“If, during the race, you hear artillery fire, please make your way to the nearest shelter”.
And with that, the race briefing was done and dusted.
I decided to return to Israel to try and regain my Israman half ironman title from 2014. It’s a beautiful race, organised by beautiful people in Eilat, a seaside town at the southernmost tip of the country. It’s a great event to break up the winter and bask in some serious heat…
Race day greeted us with a very Scottish 3 degrees C. This wasn’t on my visualisation plan. The sun was out though, and the water was a balmy 18 degrees and crystal clear. Lovely stuff. After departing on the B of the Bang, I performed good swim skillz, then all time gained was duly lost by dressing up in my eskimo race gear in transition. Some guys braved the cold in just their sodden lycra but I chose to cover up in order to meet the reported 0 degrees at the top of the mountain. The bike course starts with a 12km ascent of a mountain and then it’s rolling hills throughout. I would be some time.
The rest of the race went like this:
Pedal up hill for an hour.
Forget about all the other hills at the top.
Do the rest of the hills.
Do U turn at halfway. Have a gap. Do a dance in my head.
Scoot into T2 at top of mountain. Begin run.
Couple of 3.15 km’s to start with.
Legs hurt. They shouldn’t – I have practised for this. Curse legs.
Realise I have a big gap.
Resort to shuffle.
Everyone is shuffling.
Time slows down.
Want to be finished now.
Lots of photos, interviews and happy faces.
Hobble to hotel.
Wait for coach Hywel who’s doing double the distance.
Give out well dones.
Hywel runs through, taking some names and a spot on the podium.
We all hail Hywel.
Rejoice that Team Welldone has come away with a 1st and a 3rd and a very good day.
Drink grapefruit cocktails.
Go to sleep.
Dream about being chased through the desert by an assemblage of killer grapefruits.
I cannot recommend this race enough. It’s beautiful, really hardcore, and everyone is warm and friendly. It’s my favourite. The only thing is I was slower than 2014, but think the conditions played a part, and I haven’t done the bike mileage to run fast off the bike yet. I am running really well but a 1.23 on that course does not reflect that. So as well as wanting to return anyway, I must come back as I failed in my sub 5 hour mission. And looking at the results, Hywel was 30 secs shy of a sub 10 so that must be addressed too :)
Overall, it was a great success. I’m back and very happy with how things are going. I have a coach I trust, we have seen improvements whereas before I never used data to chart progress, and we have lots more still to do so it’s not as if I’ve done everything and this is where I’m at. It feels like the start of something good.
Thanks to all my sponsors: BikmoTri, Bolle, EntryCentral, CurrexSole, Gould and Evo, and to Drummond Clinic for sorting out the slight neural issue that lingers from last year. Thanks too to ProVision clothing, Xterra, Bonza Bike Box, TimeBack, Fides Media, Windsor Leisure Centre, Nutrition X and of course The Bike Company Windsor.
Thanks also to Zoggs for the on site support and to Garmin for the wonderful present!