IronmanUK 2014 – Mission Accomplished!

Hi everyone,

I’m proud to say that I managed to complete the Ironman course in Bolton in 14 hours 1 minute. You can see my split times here:
http://tracking.ironmanlive.com/mobileathlete.php?rid=1143240129&race=uk&bib=221&v=3.0&beta=&1405773900#axzz37uyV1O60

The whole weekend went by so fast (except the race). I arrived in Bolton at midnight Friday into Saturday after a long day at work and a 4 hour drive up there. Saturday, true to form for the stereotypical northern weather, it poured down with rain for the entire day. I registered mid morning, had a look around the expo, racked my bike and put the transition bags in the appropriate places. After which I attended the safety briefing which included a list of rules as long as your arm. Then lots of carbs for dinner and an early bed.

Sunday, race day, I was up at 3am to have breakfast and get all my gear sorted. I failed putting on the transferable tattoos with my race number as I didn’t read the instructions properly (it was early!). So somewhat stressed headed to the start at 4.30am to prep the bike with gels and get ready for the swim start. Ironically I found at least a dozen people who made the same mistake with their tattoo’s and we were allowed to just draw on numbers with a permanent marker.

We jumped into the lake at 5.50am just after the pro’s. It was a misty morning but the cold Pennington flash lake soon woke me up! And 6am we were off.

The swim took 1.04hours which was two laps of the lake with a quick run between the two (apparently this is called an Australian exit). I was doing well for my age group at this point and so I jumped on the bike. At this point I knew it would be demoralising as I’m not a strong cyclist – to be honest 6 months ago I couldn’t even cycle 50miles on flat roads and I just completed 112miles with an elevation gain of around 1260m in 7.29hours. For me this was a good time but it meant lots of the stronger cyclists shot past me of varying ages but I knew to stick to my game plan as to finish the race. There were two particularly nasty hills which had to be completed twice in the cycle and I’m pleased to say I did not have to get off the bike to push (unlike some of the people with pointy hats!).
I must say the supporters of Bolton were fantastic, they lined the streets so we had to cycle single file and screamed our names, one lady scared my to death so I pedalled as fast as I could to get away from her which helped up the hill. Thanks to the crazy mankini wearing group at the top of one of the climbs, appreciated the music and support!

Around 3pm I turned up at T2 which was at the Macron stadium, previously called the Reebok stadium. It was in the car park right next to Bolton wanderers football stadium and same place as the expo. I slowly switched to my running gear and carried on for my small jog to the end.

I didn’t think I have a marathon ahead of me, just one foot in front of the other and repeat. As soon as I reached the feed stations I had one cup of water and cola and carried on – I had one of the energy gels that I was carrying but my stomach didn’t like it. So my regime became water, cola, run, repeat. We had to do three laps of the town, each lap went past the finish line and each lap you were given a different colour wrist band. Only when you had 3 bands could you enter the final stretch. I’ve never been so jealous of some silly colour wrist band – it was like the ring from lord of the rings almost. It also meant you knew who was ahead of you which at times was somewhat depressing until I saw people with less than me. Admittedly it felt I was running at a walking pace and nearly 5 hours later, I doubled up my fuel 500m from the end and did, what I would class as, a sprint finish up the red carpet.

It was a fantastic feeling and the announcer said, “Scott, you are an Ironman!”. At that point it didn’t matter what the time was as I knew I had achieved my goal and too be honest was so close to tears but someone stuck a camera in my face and started interviewing me. I was asked how I felt, the only thing I could say other than water, cola, run, repeat was EPIC in a very EPIC way and that was pretty much the limit of my thinking and talking abilities.

Utterly exhausted I accepted the medal, the finishers top and the 2 slices of pizza as if I’d just one the Olympics. I had the strut of a winner, if a winner waddled like a penguin and the biggest grin on my face ever. Amongst the pain which has was quite bad for around 48hours, I felt very relaxed, very happy and very emotional.

There may have been 2000 other finishers, many much better than myself, but considering I only started triathlon 9 months ago and managed to complete triathlons toughest race within one year, raising over £1000 for charity (and for those that are interested getting distinction In my post-grad courses) whilst working full time, it was pretty special and EPIC 🙂

So a very big thank you to those of you that sponsored me and especially to those who have supported me along the way. The main people know who they are and I couldn’t have done it without each and everyone of you. Thank you so much.

I have the best friends and family and am very grateful for them. In case you are wondering I’m not in a hurry to do another full distance ironman event, perhaps something shorter for now.

