Race Update- Ironman Copehagen 20th August 2017

Ironman Copenhagen-Rosie Haddock

The reason why I actually started triathlon in the first place was the lure of ironman. However found I loved the shorter distances, and (as I have found during training) I am better at these.

Spending a year in New Zealand, with a better work life balance seemed to be the best time to try and train for longer distance. I also managed to ‘turn’ my long suffering husband and convinced him that we should do one together (it was probably more the fact he wouldn’t be able to bear watch me become an ironman without becoming one himself- not that we are competitive or anything!).

I let him pick the race as a bargain for agreeing to do it with me. Copenhagen it was. The swim was sheltered, the bike was meant to be a fast course and the run pan flat through the city.

Training never goes perfectly and ours was unfortunately laden with a few setbacks including a couple of knee and hip injuries 3-4 months out, a nasty bike crash 6 weeks out and a viral illness a week before the race. We had 2 half distance events under our belt from the 6 months previously however and were off work for 6 weeks so had been putting a lot of hours in. In honesty, my ideal time goal was sub 11 hours, after looking at the power I was putting out for longer rides and pace for longer runs.

However, IRONMAN is a race which despite enormous amounts of training and planning, is almost mythical and often the ‘having legs’ phenomenon (ie you do or you don’t) comes into play. As I discovered its the latter then you are in for even more pain and suffering and time goal go out the window!.

This was lovely- I would almost say the easiest part. Ironman have started to set swimmers off in waves, which for a small average swimmer like myself is ideal as it avoids being bashed around by bigger people (usually testosterone fuelled ones!) and gives you more room. Felt great and did roughly the time I wanted.


Lovely course, but it was very windy throughout and technical in the middle 30-40km of each loop. There was a section on Geels Bakke – famous hill where the support was amazing!

I enjoyed the first 60-70km, was trying to rein it in (thinking of the distance ahead). Ian passed me at this point which also gave me a boost. I was surprised at the amount of ‘drafting packs’ around- I got passed by at least 4-5 packs of 15+ guys all making no effort at all not to draft. This got me a bit angry again which was a source of some energy.

However after this I went to a dark place and started to get stomach upset, negative thinking, and really struggled to stay aero without wanting to vom. People were passing me everywhere and my time goal for sub 6 hours was out the window. It was now about completion.

After the bike, this was about survival. I felt lightheaded/dizzy coming off the bike and had a bit of a emotional moment when I saw my family (a few tears and hugs). However their encouragement and basically telling me to MTFU meant I carried on.

However, after this, boom- my stomach started playing up again after about 10km in and this was the end of my motivation to even try and attempt to be sub 11 hours. I had to walk a lot (and queue for toliets!!) however in the end it decided to make the most of it, chat to and high five people and smile 🙂 and try and enjoy it. In hindsight, I actually possible ate too much and this is something that I would change in the future- I think the worry of undernutrition was high on my list, so I maybe overdid it.

Despite not meeting my time goals I am so so pleased to have finished and have truely learnt the mythical beast that ironman is. I the have utmost respect for anyone even completing any of these long distance events.

I am so grateful for the help and support of Ian and my wonderful family who not only got me round on the day but put up with a lot in preparation too. Thanks to Crawford for the world class training programme, and all the inspiring people Fusion and Dunedin Triathlon club.

At the end of the race, I said ‘Never, ever again’. Luckily my family didn’t get that on camera. The lure of constantly challenging and bettering yourself (the nature of most triathletes), learning from the race and mistakes made, is there and I am now thinking ‘What can I do better next time…….’
posted by Rosie Haddock on