Thursday, August 1, 2013

2013 Ironman Switzerland, Zürich Race Report

Result:12:43:48 (Non-wetsuit Swim)
  • Stand back, watch them go, wait for some clear water, walk, don’t run, swim, slow, steady
Ironman Switzerland 2013 Age Group Swim Start
  • Bodies, everywhere, lots of breaststroke, lots of speedos, no space, people going backwards, backwards, struggling for a clear line, left, right, push forward, wishing I hadn’t waited
  • Finally find some space, easy now, breathe, stroke
  • Looking for buoys, where is the turn, buoys are yellow, so are swim caps, oversight.
  • Turn, whack, elbow to jaw, bite tongue, ouch, no blood, phew, imagine lying unconscious in the water with only half a tongue, fight for more space, easy now, turn again, to the half way point
  • Out of the water, stagger over Saffa-Insel, look at watch, 45 mins, I’ll take that for 2KM
Ironman Switzerland 2013 Swim half way point, Saffa-Insel
  • Back in, 20 metres, fuck, cramp, left leg, kick, stretch, pain, keep moving, stretch, stroke, breath, ouch
  • Sun is up, blinding, note to self to buy smoked swim Goggles
  • See a buoy up ahead, please be the penultimate turn for home, please..nope, everyone's going past, try and spot ahead, can’t see a thing, only yellow swim caps, cramp has gone,phew
  • Finally hit the penultimate turn buoy, the water has cleared but suddenly surrounded by swimmers, more carnage, hit a branch floating on the water, have to push it over my head
  • Find some space, nearly home, argh, cramp in my left foot, toes are rigid, can’t move them, kicking with my leg but can feel myself sinking, struggle
  • Make the final turn, less traffic at the buoy this time, guy hanging onto the buoy for dear life, managed to kick off the cramp, so close, ouch, cramp now on right leg, really painful, trying to stretch, shake it off, near panic, finally passes but both legs are numb
  • Crawling to the finish, I can the see the lake bottom, safety, home, I’m out, note that a first time non-wetsuit open water swim of 3.8KM in a Ironman was a bad idea.
  • 1 hour 40 minutes or so, happy, exactly what I expected
  • Get on bike, peddle
  • Keep Heart rate down, keep speed over 32KM, relax
  • Get passed by hundreds of people, expensive bikes and aero helmets
  • Two guys called Oleg pass at the same time, wonder If I’m seeing double, rub my eyes, maybe twins, triathlon twins…
  • Guy passes me and says “uh, nice number” ….1111, er, thanks…
  • This is so much easier, good times, it’s warm already, drink, eat, be merry
  • Hit the turn at Feldbach, grab two water bottles, the aid station is carnage, take a sip from the first bottle, yuke, tastes like lake water, blurgh, throw it right back, sip the second, it’s the same…imagine mass Ironman poisoning, heh
  • Hit the little hills, up, down, flat, up, down, flat
  • Finally get to "The Beast", plant arse in seat, baby gear, relax, tap out pace, pass 10, 20, 30+ people,this is fun, say hello (Grüezi mitenand!) to an old couple watching by the road, can we just keep climbing!!!
  • Next up Egg to Froch, uneventful, easy, starting to see some carnage, guys flaked out next to the road, sun is up and it’s warming up
  • Hit 75Kmph on the descent to Küssnacht, speed limit is 50, hear Beavis and Butthead break into “breaking the law, breaking the law”, for the first time ever I’m cornering well on the bike, this is fun!! 32460-Beavis-and-Butthead-breakin-th-xiGL
  • It’s flat all the way to heartbreak hill, it’s over so quickly and I’m still not heartbroken, proper Tour de France business at the top of the hill, hopp, hopp, hopp!!
  • Lap two, were I’ve always failed, head fills with negative thoughts, feel energy fall a little, no pain yet, eat, eat, pull myself together, grab water bottle and pour over my head, ahh, breeze is starting to flow down the valley, cooling action, feels great
  • Turn it around and get to Feldbach on schedule, the Natascha Badman aid station is a warzone, only manage to grab one bottle of water, crap, that’s all I’ve got, it’s Bad Man…
  • Keep going, push on, fist pump supporters at road side and shout encouragement back, muha!
  • Get to the Grüningen aid station, it’s a battle scene, everyone has stopped, have to queue for water bottles, nothing left, they are filling and handing out at the same time, grab one, have to go, lose minutes, heart sinks a little, notice guys up ahead with 3, 4, 5 bottles on their bikes, damn
  • Get to the bottom of the “Beast” with very little water left, start considering stopping at a fountain and re-filling the bottle, again, baby gear, arse on seat, up the hill, poor guy walking up with this bike, pass a load of people again, hit a wall of dry heat half way, wow that is warm, mouth is dry, bottle is empty.
  • Should I stop?? looking for a road side fountain, free wheel down to egg, pushing on, nice speed, fuck it, just get to Froch and the relax station, water there, push on, so close 
  • Made it, whoop, party time, give me water!! War Zone part two, people queuing, stop, guy pours a whole bottle of freezing cold water over my head, hero!! grab bottle 1 and 2, get a blast of a water hose, ahhh bliss.
  • See a bike at the side of the road, guy is flat out in the shade, tough day for the Ironmen.
  • The home straight, push hard, feeling good, only Heartbreak hill to go, it’s emptied, getting later on now, not so many crazies at the side of the road, up and down quick and finally allow myself to hit it hard to the finish, 6:13, best bike time by a long way and had to stop twice, and all ridden conservatively, completely made up, happy days.
  • Spend an age in the Transition, sit with the causalities in the change tent, slap on a ton of sunscreen, mixed in with a bucket of sweat.
  • Really don’t have any interest in running today.
  • Sun is at full blast, around 3am (I think) and Hot.
  • Stand outside the change tent and stare blankly into the distance, run support guy catches my eye “If you want to run, you need to go that way…”, take deep breath, let’s get this over with.
  • Run, hit aid station, walk, drink, run, hit aid station, walk, drink, take some gel, run….repeat, Lazy, not interested in the time
  • Where is the ice they promised?? Finally find it at the “Take Care” station, put it in cap, down back, down front, legs are sore, wishing I' had a portable ice bath….brain freeze…
  • Get to the first lap control area, beg the guy holding the last lap arm bands to give me one, say it’s mine for 100 francs, pass and take a band for lap 1, 3 more to go, bahh
  • Keep going, have a bit of mental breakdown during lap two, still hot, keep forgetting to take gels, eat, it passes
  • By 20KM it starts to cloud over, wind picks up, kind of cooling, water hoses on full blast next to run course so make sure I get a full body blast, more ice, asked if I’d like some whiskey, vodka, on the rocks please
  • The Golden aid station has now been officially renamed the sponge bob station, grab a sponge bob and squeeze him onto my head…never give up Bob..heh ;-)


