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My Half Ironman triathlon debut

By Jeremy Hoyle

Reaching 40 I decided to take a look at my health.  I'd done very little exercise for the past 15 years, had a love for Chinese and Indian food, enjoyed the "odd" drink or two and had smoked 20 cigarettes a day for the last 20 years.  At 18 ½ stone you could say I wasn't in the best of health and I decided that something needed to change and quickly!

With the help of a good friend and fellow Harrier (Jason Haigh) we decided a personal trainer may help kick start the work required to get me into shape; after three months of 6.30am starts with a trainer I was hooked on getting fit.  I cut down on all the fatty food and started to train between three and five times a week, spending hours on the cross trainer and then swimming and running ; I started to notice a real difference in my health.

"Why don't you do a Triathlon?", I was asked.   I didn't have a bike nor had I ridden one with any real effort for over 20 years, and certainly not in a race!  Why not? I thought and I signed up for the Scissett Tri, bought a bike and started training.  

My first 5K

I still recall my first ever 5K run at the Parkrun on Christmas Eve 2011, surrounded by both adults and children dressed up as the big man!  It wasn't an easy run, I stopped and walked part of it and finished 150th out of 160 in 35:40!

From that day I've been a journey - set on a path to succeed in Triathlon and keen to gain experience and progress through the different distances triathlon has to offer.

Since that first 5K run I've completed many more Parkruns.. I've also had the satisfaction of completing about 20 Sprint and five Olympic distance Triathlons and it was from here with a good base fitness I took on my latest challenge -  to compete in the Sundowner Middle Distance Triathlon!

Triathlon distances
  • Sprint : 750 meter (.465 mi) swim, 20 kilometer (12.5 mi) bike and 5 kilometer (3.1 mi) run
  • Olympic : 1.5 kilometer (.93 mi) swim, 40 kilometer (25 mi) bike and 10 kilometer (6.2 mi) run
  • Middle/Half Ironman:  1.9 kilometer (1.2 mi) swim, a 90 kilometer (56-mi) bike and 21.1 kilometer (13.1-mi) run
  • Ultra Distance/140.6 or Ironman: 3.8 kilometer (2.4 mi) swim, 180.2 kilometer (112 mi) bike, and a full marathon: 42.2 kilometer (26.2 mi) run.

The race

Saturday 14th September 2013 was to be my toughest challenge to date as I headed to Allerthorpe (near York) for this years' middle distance triathlon.

Jeremy and Angus in disguise

Ready for the off!

Run!

Half marathon to go!

Swim

The 1.9KM swim was four Laps of Allerthorpe Lake in 18 degrees water temperatures (cold and feeeling more like 12 degrees); I completed the swim in a modest 00:38:03 minutes before heading into transition for a quick change out of my westsuit (00:02:55) before setting out on the bike.

Bike

The bike section was a flat, two lap circuit in very windy conditions; under the circumstances I was delighted be able to maintain an average speed of 18.5 MPH and complete the ride in 3:01:42

Heading out on the bike

Ready for the off!

My final transition was quicker than my first (00:02:06) - I didn't have the wetsuit to contend with, just a change into my running attire.

Run

I started my run complete with sandwich and banana in hand for the dreaded half marathon (21KM). It perhaps doesn't need spelling out that I'm not necessarily built as a 'runner' and have never previously run a half marathon.  I knew it would be tough, very tough although I wasn’t prepared for the pain that followed.  The final 10Km was an absolute killer on the legs, it took every ounce of mental and physical strength to get me to the finish line.  The support I received was fantastic; not only from fellow club members but also the people that turn out to watch in all weathers - they seem to really appreciate the effort you are putting in to your performance.  I completed the run in 02:35:34..

Result!

My time for the triathtlon combining all three discplines (swim, bike and run) and my transition times was 6 hours 20 minutes and 22 seconds.  As hard as it was, it was fantastic and I'm extremely delighted with my time. I'd worked so hard that I took my post race ritual one step further; normally celebrating with a curry on the night of the event I felt I deserved something special and had one two days running!!

Final thoughts

I'd like to offer my personal thanks to fellow club member and triathlete Angus Greenwood for his support; Angus did the same event (5:31:47) and it does offer a little comfort to know that you have friends going through the same experience and we did exchange a few "high fives" as we passed on the run which help keep morale up.

Holmfirth Harriers has brilliant coaches and some fantastic Triathletes competing at the very highest level all of whom offer a pat on the back and words of encouragement.   Ultimately you are on your own once the hooter goes to signal the start of a race, mental strength is definitely high on the list of requirements to get across the finish line’.

The last two years have been a tough yet very rewarding journey - as well as my fitness I have lost over four stone in weight!

Watch this space... you're gonna see something really special in 2014 :)

Pre-2012 news, results & reports are on the old sites: 2009 to 2011, Pre-2009

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