TEAM SPORTPURSUIT – THE IRONMAN UK 2013 STORY [VIDEO]

The #TEamsportpursuit video is here!

Blog from SportPursuit;

“Typically, most sports businesses choose to champion the elite athlete, sponsoring a team of pro athletes in order to endorse and lend credibility to their product. There is no shortage of perks for the modern pro-athlete.

What there is a shortage of is people championing the everyday athlete; the unsung hero. That’s what Team SportPursuit is about – giving unsung heroes the opportunity to feel like a pro-athlete for the day. Our heroes are our members – they are why we do what we do – so we choose to champion them.

We selected four members who applied to be a part of Team SportPursuit at Ironman Bolton 2013 and gave them each a spot in the sold out event. The team was made up of everyday athletes, chosen not just for their physical abilities but because to us they represent what sport should be about; commitment, passion, determination and involvement for personal enjoyment and achievement, not for money or fame.

In the lead-up to the event we followed their journey through the blog diaries, before bringing a film crew to track them through the race weekend. Their skills and abilities were varied, with some having never attempted a triathlon before the big day (even overcoming an inability to swim), and two team members who hoped to qualify for the World Championships in Kona – the mecca of Ironman – one on his seventh attempt.

What resulted were four incredible stories of determination – all with individual goals but each with the same sense of achievement.”

Many thanks to the film crew and producers at Dimension2.

See more from our time at Ironman UK or check out our photo album from the event

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Team SportPursuit – The Ironman UK 2013 Story / SportPursuit | SportPursuit.com

Team SportPursuit – The Ironman UK 2013 Story / SportPursuit | SportPursuit.com.

The #TEamsportpursuit video is here!

Blog from SportPursuit;

“Typically, most sports businesses choose to champion the elite athlete, sponsoring a team of pro athletes in order to endorse and lend credibility to their product. There is no shortage of perks for the modern pro-athlete.

What there is a shortage of is people championing the everyday athlete; the unsung hero. That’s what Team SportPursuit is about – giving unsung heroes the opportunity to feel like a pro-athlete for the day. Our heroes are our members – they are why we do what we do – so we choose to champion them.

We selected four members who applied to be a part of Team SportPursuit at Ironman Bolton 2013 and gave them each a spot in the sold out event. The team was made up of everyday athletes, chosen not just for their physical abilities but because to us they represent what sport should be about; commitment, passion, determination and involvement for personal enjoyment and achievement, not for money or fame.

In the lead-up to the event we followed their journey through the blog diaries, before bringing a film crew to track them through the race weekend. Their skills and abilities were varied, with some having never attempted a triathlon before the big day (even overcoming an inability to swim), and two team members who hoped to qualify for the World Championships in Kona – the mecca of Ironman – one on his seventh attempt.

What resulted were four incredible stories of determination – all with individual goals but each with the same sense of achievement.”

Many thanks to the film crew and producers at Dimension2.

See more from our time at Ironman UK or check out our photo album from the event

TEAM SPORTPURSUIT – IRONMAN UK – ALLIE PARK – POST-RACE ROUND-UP

BACK DATED FROM 6th AUGUST – 2 days post race!

My Ironman journey was meant to start with Ironman Austria in 2014 as my first race, but 10 weeks ago I ‘won’ a last minute entry as part of #TeamSportPursuit. This meant I only had a 10 week training plan for Ironman UK, although I’d been training hard anyway. One of the most experienced ‘Ironmen’ in my triclub – and my now coach – Musty has been an absolute star, and without him I wouldn’t have even made it to the start line, thanks Musty, I owe you big time.

So here is my final blog entry on IMUK2013 and race report;

Swim – uneventful, started front row and hammered it to the first buoy, then just went really steady and relaxed. Got out and started running to T1, turned and saw my friend Amy, did a double take and then we both looked at each screamed so loud in each others face, had a high-5 and ran on – the crowd found this hilarious! The hardest part of the swim was the after the second turn buoy as it was swimming right into the sunrise and impossible to sight on anything, so I just made sure I had plenty of people to the left and right of me and kept going.

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T1 – forecast was for rain all day so I put arm warmers and gillet on – putting arm warmers on wet skin is a mission, a lesson learned here for sure!

Bike – fairly uneventful, i enjoyed the bike course but the wind meant I could not use the tribars as much as i usually do. Took it steady as I wanted to save energy for the run. I have a lot more to give on the bike; I didn’t feel like I was pushing hard at any point and felt really fresh when I got off. From 90-miles to the T2 was a bit tedious though, and my backside was looking forward to getting off the bike!

