2010: A year to remember

Posted: December 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

This has been a year to remember!!  It started with my Bro’s wedding, then the arrival of his daughter Lucie.   I finally managed to convince my girlfriend (Carli) to leave the big smoke that is London and move in with me in February.  Life was sweet.

Happy days  🙂

Training was going well and coming into Ironman Lanzarote I felt things were lining up for a good race.  Coming off my bike at 30+ mph and landing on my head quickly brought things down with a bang.  I don’t really remember much of that initial period after the crash, but when my memory does start to kick in I can clearly remember my conviction that I was absolutely fine!  Clearly not the case.  Looking back on it now, I was short with people and generally rude.  Basically a pain in the arse. IM Cozumel Bike

In the months after the crash, I was kind of stuck in race mode, unable to let go of what happened.  I seemed to only be able to think of one thing and one thing only.  That was racing again.  Not just racing again, but racing better than I had ever done before.  To me it was like I had something to prove to myself.  I am not really sure why.  I guess the crash was like someone pushing me around and this was my way of pushing back.

In the months that followed, I raced the Olympic distance National Championships coming 3rd in my age group, then headed off to do a multi stage (6 day) trail race over the US Rockies.  During that I got hit by food poisoning but still refused to stop racing even to the detriment of my team mate (sorry Wookie).  That event truly broke me and ironically for the first time after the crash I was able to switch out of race mode and enjoy the moments out on the mountain.  Following on from that, I completed Challenge Barcelona in 9hr 26mins and finished 3rd in my age group.

You would have thought that I would have called it a day and hang my race shoes up for this year.  That would have been the sensible thing to do but I am not that sensible.  Ten days after the crash in Lanzarote I was sat at my computer generally pissed off with all the races I had to pull out of.   So I did what seemed like the obvious thing to do at the time.  That was to enter Ironman Mexico in November.  It was an end of year goal for me or if you like proverbial carrot on the end of a very long stick!

After Challenge Barcelona I got my head back down and put in a final blast of training for the race out in Mexico.  I was flying and really thought that this Ironman was going to be the one I would nail.

As I flew out to Cozumel, part of me could not really believe I was going all the way to Mexico just for a race!!  It felt stupidly extravagant.

When I finally got there the first thing that hit me was the heat and humidity.  It was nothing like I had ever raced in before and I was a little apprehensive as to how I would cope come race day.  Only time would tell.  The build up to the race was smooth and it was nice to get to know a large group of other people racing.  By the time race day came I felt part of this community of crazy people who had all travelled massive distances just to do this race.

THE RACE

From the moment the gun went I was having a great time out there.  The sea swim was without a doubt the most enjoyable swim I have ever had.  I saw a 4m sting ray and no end of awesome fish.  It took some concentration to stay focussed on the job at hand.  I came out of the water in 54mins and given the time there was a surprising number of people in front of me.  Still I was feeling fresh and happy with the time.

The bike was a three lap course and my main focus was to not go to hard early doors, something I find very hard to achieve.  Today, however, I was able to hold back more than I had ever done before.  My main method to achieve this was to sing an old rugby song I learnt from Uni ‘there once was a lassie..’.  This was not something I had planned.  The song just popped in my head and away I went.  The words are not really ones you would repeat and I got some very strange looks as I passed people, and this was something I seemed to be doing quite regularly 🙂 At the end of the first lap I was averaging 39km/hr and 270 watts, feeling on top of everything.  The second lap was very much the same as the first, although my average pace did drop to 38.5km/hr and 265 watts.  At this point I had caught the front runners of the age groupers (the pro’s had started 20mins ahead so were in a different race really).  I made the call not to push on, but to stay with this group.  I had been riding solo to this point and sitting 7m behind the rider in front makes a huge difference to the effort levels you need to achieve the same speed.  Myself and Ken Glah were rotating the lead for nearly all of the final lap on the bike, and while my average watts had dropped to 255 my final bike split was still 4hr 49mins.  I was feeling good and ready to hit the run.  Coming into T2 I was first place in my age group and had a 13min lead on second!

