Friday, 2 October 2015

Of One Extraordinary day in the life of a retired Ironman

 An occasion rarely comes that big that the day before you just know you’ll always remember it. Into my bank of memories along with births, weddings, landmark birthdays, graduations and funerals I’ve had to add my first (and last) Ironman.

Ironman day started for me at 4.30a.m. for I had to eat at least two hours before the start of the race which was a good hour’s drive from where we were staying in France.
The race didn’t start well for me. I found myself just where I didn’t want to be for the swim : at the front and in the middle. I spent the first 30 minutes or so avoiding slaps, kicks and generally trying not to drown. But the swim achieved its objective which was to beat the disqualification time and make it to the bike. This was waiting for me in transition meticulously prepped to get me around the next 112 miles. It had to carry me and enough gear for me to eat and drink over the next 7 hours and cope with any Plan Bs I might need to activate in the event of something going wrong.

But nothing did go wrong. There were no crashes, no punctures just an awful lot of pedaling and sweat in the midday heat that hit and stayed at 35 degrees for far too long.

The 26.2 miles run was tough. But I knew it would be. What was uppermost in my mind was just how much risk I should take. I felt good in the run but I was passing people who were collapsing and getting carted off to hospital. My wife and 1 year old daughter were waiting nervously at the finish line for me. Why take unnecessary risk by running further than you have to when you don’t know exactly how much you have left in the tank? In the event I ran a bit and walked a bit and approached the finish at about 10.30p.m.

An Ironman finish is an extraordinary thing. You enter the purpose build stadium which belongs to you and no-one else. There you see hundreds of people all cheering for you, trying to high five you or just enjoying making you feel special.

As I crossed the finish the finish the commentator said “Congratulations! Barry Phillips you are an Ironman!

I thought to myself “Thanks I’m a retired one to” and went to collect my medal and a long cool drink.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Of Ironman Vichy Frnace 2015

Yey! I did it! In 15 and a half hours I got myself from start to finish. I've fully recovered but the wife and mother still have some way to go!

More to follow soon.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Of Strategy, Strategy, Strategy

I think an adviser to Tony Blair once said "It aint strategy until its written down" I've been going through my race strategy for tomorrow. So here it is written down for all to see.


Keep well away from the serious contenders. Start off at the back and avoid congestion spots. What I don't want is to end up in a medley of elbows, knees and feet and risk getting my head bashed. When half way and feeling comfortable start to gather some speed. In training I did the full distance a full 30 minutes inside the disqualification time so I should be okay here.

I need to keep reminding myself to swim intelligently. I need to glide through the water as much as power my way through. I will time my watch to sound every thirty minutes so I'll know roughly whether I'm where I should be a regular intervals.

Transition to bike - gargle and drink lots of water to get rid of the sea salt in my mouth and throat. Load up with energy gels and drinks and head off at a steady pace


Drink before I feel thirsty and take in energy gels - at least 3 each hour. Keep pace steady and conserve as much energy as possible for the run. During the last hour on the bike I need to eat as much as a can before the run. I've realised I can't hold down any food to speak of whilst running so all my eating for the run needs to be done on the bike.

With two miles to go I drop my gears to have my legs rotating around as much as possible to get them ready for walking/running again.

Transition to run -walk  really slowly as the legs get used to forward motion rather than just turning around and around.


This is when the whole event starts getting really serious. I'm expecting that at this point whether or not I conquer the race is down to what's in my head. I've been practicing the mind over matter bit extensively. See here 

My plan is to go for the fist 13 miles by running them without stopping. If I can take out half the marathon running I should be able to do the rest on foot.

I'm just hoping the weather is not too hot because  Mr. BP has never functioned well in heat. Ask any of my friends who have had to put up with an irritable Barry Phillips when the thermometer has hit more than 25 degrees.

Oh and to donate please click  here 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Of Reasons Why I WILL do This

Okay so here we are at T-Minus 3 and I'm beginning to doubt myself. I need to start thinking positively only. Let me try.

