Well the day of the Ironman event had arrived and the alarm went off at 0300 to wake us up but having not slept very much we were already awake. A quick bite to eat and the first energy drink of the day and then we were off to catch the bus from Bolton Wanderers football ground to Pennington Flash for the start and the swim.
Once there, following a quick check of the bikes, we changed into our wet suits and made our way with the other 1500 competitors to start of the swim. I would love to say I was looking forward to the swim but having been on a course for six weeks and been able to swim was making me very nervous. Would I fail at the first event? I was about to find out!
We made our way into the dark waters and immediately got separated and this was the last time I would see Nick until the marathon. The start horn sounded and we were off, all nerves forgotten as we set off in what can only be described as being in a washing machine as everyone made a dash for the first buoy. My nerves were unfounded and I emerged from the water after 2 laps in 1 h 42 minutes. I looked around for Nick but there were was no sign of him (I found out later he lost his goggles at the start and had to swim the entire 2.4 miles without them).
I got on the bike full of confidence and was off - the weather was nice, the sun was out and all I had to do now was cycle 112 miles and run a marathon!! I reached the start of the 3 laps in good time and ascended the dreaded hill for the first time, 2 miles up onto the Lancashire moors; steep but I made it and made it another 2 times before getting off the bike 7 and half hours after getting on it. I still felt good and was soon running in my first ever marathon after completing the longest cycle I had ever done and not forgetting my first ever open water swim.
The sun was out in full force now and 26.2 miles was long and hard but as I started my second lap, I saw Nick just coming onto the course and he shouted encouragement and this spurred me on. As I ran into Bolton city centre, the crowd were cheering and I filled with emotion as I spotted my fiancé in the crowd. 2 More laps and I was running down the finishing straight to become an Ironman - 14 Hours and 31 Minutes I had been on the course.
I had won many mental and physical battles on the way but I had done it. I waited for Nick to finish and cheered him in along with the thousands of supporters and there we were two Ironmen tired, sunburnt and proud; we had done it and raised over £500 for charity along the way.
We would like to thank all our supporters, especially our families, for tolerating the endless hours of training and Cyclosure/Towergate Wilson for their generous sponsorship and support. All I have to say now is, bring on the next one or maybe two as I am planning on attempting two iron distance races next year.