IronMan is the toughest one-day endurance race on the planet.
2.4 miles open water swim followed by
112 mile climbing bike ride followed by
26 mile full marathon run - all on one day and you have to hit certain time markers on the day to be allowed to continue.
The fourth discipline is the mental strength - everything screams at you to stop.
And the fifth is the nutrition needed just to keep going and to recover. Your body cries out for repair. Without my Juice Plus+ I simply wouldn’t be able to do this!
It’s utterly mind boggling tough, only 0.01% of the population ever complete an Ironman - and that’s the challenge that drew me to it.
12 months ago I had never swam outdoors, I couldn’t ride a bike and could probably jog about a mile....
I was fit though, lifted weights and worked out every day...
I accidentally found myself a spectator of this event in my local town and I was gripped by the monumental effort these people were going through.
My daughter Molly who was 10, Said “you could do this mummy” and so the seed was planted.....
I bought a bike...
I joined a Triathlon club
And I entered the 2018 UK IronMan giving myself 10 months to train.
I found a good coach, I spoke to IronMan survivors, I soaked up as much info as possible.
I spoke to my husband Mike to ask for his support, I knew this was going to take over our lives somewhat and I needed to know he would look after the kids while I was out training 3, 4, 5... up to 8 hours a day sometimes for 10 months.
He’s amazing and said Yes. Fortunately neither of us need to work in traditional jobs as we have Juice Plus+ franchises so I was able to do a lot of the training during the day when Molly and Shay (10 and were at school.
If I was still in my traditional career, I simply couldn’t have done this.
I realised quickly that as an ex competitive swimmer that that discipline was to be my strength, but that it’s also the shortest! The years of solitary training helped my headspace massively! So my coach told me “the bike is king” ... and I set to work mastering endurance and speed and some of the craziest awful steep long climbs I have ever seen. For many months I had to get off my bike and push it up the hills.... so frustrating!! So FINALLY when I mastered the first epic big climb I was elated.
I have cycled thousands and thousands of miles in horrendous weather, been utterly petrified of the descents, I’ve cried, tears of frustration and pain more than I care to remember.... but those moments of achieving something make it all worth it.
The mind-set you need to do an IronMan is unreal.
Missing weddings and days out, family get togethers and bbqs because you are training. I stopped drinking all alcohol 8 months ago!
The first time I swam in open water it was FREEZING... I was petrified and couldn’t get my breath at all, it’s scary but once you settle after the first kilometre it’s ok.
There’s just the small matter now of doing that with 2400 other people at 6am this weekend... I can’t even imagine it really.
And the run.... the marathon .... after swimming for hours, and then cycling 112 miles can you even imagine putting on your trainers and running a full marathon? It’s crazy really!! And guys it’s been so so hot!!!! I’ve been training recently in 30 degrees, simply staying hydrated is a challenge!!! And it’s a really hilly route too!! They don’t call it an Ironman for nothing!!!
But here we are.... just a few days away now.... the 15th July...from giving my everything to achieving what most people wouldn’t or couldn’t.
I’m very scared
I’m very excited
I’m truly emotional
I have a lump in throat
But I’m ready.
To hear those words.... 17 hours after starting at 6 in the morning.... at 11pm to hear those words “Emma Sneddon... you ARE an Ironman” .... that’s going to be incredibly overwhelming and emotional ... and it will all be worth it.