David Ward, Ironman

David Ward Completed his first Ironman triathlon on 23 July in Nottingham. The time and energy he devoted to training and preparation paid off.

The Outlaw is a great event. I would recommend it to anyone considering an Ironman-distance triathlon (or Outlaw-distance as the organisers call it). It is based at the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham.

The swim was a single lap of a large rowing lake. Even with a mass start of over 1000, there was plenty of room in the warm water for all to get into their rhythm. I got out of the water in a respectable 1:07. The transition takes time as you swap kit into and out of bags on hooks in a large tent, but not many are rushing. It's a long day.

The bike was a fantastically marshalled and sign-posted route around the flat countryside of Nottinghamshire. You can get up a really steady pace. The weather was nicely cloudy with only a bit of wind. There is a pub on the course that you pass four times where your spectators can cheer you on. There are a bumpy last few km past Holme Pierrepont Hall, but by then your mind is on transition and the run ahead. I dismounted at 6:04.

The run consists of two out and back loops down by the river and four laps of the lake. I hate repeated loops and laps, but it is great for spectators. It is pretty flat. Sadly, the sun came out during the run to sap a bit more energy. By two hours into my run, I 'bonked'. Luckily, the feed stations have all sorts. I gorged on energy drinks, water, a gel, Jaffa cakes and half a bowl of crisps from a very nice volunteer. I was off again after a couple of minutes. My run was 4:23, which was slower than I had hoped. But, I crossed the line in 11:45:39. I was over the moon with that time.

On the day, I said "never again". A few days down the line, I say that I will concentrate on shorter distances for a year or two before committing to an event that took over 6 months of training. I could not have done it without a very detailed training plan from my coach. His coaching was a 40th birthday present from my wife and number one supporter, Samantha.