Getting ready for Ironman 70.3 World Championships …. soon!

September 13th, 2008 by

Fraser Cartmell postrace

Alhough it is nearing the end of the season for many folk, i’m still looking further down the road. The 2008 Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Clearwater, Florida is a mere 8 weeks away, and it is a big goal or mine.

So that goes a long way to explaining why I unfortunately didn’t finish the Ironman UK last Sunday in Sherboune, Dorset. I was really looking forward to the challenge of my first Ironman, and yet, it was a huge stab in the dark. An Experiment really. – One which didn’t qutie work out. Not this time…..

I fully understand that finishing an Ironman – particularly your first one – is a fantastic box to tick. And the lengths that many people will go to in order to ensure they do just that (and quite rightly so) are amazing. However I decided long ago that if I began to unravel badly I would have to step aside and not join the struggle onwards to the finish chute. Pity, as it was a good finish chute!

In preparation for the Ironman UK 2008 I got a great period of base training done – I spent much of July in Spain and then the whole of August in California. Most of that time i had the Ironman UK 2008 in the back of my mind, but ultimately my training prgramme was simply a 70.3 plan supplemented with some extra IM specific sessions. Not enough sessions it turns out! I’ll happily admit to never having ridden 112 miles before last Sunday.

In fact I think it is at least 2 years since I rode over 95 miles….. so I am pretty pleased with my effort of leading the race through most of the 112! I didnt have a clue how easy (or hard) I should go, next time i’ll be able to ride harder; i’ll have the confidence. I didn’t on Sunday – crucially, i didnt have the legs! From the outside that might/must sound stupid. Perhaps. But i had 8 weeks really (not long before your 1st IM), and i had other goals (i was racing Timberman 70.3 in mid August) which i didnt want to harm too much. I felt the long long bike rides would do that – i struggle over 80 miles usually. So i’m real happy with time trialling 112 from the get-go! 

The run, well, I was much more confident of that. I had done some great long runs – over 30ks in 2hours, and a few of them, but again, I didn’t run long, not race distance long. So that was the other gamble. And so, when I got to half way of the marathon, I just knew there wasn’t anything left to give.

I am still a little disappointed, but I know I did a pretty good job. I aspired to win the race. I led the swim, and a large portion of the bike, and still, despite never getting into any sort of groove I was only 2.50 behind Stephen at mile 9. I can take quite a lot out of that, as he is very much world class at Ironman. He was a great gauge throughout the race for me, and I hope he hits it hard in Kona next month.

So, onwards to Clearwater. I’ll start training properly again next week here at home in Stirling – the legs feel ready to get going again!

In the meantime – have a look at this little Clearwater video from last year – apart from the Computrainer plug its pretty good! (see if you can spot me)