Last weekend was the first ever Challenge event in Henley, and a first ironman for many people.Â I was fortunate to be supporting a number of athletes, some new to the distance, some experienced, but all new to the course.
The day before I spent time stretching, taping and carrying out final massage treatments for my clients, and tried my best to get an early night for the 3.45am wakeup call the following day!
The swim was in the Thames, in foggy, cold and pre-dawn darkness – not that appealing! But we saw everyone set off, and tried to keep an eye on who was where, to get some pictures on the swim exit at the end of the chilly 3.8km.Â Once my athletes were safely out onto the bike, it was time to take stock of the extra nutrition, painkillers and all sorts we were carrying around incase they needed anything! We were fortunate to spot many familiar faces at the turning point of the bike, 180km altogether.Â Â
We had a superb viewpoint for the run, and saw the pro athletes storm through the marathon, making it look ridiculously easy.
It was at this stage that the proper planning really was noticeable.Â You could tell who had trained well, put in long rides and runs, and lots of brick sesions, their cadence was high, they were gritting their teeth but getting through it.Â Others were looking unstable on their feet, laboured breathing and really with a face of complete agony.
Finally, the finishers started coming through – client 1 – Toby Garbett (www.tobygarbett.com)Â completed his first ever Ironman (and firstÂ marathon!)Â in a total time ofÂ 10hrs 23; 30th overall and 6th in his age group, literally 24 hours after having his GB place confirmed for the European Championships next year in Israel.Â Straight home for an icebath & as much protein as he could stomach, we waited anxiously for news of my second client – Paul Weinreich (www.titanpersonaltraining.com) who completed his third Ironman of the year in 12hrs 12 – despite a crash, missing nutrition and missing socks!Â
An amazing day, so many stories and inspirational people, supported by some wonderful volunteers and organisers – definitely an event that SBSports Massage will be a part of again.
If you are building to an Ironman distance race (or your own personal ‘challenge’!) and would like to discuss our treatment options or to find a coach or personal trainer to get you there, please get in touch – we know some extremely good people who would be happy to help! firstname.lastname@example.org