Foggy Eyes and The Hill From Hell: Horwich Triathlon

Foggy Eyes and The Hill From Hell: Horwich Triathlon

 Well one thing is for sure; 4 hours sleep prior to the Horwich Tri really isn't advisable. How did this happen, read on:

Saturday was a day where work really was a priority as we were asked to work a 19-hour shift. Not ideal the day before a race, but sometimes, we all have crosses to bear and I have to say I am really lucky in the respect that my job allows me to train really hard due to the shift system we work. So at 3am Sunday morning I crawled into bed. Not to bad I thought, I'll get a few hours in; WRONG!!!! As many of my work mates would tell you, I describe my house as the 'Hammer House of Horrors' once the lights go out, tonight was no different. Just as yours truly was really getting into his sleep, there was an almighty scream from Lucy's bedroom 'Dad, dad mischief's throwing up a fur ball in mi bedroom' ; to say that I crapped myself would be an understatement. I really didn't realize you could reach a heart rate of 200+ without moving. So with a kick off the missus, up I jumped to grab a very disgruntled cat determined to scratch the hell out of me. Luckily we live in a bungalow, so getting him out wasn't such a problem. Sleep wasn't a problem after that though, for some of the family members!!!

So, I was up at 9am a little bleary eyed but all in all feeling OK and as always looking forward to the race ahead. Horwich is a bit of a classic round our way and the quality of the event that Epic Events host is backed up by the quality of athlete it attracts, making it all the more enjoyable. I arrived at the event about 09:30 after following the route in the car and seeing a lot of the athletes already out on the bike course. After registering spoke to a few of the lads from Tri Preston, which turned out to be entertaining, as a couple of them had posted swim times for 400m when the Howrich Tri is 500m. The funniest story was told by Scott and Martin, apparently one of their team mates had asked his wife to sort out his entry for him, well she definitely did that, posting a super fast swim time and sticking him in with the dolphins of the race. Lesson to be learned there guys!! I would imagine his swim would have been interesting to say the least!!

A bit more networking and before I knew it I was into the race briefing hosted by the lovely Joanne again from Tri Preston (they're like a bad smell these lot, they're everywhere x). Jo did a great job though and complete with props I feel there is a place on stage for her some day. If you can make a bunch of triathletes smile and chuckle prior to a race you're doing OK. Well-done Jo.

Then it was to the pool with, you guessed it, a Tri Preston Athlete for company. Mr Barry Cleminson to be precise, like I said they're everywhere. 3,2,1,Go and with a start reminiscent of the great Michael Phelps I kicked off, only to have my goggles fill with water. Magic I thought, as Barry disappeared into the distance...I think. The next 20 lengths weren't the best, as my biggest fear was going head on with Barry. Thankfully he took pity on me and lapped me. Cheers mate!!!

With a sigh of relief, I staggered out of the pool and ran through T1 quite happily. Jumped on the bike and hit the hills in hot pursuit of the rest of my wave, (most of which got a head start due to my fantastic swimming prowess, as always, making an anchor look fast!!). At this point I realised I was half blind. At first I thought it was due to the water getting in the goggles. Then I had a flash back to the Lakeland Tri, where, I had given my good pal Andy Turner some anti fog spray for his goggles. Nice of me you might think. Not Andy, it reacted with his eyes and he spent the evening in A&E. Not to worry I thought I'll manage. So with what I can only describe as Foggy eyes, I continued. The bike is a toughie at Howrich but one I really enjoy, especially with the conditions we had. No wind and mild made for a good bike, having that man Cleminson for company certainly helped to push it along.

Three of us came into T2 together and I was the fastest out of T2 (the only fast thing I did all day by the way), closely followed by my shadow Mr Cleminson. This is where it all got a little funky. Those things we rely on so much as runners LEGS, decided to have a day off. I was putting one foot in front of the other but getting nowhere fast!! What to do in this situation: dig in and hope they start to respond at some point. My aim was to get to the top of the road and stride out on the small decent prior to hitting the infamous Pike. As we dropped down I decided to demonstrate my finest forward roll to Barry. He was obviously impressed, as he stopped to pick up my gels and me.

Seriously though, this simple act is what makes this sport and the people who compete so special. Barry forgot the race for that moment and made sure I was OK. I did tell him to get going, but he stuck around and helped me up, top bloke!! Having said that the bugger left me!! The rest of the race was just a case of suffering in silence and get to the end. I did a run of over 40 minutes, which is my slowest run in this event. At the finish there were a lot of people there to cheer me and the rest of the athletes home, which of course is always nice.

I spent a little time with Dave, Jan and Darcy from Lantec (free plug Guys) talking about the race while having my cuts cleaned by Jan. As usual there were loads of mates there to talk to at the and most of whom, I'm glad to say had a good race.

The race was won by Brian Fogarty (again) who put in a blistering performance which included a one hour bike. I'm sure he is part terminator!!

So all in all a tough day at the office for me, Lets take out the positives.

  • I fell! But, I was running and not going down hill on the bike at 40mph, no lasting damage! Result.
  • My friends had a good day, Adam was only a few seconds behind me (mainly because he managed to find his bike in transition this week) I hear he brought the wife and kids to assist in this x
  • Ainsley Murphy from the club beat me by 1 place and had a good day so well done, all the hard work is paying off mate.
  • My pal Chris Rainford author of the book 'From Fireman to Ironman' and a damn entertaining read, had a good race after a real battle with a foot injury. Another free plug Mr Rainford!!
  • Most importantly Barry didn't loose any places, even though he stopped for 20 seconds or so to help me.

As for me, it made me realise things do and will go wrong for us. Its what we do and how we conduct ourselves after the event that really matters. Yes my pride was a little damaged, yes I like to be competitive and as far up the pecking order as possible when I race and yes I don't like to let people or myself down. How you prepare for any race is vital and this is amplified on the Ironman. Look at what happened to me at Howrich for a moment, a two hour event, imagine the effects on an Ironman marathon. Preparation is key!!

So, I'm on a rest week this week and have the fun of meeting up with my old pal Pete to take him on a recce of the Ironman UK course.

Hope you all have a good, safe and productive weeks training

Take it easy Joe D

Joe Duckworth

I am a 49 year old airport firefighter. I am married to Johanna and I have two daughters Anna & Lucy (my main support network).