I will do this on Sunday because :

# I have trained for it (bar the last two weeks of injury)
# I have done all the prep and the gear is where it should be - with me!
# I've practiced the mental stuff and this will really help this wise old head get round on Sunday
# The diet has been excellent. No rubbish, loads of great vegetables and healthy fluids  - most of it organic.

I will do this. Repeat. I will do this.

To donate please click here

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Guest Blogger Barry the Younger

Hello Folks 

My name is Barry Corscaden.
I’m guest blogging for Barry because he's busy today flying out to France to get himself "in situ" for his own little "grand prix" (note the timely and clever use of French words there please..) on Sunday

– I don’t know the collective word for a pair of Barrys but I do know never to trust a Barrie !!

Barry the barrister (as we refer to him in our house) and I have been chums for best part 12-13 years now. We used to jog the walls of the maiden city (often deftly and cheerfully chatting whilst  dodging stones thrown playfully by japing youths !!) I remember when the kernel of the of what would become his company occurred  to him and true to his character – once interested in a thing – Barry decided to master it and promptly took on an online MBA while setting up a very demanding and complex business – years of 80 hour weeks passed and Barry built his biz into what its become now – proof,  if it was needed – of the old maxim of the formula of success being 1% inspiration and 99 % perspiration.

Barry didn’t think twice when I invited him hill walking in Austria a few years ago and likewise when he invited me to paddle a canoe form Antrim to Castlerock one May day weekend – I agreed without hesitation. When Barry told me he was going in for an Ironman competition – I didn’t doubt for a moment that he would achieve this – that’s what Barry does – he sets his mind and body to a task and he finishes it. He told me recently of his exhausting morning swimming regime he needed to do to prepare for the three mile swim he faces next weekend.  I was staggered when he told me that he and his fellow competitors are then going to saddle up and cycle a farther 112 miles and then , oh yes , the small matter of a marathon to run!

I can’t imagine the dedication and sacrifice of family time needed to make this possible but I do know that if anyone can Barry can. Cancer is a cruel blight on the lives of our selves and our loved ones – I was glad to see they were to be the beneficiaries of his noble endeavors. Good on you Bazza and may god speed go with you .

To donate and please donate he'll be so chuffed if you do I dare say he'll write and thank you personally as soon as he's recovered click here :

Barry Corscaden  

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Of Ironman and T-Minus 5 days to go..

Okay so we're at T-Minus 5 today before the Ironman on Sunday and I have to confess to a few butterflies already. However, I'm trying to work in some positives wherever I can.
I read a book on public speaking once and it gave me some very good advice I'm trying to apply here. It recommended that before a speech you should visualise any butterflies inside you lining up side by side. It said you should see this flotilla of beautiful creatures as your friends and on your side. Visualise them moving forward with you in harmony.The author pointed out that butterflies are also a sign that you are paying sufficient respect to the event you are about to face.
Butterflies it is then. All side-by-side, lining up nicely each and every single one of them!

To donate to my chosen charity please no butterflies just click here  Thank you!

Of Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

I learnt one really important thing when in Majorca earlier this year doing the Half Ironman and it was this. Many people don't finish events such as this because they didn't have a Plan B or, if they did, it just wasn't good enough to get them over the finish line.
If your goggles break in the swim, if you get a puncture on the bike or your muscles cramp in the run you have to have a well practiced Plan B ready to deploy right away. If you do have a Plan B and it is well practiced the transition from what was going well over the humped back bridge to your new path should be smooth enough.

Last night whilst preparing all the gear I worked out I have 8 Plan Bs in place only four of which have been practiced thus far so the remainder must be covered off before the big day on Sunday. I've realised too that I have a few Plan Cs just in case disaster strikes on Sunday and I end up really having to fight off a whole load of bad luck.

Happily donations are beginning to come in to the sponsorship fund so thank you to all who have generously contributed so far :

Just Giving