Lara’s First (Half) Ironman… Did she mention she doesn’t really like running?!

About a month ago I decided to sign up for a half ironman – as you do, having only done Sprint and Olympic distances! There was a bit of peer pressure involved (no names – Andrea!!) plus I’d trained for the Aquabike World Champs, so it was just the run I had to master.

Run training didn’t quite go according to plan. I was up to 9k following a break of about 2 months after falling off my bike. I’d pulled the operation site in my ankle that was only fixed in February so it needed a rest! Cycle and swim training continued though.

In the morning I met so many club mates – Andrea Whelband, Steve Hobson, Simon Tack, Debbie Davies to name a few. It was great to chat and push the nerves away.

An Ironman event is very different to any I’ve experienced before. I was apprehensive to say the least about the mass start of 2000 people, however on race day you seeded yourself and 5 people went every 6 seconds. I went with Debbie and my memory is of us both going ‘ouch ouch ouch’ with every step over the stones to the water!

The sea was really choppy, I expected to get beyond the waves and for it to be smoother, but there was no pattern to the chop which meant a few mouthfuls of water and a constant fight. Either the current or the wind kept pushing me off course too and it took me a while to realise because the waves meant I couldn’t see the buoys a lot of the time.

I was surprised at how long the swim took, but my plan was just to enjoy the race and see if I liked the distance, so I didn’t worry. It was quite nice not feeling the pressure of a qualifier or championship event which had begun to take the shine off my love of triathlon.

On the bike it was freezing. Apparently the course was flat – I guess it was if you also consider the Surrey Hills flat! Some gritty lanes and many hills later I was in T2 about to face my nemesis – the run. Anyone that knows me knows how much I dislike running! On top of that I had blue toes and numb feet because I was so cold.  Still, I hadn’t pushed the bike so I hopefully had something for the run.

It took about 5k for my feet to come back to life, and as they did so they burned, which made running quite hard. The crowd was absolutely amazing, on a par, if not better, than a world championship event. My name was on my race number and everyone was so supportive. People had amusing placards like ‘high five here for a power up’. I had given myself permission to walk through every aid station, whether I needed to or not. The first 12k was ok, but having run nearly 2 laps, I knew what was coming, there was no new scenery and I started to struggle. This was alleviated by finding Neil in Viceroys kit. I’d never met him before, but we chatted and kept spirits high. I waved him off to the finish chute and started my final lap. My legs hated me for only running 9k in the lead up. The last 4K were very painful and it was only knowing I was nearly there that kept me going.

The finish chute was pretty special, plus it meant it was over! It was probably only the next day that I decided I had enjoyed it. It was a challenge and test of mental strength that’s for sure.

I’d do another 🙂

Lara Clay

Weymouth 70.3 – Simon Closely Avoids a DQ and is NOT in Love with Sea Swims!

Drove down Saturday, racked then drove back – 7 hours of horrible driving and almost missed the registration cut off. Back home by 19.00 and had to be up at 01:30 to make sure I was there bright and early to find a parking spot.

After about 3 ½ hours’ sleep I was in the car and excited.

I’ve never done a sea swim and it was cold, cold, cold outside the water. The beep sounded and my wave of 5 was off. I had expected a slower swim than the lake so seeded myself 32 – 30 minutes. Waves were rough and choppy. Waves coming from one direction and wind the other made for some salty drinks. The buoy was towards the early morning sun and was really, really difficult to see even from the crest of the wave. The swim is my favourite part of the race and I just wanted this one to end. Once on the return to shore it was much easier to sight and avoid mouthfuls of seawater. I came out in 34.18 which is about 5 minutes slower than usual but was in 20th place out of 266 for my age group which wasn’t too bad.

Ran the 400m to transition and was out in a reasonably quick time considering I had to stash socks at my bike as I’d forgotten to put socks in my bike bag. I was a little wobbly trying to put them on standing on one leg trying not to get transition gravel on my feet. The bike was very frustrating early on as my visor was TOTALLY misted up and we were riding in to the sun. After 15k I stopped and asked a spectator for a tissue, wiped my visor and was about to get back on when I saw the marshal walking over. It was at that point that I remembered the rule of no outside assistance from anyone. I waited for him to get to me and asked if I was penalised and he said, “What for?”. Whether he didn’t know the rule or was just being kind as I’d already wasted 3 to 4 minutes I will never know. Elated to still be in the race, my whole outlook began to change and I absolutely loved the rest of the ride even though some of the smaller roads were horrible. The downhill sections were incredible – 68kph on some of them!. I was so happy until I heard an increasing rattling from my stem. It was annoying me more and more until, going down a 2k hill at more than 55kph I remembered that I hadn’t tightened it since I came back from Iceland. I went cold and rigid with fear. As soon as I bottomed the hill I started to finger tighten it as best I could and did that prior to each hill for the rest of the race figuring that if it had lasted 65k then it should last the race. I was damned if I was going to lose my definite sub 3 hour time. Bupa would sort me out if it went pear shaped. I finished in 2:54:50 which I was very happy with considering I had stopped earlier in the race. 71st out of 266 on the bike.

I had such a good time on that ride and I’ll never forget it. It was just so much fun after the first 20k.

Seeing all the other Viceroys and supporters made the day for me


Back to Back Wins… and a 2 minute PB for Yeoman

Another weekend and another race. This time I headed back to Woking for a splash & dash race. Ran by Lee at Fullsteam event the pool based tri is perfect to see how the season has gone as I did this race back in April.

