Ironman 70.3…

Ironman Staffs

So, it seems the Chile Challenge will be continuing into next year – or at least the training and blog. Allow me to explain why…

This whole thing began to coincide with my training for the Avenger Triathlon: a ‘middle’ or ‘half-iron’ distance event of 70.3 miles or 113 km, and those of you who have been keeping up will know I managed to complete what is reputedly one of the toughest races at this distance on the calendar in just under 8 hours back in June.

Like most triathletes though, the quest for the next challenge is never ending, and when I read about the newest race to hit these shores – Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire – it sounded like an ideal candidate.

Why? A number of reasons – Firstly, well it is official Ironman. There is not room here to go into more detail on this, so keep an eye out soon, but basically it is a big deal. Secondly, it is a good distance, at my own personal limit but after the Avenger I know I can do it. Third, the course is supposed to be fast and flat, unlike the last one I endured… and finally, it is practically on my doorstep (well less than an hour away anyway) which means I can get there even for a 6 am start.

Anyway, it sounded like a great idea, so I registered online as soon as I heard about it. Little did I realise quite how popular it would be though, with over 8500 people alone pre-registering from around the world, for just 2500 places. The countdown was starting to actually get a place on this thing.

It turned out getting a place was an event in itself. A few days before it opened, I received an email with a link, telling me to log in at a certain date and time to register. With slightly confusing wording (perhaps I thought too much about the time difference 13.00 CET is actually 12.00 BST, but it actually turned out to be 13.00 in the UK anyway) and the fact it fell on a work day it made things a bit complicated, but with that many people registered it was bound to sell out fast.

So I tried again an hour later and here is exactly what happened:

  • 13.03 – Realise what time it is, take my lunch break and try and log on from my work laptop (justifying that as this is raising money for charity is is work related). Page does not work properly due to either sophisticated filters or antiquated browser.
  • 13.05 Start panicking after about 5 attempts but unable to get on.
  • 13.06 Try logging on from smartphone, but no 3G signal at my desk.
  • 13.07 Go to the only place on my floor where you can get 3G: the bathroom!
  • 13.10 Finally manage to get a fast enough connection to get on, and start registering.
  • 13.12 Get to payment page, but credit card not working. Try two other credit cards, and still no luck
  • 13.14 Try original card but with different password. It works! Receive confirmation I am registered
  • 13.20 Check official website, and find out the even sold out in less than 15 minutes: I scraped in by literally seconds! http://www.220triathlon.com/news/going-going-gone-ironman-703-staffs-sells-out-in-minutes/9072.html

So there you have it. Something to keep training for over the next 9 months, and a place on what seems to be the most popular triathlon event ever held in this country. Let’s hope I do it justice on the day!

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Chilean Road Trip

Welcome to Chile

I know, I know… three weeks with no updates – where have I been, how have people coped, etc?

The answer (which you will already know if you read my last update) is that I have been in Chile, undertaking important field research for the second half of the Chile Challenge. Otherwise known as a holiday, involving an amazing road trip through half the country.

Although initially set-back that we would not be driving the Chilean taxi driver’s chariot of choice, the understated Samsung SM3, this soon turned to delight when we found we were instead to be driving the Chinese Brilliance Euphoria (never heard of either? us too).

Starting off in Santiago, we drove to Vina del Mar & Valparaiso, conveniently the place where we last left things as of the end of July. After a few days to explore, we wound our way up the Pacific coast line, stopping off in wine & Pisco growing valleys, watching marine life in harbourside towns and finishing up in the mining desertlands of the Atacama region in the North to meet distant relatives. I won’t spoil the surprises for the places we visited, which will of course be covered in future updates, but suffice to say it is an amazing nation, and somewhere everyone should visit if you get the chance.

As for training… ah. Well we did a lot of driving (close to 2000 km) but there was not a huge amount of time for training. This was not unexpected, and fortunately I have built up a buffer over the last few months to ensure I can remain on target for the year. We did to a lot of walking though, perhaps more than ever before around many of the towns as we stopped. As with everything this year I tracked it closely, and over the three weeks we covered as close as need be to 100 km.

There were other bits, such as two lengths of the world’s coldest swimming pool (TM), an outdoor pool cooled by the cold desert nights which felt more like a post race ice bath (wetsuits would not even have helped here), and some obligatory Rocky III style training along the beach, but overall it was more of a break from my usual.

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The question of course it how will this be recorded – another thing I had time to think long and hard about. In the end I have decided (as I make the rules here) to count it as 25 km other (i.e. walking) and 25 km of running. Because I can.

So this means in 3 weeks I have only covered 50 km – although this has been doubled today with my first workout since getting back – a 50 km cycle session to ensure I still have it. The next race (and second longest) of the year is just 3 weeks today, but fortunately I seem to be able to get around, so with a bit of effort in the coming weeks I hope to be back on track.

Anyway, until next time, hasta luego!