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T2 – was just glad to get my runners on and get off the saddle!

Run – I started the run feeling amazing and plodded along really slow for first 20 mins to get the HR down. Felt great and loved seeing all the crowds in town. My ‘stomach issues’ were present again though, and I totalled 7 ‘comfort’ stops; probably didn’t help with overall marathon time! At around mile 11’ish I think it was, the wheels fell off and I started hurting badly! I was aware of my friends Tom and Amy both gaining time on me fast during the marathon and every comfort break was worrying me as I knew it was giving them more chance of overtaking me, Tom very worryingly was really close on the last lap and somehow that spurred me on to pick the pace up and I ran my heart out for the last 2 miles – not that I’m competitive or anything! ;o)

I saw Troy from Team SportPursuit a couple of times and he looked so comfortable and fast on the run, this actually picked me up a little and made me keep going…

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Crossing the finish line was the best experience ever – and I somehow I didn’t cry – that really surprised me! I had a minute to compose myself then the SportPursuit media crew grabbed me for my post-race interview – think I was blabbering like a total idiot – we’ll see when film is ready!

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Overall it was an Amazing day and I couldn’t have done it without the support and training help over the last 2 years from my club – in particular Musty, Maurice and Mitten – they have all helped me so much and I appreciate it more than you would ever know. The whole club has been so supportive and I thank you all. And a huge thanks to Rob who stood around in the rain all day and has been there to help me through the last 10 weeks training; he has been my biggest help on the bike for sure.

Thanks also have to go out to the SportPursuit team – particularly Juls and Doug who have been doing the blog updates – you guys have made the whole experience more memorable and I cant wait to see the video – no matter how grim I look at the end!! [For 140 miles and 13 hours of racing you were looking fresher than us! – Doug]    0430_40014

The Sportpursuit crew!

The Sportpursuit crew!

 

Seconds after crossing the finish line!

Seconds after crossing the finish line!

 

Post race interview - about a minute after finishing!

Post race interview – about a minute after finishing!

 

The Final Countdown – 4 days remaining

BACK DATED FROM 30th JULY;

4 days....

4 days….

So it’s the final countdown.

I’ve been treating my followers to a pictorial countdown since day 6….it’s fair to say I’m more than a little bit excited/scared/nervous now!

My last week’s preparation has involved many short very low intensity training sessions and today I’m off for an all over sports massage to keep me nice and supple. Like everyone says, the hard work has been done and now is the time to relax, stretch, eat well and look after yourself as best as possible – oh, and sleep!!

At the weekend my new race wheels arrived, so that was the highlight of my weekend (as well as supporting my club mates at the Milton Keynes Olympic distance race and club BBQ on Sunday). Bike now looks and feels a little bit more ‘racy’, can’t wait to have my full-on ‘bling’ race bike next year, but I guess we cant have everything at once…and tri is definitely not a cheap sport!

So from now until I drive to Bolton on Friday it’s all about the planning. Lists, lists and yet more lists!

The last 48hrs is going to be pretty manic – my timetable looks something like this:

Friday

Travel to Bolton and Race briefing / registration at the Reebok stadium (and no-doubt spend some money in the expo).

Saturday

Practice swim , cycle, and run (all very short) at Pennington Flash (complete by 10am, sort out final details to transition bags)

11:00 – Racking at T1 open for numbers 501-750

12:00 or earlier – T2 racking at the school

Back to hotel for chill out / spa time.

15:45 – Join #TeamSportPursuit at Reebok for interviews, coffee and meeting the team.

Sunday – RACE DAY!!!

03:00 Alarm call

04:30 latest – At Pennington flash to walk transition area again and ‘relax’!!

06:00 Race Start

The last 24-hours is all-important and I have a nutrition-plan that I stick to religiously – my lunch, evening meal and snacks are all planned out and my breakfast on race morning is always the same – I practice this during my long training sessions too. Breakfast is always porridge, a bagel, and a protein shake. I then have a carb-energy drink that I sip up until 20mins before the race, then I have a caffeine gel 5-10mins before getting into the water of the swim.

So on that note – time to start writing more lists…See you at the Finish line!!

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11 DAYS REMAINING….

