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  • Writer's pictureEmily Red

Ironman Bolton UK 2021

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

Can I complete an IRONMAN? 🏊‍♀️🚴🏻‍♀️🏃‍♀️

I’ve completed World’s Toughest Mudder, (a 24hr obstacle race in the Nevada Desert) twice, can I be an Ironman finisher?

The moment I heard what an ironman race was, I knew I wanted to do it. I knew that one day I would be attempting that race. But I didn’t know when.

In my head I always said, “as soon as I sort out my swimming, I’ll do a triathlon”, but there was always something more interesting to take up my time with (roller derby, CrossFit, running obstacle races etc), and I never had the incentive to just start swimming. That is, until last year, where a month before lockdown began, I started to regularly go to the pool to go swimming.

Ultimately, this initial start, plus lockdown forcing me to run and ride a hell of a lot when the gyms closed, was all I needed to give me the push to seriously consider doing a triathlon, and not any triathlon, the Ironman race - because let’s face it, that’s where the appeal is for me. I’m not unfamiliar with endurance races, having covered 50 miles at World’s Toughest Mudder both times (60 miles if you include the unofficial distance covered) and having completed multiple ultra distance running races (Equinox24 - 90 km or 56 miles; Brutal Enduro - 60 km; Ultra Tour of Arran; Nuclear Oblivion; The Nuts Challenge - 4 laps), I know I’ve got the mindset needed to push on through and complete the race when the going gets tough.

But I’m all too aware of my limitations and weaknesses going in to this.

The Ironman Triathlon is a real test of endurance. It is composed of a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and finishes off with a marathon (that’s 26.2 miles of running), and you have to do this all within a 17 hour time limit.

Yes, I’ve run marathon distances in the past (so you might think I’m a third of the way there already), but prior to the first lockdown, the last serious running training I did was two years before that. When I joined the Fire Service, my priorities changed, and running fell right off the agenda (see a later running blog). So I’ve definitely had a lot of work to do there, to build my body back up so it can withstand the many miles I will run when I’m already tired from swimming and cycling.

I’ve done a lot of cycle commuting in my past. Back when I lived in London and I didn’t

have a car, I’d cycle everywhere. But this was many years ago, and I never covered any significant distances. I’ve only ever been in one race which had a cycling element in it, an adventure race in Wales called Quest (which had it’s own mishaps and challenges, which I’ve hopefully learned from), and so I’m certain I’ve got a lot to do for this discipline, but I feel that with the proper training, I can cover the distance required. My immediate worry is that Bolton is an extremely hilly course, and it's known to be a tough ride.

The area that I feel needs the most work is my swimming. I will cover more of the swimming saga in a later blog, but suffice to say, I’m going to put a lot of effort into this discipline to ensure that I not only don’t drown, but I successfully leave the water ready to take on the almighty ride and run that follows.

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Apr 15, 2021

Your swim times are not far behind mine. Your bike times look about the same, and let's face it you can walk as fast as I can run. I'm sure you'll smash it!

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