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Respect, Daughter's of Charity Services

I would like to ask for your help in fund raising in aid of special needs children at Daughters of Charity Services, St. Vincent's Centre, Dublin. I will be competing in the Ironman World Championships in October and am appealing for your sponsorship, with every penny going towards this worthy cause.

Researchers in Trinity College Dublin recently conducted a study which found that in the past five years our health service has suffered from €2.7bn in cuts to funding.  Unfortunately, this means that those most in need are often worst affected.  As part of my journey to compete in Ironman Kona I have committed to help raise funds, all of which will help towards constructing a new Playground in for the respite center at St. Vincent’s Daughter’s of Charity on the Navan Road, Dublin, which provides for children with intellectual disabilities.  Please help me fundraise for Respect by donating, liking and sharing.  You can visit my donations page by clicking HERE.


Zell am See Ironman 70.3 Aug 31 2014

 

Its now five weeks until Kona 2014 and I raced in Austria 70.3 last weekend with some other people we train at Sportsmed to test out how my fitness is headed before the last block of training. Originally I planned on racing the Lost Sheep National Champs in Kenmare but it sold out straight away and Ben Lynch and I decided to race here instead. Andrew McGahan who has lost close to 35kg since he started training with Kieran Nolan MISCP at Sportsmed had also decided he would set himself a challenge and had entered the “flattest” Half Ironman in Europe on a friend’s advice and was intent on proving detractors (AKA Mr. Dave McKernan or Java Dave) in his ability to finish wrong!!

You can imagine Andrew was thrilled when Zell am See was awarded 70.3 World Championships for 2015 and the course was duly changed to include a 16 km Mountain on the bike with 800m vertical gain.

 

Friday 29 Aug:

Myself and Ben flew in on the Friday to Munich and drove down to Zell am See from there, the mountains in Austria and Ski Resort towns were amazing en route. Ben had booked an apartment close to the lake start area but the Haus owner was a bit too “Silence of the Lambs” for our liking and was intent on us trying out the Sauna.  Apart from that the view from our apartment was cool.

 

 

We checked in to race on Friday evening and met Andrew briefly and gave him some help with orienting to sign on, procedure etc.

Saturday 30 Aug:

Early am we headed to swim at the race venue which is about a km south from the town of Zell am See. I headed in for a lap of the swim course in my togs to the horror of the Euro Uber triathletes. I hate swimming in a wetsuit to be honest. The water was beautiful and clear, not too cold either.

After swim time we headed for coffee and an awesome applestrudel with vanillasauce at a local bakery.  We arranged to meet Andrew for a spin on the bikes and then head in to check in gear bags for the next day. However the weather turned pretty dreary with heavy rain so I explained to Andrew what he’d need to do with bags, setup etc. and how transition would work on race day. More food, rest then bed was pretty much it for the rest of the day.

Race day Sunday:

Race start was set for a late time of 10 am so wake up was extremely civilized compared to normal 4 am jobs. We headed down to transition one and got setup as usual in Ironman races. Met up with Andrew and gave him some encouragement for the day (I seem to remember telling him to show Big Balls and Cojones all day long!) and headed off with Ben to don wetsuits and hit the start area.

We went off in Age Group starts with old men following youth. The start was pretty civilized with not too much contact or argy bargy. I got into a good rhythm and went round in 29 min and short change keeping top 15 in my category I think. Out onto the bike and Garmin and powermetre refused to talk to one another so I was flying blind. I had caught up a lot of the earlier wave and was passing groups on the bike. Europeans can be ridiculous with drafting and they were here too, they were three a breast and no intention of dropping into legal pace lines. The marshall didn’t seem to care either. So you either had to pass on the wrong side of the road or join the mob. I passed as many as possible before the climb and then drafting became a non-issue really as the course obliterated groups on the climb. The climb was in three sections where the first 5/6 km was steady 4-8 percent gradient with some little kicks then a 5 km section that was really big ring stuff followed by a horrendous last kick up to the top at an average of 14 percent. This was proper hard and I kept thinking of Andrew and how he’d be so proud of his friend John Milne’s recommendation of such a flat course for his first event.

The descent was hairy with very steep switchbacks leading to a very fast section where you’re hitting 80km/hr. for 10 km or more comfortably. Then there was 40 km or so of rolling road with a lot of technical turns on cobbles through little towns. The rain started to pour down and the corners were tricky enough. I got off the bike and was feeling pretty good with not too much soreness. I split 2 hr.  29 min, which is slow for me on a half, but the course was not easy at all.  I headed out on the run and having made a big effort to drop some weight leading into Kona to help deal with the heat there I had difficulty judging pacing first few Km and probably went a bit too fast. The course was pretty cool with a lot of crowd support and you headed up to the town of Zell am See and did two laps with a Km long drag up to the turnaround at the North part of the lake. I enjoyed the run and my training has been mostly focused in Ironman distance pace and strength endurance work so while I didn’t feel I could run a lot faster I felt I could keep going after the finish. However it’s unlikely to be 15 degrees C in Kona.  With the run completed in 1:31 or so I headed to Athlete area at finish to get changed/food etc. There was pretzels/pasta/ BEER.  So after getting some fluid back on board I had a beer and some food and waited for Ben and Andrew to join.


 

Ben finished and said Andrew was on run course and making steady progress /looking lively. This was a tough 70.3 to do as your first and he did an amazing job finishing the event very sore but happy.  Dave McKernan owes him lunch (One of many bets his labile mouth has lost him before his brain engaged). Ben and myself headed to the awards banquet for food and I accepted a slot for Ironman Worlds 70.3 here again in 2015. I wasn’t sure if I would take it as I’ve done 4 of those to date between Clearwater and Las Vegas but decided to last minute.

My plan now is for a couple easy days back in Dublin working in clinic, then restart training.  The ISA sailors start Olympic qualification in Santander in Sept 14 and I travel there for work just before that so will be up early to train before they compete each day.   I’ll update you on my progress in the coming weeks.

Thanks for your generosity in donating so far!

Mark