For those of you that are local the Nags head pub in bishops Stortford are hosting a charity pub quiz night on Wednesday 30th July starting at 8pm with all proceeds going to SCOPE. It costs £1 per person to enter And there is a raffle as well. Anyone is welcome to attend and I’ll be there with my medal for you all to see.

Also I will hopefully be in the Herts and Essex Observer again this coming Thursday 24th July so feel free to grab a copy.

I’ll let you all know my total fundraising amount after the pub quiz.

Thank you everyone.

Scott-Ironman-Benham

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Final Countdown, 3 days….

Hi Everyone,

The past 6 weeks since the half ironman event have been rather intense with work, post-grad courses and training but the good news is that everything has been moving along nicely. I have survived the intense part of the training which included 3-4 90-100 mile bike rides on sundays and 90-120min runs on saturdays. The past 1-2 weeks I have been reducing the training, resting and eating more, which means my energy levels (and nerves) are building and I find it very difficult to sit still at the minute.

I have put a new set of racing tyres on the bike which seem to make pedaling more easy – or perhaps I ‘actually’ have some strength in my legs after a year of solid cycling. I watched a video yesterday about the course (posted on FB) and the pro’s claimed they liked the course because the bike section is challenging and a good test of strength. Seeing as cycling is my weakest discipline I have definitely given myself a challenge but am very determined to complete this event.

I am driving upto Bolton tomorrow night, all the bike racking and race prep including the race briefing happpens on saturday before a 3am wake up on sunday with a race start at 6am. Can’t say i’m looking forward to getting in a cold lake at 6am but at least it is a good way to wake up. I am realistically aiming to finish in around 14 hours, anything under this and I will be chuffed. I will probably take about 1.15hour for the swim, 8hours bike and 5 hours run. Hopefully the weather is neither too hot or too cold.

I am very pleased to say that I have reached my £1000 fundraising target so thank you so much to those of you who have sponsored me – I am very much appreciative. Having said that I hope to raise even more and smash the £1000 so if you have yet to sponsor me and would like to (or if you are waiting until race day or to see if I survive) then here is the link again: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=ScottBenhamIronmanUK2014&faId=361536&isTeam=false

Can I also say thank you for all the support and motivation along the way – you guys are the best!!

I will post again on here after the event but I’ll be keeping FB and twitter up-to-date as much as possible.

If anyone is up in Bolton and see number 221 cheer him on – he’ll be needing it! 🙂

Have a good weekend whatever you are upto.

Best wishes,

Scott

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(Tailored) Half Ironman Complete!

Hi Everyone,

A number or you have asked how I got on at the Bedford Priory Middle Distance Triathlon (basically a half iroman event). So the reason I say it was tailored was due to some lovely algae growing on the lake which the organisers felt may be harmful to people’s health and hence swapped the 1.2mile swim for a 1.2mile run to start with. Therefore it became a 1.2mile run, 56mile cycle and 13.1mile run again. Admittedly this was not ideal but still a reasonably hard brick session.

The event was not huge, there were around 80 competitors in the race. The official timings are results are still not available but as an educated guess I was about 40th in a time of 5.03 hours with a breakdown of 10mins, 3.10hours and 1.40hours respectively. The course was reasonably flat with the exception of one hill so it may not compare hugely to Bolton, however, since I have been training for hills the Bedford course did not prove too challenging. Judging by the photographs I can’t have been trying hard enough since I am smiling in nearly all of them! I was pleased with my time – a swim would have been nice since it was a very warm day and to get a feel for transition for wet-suit to tri-suit. I managed to burn my forehead even with sun cream so I think I will purchase a hat for the full distance and considering it will be mid-July the chances are that it will be rather sunny. Congratulations to my friend Adam who completed the half ironman with me in 6.15hours, I am most proud. The good news is that I was not too achy in the days after the event so I am holding out hope that I can actually complete the full distance. There is thinking it and then there is believing it!

So there are about 7 weeks left now, about 5 are intensive training weeks and 2 tapering. There is a 5.5hour cycle and a 2.5hour run each weekend, with swim and strength sessions during the week and of course lots of stretching. Training is going  well, its been an easier week since the race last sunday but this evening is another two hour run. I have to wait until the evenings as it is far too hot to run otherwise.

On Sunday 8th June I am taking part in a 162km Audax bike ride locally to see if my bum can last 7-8hours in the saddle and if I can complete 100 ish miles then I know I am physically capable of doing it on race day! After that, its just July 20th for the main event. If I said I wasn’t nervous I would be lying and only now am I starting to realise just how much of a rewarding experience this will be once I have completed it (I am thinking positively at least!).

