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Head Coach Dean Ratcliffe describes his Hot, Hilly, windy and HARD Ironman adventure! Lanzarote has a reputation as the hardest IM brand race on the circuit and Dean found that out first hand!! 3.8k swim, 180k bike, 42k run ☀️
MedwayTri's IRONMEN - Neil & Dean
As many people know I worked hard preparing for this race and my training plan which started in January and included almost six weeks on the island had me and Neil in tip top shape for this race. 
My big focus for this race was the run which over the marathon distance has always been an absolute disaster for me. I had trained for a 3hour 30min and the plan for this race for both me an Neil was to get off the bike in good enough shape to run that time, so it was all about pacing the bike!!
So on race morning came 4am wake up call for the early breakfast sitting at our hotel where me and Neil eat lightly and discussed our race tactics for the final time.
1st part of the the plan executed perfectly by Neil he arrived early enter the swim entrance and stood in the group that was sign posted with his estimated swim time, right between 60 and 70mins. 
Me as usual not quite so organised, I been told by Richard Hobson a great swim coach and IM Lanzarote age group Legend to get there early 'forget the swim warm up' and just sit in the shade at the front with a bottle of water waiting for the start. But then 'some bloke down the swim practice' told me that he warmed up in front of the swim start last year and that they just let him walk straight to the font.
So who do I listen to the legend that is Richard Hobson or 'some bloke down the beach'. Yep so after arriving late (surprised???) I had a quick splash in the sea and walked to the front only to be sent to the back of the 2000 athletes already waiting to be sent into the water.
I did manage to do a bit of shuffling down the tightly packed tunnel full of people that where giving lots of dirty looks and grunts as I pushed through and got somewhere near the 70min mark when there was a load horn blast and the people at the front ran 60 meters down the Sandy beach and dived into the water ???? 
The funnel of people started to move at a much slower pace down the sand. Neil (as per our plan) went into the water wide right and tried to work his way in picking people off as he head to the first buoy which was about 300 to 400 meters out to the left of the starting arch.
I on the other hand was carried down the beach in a straight jacket of tightly packed people right the middle of the chute. My dive into the water was more like a bundle on a group of 18 year old boys night's out, people on top of people.
Both me and Neil agreed it definitely was one of the most hectic swims we could imagine, Neil who stuck to the race plan was 1 min faster than he was in our race last week over the same course and 7min slower for me.
Out of the beach we ran up the sand and grabbed our bike bags with bike kit in it, ran into the changing tent and both took far to long faffing before we were changed and heading to our bikes.
Both of us were planing to be very conservative on the bike and make sure we were both strong for the run, to monitor this we were both using power meters and had set a threshold power to finish on basically working a 70% of our 1hr threshold power.
Although both of us hit our desired targets we both had problems on the bike :-/ Neil said that he felt energy less on the bike and although he felt good off of the bike said he was having real trouble maintaining his target threshold! After jumping on the bike the first task is to climb from the lovely Sea front in Puerto del Carmen 40kms up to Yaiza. For me this although was immediately feeling uncomfortable ???? I was getting quite severe lower back pain, I could not work out if this was due to a back issue I have had this week or if it was the battering I received in the swim until I was 2 thirds around the second lap? 
Anyway after around 70 km I worked out how to perform some exercises on the bike to loosen it off which involved a lot of standing. The majority of the first 110km involved a lot of climbing (not my favourite!). However this did give me the chance to do a lot of exercises. 
The plan for me was to get to the top of the last big climb Mirridor del Rio, in good shape on low power and do my work from there on the fast down hills and flats (another Richard tip, but one I listened too. I did actually manage to get to del Rio feeling great. So despite LOTS of people over taking me on those climbs when I was watching my power, I soon found myself taking most of them on the last 70kms of the bike.
Both me an Neil entered transition feeling really great and ready for the run! So my plan 5min Kms and a 3hr 30 marathon, I've trained for it I can do it!! 1st km a little fast, slow it up, 2nd Km better but still too fast, 3rd Km even dipping faster, so 4th km I got to grips and was banging them out 5min kms 4 to 17 EASY bang on 18 km becomes a lot harder and although I manage it to the half way point 21kms it then starts to slip. 22 to 42km my marathon Nightmare come back to haunt me!! Final run time 3hrs 48mins :-/ Neil on his first IM and first marathon did brilliantly reeling in some distance he lost on the swim and bike with a marathon time of 3hrs 42mins
Final finishing time Neil 11hrs 16mins and 37th in his age category, mine 10hrs 56mins and 5th in my category. Neil is energised and wants to start doing IM races as his main race distance. Me on the other hand I will NEVER run another marathon again which means I am afraid it's the last IM for me, so standard distance here I come again!! :)
Return May 22, 2017

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