A Friday afternoon mid July, I’m on holiday, in a beer garden and Steve text, Ironman Nice 9th sept? What was he on about? Havent you seen your email? Ffs.. here we go again, Ironman Wales postponed for the second time. Absolutely gutted. The blow was softened by a few pints, not that I needed much persuasion.
Seriously, at that point I honestly wasn’t sure I could carry on again with it all, but then I couldn’t give up or waste all of my hard work done so far… I had to find something, but something that was ‘me’.
I’d found the Dalesman, it was earlier than Wales….. it scared the crap out of me bringing it forward, but my belly had the fire to do it. Soph was doing it too, so bit of team spirit would make the event better for us both.
4:15am race day alarm - auto pilot engaged and my passion is alive.
What a calm morning it was, considering the forecast had been horrendous all week. The positivity was on our side
S W I M
All of a sudden the adrenaline / nerves are pumping, I hug drew and slow my breathing down. Kiss and a little wink to say I’ve got this. Let’s go…
The swim was amazing. Not one moment of panic, doubt or fear…. I was loving every stroke and the sun rise was beautiful. The lake was fairly shallow and reedy, I wasn’t fussed, my mermaid mode was engaged and this girl was loving it. I exited the water proud as punch. I saw drew as I left transition to start the bike leg, biggest smile ever saying ‘I had the most amazing swim’ …. I was buzzing.
B I K E
I knew what was ahead of me. Soph and I had done a course reccy few weeks ago. I just knew I couldn’t go too hard on the bike or I’d ruin the run. Everyone knows my bike is my strongest discipline. It’s a hard thing to do to control your legs / head to slow things down… especially when that little switch gets engaged.
It’s not a flat course, over 6700ft climbing over two loops. I knew where to push and I knew where to gain. The hills are nice hills, nothing too technical and the descents were fab. We’d been warned about the traffic lights in Ripon, there wasn’t a marshal so if you get stopped it was tough enjoy the break… second lap and I got stopped. Bollocks! Sat waiting and I could hear cyclists approaching from behind. Lights changed and they rolled past me, gutted… but smiling at the same time as it was Soph. Quick check on each other and the switch went, right come on let’s get back to business! Ali had engaged her ‘let’s have this mode’ and suddenly the race fun was back alive. Target!!
I was too busy thinking about the bloody traffic lights to even remember to unclip for transition. Soph is so slick at dismounting, if you’ve never witnessed it, then you‘re missing out. This time I got to witness it side by side…. Wowsers! See ya later Soph!! Amazing 💪🏼
R U N
I settled quite comfortably into the run for the first 3/4 miles and felt good, head was also in a strong place. Stomach however had other ideas, couldn’t ease it, the more I ran the more it hurt. I’d also stuffed up not changing my socks. Paid for it too!!! I knew the run was going to be tough for me, it’s my weakest discipline but I knew I could hold what I could and get through it. I was tough enough for that. Experience told me what to do, let’s get to the finish line best possible. Watch had also gone dead, which was ace to be honest. No data, no head messing figures… let’s just get on with it.
With two small laps to go and a glory lap (no idea on distance / time etc) Shawnie and Dan joined me for the last few miles, once you’d exited the racecourse you were pretty much on your own, which is fine, but it’s the support crew which get you through this last section of the day. I unbelievably needed it, thank you so much.
T H E G L O R Y L A P
That moment when they ring that victory bell (or hand you your last band) right let’s take this home. I was buzzing. I had the biggest support crew on the finish line ever. The left hand side was all for me…. absolutely overwhelmed.
I’d done it.
I had one goal and that was to finish and I did just that. It wasn’t until driving home, I thought I don’t even know what time I’ve done… 13:15:27 to then find out I was 7th female and 2nd in my age group.
To top this, Soph bagged herself a spot on the podium finishing 3rd and 1st in her age group. Proud team mate. She absolutely smashed it. Epic moment to share the day with her.
This wasn’t about a time for me.
It was about the journey….
The sacrifices, the early mornings, the late nights, the saying no to so much, the doubt, the fear, the relentlessness, the tears…. but I never gave up. Put your mind to something and you can do anything, no matter how much it scares you. The comfort zone is a very boring place and it’s not what makes me tick.
So, thank you Covid for making my journey longer than planned and now even longer as the journey hasn’t finished yet… it’s just another chapter of Ali’s adventures.
Triathlon isn’t just about the ‘sport’ it’s everything that goes on behind it. It’s the life you create and the people with you along the journey. Surrounding yourself with positive people - positivity breads positivity. You know who you all are, thank you. Mwaaaah.