RACE WEEK - RACE PLAN. . . .
Last Saturday I was asked to speak to over 350 people in Belfast, to share my journey over the last few years with MS. It was a very privileged position for me to be in as it was the MS SOCIETY annual information day in my home city of Belfast. Ive spoken all over Europe this past few years, but theres nothing beats speaking to people from home and sharing some ideas and thoughts. Thankfully the talk went down very well and it reinforced and drove home how important it is for me to continue to fight adversity, continue to share a message of hope, and to continue to share a message of wellbeing and looking after yourself.
The focus point of my talk was 3 points (1) Hope (2) Attitude (3) Never to Give Up.
Tomorrow i board an aeroplane with my family all set for Majorca as on Saturday (and I never thought i would be saying this) I am competing in IRONMAN 140.6 in Majorca along with 3000 other athletes. Its been an amazing journey to get here, probably five years if the truth be told, but for me its going to be a game changer in my own life and journey.
Those who know me best will know that like everything in my life, I will be working to a plan. I have detailed below, how I hope to get to the finish line on Saturday night.
SWIM - 2.4MILES
18 months ago I had my first swimming lesson. I was wrecked after 50 metres and didn't fancy it at all. But you know what, I stuck with it, and slowly but surely I got stronger, and stronger and stronger. At 7am on Saturday morning, I plan to enter the water and take my time through the first 15 minutes staying well out of arms length from my fellow competitors. Thats the plan anyway. The idea of getting whacked with an elbow or foot is not appealing and wouldn't be a great start to the day. Hopefully after 30 minutes or so I will find some rhythm and relax in the water. I think I will be in the sea some 90 minutes (90minutes too long for me) and for most of it I will be concentrating on my technique, thinking as positive as possible, hoping not to fall in with any sharks or other not so welcoming sea monsters...!!!!
BIKE - 112 MILES
After the swim I will go to transition 1 and get a quick dry off, then pack my gear, take all of my food with me and set off on what should be a 6/7 hour bike ride. I plan to try and get as relaxed as possible on the bike asap, and settle into the race, taking in the whole atmosphere. The crowd at this point should be amazing and the adrenline should get me pumping. Every 30minutes I will be eating on the bike to make sure I have enough energy to keep me going. I will need to get some 10,000 calories into me through the next 10 hours so its crucial I nail my nutrition. The bike is very tough and cycling for hours on end is one hell of a challenge both mentally and physically, but I hope I will remain strong for the duration.
RUN - 26.2MILES
I expect to be in transition 2 around 4pm and there I will do a quick change, get some food and drink into me, and set off for my marathon. I am planning on running the first half very slow, and hopefully take stock at mile 10 to see where I'm at and how I'm feeling. I know my mind will be taking me to many dark places in the run, but its nowhere I haven't been before so when I am there, I will reverse out asap and keep putting one foot in front of the other. My children will be at the race and I hope to see them there shouting like crazy with there "My Daddy is an IRONMAN" t-shirts on, that should keep me moving. I also know my mum will be singing the rosary the whole day looking on, and I also will find this somewhat comforting.
IRONMAN is accepted to be one of the toughest endurance races a man can face. On Saturday I am that man.
All I know is that if I apply the 3 key points from my talk in Belfast last Saturday, HOPE, ATTITUDE & A NEVER GIVE UP approach - I will get over the line on Saturday night. Thats my race plan.
Why am I doing this - well there are lots of reasons and most of them very personal, but heres 3 good ones;
1 - To prove to myself that despite living with Multiple Sclerosis, I can lead a positive, powerful life
2 - To encourage anyone who is fighting adversity right now, with the right plan and approach, you can get through it and move forward with your life
3 - To raise awareness of MS across the world, and some funds for the MS SOCIETY
To date I have had some incredible support. If you would like to sponsor me for the last 20 weeks and 6 challenges I have undertook, please visit my page www.justgiving.com/conor-devine2