Going off last, I was lucky to have only one other person in my lane with the other fishes in the next lane so I could use them as a marker. Fastest swim split thanks to my BlueSeventy swim skin and off onto the bike.

A good friend lent me his Revolver Kronos disc so I was keen to see how it would compare to my zipp 808 firecrests. Well it was fast, super fast and it allowed me to take the fastest bike split and a clear gap on those looking to chase me down on the run. Switching to Ipro sport hydration is making a massive difference racing. My body always feels fresh and I’m not getting drops in performance which is real confidence booster.

The run course is twisty and that still is an understatement. The recent rain made the trail paths tricky but I was moving freely passing earlier starters.

Super excited to see that I was first overall with a 2min PB (mostly on the bike I must add) and around 3minutes clear of 2nd place.

Been a mad season to date. Now five 1st places 4 2nd places, couple of 4ths and a silver at the sprint champs. One race left at Thorpe park for the final European qualifier. So it will be good to measure myself against the best around.


IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote – 3rd in AG for Lilly

So when they say anything is possible, believe!

I had a very devastating training year. When I was at the peak of my training season, I had my bike crash and everything went pretty bad.  Couldn’t train for a whole month, had a terrible race in Staffordshire and lost it all.  But still didn’t give up , and I’m pleased. I was very upset as it was meant to be my strongest year with 6 hours targets.
So after that race I’d done minimal training and went to Lanzarote as I always do.
I was very tense about it as only two weeks prior to the race there was a change on the bike route.

Because I’ve done twice I knew what to expect and had a plan, which again, didn’t work. It was like a conspiracy.  All I had to do was wake up on race day and face it, and give everything I could.

The first two days before the race I’d concentrated in preparing myself.
Cold dips, massages, light training, etc. The day before I’d made sure my nutrition was spot on, and luckily, I’d listened to some of the pros I’d met and for a change didn’t have any pasta/refined/fibre. So I slept very well and woke up to race morning.
I was very relaxed for a change as I knew in my head that at that point no miracle couldn’t change my fitness level.

Swim was very nice this time as I kept my pace and 5 of us swam together in a hive which made it really good. Not my fastest but less fatigued. It worked.
I really took my time at transition as I always do it quite fast but than so out of breath that it would take me time to catch my breath. I went very slow into the tent and changed myself slowly.

Off I went on the bike with no clue on what I was going to face.
Turned out to be my best ride ever! My nutrition on the bike was so perfect, I didn’t have a single stop at any station which is something very new for me. I’ve always made use of every station to stretch and eat. But not this time. I was strong and I went for it full gas.  I’d ate and drunk everything I was supposed to. Spot on. Only one biggest regret: Socks! Never again.

My run started very smooth and on a good comfortable pace.
I reached Bijan at 4km and I had to slow down and run together with him, to make sure he made the first lap. He was already in pain but did it very strong all the way back to La Santa, and then I had to go. Second lap was cooking! Very hot and no breeze.
Again a second regret: not wearing my compression socks. I felt that my leg was fatiguing very quick. Maybe because I’ve pushed hard on bike or really a combination of things.  Again my nutrition from the bike was still there and all I had on the run was sports drinks from aid station, small sips but nothing else.  No nasty gels or anything and for the first time I didn’t have stitch.

As my broken leg always hurts, last lap was hell but again you just go and keep going.
Then I finished, so happy to be faster than last year considering my training was rubbish.Had my drink and a massage.
Until I’ve got my printed result for the shock of my life.
3rd on age group! Really? I burst into tears and just couldn’t believe!
That made me so strong mentally as I was thinking: wow what if I’d trained?!?
It was a awesome experience which brings me now a total different perspective on what I can achieve and will. For sure was the best day of my life and so much to look forward now. The feeling of the podium gave me strength to believe and I can wait for what’s coming my way.  Next year will be big and I’m dreaming high! There is no secret, just consistency.  I’m over the moon!


Lilly Morgado

1st for Yeoman in Strong pre World Champs Field

I was supposed to race last weekend up near Bedford but due to a case of blue green algae the swim was cancelled so rather than do a duathlon I opted to find another race the following weekend: luckily enough Nice Tri in Cambridge had a event on. With a couple of weeks to go before the World Championships I was sure that their would be a strong field looking to have their last race before the championships.

A river swim, first going with the current then coming back up against it. The horn went and I was off but flanked by two strong swimmers. One appeared to get away but after 100m or so he slowed, so I pushed by and got clear. I worked hard up stream to exit in first place and 40′ over the next athlete.

As I was about to head on to the bike a massive coach drove by and I was stopped by the marshals allowing a couple of athletes to catch up. It was slow until the first 180 turn at the roundabout then I was off, head down. It’s a long bike course and from 10 -15 the going was hard. I came into T2 with a lead but unsure how much. Turned out to be around 2mins.

The run is a mixture of grass and paths but you can see those behind you as you do a lap around the field. I had a gap, but was it enough? On the 2nd lap I could see 2nd was closing but not quick enough. Happy to take my fourth win over all this season and 90 seconds clear of 2nd place. Chased by the youth. All three behind were top athletes, in their 20s at university. Very surprised to be smashed by a VET.

Two races left before a well earnt rest.

Thanks for your support, it really helps take away added stresses that comes with racing hard. Woking next week before Thorpe the week after