Well here goes, Kenmare 2016 The Lost Sheep, epic, brutal, tough, enjoyable?.. all of the above and more.. but definitely a distance any triathlete can complete.
Rewind, Feb time I sat down with STL and planned out that I wanted, another good crack at HOTW but needed a big race to top out the summer. Lost Sheep was mentioned but could I do the run distance. Never ran 21km.. nevermind run it off an 80km bike of mountain road..
So season on, races picked, coach trying to manage my training around my schedule of shift work not easy. Duathlons done, GLR Half 21km distance done …HOTW happy but not…injury..achilles..MRI no damage, physio and rehab but still niggly..all thru the summer.. will I last Lost Sheep?
August training came and went ..Sept getting closer ..highlight of August running a 20min 5km on the Shannon course when I didn’t feel good coming to the time trial. Another box ticked starting to feel confident about Lost Sheep, working out splits planning time, maybe the fitness was getting to where I hoped would get me close to magic 5hour mark.
Race week, Long swim Monday, Bike ride Tuesday with other ‘Lost Lambs’ and Neil Gilespie from Wells church.. some familiarity and banter about times, food, fitness how things where going ..nerves really but all of us confident that we could finish despite the imminent hurricane that was due to hit the Irish coast on Saturday.
Didn’t work all week, gear ready on Wednesday , Kenmare Thursday evening…oh jesus miserable rain wind and fog coming in from Molls Gap what was Saturday going to bring.? It was not a good start. Found the house gear out , food got, time to relax watch a movie. Texting Greg updates on the local weather thru the evening, great to keep chatting to Greg as I was nervous he was equally.
Friday, see the course….hopefully thru the fog.. up Friday …sun shining no wind no fog what a change #notunusualforIrealnd, #4seasonsin40mins hopefully it would hold. Run done brekkie, shower, drive to Healy Pass. Have to say what a place to ride a bike. Lauragh, Healy Pass the decents down. Back to the House…. Lunch and snooze.
All the guys arrive Friday, get fed , get the gear ready, try to get some sleep. Usual nerves start to creep in…check the bag, unpack it check it again, where did I leave this. Do I need to eat. What can I eat I have I eaten too much… mind runs stupid tricks!! Go to bed!!
4.45 alarm set – transition opens at 5.30 – couldn’t eat porridge had cereal. Its foggy and wet but no rain so far. Check bag last time. Check tyres. RELAX.. get on the bike and go to transition. We all leave cycle to transition. We are setup together which was great. Then the rain starts in. Worst ever start to a race – no warm up just stretching in the wet suit…waiting to get through the gate Mags Heaney arrives – pictures best wishes it was like we were leaving for America on the last boat of the famine.
Rain becoming consistent – all agreed survive the bike get to the run it can rain forever later! Into the water, warm up and without any warning everybody took off, target 36mins stay out of the mosh, I see Dave, Kevin I think even Mike Heaney. Coming out of the water with Kevin was a great boost I had stayed with a strong swimmer time must be on target . shouts from Mags, Mike flies in what feels like secs behind me..…RESET…. Gear wet.. ..bike out ..
Out the road banter starts with Mike… Mike takes off but not far enough to be out of sight ..keep him close buddy – RELAX – food…now go to work..Up Lauragh climb pick up Mike stay consistent no matches burned here. Technical decent before heading to Healy, eat again drink, this long distance takes getting use having to get carbs in early for the run.. Would it work? Food down gels only left,
Up HEALY Pass, What a place ..rain, head wind drumming bands, legs swelling with each turn of the crank out of the saddle and HR throw the ceiling not much chance to recover fast technical wet surface all the way to Adrigole, Use the hills…. RESET…gels drink..TT to CAHA… Glengarriff roads are shite..no potholes but surface was hurting.. Turn left out of the Glen almost a full water bottle not drank – have I not drank enough…keep going …. 7km to the top..uneventful all the way but legs now bulging more matches singeing by the second.. hit the Pass what a feeling through the tunnel…. ..RELAX..TT to KENMARE.. No Mike Heaney in the rear view mirror.. hope all was well tough weather at this stage.
Over the bridge back to T2..Mags Heaney & Mags Crawford & Charleen on the turn back.. smile for the camera.. Runners had a puddle of water, no point in socks drink in, gel in trisuit..RESET…RELAX…PACE..…calm down.. legs felt good… fast feet.. no cramps.. nutrition worked….Kevin passes, then Alan, I meet Mike on the bike.. now the race is on to finish!!
Off the main road no traffic quiet road.. checking pace.. running well …Picking off runners starting to enjoy the run still felt good no need for the gel yet.. I knew there was a hill at 17k but ‘come on’ the hills never stopped for 11km the out and back first section so you knew what had to be ran back.. RELAX..back off for the return section keep the legs for the last 7k…
Everyone on the course at this stage Dave, Greg starting the first 7k, hit the main road and latched on to a runner from West Cork Tri. After about 2km we started to chat as we were not dropping each other. Good things happens at the right time, this guy is an Ironman x3 in 2015 and sub 3hr marathon runner. I was holding pace with him. Mind off the body, mind on the pace clock gel on board 13k, 8km to finish and still feeling good.. Achilles..no pain..RESET..
The hill came and it hurt coming to a stand still at 1 point because of the elevation.. starting running..well stepping as quick as possible don’t let the legs tighten up.. out onto the main road again..quads now feeling the pinch even Killian (WCTRI) was feeling the pace. 3km to go, down the hills time to hold on run to empty. Feet hurting from runners ..knew there was cuts..We started looking at our expected finish time. Sub 5:15 was on the cards, we pushed for home wanting to keep that number down…hit the home stretch could hear and see the guys at the tunnel entrance.. home 5:13:00 Flat..
What a Race, Challenge .. I will be back as Kevin put it,
Not long after the finish we got word Paul Tierney was in transition for the Ultra 200km. All pain went out the window, what we had achieved was great for all of us, but serious Kudas to the man – willpower training dedication unbelievable achievement, and same to Brian Meskall, fair play lads.
After Party’s are for folklore.. but Kieran did enjoy the night.. Mags left early sorry Mike can dress her up Limerick comes out late at night!!..Actually I think we entertained the whole bar for a while and we had garlic chips on the way back to the house.. all else is ‘You have to be there on the Night’..
Dedications – A few –
Charleen for the support, putting up with early mornings, training, and trying to understand what in Christ am I trying to do to myself!! Thanks Sweetie
STL for the guidance this year – tough year for you – we’ll go again – more to do – lots learned – still have time for the 40min 10km boss!
GoTri family … for the support through each and every race we complete, it’s really a great club
Lastly – sorely missed! – Absent friends and team mates – this was for ye!
Fantastic 7 with Mega Mags.. what a weekend! Charleen taking the Photo Mags C and Hazel were about there 2