Ironman Sweden: I am a Kona Qualifier :)

If you haven’t seen my race recaps yet, where have you been? Just kidding (not really) – you can find them here, here AND here!


Firstly, I want to do my thank yous…without these guys I wouldn’t have even made the start line. In no particular order so please don’t fight:

  • A massive thank you to Planet X for the bike that got me through a tough and mentally windy 112 mile bike course! And for understanding the reason I wrote off your first TT bike you sent me. 
  • Helen Strachan, THE BEST physio I have EVER come across! I pretty much moved in there the first month after the accident and she put in a fair shift trying to get my knee to bend again. She didn’t even mind touching that horrific new scar of mine! She is a legend and now a great friend!!
  • Gordon, Gregor and COAST for re-teaching me how to swim (I am now only 15 seconds off my lifetime best for 100m free! haha) and helping me to be 1st out of the water in Sweden. There is so much work still to be done in that discipline again so you will see me back on poolside at 5.30am soon in the future. Maybe. 😉
  • Steven Miles at Holburn Cycles for his ridiculous stories and advice. This weeks’ stories involved a midnight bike race/scavenger hunt around Aberdeen trying to find outrageous clues, such as purchasing the item belonging to a given barcode in a 24 hour supermarket (it was bag of ice), and choosing his “favourite” page in an abandoned cottage (page being of a p0rn magazine in a building in the countryside)…the things he gets up to! I digress.
  • Phil Mann and Callum Walker for continual check ups on me throughout my rehab , Freyja Prentice (who has another inspiring story of 13th at the Modern Pentathlon European Champs after nearly breaking her leg!) and her fam for whisking me away for some TLC, and EVERYONE else who has continued to rescue me for coffee and cakes, come round for catch ups, or send me such kind words. I love and appreciate every single one of you!
  • Mum, Emma, Kyle and Keith of course!! I would be a mess if I didn’t have their support. They deserve my trophy more than anyone for putting up with an injured drama queen all summer! ❤

Heroes Hour of the Ironman was pretty spectacular. Those guys who have been going for nearly 16 hours truly are heroes in my eyes. I think 10 or so hours is a long time to be out there on a race course, but me going at “race effort” for 16 hours?! That sounds even more painful! The same applies to the marathon; I am going as hard as possible for 26.2 miles but it takes me just under 3 hours. Those guys who push themselves as hard as possible for 26.2 miles in 4 or 5 hours deserve a larger medal in my eyes (seriously, you should see me at finish lines…I get so teary-eyed!)!

After a long ice bath (I’m sure the water sizzled as I entered it, I was so hot!), a light massage, and having grabbed a beer (non-alcoholic…don’t worry, it was put straight back) and a few slices of pizza (that was not put back and was inhaled in seconds) in the athletes’ finisher area, I met my support crew and they helped me with EVERYTHING (collecting bike, carrying bags, holding me up) as I hobbled my way back to the hotel.

When I arrived back at the room, I should really have showered but instead I READ EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR MESSAGES and cried my eyes out! Poor Kyle had a lot to deal with this holiday! A quick shower later (I didn’t want to be alone – I hadn’t talked much in over 10 hours and I wanted lots of attention for doing so well!!) and I put my legs up on the bed while Mum and Keith came in and told me they hadn’t eaten all day out of following me/spectating/anxiety, so they were going to grab food, so we headed to the canteen (where there was a massive spread and a LOT of fajitas were demolished).

Coach Noodles called me to go over the race with me and for once I actually detected some pride in his voice! I had achieved the unachievable; never mind the Ironman, I put a smile on Scott Neyedli’s face. I also chatted to his girlfriend (who I can confirm is real!) who was soooo nice and I can’t wait to meet her (yes I am coming over to visit, Scott. Get your spare room ready).

When we finally made our way back to the finishing line, the crowds were so loud and excited, myself included! It was just after 11pm and it was like a massive party! When the final runners came in together, and the commentator announced that one was a successful Ironman, having completed the course in 15hours59minutes, he also announced that the last athlete crossing the line that day had done so in 16hours0minutes and a couple of seconds, not being able to be called an Ironman. I think every single one of the thousands of spectators’ hearts sank. The silence was deafening. In my eyes if you cross that line, who are an Ironman.

After that last athlete came in, the fireworks started, which still gives me a lump in my throat thinking about it. They represented so much to me (and on top of that they were SUPER romantic!) – I don’t think in that moment I have ever been happier or more proud of myself, and I had accomplished had finally sunk in.

Ok, back to the fun stuff: the following day, I woke up STARVING!!!! Phil was fidgety all night so was up and already having breakfast in the canteen, so as soon as I woke up I met him straight away (pretty much in my pjs and I had certainly not bothered to look in the mirror yet) and I left Kyle to join us later! That morning was when Swedish meatballs have never tasted so good!

We decided a walk would do us good, so after packing up (Keith dismantled my bike – thank yoooou!), we said goodbye to Mum and Keith (they headed to Stockholm earlier than us to have more time there – and probably get rid of the kids for a few extra hours…we wanted to stay for the awards banquet – for obvious reasons!) and headed to the shop to spend a ridiculous amount of money on all the Ironman-branded stuff I could find. I am a sucker for marketing.

Kyle bought me a bright hoody so everyone can see I did an Ironman (I WILL be “that” guy when you next see me!), and I bought some tshirts, cycling stuff and a visor (I think I may have been the only person out of 3,000 competitors that day not wearing a visor).

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(what Mum had been wearing the previous day…no wonder I spotted her!)

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(I didn’t buy this one, HOWEVER look at the other Moore in the race – I want to be called SKEETER!!)

The three of us then ventured to Ben & Jerry’s to get cinnamon bun ice cream (new flavour! Delicious!) because we had had breakfast a whole 30minutes ago and were hungry again, then to the Coop (actually pronounced “coop” funnily enough) for train snacks (can you see a theme here), then realised our priorities may have needed readjusting as the ceremony had already started. In a taxi we go straight to the banquet.

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(I love ice cream)

Winner! We get a table at the back with no people on it (I think a lot of people had headed home, considering it was already noon and Kalmar is pretty hard to get to) which was full of ALCOHOLIC beer this time! We watched a quick slide show of maybe 20-30 photos of the day, and I was on 1 of the slides – just me! What are the odds?! It was a close up of me swimming with my brightly coloured nails (that matched my Planet X fluorescent bike!) with a Scottish flag and Swedish flag on each 4th finger) – hope I can find it again!

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(yep, and I was caught eating yet again. Chicken and beer this time. Gotta have protein and electrolytes post race)

Then it was time for the Kona slots and awards for top 3 in each age group.

This is where I have some news to tell you. I didn’t accept my place at Kona, and it went to 3rd, hence why she is wearing the Hawaiian flower lei around her neck and not me.

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Why?

Because if I want to go all the way to Hawaii to compete in the World Championships with the best people in the world, I want to be the best Debbie I can be. And after the summer I have had, I am not anywhere CLOSE to that. I’m sure you can all appreciate how mentally and physically tough this year has been for me and, as I have said a bazillion times, health comes first. I have plenty time and hopefully I can qualify again when I am fully fit and ready to COMPETE and not COMPLETE the world champs!

…I can still milk that I qualified though, right?! 😉

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