Dan’s the man……..

DanFinish01Ironman Mallorca 70.3

That’s it! I’ve finally done it; I’ve entered Ironman Mallorca 70.3 for May 2016…… Now how do I break it to the new girlfriend that I’m going to be spending a lot of my free time training and our first holiday away together will also be with the SYTri group……. This isn’t going to go down very well.

ky for me Rachel understood what the training would be, as she had researched what would be expected of me.

I had already experienced doing many sprint and standard triathlons over the past couple of years but this was yet the biggest challenge I have faced. I knew the training was going to be a lot harder and that is what worried me the most. How do I fit shift work, a family and my training altogether?

Having booked 2 weeks in Lanzarote for the February of the same year with Sam and the others, I knew then I would get to train in all 3 elements of the sport and in warmer conditions. This would be a good insight to what it would be like on the day, little did I know that wouldn’t be the case.

I trained as much as I could, go to as many swim and cycle sessions as possible. I also did a lot of cycling and running in the area where I lived as the roads around me were perfect, however this soon got harder when I moved in with Rachel, who lived in Wolverhampton. The area was a lot busier and I was now also commuting between Wolverhampton and Telford.

At Christmas, Rachel had bought me my very own custom bike box to transport my bike for the big day so I knew she stood by me.

It all became very real when my Email inbox said I had received an email from Sam which would contain my training plan leading up to the event. I just couldn’t register what I needed to do.

Even though my training had become reduced I was never going to give up. The flights and accommodation had been all organised and I had too many people who had put their faith in me; I knew I couldn’t let them down.

I even joined a local gym that did boot camps and spin classes, just to keep my fitness up on days I couldn’t get out and train for one reason or another.

Well the day had come that we flew out to Mallorca. I was sat on the plane thinking there was no going back now. My parents were already out there and Rachel was traveling with me and the rest of the group. When we arrived at the hotel, it was straight into training. Bikes put together and off we went for a cycle. This was a good thing as it gave me an idea of what the roads where going to be like.

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While out on the road I was amazed at how many people were out cycling and running but like us, this would be preparation for the main event.

Going out on the roads and with the others gave me a confidence boost that I needed. I’m going to do this and I don’t care if it takes me the full 8 hours.

After a couple of days cycle training (would have been also some sea swimming, however I didn’t set the alarm correctly and I missed it) it was now the day before the biggest racing event I ever competed in.

It was a busy day as I had to go for my race safety briefing and collect by bags. I then needed to pack my bags and label them up correctly, to then go back to transition to rack my bike, hang my bags and to get my timing belt. It was a day of organisation and for an early night.

Why the hell is my Alarm going off so early in the morning while I’m on holiday???

That’s when I realised this wasn’t a holiday and today was race day. Not only that but it was also raining. We’ve had lovely weather all week, so today of all days it had to rain.

Never the less I was up, changed and ready to go.  Let’s do this!

DanSwimExit01When walking to the beach there was a wave of people in wetsuits all heading the same direction. The sea was choppy and the rain was bouncing off the ground. Today was not the day to be a hero or to push my limits, today I needed to stay safe. Not just for me but for my family also as they would be spending the next 8 hours in the pouring rain watching me complete this.

That time came and I entered the water…. count down begun.

The swim was very different to what I had done before due to it being choppy, it was harder but I managed to get round and out to transition.

Existing transition was a big boost that I needed; standing there in the rain was my mom, my dad and Rachel. They were cheering and shouting me. Time to make them proud and I cycled off.  This would be the only time they would see me on the cycle part until I returned to transition.

The cycle part was an experience, people had fallen off their bikes and injured themselves, others were standing at the side of the road holding out their inner tyre tube in the hope someone would stop and help but I just had to get my head down and get through it.

On the home straight coming back into transition I heard Sam shouting ‘hurry up Rachel is waiting for you’ and sure enough there were my mom, dad and Rachel standing there in the rain cheering me in…. they were soaked from the rain but they also had the biggest smile on their faces to see me safe.

All that was standing in the way of me and that medal was 13.1 mile run, that was 2 ½ laps of the course.

So back out of transition I go. The rain had calmed down which made it easier, time to put my foot down and get this run finish.

My pace was good but I was getting tired and when I started to think that I was never going to complete it in the time frame, pops up my parents and Rachel again cheering me on.

Rachel being a runner herself and taken on big challenges in the past knew how important it was to shout encouragement. Positive mind back in focus, best foot forward and off I go.

DanRun01I will complete this, not just for me but them also.

The next few miles went by with a blur and before I knew it the turning for the finish line was approaching rapidly. That is when I finally realised I was actually going to complete it.

As I turned the corner to the home straight and the finish line, there they were my parents and Rachel standing there at the finish line waiting for me to cross looking so proud of me and what I had just done

I became so overwhelmed with emotion….. I will not cry!

Then I crossed the finished line. I did it! I have just completed the 2016 Ironman Mallorca 70.3.

And if my emotions couldn’t be any more worse, there was the rest of the SYTri Team waiting for me to finish. Not only had they suffered the past few hours competing in the same event and in rain but they waited around for me to finish.

That’s it I’m a blubbering mess now!

By This point Rachel was an emotional mess and had broken down in tears and as soon as I saw her and held her I yet again turned into a blubbering mess. I didn’t realise how emotional it would be for her as a spectator to watch this.

I was just so thank full that her and my parents where here to witness what I had done but I was also thank full that they stayed out in the rain all day to support not only me but the rest of the team also.

SYTri is a fantastic club to be a part of. Everyone looks out for each other and you are made to feel like you are family. You don’t have to be brilliant at Swim, Bike or Run to be part of the team. You just have to be determined.

Anyway Rachel couldn’t have found the experience of watching the Ironman that bad… I mean she has even joined the SYTri family herself. So it looks like she will get her own back on me but do you know what…. I don’t care! I will be there for her just as I know she will be there for me

Daniel Urquhart