying a full bladder for the rest of the race…AGAIN
Marc, the swim: Fortunately I racked my bike up on the Saturday afternoon before my trip up north, so I didn’t have to mess around pre-race. After a quick fiddle with the brakes on my bike, I squeezed into the wetsuit. After dropping a few lbs, it’s getting easier to get into the seal suit. That or I’ve stretched it.. who knows!
As we were placed in age categories, Tom’s wave started at 7, and my own at 7:05. As we headed to the lake the butterflies kicked in and I tried to think about all the tips we’d learnt and open water training we’d done over the last couple of months. I stayed back and headed towards the side of the wave. I was more than ready. As the klaxon went and the other swimmers rushed ahead, I gave it two seconds and set off into the maelstrom. As I got into my own rhythm without kicks to the face and yanks to my feet, I was on my way as I overtook a good dozen of other swimmers.
My confidence was short lived as the front swimmers in the Green wave which was 5 minutes behind my own caught me up at around 800m, pissing all over my dry porridge! Worse still, swimmers from the Red wave shot past me in the last 200m as we neared the lake exit. What did these buggers eat for breakfast?!
I was out and into the long transition before the bike, giving our supporters a wave as I moved onto the next leg.
Tom, easy rider: I was not prepared for the length of the transition periods at all. You had to virtually run a 10k with your bike before you could mount it. But finally I was on my bike and underway, keen to put as much distance between me and Marc as possible. The race consisted of 2 laps, so I’d spotted him 3 times around the course before my cycle was over. I thought that if he overtook me during this it was over, so I left it out on the course, pushing hard and getting round in 1 hour 27.
Marc, bike to basics: After a strong performance in the bike leg in Wetherby, I was quietly confident that I’d make up the 5 minute wave difference between Tom and I, as well as any distance he’d put between us in the water. As I pulled out of the mammoth transition I felt the tiredness in my legs and struggled to get into gear. Over training and no sleep were having their effect as I wolfed down Trek Bars and SIS gels to give me a boost. After spotting Tom during the course on the hairpins, I knew he was going balls out and putting more distance between us. My game plan was out of the window as I stepped up the effort too late into the cycle leg, glory in Leeds was slipping out of reach..
Tom, the running man: After another giant transition, I set off into the first mile which was all uphill out of Roundhay – just what the legs didn’t need. But all that was left was a 10k into the city, through the outskirts of Leeds before finally swinging into the centre that was full of support, motivating you every step of the way. The most annoying thing about this support was that there was literally no chance you could piss yourself without someone, or even worse the television cameras, catching you. I’ve come here for a triathlon, not a public humiliation. Each plod requires me to tighten my bladder more.
All I can do is keep running faster and faster knowing there was a medal, and more importantly a portaloo, at the end. I finished my 10k in 49 minutes and had no idea if I’d beat my IronMan partner or not. I’ll let him tell you all the result, not to rub it in or anything.
Marc, the runner up: As I began the final leg into the uphill run, I threw a wave at Jess and almost asked how far ahead Tom was. I refrained. I’m glad I did as I wanted to run the 10k without any pressure of trying to catch him up and burning out.
The temperature was rising, and the sun had made an appearance. My legs felt heavy and all I could think about was a cold beer. I wanted to cash out.
As I made it into the City centre, cries of “Go on Marc!!” filled the air as members and supporters from Wakefield Triathlon Club shouted out. Nothing can describe the buzz you feel when in your moments of need you hear those cheers. Pure elation. A couple of high fives later, I found some more in the tank and stepped on the gas to the finish line.
After a strong run in Wetherby, I clocked up a PB for my 10k distance at 51 minutes as I took to the streets of Leeds. Every cloud and all that jazz.
Tom had a great race and deserved the third win without a doubt. We go again next weekend as we take on the Half Ironman distance Yorkshireman in and around Ripon.
1.9km swim. 90km cycle. 21.1km run.
And remember, the days that break you, are the days that make you.
Now pass me the beer!
Me and Tom are fundraising for Movember, a charity addressing some of the biggest health concerns that men face; prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health and suicide prevention. By competing in Ironman we aim to raise awareness for the Movember and have pledged a target of £5000.
Check out our JustGiving page below👇🏻