Race report from Killarney Hardman Not quite as hard as Killyon 5k but ...
Transition opens at 5.30am, music blaring to get you revved up. Small transition for 100 bikes so no problems trying to find bike after swim.
Lake warmer than Owel (where isn't) but also darker (more like Shannon water). Swim is 2 laps of a triangle with one leg of the triangle swimming into rising sun. Yellow buoys with flashing lights so easy sighted (or just follow everyone else). On second lap I couldn't see first yellow buoy so headed for orange one instead. When got there I discovered yellow buoy had got punctured and had been replaced with an orange one with no flashing light. Happy that I was going right I headed off into rising sun. Couldn't see a thing with beautiful rising sun but remembered advice to swim towards 1 o'clock so put head down and tried (unsuccessfully) to finish my stroke. Arrived at buoy and headed for home. I reckoned I was near back as kayakers had started to close in on me. After politely telling a girl kayaker I was ok and knew where I was going they left me to finish swim in peace....
Long events have changing tents which is nice so headed there with bike gear bag and had a chat with fellow racers as what's hurry-it's a long day. Out on road and into rabbit chasing mode. Great thing about swimming slow is you've lots of people in front to catch so started picking them off one by one muttering "fecking swimmer" under my breath as I passed each one..First 30k is up thru Moll's gap and down into Kenmare so it's a tough climb and white knuckle descent. After that it's rolling countryside on edge of Atlantic with fabulous sea views so bike passes quickly enough. Made strategic decision not to stop at half way station as the "Team Carton Support crew" were to be in next town-Cahersiveen with a hot chicken roll and coffee.
Far side of Cahersiveen with no water left and running low on food. I was blaming my sister Irene as Anne would not forget about me surely.. I discovered an official aid station and filled my water bottle (with water AND gel as recommended by Order of Malta guy-it's easier on stomach) and discovered Team Carton around next corner. It was great to get proper food into system and headed off happy for T2 chasing (& passing) people who had passed me while I was stopped.
Into T2 and master plan of running shorts under cycling bib worked well as no delay going to changing tent and out onto run..
Pleasantly surprised that legs were still working (unlike 2 yrs ago) I thought "this is Grand". Marathon is 3 loops within Killarney National Park on a mixture of trails and tarmacadam roadways. I was not so comfortable on 2nd lap but struck up conversation with people in a Horse and trap and used pace of horse to keep me going. I had made another strategic decision in my race plan to walk up hills (2 on run course) and that seemed to work. Onto lap three and I wasn't stopping now. Ran for a while with an ultra distance runner with stomach trouble until he informed me we were going to finish in 12.10 so left him in a ditch and raced home. ...11.57.99 just made it...
Post race recovery. Got a lift back to lake where we had mornings swim and sat in water for 10 mins. Headed home to hotel for shower, few pints of Guinness and proper food and 100% today. I'm trying to get support team to come for stroll up Carrantoohill but not getting much positive feedback.
If I can do so can you.
I followed no training plan just swam, ran and biked on different days increasing distance as time went on.
Start training with Spring marathon and see how you feel then. The Hardman is a hard race on your body but the scenery makes it easy on head. Bring a big support crew.
And enjoy the views........
2013 times was 30 James CARTON All Ages male 01:46:35 00:06:45 06:40:56 00:06:40 04:33:35 Overall 13:14:28.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!