It has been a year in the making. Months of training, racing, extreme weight lost, crying, suffering, arguing, binge eating, falling on your face and bouncing back again have led to this moment. In 6 days time our 8 club members look to steal back some of the thunder stolen from them by Derek Gilmartin earlier this month. It’s hard to say how things are going to go as this event has a way of finding your weaknesses and making you pay. Confidence is pretty high in the group and good things are expected. So far only Eoin Sheehan has pulled out of the race after getting badly injured some months ago. Everyone else is well on track and ready to go.
Let’s check in with how everyone is doing…………
The Stallion is in the best physical shape of his life; he is running, cycling and swimming better than ever before. However it’s not the physical side he should worry about, it’s the mental side! The Stallion has quit more races than I care to remember; from getting pulled out of the water in Kilkee to hiding in the ditch during a cross country, the Stallion has been there and done that. He has pulled more hamstrings than anyone I know and is so fake injury prone before races it’s a wonder he isn’t competing in the Transplant games with Sheila Gregan next week! With one week to go Andy usually feels a twinge coming on somewhere and will casually drop this into the conversation one day while out training. That hasn’t happened yet so maybe things have changed?!!! Judging by his comments below he seems good to go…….
“It sure has been a long 12 months! I’ve been putting in 15 – 20 hour weeks of training with a mix of good weeks and bad weeks. We will see next Sat how things go. I’m very nervous about it all but expect to get through it. If I could do 1:30 in the swim, 6 hours on the bike and 4 hours for the run I would be happy. I am looking forward to the run most and obviously the night out afterwards”
To say that all this training has gone to Keith ‘The Silver Adonis’ Butler’s head would be an understatement. For those that don’t know Keith, he is the one you see running around town all the time with his top off. He is convinced that he has acquired a ‘V’ upper body shape. I am not sure what type of mirror he is looking into at home! Doctors have recently diagnosed Keith with reverse anorexia – he looks in the mirror and sees a skinny person! Ah perhaps we are being a bit too hard on Keith. He has trained hard and as you can see from these before and after pictures he has come a long way. The club are expecting a big performance from Keith. What are the bets we get to hear Keith’s favourite catchphrase ‘that was murder!’ at the finish? Here is what the Adonis had to say for himself
“Training has gone well, hopefully I have the work done. I’m pretty confident of finishing but you never know. I am very nervous, more of the unknown than anything else. My splits – I wont say, let’s just say I’ll be happy to finish and anything after that will be a bonus. My biggest worry is that I get a mechanical on the bike or I run out of money for beer ha!”
Sinnead ‘Little Miss Punctuality’ Oakes is targeting a big performance at the Ironman this Friday. We figure that if we tell her the race is on Friday she might just turn up on time for a Saturday morning start! As the whole club knows by now, Sinnead is not the most punctual person on this planet. She is a specialist in making excuses for being late – clue: it is never her fault. No doubt she will convince the race organisers in Kalmar that they should have started the race at 8:00 not 7:00 and that they were early rather than her being late! She will be playing catch up from the start but it shouldn’t take her too long to catch and pass most of the field as she has been going seriously well in training and will no doubt have a great race. Sinnead had this to say………
“Training has been a little bit hit and miss though overall I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m most scared about being drowned in the swim by 2000 over eager Ironman wannabes and of getting a puncture (which I still can’t fix) on the bike leg… as for the marathon, well I’m sure that’s going to hurt a lot but I’m ok about that cause at least it’s a devil I know!”
Majella Moyles will be the happiest person in the world to have finished this race. Nobody has experienced the ups and downs induced by Ironman training as much as Majella. Perhaps she should change the tunes on her Ipod cos I don’t think Simon & Garfunkel lyrics like “Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again” are doing her much good!!! Something more cheery might do wonders for you e.g. Ramon Rodriquez singing La Bamba, should do the trick. This is one determined woman though, so there is no way she won’t finish it. She is a strong favourite to set a new slow record for transition time. Do you really need to wash your hair with conditioner? Why on earth would you want to brush your teeth? I put the following questions to Majella
How has your training gone over the last while? “My training has increased steadily to long, hard hours over the last four to five months. Heading out for a training session on tired legs and mind has been draining and challenging a lot of the time for me. Fitting in work and spending time with family and friends was sometimes difficult. I picked up running injuries and only last week injured my right arm (while trying to change a puncture) so I have had no luck swimming in over a week. However, in the last 10 days, I am beginning to feel some energy and life come back into my body, especially my legs. I am not as tired as I have felt for a number of months.”
