On Sunday 24th July 2011, Paul Ralph joined 650 other triathletes to take on the triathlon holy grail, an ironman distance triathlon, a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike & 26.2 mile run.
Here’s Paul’s story …….
After 7 months of haphazard preparation (which included 5 months with a niggling Achilles injury) and a bottle of “Corona” the night before, I found myself waist deep in water with 650 other competitors for the start of The Outlaw 2011.
When they gave the announcement that there was 1 minute to go I was still hoping the lake would freeze over and we could all go home … then off went the starters horn and away we all went for the dreaded mass swim start, after a couple of hundred metres my nerves seemed to disappear as I found some clear water pretty quickly and it stayed that way for the first 1.2 mile of the swim even at the turn point there was minimal congestion so on the return leg I found myself quite relaxed and starting to enjoy myself.
I exited the swim in 1:25:33, which I was pretty pleased with as I’d set myself a time of 1:25, then into the changing marquee, were I had a leisurely transition of 8 min 55 secs (don’t know why it took so long) and onto the bike route where I had planned to keep to an average speed of 17.5 mph on what I’d been told was a flat course.
After the first 15 mile on some really smooth surfaces, coned off from passing cars, I was averaging 24mph and realised that I needed to curb my enthusiasm if i was gonna complete the 112 mile course. I needn’t have worried as the first hill on the loop soon brought me back to reality, after that it was a steady downhill all the way into Southwell were we were greeted by a couple of hundred noisy spectators on each of the the 3 laps which really helped keep the spirits up before the next 10 miles of undulating road into a head wind.
My nutrition plan seemed to work ok for me as I felt fine until the last 10 mile when I thought “ahhhh, I’ve got to run a marathon now!”
I finished the bike in 6:04 which I was again really pleased with and saw the missus who was marshaling and racking bikes in T2, with a 99 cornet in one hand and a 3.5 grand cervelo in the other !! (you should see the marshall’s gooddie bags, excellent)
Next I was into unknown territory as the furthest I had been able to run in training was 13 miles, but with Phil Binch’s advice in my head i started to make my way round the 17 feed stops spurred on by the hundreds of people sat on the banks of Holme Pierrepont and the River Trent.
Looking at my Garmin, my first couple of miles clocked in at 10:30 pace, which was about as fast as it got for me on the run before I shuffled around the rest of the course, but I managed to stick to my plan of running/shuffling to the feed stations walking for a minute or so through them whilst I took on fluid, gels or oranges, before setting off again.
I kept expecting to hit the wall anytime between mile 18 and 22, but this never happened probably due to the support everyone got out on the course, including a leisurely chat with Mark Salmon somewhere about mile 20.
Running down that finishing chute was a brilliant feeling and I was pleasantly surprised to see my time of 12:55:08 on the clock which was 35 min faster then what I’d hoped for.
For anyone thinking of doing an Ironman distance event, Outlaw has got to be worth considering with a price tag of just over £200 its much more affordable then a branded event, the organisation was excellent and its only an hour from Scunny!!. Big thanks to all support and advice I got from Lincsquad.
Well done Paul, you are an Outlaw, and join the growing list of Lincsquad Ironman distance triathletes.