With fewer than six weeks until Ironman Wales 2019, we catch up with the GTC members who are committed to the race.
It was last year, after Alan Anderson had completed Ironman Wales 2018, that some 50 people signed up to do the race this year. Alan was keen to see a large crowd heading to the event – and he encouraged many people to enter.
It’s credit to our club and the athletes that there are still 30 people committed to racing.
GTC IM Wales competitors
In the men’s camp, the IM Wales entry list reveals: Alan Anderson, Nicholas Bone, Alan Brunton, Phillip Burns, Annibale Coia, John Conlin, Jeremy Deveney, Alan Duff, Tony Evans, Stuart Gillepsie, Paul Glen, Ian Hockey, Tom Kemlo, David King, Jim Lockhart, Gregor Love, Toby Messenger, Stewart Milne, Lochlan O’sullivan, Ian Ramage, Russell Snowdon, Gareth Treharne, Sean Webster and David Wilson.
Competing for the women are: Maggie Darroch, Hilary Glen, Viv Gough, Cat Hirst, Nathalie Jones and Claire Robertson.
For most, it’s their first time doing Ironman Wales and many will be doing their inaugural long-distance triathlon.
We caught up with a few GTC athletes to see how their training has been going.
Ups and downs of training
Truck driving and training
For Dave King (age group 45-49), his job as a long-distance truck driver, working 70-plus hours a week, has meant that he has had to be creative with his training.
He says: “I work away from home all week and I live in my truck.
“I take my bike, wetsuit and running gear with me and do what I can, when I can. The looks I get when stepping out a truck dressed in a rubber suit are priceless.
“The Ironman is a personal challenge. I still love being part of an amazing club although I have never been able to train with any club members!”
Early starts are key to success
Jim Lockhart, who is also in the age group 45 to 49, is grateful to his family, the revelation of early morning training sessions and losing a stone in weight.
Jim has been training for IM Wales since last September. He started almost as soon as he entered. He reports that training has been much easier than he expected and despite the odd wobble he has enjoyed it.
He says: “It took a while to get into the swing of things at the start, with dark mornings and struggling to find the time to train due to work and family commitments.
“But I bought Don Fink’s Be Ironfit book, which suggested early morning workouts and that has worked for me.
“My job can be quite intense and involves a bit of travel so it is easy to be derailed during the day. As hard as it can be to get up before 5.30am, it feels great to have trained for an hour or so before the rest of the world wakes up. It can feel like you have a few extra days per week.”
Jim has remained motivated to stick to his training. He says: “Perhaps it is the variety of training, the fact that the discipline of early morning training is really working for me, or that I have proved that I can find time to train for an event such as this while having a very demanding work schedule. Anyway, I have stayed motivated most of the time.
“I feel good about what I have achieved so far and the improvements I have made in every discipline. My swimming has come on a lot, my cycling has seen huge improvement as well, and I’m running as well and consistently as I have for years.
“I may also be a stone lighter in weight!”
Jim reports that his family have been very supportive. Jim is married to Beth and they have two 11-year-olds, Ella and Euan. They are all members of GTC.
Jim says: “Beth and the kids have been awesome and I couldn’t manage this without them.
“Beth was involved in the decision to enter because we both recognised the commitment required. We’re both very busy and she is also studying towards her MBA, so our time commitments were fairly onerous to start with.
“Beth has pushed me to stick with the programme when my motivation has escaped me and she is also very efficient at finding me people with whom to share my long cycles.
“Viv Gough has suggested that I have a very efficient social secretary, who puts in the hard work so that I can get out on my bike. She is right!
“Beth has also been instrumental in many of my early rises – mainly by kicking me out of bed.
“Ella and Euan are also fully supportive. I think they might be more excited about it than me. They want me to get the tattoo. I’ve said no.”
There have been a few slightly low moments for Jim but not anything to be worried about. He says: “The training has gone past in a flash. I get a bit grumpy every now and again with the early mornings and the schedule is pretty relentless.
“I look back at the two to three hours of training per week that I could muster last summer and put that in the context of how I am putting in 16 to 20 hours now.”
Jim is not dwelling on the race just now. He says: “I haven’t allowed myself to think about the race and I’ve just concentrated on each week of the training plan.
“I know that I have the time off and the accommodation booked, but I haven’t thought much further than that as I know if I thought about the race it would frighten me.
“As I see it, if I train enough for the swim, the bike and the run, test the nutrition and do a load of running off the bike then the race should sort itself out.
“My mind has wandered on occasion and sometimes during a hard training ride, or a run that isn’t going so well, I have started asking myself questions: ‘Why did I enter this?’, ‘If this feels so bad after x miles, how am I going to manage 140.6?’.
“But I use this as motivation because I know that it is a mental test as much as a physical one. When it feels bad, I bank the experience so that I can put it to good use during the race itself.
“I know there will be plenty of time to be nervous about the race the night before.”
Sean hopes for a better 2nd IM Wales
Sean Webster, GTC president, is competing in IM Wales for the second time. He says: “This year, I have a coach, GTC member Crawford at Project 3, who writes my training plans. I have been following this since December. He writes it and I do it.
“I think it is a lot easier to train with a coach.
“I have also been focusing more on my running. The run in last year’s IM Wales felt very hard, so my aim this year is to have a good one. I have done two ultra distance runs in my training and also a couple of half Ironmans.
“I am looking forward to the race.”
Busy life and busy training
Hilary Glen is one of six GTC women taking part in IM Wales 2019. She has a busy job and there is the added pressure of her husband Paul also training for IM Wales. They have two children as well.
Hilary has been keeping us up to date with training on her blog: Why Am I Doing an Ironman?
Hilary is also being coached by Crawford of P3 and she has enlisted the support of personal trainer, Fiona, of Fit + Fabulous, who is another club member.
Hilary has reported her ups (mostly) and downs (seemingly few) through the past year of training.
I liked this observation from Hilary in May after completing the Etape Caledonia Sportive. She writes: “I now realise that an easy week when you are training for an Ironman actually consists of two strength/core sessions (one of them being a 6.30am circuits class the morning after the Etape), one swim (fortunately the open water session wasn’t on this week), three cycles and two runs.”
Hilary wrote about the importance of training buddies, too, having previously been something of a solo athlete.
And in her most recent blog post, Hilary was delighted to see many improvements in her fitness and confidence.
Hilary took part in the Heb Tri and finished feeling “strong and satisfied”. To her great delight, she was third female finisher and second female vet.
She writes: “It was a big psychological boost from my last race before Wales, and thanks largely to the fantastic coaching and training plan from Crawford, not to mention the on-going input from GTC.”
- We wish all club members heading to Tenby in September the best of luck.