Thank you to those of who have supported me already, I am very grateful for your generosity. Those of you holding out to see if I can complete it, I’ll pester you afterwards. I am upto £450 online with around £100 offline and a big thank you to everyone taking part in the Halstead Triathlon today and those of you who contributed to SCOPE and wished me luck – as well as scaring me by saying how hard the ironman event at Bolton is followed by you will be fine. You guys helped me raise another £115 I am in the £650 ball park. Fantastic stuff! My target is £1000 but I am hoping to break that and raise even more, so if you are yet to sponsor me and would like to, please visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=ScottBenhamIronmanUK2014&faId=361536&isTeam=false

I know I may make it look easy and smile in almost all photo’s but it is a very challenging event. I’m sure those that have already completed it will agree, it takes a lot of time, commitment and focus just to get to the start line. And for those that know me well, combining the training with full time work and two one year courses (PGCert and PRT) means I have had to time manage like a pro. Luckily I am one for a challenge and very determined so we will get there! 

So please keep up the motivational words and if you can help me towards my £1000 target I will be very grateful.

Wishing you all a very nice Sunday.

Scott 🙂

P.s. Please feel free to mock the photo – my number now looks like a pair of pants. Yes, that’s how I roll….Image

Smashed Sport’s Relief 6 miler….!

It’s time to give you all an update. I have commenced the 10 week build phrase part of the training plan and am now onto week 4. It’s going well, I am training almost daily but only 1 hour per day during the week and the long runs and cycles are at the weekend.

Just to give you an idea of what a rough training week looks like. There are two 2 mile swims, 3 one hour runs, two cycles (one one hour and one 3 hour) and a cycle/run (1 hour) practicing the transition. Most days are 6am starts now to get training in around work so it’s keeping me busy.

I have calculated my heart rate zones as the following:

Z1 = 126-144bpm

Z2 = 146-166bpm

Z3 = 168-174bp

Z4 = 176-186bpm

Most of the training is in Z2 which is aerobic and reasonable relaxed, however the build phase starts including more Z4 (anaerobic/sprint) training which is the hard and tiring part! I must admit I have upgraded to spotify premium and absolutely loving it. I am now listening daily, I highly recommend if you are training for a race too, just gives you that extra boost as you are sprinting and starting to fatigue!

The past couple of weekends I have cycled 50miles in my long ride to cambridge and back and that is roughly 3 hours, averaging around 16.8mph, which I believe is about a 7 hour time for the 112 mile bike leg on ironman if I could maintain it. I would be very happy with that. Again the rides are getting long enough now to start consuming energy gels. I have been recommend a brand called Torq which I must admit are very tasty – I am using the strawberry yogurt flavour and it tastes just like it.

I ran 6 miles for Sport Relief last Sunday with friends around the Olympic park in London. It was a great atmosphere but the weather was highly changeable – wind, rain, hail briefly and sun. I must admit the tall chap pictured below ran faster than me but I had already run 7 miles that morning to get in my IM training too, but well done to everyone who took part and finished, raising lots of money for great causes.

I am upto £230 of my £1000 target so thank you very much to those of you who have already sponsored me, I am very grateful and appreciate all the motivational comments. If have not yet sponsored me and would like to the link is:

http://m.virginmoneygiving.com/mt/uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=ScottBenhamIronmanUK2014&un_jtt_redirect

Hope you are all keeping well, will post again soon.

S.

 

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21 weeks to go…!!!

Wow, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last updated this blog. So much has happened since the end of 2013 so I will try and keep this concise. 

Mid-December I managed to injure my right shoulder whilst skiing out in Norway, ironically on the only day I went skiing. What are the chances? The most likely diagnosis was temporary partial dislocation of my shoulder but most of the damage was soft tissue/muscles. It took a couple of weeks to repair itself aided by some treatment from the guys at work!

Training picked up again after that until I started having a few tweaks in my left achilles last month. This was addressed with some serious gastroc and soleus stretches and buying getting a pair of ‘superfeet’ orthotics in my running shoes. The are designed to help support the arches of your feet after my miles of strenuous exercise as the intrinsic muscles in the feet start to fatigue. Since then I have not have any subsequent issues, ***touch wood***

As I mentioned a while ago I am following the ‘Intermediate’ training plan in the BeIronFit book by Don Fink as opposed to the other ‘Athletic’ and ‘Just Finish’ programs. Each one has differing hours of training commitment. All the programs are broken down into 3x10weeks. The first is a base phase helping to create a basic fitness based on heart rate zone training. I am in the last week on the base phase now and getting ready to start the build program next week.

