Defeating IM Wales – with beer!

Adrian O’Brien was IMTalk’s Age Grouper of the Week a few weeks back having completed IMUK on 72 hours notice after ‘winning’ a competition on Facebook.  IM Wales chewed him up and spat him out in 2011, he wanted revenge.

“…As 1200 neoprene athletes walked down to the beach. I could feel the wind & thought. Shit this isn’t good. As always I’m sure lots felt the same. No one would mention it. As the Welsh nation anthem blasted out & I fought back the tears. The swim was horrific. Never before have I seen a few hundred (at the back with me) stop as we tried to get around the 1st buoy. 38mins for the 1st lap. I’m sure the wind & waves picked up for the 2nd lap. The run/jog walk up the 1km to T1 was a wall of sound from the crowd.

As I set off on the bike. I knew Kirsten O’brien and Haydyn,Mayson,Harry & Kitty would be waiting at our caravan park about 4miles out. It was amazing to see them at about 08:45. The 1st 30ish miles were easy as the wind was at our backs. Then at turn around. It became a struggle. The course is a bastard but the wind made it hard. At 80ish miles my gear lever snapped. So I was stuck in my 11cog on the rear. Walking up the hill to Narberth crying. I thought not again. Why does this happen to me. I thought about kicking the shit out of my bike. Then I thought of everyone in town waiting to see me. I struggled to Wiseman’s bridge. No way I could grind up 16% hill. Near the top a kind spectator sorted my cable so I was now stuck in the 25 cog. So I just spun my legs up Saundersfoot and on to the finish.
My run plan. Don’t walk the hills. Now 4 times up New Hedges is so tough. I walked every aid station. At mile 15 I’ve never felt as ill or light headed. During the run. I could only drink water/flat cola & pretzels. Again seeing Ian Dickens Colin SpartaCol Robertson and Gareth Law getting it done. Helped me. As I hit Tenby for the 3rd time Kirst & Jane gave me a snicker & full fat coke. This really helped. The cheers from the crowd & high 5’s from kids really helped. What really settled my stomach was a half pint of Kronenburg from Richard L Lewis! The support & man hugs from rich & Jason (DavMort) were just what I needed.
I ran with Gareth & the chatting took my mind off the pain. Also his kind words. Stop complaining and get it done. I had Chris McCormack saying don’t be shit. Ringing in my head. Along with my phones ringtone… From
An old podcast… “Get your arse of the frigging sofa & train” Seeing Kirst and the kids as I hit the red carpet was the biggest lift of the day. To hear Paul Kaye shout “You are an Ironman” & see Tracey Robertson Brian Thomas White at the finish rounded off the day. So sub 14 hrs ( I should have been quicker) the support has been unreal. I still have unfinished business with Tenby hey if ironman was easy they would call it football…. So today I have the ironman shuffle. The 5 hr drive home was a killer.”