What an event!!
This was different to anything I've tried before. The whole team concept adds another element to it no transitions also makes it a very unusual event. Knowing what to bring is pretty important. So just a bit of background I had signed up to do this with Jan but he was buying a house and things became very difficult for him to train so he pulled out. I put an SOS out there on Facebook and Oonagh replied. Oonagh lives in Galway now so training together wasn't an option but I knew the conversation would be good going around.
When we arrived at the airport with Rose, Gaby and Lisa Howley it became clear early on that we were the disorgainsed team. Gaby had gone to the bother or lamenting the course details for us in case we got lost, we managed to lose that. Once we arrived on the island we were greeted with Torrential rain and the sea was rougher than I think I've ever seen the Irish sea. Didn't bother Oonagh at all and she was unfazed by the whole thing. Anyway race kicked off with a 1.4k run towards the slip for our first sea swim. We took it handy enough on the run and entered the water in the second half of the field but I'd say around middle of the field.
After that first swim we were close to the back but there were still plenty of teams behind us. That second run wasn't too long it was only 1.6k but Oonagh did take a nasty fall and with the paddles on her knees took the brunt of it and we were back in the water for a very rough 700 meter swim. We had goggle issues on this swim as in they just wouldn't stay on and the rescue boats started to circle us like vultures. I think a few of the teams behind us didn't finish this swim. We worked through it and got to the other side. The blood was streaming down Oonaghs knees from the fall and I had a cut on my little finger. I was feeling very inadequate running beside Oonagh who looked as tough as nails with blood streaming down that I wiped the blood from my little finger over my vest in an effort to make me look equally tough!!!
The next swim we changed our strategy a little and swapped goggles that seemed to work better and Oonagh took the pull bouy. This was long swim supposed to be 1.5k but think it was coming up as 2k and we took a great line. We actually caught a few people on this swim to move up from possible last place to maybe 3rd last. We had another very short run and were back in the water for another tough 900 meter swim. We caught two groups on this swim. Now at this stage we had made two check points on time but we were cutting it very close. The next check point was basically the end of the sprint distance race which wasn't what we had signed up for but I think both of us were happy enough when Ben (the Race director) had told us we had missed the cut off to go on the rest of the course.
Our buddies got on really well with Lisa Howley and Jenny winning the female team event and coming 4th overall. Rose and Gaby weren't far behind and delighted to see them cross the finish line in great form. It's a beast of a race and deserves respect. I'm not sure how many people didn't make cut offs and didn't finish but I know we weren't alone. However they have a fantastic safety team in the water and at no point did I feel unsafe during the event. I always have a recurring dream about how I die and it's not in the sea so perhaps it's a bit silly but I never really get too worried in choppy waters, not sure about Oonagh's reasons but she was fearless in the water. I know standing in front of some of those sea's not even been able to see the finish line there's plenty of people I swim with wouldn't have done those swims.So thanks to Oonagh for stepping in and having the craic at the last minute, don't think there's many people would have done that. Oonagh has problems with Water getting in her ears so for the first swim she had ear plugs to stop the water getting in. On one of the runs I was about the tell her about the time I nearly came top 20 in the Bray Aquathlon and she said she had to use the ear plugs on the run as well cause her vertigo was acting up.
Thanks to Lisa Howley for telling us about the event and answering so many questions and for anyone thinking of doing it, can't recommend it highly enough. Thanks to Jenny and Hayley in Jersey who were ferrying us around everywhere and made the stay so much more enjoyable.
Thanks to my long suffering wife for letting me train and putting up with me when I'm grumpy from too much training (rarely do I train too much).For letting me do the event on our 12 year annivesary.
So since I've started this blog it's been nicknamed by some as "The blog of failure". First the 5k attempt then the breca fiasco now all that's left is the Barcelona farce.