I am appreciating the training buddies right now, especially on the days i’m lacking a bit of motivation or when the weather is rubbish. If anyone wants to join in with the training at any point let me know, there is normally a long bike ride and long run at the weekends so if you feel like getting the miles in just get in touch.

As part of the training program I have booked onto a Half Ironman Distance event, the Bedford Middle Distance Priory on the 25th May (9 weeks prior to the big day!). And in order to fight off the post-IM blues I have also signed upto run the Bournemouth Marathon on 5th October.

I’m 20% of the way to my sponsorship total of £1000 and I have 5 months left to raise £800 so the big effort starts now. If any of you would like to donate to this charitable cause it would be greatly appreciated.

Check out the new FB Group page also —> Scott’s Ironman 2014 Training Antics.

The hard slog continues…

So I appreciate it has been about a month since I posted last. The weather has turned cold, wet and generally grey and miserable but training continues. I have had one or two commitments on various weekends hence weekend training has slowed especially in the run up to Christmas when you just seem to run out of weekends. On the weekends when I have been away, normally it involves going to Bournemouth to see my girlfriend (and walk the dog!), I have managed to go for a new forest bike ride and short jog whilst being chased my step the dog down the beach – I will attach a video on FB for your amusement (can’t add video on here without paying to upgrade the account unfortunately!). I was in Germany last weekend visiting a friend and managed to squeeze in a gym session so it really doesn’t matter where you happen to be you can always find something to do even if it is just a run on the roads!

A few weeks ago I had a full bike set-up with Ricky Davis who is a Chiropractor/Bike Expert/Fellow Ironman Finisher. He is based at Pearson’s cycles in Sheen, Richmond area of London. So if you need a proper bike set-up I can recommend him. It took about 2-3 hours in total. Being new to cycling I didn’t realise there are 2 different riding positions for road cycling and time-trial (TT) riding and wanting my bike set-up for the race day I opted for the TT position and have attached photos of both so you can see the difference. I tried keeping a neutral spine position too for anyone who is part of the posture police and reading this. I must say I feel a lot of comfortable and relaxed riding now in my new posture.

TT posture

TT Position

road bike posture

Road Bike Position

I am still building up the mileage with both cycling and running. Swimming has almost stopped for the time being for me to concentrate on the other two disciplines. Being a swimmer from a young age means you don’t forget how to swim, and again I will pick this up closer to the time.

To put it into perspective I can manage around a 60 mile cycle and a 13.1 mile run (although have not yet done them back to back) and the swim is fine so really I am now looking to attempt a half ironman distance sometime in the new year. I’m aiming for March/April time – so if anyone knows of any decent ones please let me know or if you would like to take part as well just get in touch with me.

That’s it in a Nutshell, just need to keeping ticking over during the Christmas period, keep the motivation going and build the miles. If anyone has any motivational words of wisdom and any of those inspirational pictures then feel free to post them.

Hope you are all well.

Best Wishes,

Scott

“On your bike mate!”

This week I have managed one hour of turbo training on the bike and many many miles of dog walking. The dog walking was not officially part of my training but was introduced by my lovely girlfriend who was visiting. The dog is hers and it is still a puppy so I can’t double up and combine them. I have been told (categorically) that I am not allowed to do this so dog walking is therefore to be included in the schedule whenever I see her – perhaps this will change in time (or when she isn’t looking! Haha). Although it has been great for leg endurance and training the glutes!

I have been for a bike ride today with Vet Adam around Hanningfield reservoir (picture below), we managed 22miles in 1.45hours but were stoppping to check google maps and where we were going. At one point I even managed to hit 32.9mph, which to me was rather ‘el rapido’ and ever so slightly dangerous on the damp roads (perhaps not for a more seasoned cyclist). Only one fall today so not bad.

I have also managed to put a web article for the ironman campaign on my works chiropractic website, feel free to check it out: http://www.greatback.co.uk/news/Chiropractor+Scott+training+for+Ironman+UK+2014

If any of you reading are interested in the ironman events there is a really useful book by Don Fink titled ‘Be Iron Fit’ which gives you a structured training plan for those that have a busy work/home life so you can fit in shorter but efficient training session to help you achieve your ironman goal. Well worth a read if you are interested.

I think a run is in order tomorrow before the predicted horrendous weather kicks in and many more miles of dog walking next week. Maybe throw in a swim or cycle for fun. Happy training!