Ironman Barcelona 2018 – Phillip McCann
I was on holiday in France in 2017 and it just happened that Ironman Nice was on. I walked into the village and that was it, I wanted to do one. January 2018 I signed up for Barcelona.
I attended a quiz night with Pulse, then that was it I was in. Most of my training with the club was the Killiney swim sessions, great to get the experience of the open water. My focus on training for the early part of the year wasn’t great, bit hit and miss but I was getting into the pool as my swimming defo not my strong point. Up to this I never swam more than 750 meters, in fact I only ever completed a sprint distance. Bought a training peaks 16-week beginner Iron Man programme, Wendy Mader coach, very good, even gave me swim analyse.
Anyway, got focused, trained twice a day, put a gym out the back garden, put the bike on the turbo and killed myself on the bike. Diet good, even gave up the drink, got in great shape and felt great. August 10th disaster, 23k into an interval run shin pain, I ignored it and kept going, completely my own fault feeling bullet proof I pushed too hard. Put into a boot, we thought it was a stress fracture, loads of physio. Injury got a lot better but didn’t run further than 5k again till the race itself. No way I was not going to do it at this stage.
Arrived in Calella 3 days before the race, all good. My brother, Stephen, arrived over the day before race, thank f**, he got my bike set up properly for me. Morning of the race it was pissing down. Myself and my brother headed down to the beach. Only negative experience was a bloke in the shop wanted 10 euro for a poncho!!! WTF
Weather crap but to be honest I couldn’t care less, I didn’t even see the waves, nothing was stopping me, I was completely in the zone. I was going to keep throwing hay makers till I got out. Rachel in my head “keep pushing past your leg on each stroke”. Didn’t stop once, couldn’t see the buoys so I actually sighted off a big white marquee on the beach coming back. Not sure if that was a good idea went way off-line Kayak girl pushed me back on line. My GPS was no longer picking me up off the buoys, note to self, learn bi-lateral breathing, as I drank half the sea on way back in, I couldn’t catch a breath properly. Got to the beach, 1:24, brilliant, 6 mins quicker than my best. My family were all there laughing their heads off as I got washed ashore.
Onto the bike in my new Pulse tri-suit, which I never had worn before, not a great idea I believe but it was great, all day felt like a pro. Had a chicken sambo 20 mins into bike, got rid of the salt in my mouth. Got stuck in, took a wrong turn on way out, had to double back. Lost a bit of time not my fault on second lap, they had a van blocking off where I went wrong. The hill wasn’t a hill, nothing, I destroyed it, took my break coming down. We’re Irish, we know what hills are!!At half way I had a rescue bag so I changed my bum bag and sat on a wall and had lunch with an ole Italian guy. Back on the bike, he wanted more, I had to pull the reins in, he was alright, I still had a little thing of a marathon to do, love that bike. OH, I got a time penalty on the bike, guy goes by me as I was eating and basically stops on my wheel, motorbike pulls up alongside gives me a card, spat out my Aldi chocolate chip croissant and told him no way I’m not accepting that, he rescinded it. Rain came and it got slippy, nearly a goner on a roundabout. Lots of accidents on the bikes and drafting of the elite athletes totally ignored, they were all in pelotons. Felt so good on bike, no pain anywhere really strong, finished under 6hrs:30 mins ahead of what I had planned. My Kids saw me coming in and I was on fire.
Transition, I changed out of all my gear, actually went down to the changing room and met a guy from Liverpool. Saw him looking at me so I gave him some Vaseline for the nipples and talc for his shoes, bit of a chat then onto the run. Brother outside said I was going well, he stayed with me for a bit, great to have the support. Strategy here was 8mins run 2mins walk see how the shin held up as I really didn’t want to have to walk a marathon. Running well, first lap Dazz giving me a great shout and definitely gave me a lift each time I seen him and pulser fans on the course. Slowed a good bit on the 30k mark but still feeling pretty good. My little lad Tom ran with me for about 1k in the rain and my youngest Max was always on hand with warm squashed up jellies, lol. Last 5k was great I could hear the loudspeaker “You are an Iron Man”. Feet lifted, chest stuck out I knew I was going to hear that for myself. Ran onto the red carpet met by Josh, my eldest, he guided me in. I saw my wife, brother, kids and tri colours, amazing, truly amazing. Loved every minute of it. Quickest I ever ran a marathon, my first marathon. Total adventure what an experience. Race could not possibly have gone better. Probably information you don’t need to know but only stopped twice for toilet break the hole day, how good was that??
Strength and conditioning training a must, if not committed to it you will attract injuries like a magnet.
Stick to your plan.
Enjoy it, own it, train like a beast and stay off the tomatoes
One thing for sure you don’t become an Iron Man by yourself. So many people helped me. Big thank you to Karen for all her help, my physio Deirdre McKenna for getting me to the starting line. My brother Stephen as I’m the most unorganised person in the world without him I’d never have made it and he’s as nuts as me. My wife who’s a living Saint and my brilliant kids Josh, Tom and Max,
Thanks everyone in Pulse, great club, you all will be sick of me next year.
Philo’s an IronMan!!!