Chris Goodfellow IM Cozumel Bike

Out on the run you immediately noticed the heat and humidity.  It hit you like a four tonne truck and was like nothing I have ever experienced.  Thankfully the aid stations were every km and where handing out ice!!!! Amazing.  I jammed bangs of ice down my tri top with the elastic fuel belt I was wearing supporting the ice around my mid-rift.  The effect was unbelievable and I was feeling better than I have ever felt out on an ironman run.  I did the first 10km in 46mins and it felt comfortable.  I started to truly believe I was going to nail it and do the 3hr 10min marathon I know I can run.

However, as is the nature of ironman racing the heat and humidity was slowly starting to get to me.  I could feel my body starting to overheat and as it did the pace dropped like a tonne of bricks. With 1km to go I was still winning my age group, but then three people passed me.  At this point I had nothing left to give and had to let them pass un-challenged.

As I crossed the line the time read 9hr 23mins.  Again not what I had been hoping for but I had given everything and left it all out on the course.  My final run time of 3hrs 32mins had been 15-20mins off what I was aiming for, but given the extreme heat and humidity out there I could not really complain.  I was a happy man despite not hitting my goal times.

After phoning home for the full results it transpired I had finished 4th in my age group and got a slot for Kona (Ironman World Championships).  My initial response was, yeah that is cool but I will give the slot a miss.  It is a long way and a very expensive trip.  I stuck to this tune for a full 24 hours.

The next day I remained persistent that I was not going to take my Kona slot and as the day wore on this decision weighed on my mind.  To not go would belittle all the training I had done and everything I had gone through this year.

The slots were being allocated at 4pm in town and if you did not take it then and there you passed it over to the next finishing athlete in your age group.  I got a ride into town at 3.30pm still not sure whether I was going to take the slot.  By the time I had got into town I was decided.  I was going to take my slot to Kona!  All I needed was $650 in cash.  No worries right??  I headed to the first cash point.   No luck!  I stayed calm and headed to the next one and the next one and the next one.  I started to panic and my calm walk quickly turned into a sprint.  I had about 5mins to find a cash point which would work or my slot was gone!!!  I must have sprinted all over Cozumel and tried at least 15 cash points.  The most I could get was $400 dollars.   My card had been blocked and it was already 4.30pm.  Truly gutted I wondered back to the conference centre, safe in the knowledge I had just lost the slot.  You never really know how much you wanted something till you have lost it, and right now I felt truly deflated.  Gutted does not even come close.

As I got closer I realized they were going through every age group before rolling down for slots not taken.  I still had time!  Time, yes, but no way of getting cash, so it didn’t really change the situation.

Right then Tom Diethe, a guy I only met once, came up to me and must have read the look on my face.  He asked what was up, and I told him the cash point saga. I was short of $250. Tom simply turned around and said he would try his card at the nearest cash machine! If he could get the money out, it was mine. I had tried the machine 4 times and thought it would not work but said OK.  The next thing I know I am sprinting back to slot allocation with the full $650 in my hand.  I made it in time. I was registering for Kona!  One more major problem, I had no ID!  This would have been a serious if it was not for the fact Steve Trew, who I had got to know in the build up to the race, could vouch I was who I said I was!  That was the last hurdle and I was done.  KONA 2011 here I come.

Mr Tom Diethe, you are a true legend.  What you did summarises all that is good in this crazy Ironman sport.  We all slog our guts out for anything from 8-16 hours.  But when you cross that finish line you feel a comraderey unlike any other individual sport.Chris Goodfellow IM Cozumel Finisher

I still cannot believe I am going the Ironman World Championships in Kona next year, after everything that has happened this year it feels like a dream.  Please don’t wake me up.

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