Some 4 and a bit year ago....
(a good story always starts with once upon a time right?)... and yes this is the pre-race report pre-amble so feel free to skip it all (but then you'll just have to wait for the full race report.. ha !)
Anyway 2006 London Marathon I watched... probably the first time I had watched the event without getting really bored to be fair. On the occasion I was gripped - wondering how and why people did this event. How did they endure and how was it possible. A marathon. A very long long long way to run. I thought it was both pretty amazing and pretty ridiculous (in terms of distance). At the time I was considering what I was going to do next season (hockey season that is) because well I had missed that year due to being away and I didn't have the fight in my belly anymore. I watched the TV and thought "what about that"... to which I thought back to myself "don't be ridiculous - that is a flippin long way" I couldn't comprehend running that far.
So then I thought what else.... now someone I had known had done a sprint tri some years ago and I vaguely remember watching the end of a very big triathlon on world of sport (it transpires that was the finish of one of the first Kona's).... so I took myself to the library and to the internet cafe to do some research....
There were different distances, from sprint (which seemed reasonable), Olympic (which seemed difficult), half ironman (like yowsers how do you do that) to full ironman distance (jaw dropping - how is that possible?)
I read some more and had a thought - let's call it the 4 year plan. Given it was the end of April I figured I could do what needed be done to struggle my way around a sprint, the year later an Olympic, followed by half ironman, a year where I did a marathon and a half and the ironman for the big 4-0... (a little present to myself).... it was a crazy idea. Having started off thinking a marathon was impossible I had fouled myself into scheming my way to iron distance. It was a stupid idea and one which I kept to myself until this year - no one else knew there was a bigger plan then the "current" race.
The enormity and ridiculousness of iron distance is still beyond my brain power to compute. Yet I sit here now having finished one a week ago. That is just weird, ridiculous and slightly wrong ;)
The build up this year has been hardly ideal - but I think for anyone going long you sort of expect that. People told me how they knew few people who hadn't got injured or were nursing niggles during their training. And so it was for me. A run on Friday 19th Feb (not that I've fixated on that date ahem)... got me nice and injured and so I couldn't run until the beginning of May, only to crash on my bike and have a 2.5 week pause to training and moving of my "A" race from Challenge Copenhagen to the later date of Challenge Barcelona. Dragging out the season yes but allowing me to build some more and actually get a little more running in (ok I only got to 12 miles but 12 running miles better then none and I had biked by butt off to make up for the lack of running anyhow). Work has been challenging, and I would not necessarily recommend a stressful job with 10-12hour days whilst training for iron, in fact I would not recommend my job to anyone regardless of what you are doing if you want to have any sort of life. But that is a different story!
Taper came and a re-introduction to things like "bejeweled" on facebook. As I tapered I got more energized, trying to keep a lid on the mounting excitement and energy was a challenge!
The week leading to the race I did a stupid working week - some 44 hours in 4 days it was lucky (a) that I had known this was coming so had started packing at the weekend and (b) I had so much energy maybe it helped with my taper.
Finally I got to Friday 1st October 2010 - Woke at 3am.. the day I left Blighty for the warm weather of the Costa Brava... Callela, Maresme. Time for my journey to Challenge Barcelona. Time to see if the ridiculous could become a reality.