Wow what can I say? That bloody hurt….. Was it worth it HELL YES!!!!!!.
Training for my first full distance Ironman didn’t go quite according to plan with a knee injury at the start which meant I couldn’t run for the first 12 weeks of the 30 week programme and then a tweaked hamstring 7 weeks from the event. This meant that run training was limited and certainly no long distance training.

We arrived at Bolton on Friday and could instantly feel the atmosphere around the center it was bouncing and it really got the adrenaline flowing, I was full of nervous excitement anyway but this felt incredible. Met up with kelly and Elaina on Saturday for a practice swim which I am so happy we did as it settled some nerves as the water felt amazing.

Race morning was an early start, a 3am alarm. The swim was a self seeding Que, I had set a target of 1:10 for the swim but missed everyone else queuing so went in with slightly slower people around me. Fought my past a few athletes, found some space relaxed and found a comfortable pace. The swim was pretty much incident free and ended with a time of 1:11(17th in the age group). Full change into cycle clothes in transition and onto the bike. Felt good for the first 30k or so then whilst going up one the many hills my dodgy hamstring started to tighten I really didn’t want a DNF so decided to protect it as much as possible so the hills became a spin class rather than grinding out the power. This worked but had an impact on my time. The bike route was relentless the hills although not really steep were so long my Garmin said 3100mtrs of climb😡 The down hill section always seemed to be into the wind and the road surfaces were horrendous it was shaking the fillings out my teeth,😂. But no mechanical issues and I managed to survive all be it with very sore legs.

Onto the run it was quickly obvious that the hamstring needed management so I went for a run / walk strategy mainly walking up the hills. The run was steady, painful but enjoyable the support throughout the whole event has been beyond what I could have imagined. A massive lift for me when the pain really kicked in was seeing and hearing my amazing family in the park. They followed us all day and I will be forever grateful for that. Then after 14hr and 42 mins I ran down the finish straight and heard those immortal words “Ian Kitson you are an Ironman” I know I could have done this quicker as my cardio felt amazing, my heart rate rarely went above 120bpm but for me I had to finish. I feel truly blessed to be able to compete in such an incredible race and will remember it forever. I would also like to thank the other KiT athletes who raced at Bolton it was amazing to be able to share this experience with them. There are so many club members I would like to thank for their advice and encouragement and I will personally thank you when I see you. Stay safe and I will hopefully see you all at club swim or ride soon…

Ian Kitson Ironman Bolton 2022

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