Last weekend I became a Braveheart! It was the race I’ve been working all year towards and accumulated in a 1.2 mile swim in a FREEZING loch, 56 miles on a hilly road through the Scottish highlands and a 15 mile run up and down Ben Nevis.
MY THOUGHTS BEFORE THE RACE
“I jumped into the loch yesterday for 10 minutes and it was a very long 10 minutes! A little bit of brain freeze was going on, but once my 3 swim hats (including a Neoprene hat) were properly placed it was much better!
They say not to try out new equipment on race day.. I am trying new equipment on race day. The neoprene booties and gloves are new and much needed, as the water temperature is around 13oC.
It’s now 7:34am and I’m chilling out in the car with my mum waiting for the race to start, as all of my stuff is racked in transition and I’m in my wetsuit ready to go!
I’m just going out to have a really good time and be the happiest person out there, training has been almost non-existent due to a health issue.
My plan is to go out there and have fun, enjoy my first ascent of Ben Nevis (never imagined I would be running up it!) and experience the Scottish Highlands!”
MY THOUGHTS ON THE RACE
I finished in 8 hours 57 minutes, so a sub-9 hour race, which I am really happy with, especially considering I haven't’ been able to train properly in the lead up to Braveheart.
My amazing trainer, Mark Kleanthos, predicted I would complete the race between 8 and 9 hours, so I’m pleased with the result.
(Listen to Mark on my podcast talk about his incredible journey in triathlon and he drops some juicy knowledge bombs too that will help you perform at your next race!)
The loch did not feel any warmer since my dip the previous morning. There’s no beating about the bush, it was cold. Scrap that.
It. Was. FREEZING.
Once over the initial cold shock, we all lined up and waited for someone to shout ‘GO’. When he did, the water around me suddenly became a washing machine of 150 swimmers. I’ve never experienced anything like it!
I held my ground and felt good. Frustratingly, I became sandwiched between everyone as we all amalgamated around the two buoys at the 500m mark. This slowed me down, but once everyone had spread out it was much better and I kept to the outside.
I finished the swim in 45 minutes which was a little slower than expected, but still good.
My transition was 10 minutes, which I was really happy with and once on the bike, this is where the pain began.
A few weeks before the race I decided to get a bike fit as I wasn’t happy with the setup. Turns out that my new saddle was amazingly comfortable for the first 30 minutes and after that complete agony!
In the weeks preceding I had been out on my bike, but for no more than 30 minutes due to health reasons, so this amount of discomfort came as a shock.
The bike is usually my strongest disciple, but this ride was one of the most demoralising. I was overtaken by what felt like hundreds of cyclists over the course, but I just couldn’t speed up.
I usually look forward to the run the least, but I couldn’t wait to get off the bike!
On the run I was on a tight deadline, I had to get half way up Ben Nevis by 3:30pm which gave me just over 2 hours.
When I started running, it was uncomfortable. My legs were sore and there were SO many steps. I just went as quick as I could. I was completely self-sufficient with water and food, so I didn’t need to stop. My entire focus was on reaching the halfway cut-off time, which I did successfully.
At the halfway mark, I had a renewed amount of energy and even over took some competitions! I made it to the summit of Ben Nevis (which was also freezing!) with 10 minutes to spare.
I came down the mountain at an easy pace, taking care not to slip.
Crossing the line
It was pure relief to cross the line and know that I could stop. I could relax. It was underwhelming as the race crew had pretty much packed up. My bike was one of a handful left, I finished near last, but I finished.
I’m chilling out for a little while. I’m starting a new job this week and have lots planned for my business, so that’s my focus for October.
However, I cannot wait to meet with my trainer, Mark Kleanthos, and start planning my 3 year journey to becoming a Norseman!
(Want some help with your nutrition and hydration system for racing and training? Listen to Mark on Season 2 of my podcast to discover how you can enhance your performance.)
The Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is the world’s ultimate triathlon. It’s an ironman-distance race stretched across the Norwegian landscape with 5000m and a finish line on top of a mountain. It was already at the back of mind, but since working at the race this summer, it’s now the race I’m gunning for.
(Watch my video to get a taster of the amazing race that is Norseman. You'll soon see why I want to do it!)