Alex has given me hope when I thought my Ironman race season wouldn’t happen due to chronic Achilles issues.
Declan, London

Alice’s Israman Race Report


(Photo credit: That Camera Man)

Having now won the event three times, it’s safe to say Israman is a special race for me. It’s not just the winning that makes it so special. I arrived for my third time to be greeted by the race organisers: “Alice, welcome home”.

The race itself is extreme. For the half irondistance we swim 1.9km in beautiful calm water (ok – that bit is not extreme at all!) before hoofing up a 12km climb on the bike at which point you begin the lap. It’s a bit of a mind game when you look down to see you’ve covered 20km and you’ve been racing for almost 2 hours already 😀

Once up the mountain, the cycling stays on the ridge which is exposed and undulating: and at that point the course profile matches the only type of bike course I excel on – rolling and rhythmical.

There you hit the elements. Last time I raced in 2016, it was a cool 3 degrees. This year, it was slightly warmer but we had 45mph gusts of wind for company. I just focussed on keeping tucked and aero and found I wasn’t ‘spooked’ like some of the other competitors – for windy conditions, the key is to keep pedalling and keep some tension in the bike, whilst keeping yourself relaxed.

Regardless, the bike took a while – 3 hrs came and went, and I realised I was a few minutes behind schedule for my sub 5 hr record attempt. I’d need a 1.13 half marathon to do it! No problem 😀

The beauty of Israman is that T2 is at the top of the mountain, so you get to run down what you rode up. 2.55 km pace in patches – Yayyyyyy. Weeeee. Wooooo….. OWWWWW. If not prepared, it shatters your legs, and then you have 9km at the bottom to limp through to the finish line. Israman is hilarious the day after the race – I’ve never seen such a collection of zombie-looking-walkers!

As in 2016, I practiced my downhill running before the race. Every week for a month I’d include some fast reps – starting at 4*2.5 mins in a longer run, and progressing to 20 mins as either one single effort (Tenerife allowed us this) or in reps where I would run down, and Darren would be out in the car ready to drive me back up to minimise the time between reps. Come race day, you have around 30 mins total downhill, broken up by some trail sections and a few ‘false flats’!

This was my third attempt to get down the hill in good shape, and this time, finally, it came good! I was able to finish with a 1.18.30 half marathon: 4 minutes quicker than I’ve ever been on that course and 2nd fastest from everyone. Very pleased with that.

Finishing in 5.03.58 was not disappointing whatsoever. I came close to sub 5 in 2014 (5.00.38) but we didn’t realise then how perfect the conditions were (it being our first time). Israman always throws a good dose of mother nature your way, so I’ll just have to try again on a kind day 🙂

Thanks again to all the organisers of Israman and the athletes who I met so many of. It’s a fantastic event, beautifully organsied in a beautiful place with quality sponsors and mementos, and I can only strongly suggest that anyone reading this adds it to their bucket list!

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