Alice & Jimmy

The Copenhagen Ironman

 

 

 

 

Last weekend Alice and Jimmy headed to Copenhagen to take on the Ironman! An Ironman involves a 2.4 mile swim in open water, a 112 mile bike ride and finishes off with a 26.2 mile run! Not for the faint hearted! We are pleased to announce that they both did fantastic!

 

Alice has written a fabulous story of her 'ironman' journey - read this below!

 

 

 

My Ironman Journey.

 

It all started in the sand pit!

 

It was summer 2014 and I had just joined Totton Running Club. When I met the lovely Lucy Buis for the first time I spotted this "M" looking tattoo on her calf. Mmm what was that I wondered and so we got chatting. I found out that is stood for Ironman. For those that don't know, it's 2.4 mile swim (equivalent to 160 pool lengths), 112 mile bike and a marathon 26.2 miles.

 

So it got me thinking, this girl is pretty cool, how epic would it be to try that. For those of you that know me will know I like little challenges and adventures and so a year ago, when registration for Ironman Copenhagen opened I signed up. At this point, I couldn't swim and had a fear of the whole front crawl swimming so this was definitely going to a challenge and I had only very recently started road biking. I did the Lymington sprint tri and Weymouth Challenge both around August 2014 and then I did the Ironman 70.3 Barcelona in May this year. I worked really hard on my front crawl but unfortunately I ended up breaststroking over half of the sea swim in Barcelona as I got knocked in the face at the start and went into panic mode.

 

My official ironman training began in January where I'd spend hours and hours each week swimming, biking, running or taking a class at David Lloyd Southampton (my 60:60 sponsor). The training in itself has been really quite epic with everyday life and my daughter Lois. A special thank you to my mum in particular for helping with Lois, hour here, hour there so I can run around the forest or cycling somewhere and my babysitter, aunty Chelsey and sister in law Angelica.

 

 

Most of my shopping this year has been for Lyrca and tri bits - it really is another world of kit, people etc. I've learn how to change a tyre, dismantle and reassemble for bike and more. I can almost run and cycle to pace without a watch! My car was often filled with a run bag or bike or swimming costume "just in case". As time went on I became more and more nervous and when the training increased reality started to set in; maybe slightly obsessional dreaming of stats, going over the day (and fears!).

 

The reality was it was probably the first event I was genuinely uncertain as to whether or not I could physically do it. The task seemed enormous. But I set off to Copenhagen full of nerves and excitement.

 

On 23 August, the Ironman Copenhagen begun with a very early rise and little sleep from excitement, trepidation and serious amounts of anxiety. There were nearly 3,000 competitors also embarking on the challenge from various ages but lots looking like they are being papped for a tri magazine or some sporting ad.

 

 

The Swim

The swim was the most feared section because there were so many people and you were going to get knocked no matter what. It was a case of how many times and how bad. It was a rolling start in groups which was designed to spread people out a little. I had tried to prepare myself for this and it actually wasn't too bad in terms of freaking out panic and kept moving along all front crawl other than a very tiny bit where I was following a guy who swam to the other side of the lagoon so I quickly moved back into pack and sighting where I was. It was particularly windy despite being calm all week, lucky us! So there was a bit of a drag. Sighting could have been improved or rather get prescription goggles! I didn't feel knackered though and physically was relatively easy. I had done quite a bit of long distance swimming. My time of 1.38 hours was not the fastest (Jimmy's was 1.08!) but I said I'd be happy with 1.40.

 

The Bike

The sun was shining the whole of the bike leg and the scenery was fantastic. The bike leg consisted of 2 laps along the coast and coming round through the rolling hills in the countryside. Again there were some head winds and cross winds. The roads were good other than the cobbled section where everything shook. I had only trained up to 93 miles (with stops) so there was an element of the unknown whether I'd make the cut off time. They warned us of flint on parts of the course so I was paranoid about where I placed my tyres in case of a puncture. I had got my first flat tyre when assembling my bike on arrival and the spare had a split so I was desperate not to get a flat. I carried 2 spare inners on the bike.I was advised by a very experienced Ironman to aim for 3 wees on the bike and I stopped 3 times for this!

 

I was quite relieved when I got off the bike, my wrists, soles and back/neck were aching. During the ride, my feet started to burn and it became quite intense but lucky after some wiggling and miles it faded somewhat. I came in with a time of 6.31 hours (17.2 mph) which I was so pleased with; my target was 7-7.5. When I first got off the bike, my left foot was burning so bad I had to take my bike shoes off and hobbled into T2. Both Transition zones were very long so you had to run some distance just to get through these. I wanted to move through T2 (bike to run) as quickly as possible and it went relatively smooth and didn't sit and hang about.

 

The Run

Well I like running so I was most confident about this element. I wanted to get into a steady pace and run like metronome until the end. The run consisted of 4 laps in the city and part along the city river. It was particularly hot, 25-27C I heard people say. You collected a coloured band on each lap and I was desperate to collect 2 so it was half way then mentally it was "downhill". I kept myself cool by wearing sponges on my shoulders and neck and stopped at every aid station for a guzzle of coke (for some strange reason it was "coca please, coca please" ha!) I had a few clif shot bloks towards the end of the run. Walking was not an option because if I gave in and walked any, I think it would have made the run harder as I would think about walking all the time. It was a marathon so it certainly was not easy but managing the pace and laps for me was key. My ankle turned slightly on a curb on the last lap but thankfully it was fine just a wobble. The crowds were amazing and loved the music sections (not quite dancing mode but really helped with rhythm). It felt like the world's quickest sprint approaching the finish and really fantastic to get there! My feet were falling off and the first time all day I was a little peckish. My time was 4.09, my target was 4.30.

 

Finished with a time of 12 hours 29 minutes 09 seconds. I can't believe its done, I am aching but mainly feel nauseous. I actually completed the whole race without knowing any pace or distance only a clock because of watch replacement issues. My "Ironman buddy" James Dean was amazing and came in 10.54!!! Great to see him 4 times on the run. A really great experience and on par with the North Pole Marathon for difficulty.

Their splits are as follows....

 

James Dean

Swim- 1:08:46

Bike- 5:39:03

Run- 3:56:42

Overall- 10:54:41
 

Alice Burch

Swim -1:38:23

Bike - 6:31:37

Run - 4:09:09

Overall - 12:29:29

 

 

Many of the photos used on our website were taken by local photographer, Paul Hammond. You can see more of his pictures here, but please ensure that you credit him if you use them and consider making a donation (small or large) to his charity.