BACK DATED FROM 23RD JULY;

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Well what a week – the last full training week before taper kicked off with my longest ever ride a week ago on Sunday – a 125 mile sportive. I loved it, it was a beautiful day and the ride was in a lovely area with some amazing views. I used this as a race practice to practice my nutrition again, although I did sneak some extra cake when in the later food stations too! ;o)

The lovely mobile marshal on his bike (above) was chatting to me at around mile 90 and even offered to go ahead to refill my bottles and bring them back to me, bless him! I didn’t take him up on the offer though as I wanted an excuse to have a stop-off! Everyone there (including the two guys I traveled with from my Tri club) looked at me like I was mad when I stuck my trainers on and had a run just after the 125 miles…

My feet were killing me from after around 60 miles, so I’ve bought some new cycle shoes a size larger. I think the extra warm weather and swollen feet were responsible for the pain I experienced, still the pain in my feet took away from the pain in my legs, so I felt ok when I finished the ride and put my lovely comfy running shoes on!

The rest of the week was quite low impact and low on hours really, but then I had my final big day this Sunday, which was a race rehearsal. After a 4am wake up call, my friend dropped me off at Datchet water for a 1 hour swim and then on to T1 at the car and off on a 54 mile around the lovely lanes of Bucks/Herts, ending up at home for T2 and brick session – a painful one at that – 40min run with 30sec pick ups!

Tapering this week means 2 full days of rest, so I’m now twiddling my thumbs and wasting time on the laptop searching for my new race bike for next season – I’m actually tempted to buy my race wheels now so I can get use of them on my current bike at Bolton; everyone keeps telling me the wheels are what makes the most difference, so it couldn’t hurt to put them on the bike I have and then have them ready to go when I buy the new bike in the coming months….

I wonder if SportPursuit have any Tri bikes coming up…

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22 days and counting…….

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BACK DATED FROM 2ND JULY;

This week has been mad! Last week had been fairly busy trying to juggle the usual work demands, looking after my dog and trying to keep up with friends. I went out with my closest friend on Friday night – fish and chips under the excuse of ‘carb loading’ for a heavy weekend of training (well they do say nutrition is the fourth discipline)! Its got to be said, my weekends are very different now to what they used to be, gone are the booze and late nights and in their place are early nights and 4-5am alarm calls!

Saturday was a long swim at the lake early morning and then my last long run; I did a lovely run along the canal in the sunshine and thankfully lots of sections were shaded, otherwise it could have been a long hot session!

I went to Bolton for the day on Sunday with my friend Tom from the tri-club who is also doing IMUK (top photograph). We did the long ride out to the bike circuit from Pennington Flash and then one loop of the course before returning to Pennington Flash for a brick run – again it was red hot, in the high 20’s all day – loved it!

My race photographs came through from Wimbleball this week too so I pleased to have my hardwork and efforts caught on camera as permanent memories of the day.

I’m still finding the hardest part of training is juggling everyday life, and that planning is the biggest part that can help ease this. My coach gives me my plan 5 weeks in advance so I have to check this against my work diary for any obvious clashes and then try to plan around them. I find that by making my longest training day match with my home admin day helps as I can get an early morning session in, still be at my desk from 9-6 then get an evening session in too. My most demanding work day I will try to match up with rest day so I don’t have to worry about training if there are flights to catch or a very long day in the city lined up. Weekends for me now are all about training – I guess pros can still have a bit of a life outside of training, but to us mere mortal age groupers the weekend is all about training as its the only time we can fit in endurance sessions. Even getting up at 5am on a Saturday you’d be surprised how quickly 9pm comes around and all you’ve done is a swim, a run, a dog walk and maybe a load of washing!!! The garden certainly is not looking at its best!

Right then – for now that’s it; another long weekend ahead with my first ever 100+ ride; I’m doing the 125 mile Wiggle Magnificat!

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IRONMAN UK – TRAINING ROUND-UP – WEEK 3

BACK DATED FROM 26th JUNE;

38 days remaining……

Week 3 on team sport pursuit has been fairly uneventful – lots of training, lots of blisters on feet, no where near enough sleep and way too much eating out.

I’ve been working in Scotland so had to link up training with my overnight stays. I discovered whilst staying next door to Edinburgh Zoo that the hotel pool was only 13m – not ideal for an hours interval set! That said the hotel staff pointed me in the direction of a local council pool which was 25m – it was a 3 mile run away so managed to use my laptop backpack to run there with swim kit, do my swim set, run back and still be in the restaurant for breakfast in time to meet my work colleagues. Got to say, the biggest problem with training is time and fitting it all in.

This weekend was fairly intense too – over 8 hours of training and then my friend decided to take me for a ”little local walk’ with my dog – i didn’t realise this was a 2hr walk with a big hill on my already blistered feet just after my 17mile run…….the next day, he turned my planned training ride into a longer 72mile ride over 4hrs long, and me getting lost on the way home didn’t help!