  • Starting running behind Chantal Cavin with her guide, a blind Para-Olympian who is competing today, decide I need to HTFU ;-)
  • Everything becomes a blur, trying to entertain myself, high-five the kids watching and whoop back at the supporters, smile at the aid station workers and say merci, danke, much appreciated.
  • Now a little rain, warm rain, and lightning, thunder, happens every year, always on the run…
  • Finally hit the last lap, decide I should stop walking the aid stations as I’m not really suffering that much, although chest is tight and my calf's are sore as hell, managed to run through one and start to cough and splutter, asthma attack!! lucky I have my inhaler, phew, two blasts, walk, cough up a load of thick gunky mucus
  • Only 4KM from home, look to my right, guy next to me has all the lap control bands as well, we are running at the same pace, he says “Under 13 hours” with a smile, he’s on for a PB and obviously elated, we chat, speed picks up, easy to talk, hits home how little risks I’ve taken, nice guy, good chat, I leave him to shoot ahead with 1Km to go and wish him luck
  • Finally at the finish chute, stop, begin to walk, take my hat off, loose my sun glasses, people start to shout, the commentator picks them up, lots of smiles, take them back, see my better half in the crowd, big sweaty kiss, off down the finishing chute, pass a woman's hat on the ground, decide to go back, pick it up, ask the crowd who’s it is, pass it to a guy who knows, walk the remainder, gee up the crowd, smiles all the way, finished!
  • 12:43, 5 mins short of a PB, non-wetsuit, had to stop on bike, took it very easy on run, happy, still alive, in one piece, learnt a lot, THE END.
Till next time….