Time flies and Ironman Wales was a month ago and I’ve now been able to reflect on what happened during the race, what I’ve learnt and what changes I’d make for my next event.
The key incident during IM Wales was having my perscription swimming goggles broken by being kicked in the face by someone doing breast stroke, 15 minutes into the swim.
I realise now how easy it would have been just to give up at that point, the challenge too hard to continue, swimming 1500m in the sea with stinging eyes and very little vision (being very short sighted).
But giving up was not really an option, I’d trained so hard, the effort and money, just to get onto the start line. I just had to focus on the fact that “anything is possible” to quote Ironman. You can’t train or be coached for these sort of incidents because they are rare and random. But looking back I have to take some of the blame.
One of the key factors for me being able to carry on without panic and anxiety, was the trust I had in myself, equipment and most important the visualisation of the swim course which like a map guided me with limited sight.
Next time round, I will make sure I’m waiting to start that bit earlier, so don’t get caught amongst breast strokers, I will be carrying a spare pair of googles, stuffed down my leg and ensuring a proper course recce and sighting points.
Any athlete taking on a challenge, should at some point expect the unexpected and have the fortitude to be able to deal with the situation as best and as safely as possible. Whatever the circumstances your safety is paramount and with a bit of luck when things happen you come out the other side a stronger, wiser athlete and person.