Ah well – only another 38 days……. :o)

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IRONMAN UK – TRAINING ROUND-UP – WEEK 2

BACK DATED FROM 21st JUNE

My blog entry to Sport Pursuit following my second week of training since winning a place at IM UK 2013. #Teamsportpursuit

 

Another crazy week, but rather than talking about all my training – the highlight for me this week was my training race at Wimbleball – IM70.3UK, my first IM brand event. Friday was amazing and I was getting so excited as I laid out all my kit in the hotel – this is my first triathlon using transition bags as I’ve only done 2 sprints and 2 Olympic distances before now. This was definitely a weekend and a race to remember.

 

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Here is my race report that was posted in the triathlon club website and on the Sport Pursuit blog pages;

Race Report / IronmanUK70.3 Exmoor (Wimbleball);

“That was brutal!

Swim was great – ironically the swim was the only dry bit of the day! I loved it and was actually drafting on feet for quite a bit – with hind site could have gone way harder – but again, better to be conservative when trying a new distance that you’ve never raced before I guess!

T1 – the run to transition is around half a mile, up a very muddy hill, that was fun in bare-feet! Because this was my ‘training race’ and not really a race, I took the time to dry my feet properly, and put plenty warm layers on, calf guards, arm warmers, jersey and a waterproof.

Cycle – it was very wet and it hurt. I didn’t push 100% as again I don’t know the route, but I knew it was hard and didn’t want to blow up before the second lap. The rain started about 15mins into the cycle and became torrential in parts, continued for all the bike and some of the run. The cycle leg has 1800m of elevation – that’s pretty tough in the torrential rain, I felt really sorry for the people in just trisuits and gillets, I took the time to wrap up and was still shivering about mid way around.

T2 – Pretty normal, got of my soaked outer-layers and kept my jersey on, realised part way in the run I still had gloves on too, felt a bit daft but not as bad as the guy who ran the whole thing in his cycle helmet haha. Also took the time to use ‘the conveniences’ in T2 as I still don’t get this whole ‘going on the bike’ thing!

Run – This was a complete mud fest, I didn’t realise it was all off road, a mix of gravel tracks, forest trail, and grass, I would have taken trail shoes if I had known as I was slipping all over in the mud. Took ages to get my HR lowered from the bike, but after 20mins it had settled and I had got into a good rhythm. By 30mins, my stomach decided to protest to all the gels I had, so there were 4 more ‘comfort stops’ and lots of stomach cramps on the run. In the last couple of miles of the run I started to get all emotional and really had to fight back the tears, the realisation that my goal of the past year was nearly at completion was a bit overwhelming, I’ve put so much hard work in since September and it was all going to be over soon. Crossed the line with a huge smile, and then burst into tears!!

Funny story from in the athletes tent – they were giving out Hog roast rolls, and one guy looked to be particularly enjoying his, when the guy next to him commented on this, he replied saying he’s been a vegetarian for 10years haha! They were lush though, pork apple sauce and crackling – perfect recovery food eh?”

Final times;

Swim 41:55
T1 10:07
Bike 03:46:10
T2 04:33
Run 02:10:03
Total 06:52:48.

710 of 1666 total (top 42%)
55 of 226 Females (top 24%)
10 of 35 Cat.

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IRONMAN UK – TRAINING ROUND-UP – WEEK 1

BACK DATED FROM 12th JUNE 2013

So yesterday the real hard work started! Last week was a recovery week having been on a training camp in the Lake District with my tri-club the previous week for a ‘holiday’. We managed to rack up about 25hrs training and me and 2 of my friends ended the week by taking part in the Conniston epic swim series race. The race was my first ever 3.8km open water swim so a good step to take as it now means I’ve done all the individual iron man elements so now I just have to put them altogether – on one day – what could go wrong??

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The so called ‘recovery week’ involved over 10hrs of training, but all under a HR cap. It was a good week and had some OK weather for some of the sessions but I’m still left wondering where our summer is…..

So, the hard graft! So far this week I’ve had a muscular endurance swim set, a 15 mile run, a turbo session (bad weather) and my usual Pilates class. The week is only just starting though and I have an epic day on Thursday where I have to do a 3.5hr ride and brick session before I start work – I am then taking part in my first IM70.3 on Sunday at Wimbleball. As I’m taking advice on my training now from a coach that trains in my club, I have been given a personalised race plan, which pretty much means I’m using Wimbleball as a practice for nutrition strategy, HR limits and to find any problems that may arise before Bolton. As I’m incredibly competitive by nature, this is going to be difficult to stick – but I will as i don’t want to jeopardise my big day in Bolton…..

It’s got be said, the excitement is really setting in now!