“I am definite that I will finish the Ironman, no matter what may happen on the day, what elements and conditions beyond our control come our way, I will finish Ironman, Kalmar”
What splits are you hoping for in the swim, bike and run? “Last October I was asked this question by club members and others. My answer then was that I had 16 hrs to complete the Ironman, and I intend to use the 16 hrs. However, 10 months later…I can say, I would love a 1h.20m swim, 6h.25m bike and 3h.55m run / realistically 1h.30m swim, 6h.45m bike and 4h.15m run / worse case, 2hrs swim, 7h.30m bike and 5hrs run”
Publicity shy Shane Scully declined to help with this article so we don’t have much info about him. Ya right! As we all know Shane can’t resist the opportunity to brag about himself and how great he is (for God’s sake the man has a website named after himself!). Luckily for us all he has been having a shite year so we are spared his ramblings. I can summarise his feelings about the race without even asking him – no doubt it would include the following lines – I’m shite / ye are all shite too / I can’t believe you are getting an Ironman tattoo / I need to get in a paceline (smart drafting) / stupid age group racing / feck it, I got chicked / I can’t believe the cost of this event / what do you mean there are no cash prizes? Although, you never know, the Ironman might be a life changing experience and Shane might come back with a new positive attitude and outlook on life. That would need to be some serious bump on the head for that to happen. If you want an update on how things are going for Shane then check out his blog > www.shanescully.com
Anthony Sherlock is half the man he used to be. He has lost the equivalent of Shane Scully in weight over the last year! It is a wise decision by Anthony to take on this challenge minus the sumo suit he has been wearing at previous events. No member of this team deserves a good race better than Anthony. When you examine how much he has progressed over the years it shows you that anything is possible. It’s not so long ago that Anthony had a photo of himself getting pulled out of a sea swim put as a screen saver on the computers where he worked as a joke. Revenge will be sweet when Anthony crosses the finish line of an event that very few people in the world will ever be fit enough to do. Here is how Anthony is feeling about the big day…….
“Training has gone well .Just hope it’s enough to get through. No nerves at the moment but expect them to hit when we reach Kalmar and just before the swim. It should be memorable! Not looking to do any particular time, just to finish in one piece. Enjoyed the training but won’t miss the early starts. And looking forward to a large bar of chocolate on Sunday!”
Seán Gleeson has been very focused in his training for the last few months. Everything is planned down to the last minute. Easy to know he is in the army. Seán and Andy are polar opposites when it comes to mental strength. Seán could easily lose a leg out on the course and still grass crawl the last 20 mile to the finish (his only worry being not to let his heart rate go over 130bpm). His one weakness might be that when Seán gets something into his head it is very hard for him to change his mind. The biggest worry for Seán in Kalmar will be if they change the route as there is no way Seán will divert from the old route. “aaaaaah I just can’t do it. I have the old route in my head now and I can’t change!” In a unique nutrition plan, Seán will be towing a small trailer of food behind him on the bike. Spuds and a leg of lamb will be on the menu. Here is what Seán had to say about the Ironman experience so far……
“My training has gone absolutely injury free and it has been very enjoyable but the past 5 weeks I have found it particularly difficult trying to get in the hours required to bring me up to this level. I have to say the nerves have hit home already , I think it’s the fear of going into unknown territory for me as I know it takes a lot of physical and mental preparation just for this one day. It’s probably the biggest endurance challenge of my life so far and I dare not treat it with anything else but with pure respect, having said that I am confident that I will finish it . When the weather was bad and training seemed impossible there was always someone in the club to kick your ass to just get out there and just do it. Adapt and overcome being my motto over the past few months; so it’s time for all of us to grit the teeth put the head down and make sure we get thru the day in one piece. Looking forward to a big steak with all the trimmings, a pint of plain and the Tipp and Cork match on the Sunday after it . Roll on Sunday eh!”
Ger Kirby is an unknown quantity. He has been hidden away in the wilds of Portroe training like Rocky in Rocky 4 – chopping down trees, lifting rocks, and carrying logs over his shoulder all while listening to ‘Hearts on Fire’ on repeat. Hopefully Ger can send us in a video montage of his training. Ger already knows the agony and ecstacy involved in finishing an Ironman. This will be his 2nd time taking on this distance and he wants the sequel to be better. He knows what he has to improve on so it’s just a matter of going out there and doing it. Ger is planning on going with an all gel nutrition strategy (Seán Gleeson is obviously shocked by this). This could get messy. Is Ger nervous? Does he have the training done? Let’s see what he has to say……..
“Bit more confident now. Had to do a lot of cramming over the last 6 weeks. Not that nervous at the moment – will be before the swim. I probably should be more nervous. Splits? I’ll just try to keep the pace even and try not to look at the overall time untill I’m past halfway on the marathon. Looking forward to not getting up at 5:00am on a Saturday for the rest of the year. Probably should have more swimming done. Biggest worry would be getting out of the water feeling wrecked. Long way to go after that swim!”
On a more serious note……
the club wishes all 8 of ye the very best of luck. The training is done, now all ye have to do is reproduce it on the day. Be confident and enjoy crossing the finish line. Leave the Swedish people alone at the after race celebrations but enjoy the night all the same. We want race reports when ye get home!