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Penny Comins returns to Tenby
Posted by: Penny Comins
Posted on: Wednesday 28th May 2014


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In her latest update, Kona-bound Penny Comins heads to Wales for a BIG weekend of training, revisiting Tenby and the Ironman Wales bike course she last rode three years ago at the first edition of that race. "If you call yourself mad then this is your course", she reckons.

No wonder she enjoys it, as an athlete who casually dropped in the line midway through this blog that she'll be doing the Norseman Xtreme as a "pre-sharpener race for Kona", as if that is 'normal'?!


Road to Kona #3 - Back to Tenby...

Never say never unless you mean maybe when the pain subsides and the memory fades a bit. This said, I did still feel a clammy sweat come over me as the sign said 'Welcome to Pembrokeshire'. What was I doing back here and with my bike in tow?

Ironman Wales hit the circuit in 2011. I was on board almost a year out and while everyone else gradually pulled out over the summer after course recce's and the gruelling Activity Wales Long Course Weekend, I hung in there. I pinned all my hope on qualifying at this new race.

My reasoning was valid; it was at the end of the season when most had already peaked, it was a qualifying race for the following year in Kona, the start was nowhere near any international airport and the hedgehog-like profile would scare off most. I was going to train specifically for the hills, know the course and get that Kona spot.

How wrong I was. The swim was changed to the North Beach due to a huge storm rolling in. I was calm with this, having experienced the swim being cancelled at Ironman New Zealand in 2006. What I wasn't ready for was the bike and then the gruelling run after. I ran an angry 3.41 marathon, but still finished well down the rankings.

Penny Comins at the Endurance Life CTS half

Here I was back again to run the Endurance Life CTS half (a loose half at 15.6miles) marathon followed by the Presli Angel Sportive on Sunday. Charging around both was a blast and great hill training for Norseman Xtreme Triathlon; a pre-sharpener race for Kona. The sportive had a great feed station where we were handed out musettes as we rode past, Tour de France style.

Penny Comins on the Presli  Angel SportiveMy legs ached in my sleeping bag and the coffee meant I had to get out of the tent and start the wild MSR cooker; an effort. Yet the training program stated a five hour ride. I know what it takes and some days you just have to get on with it and see how it goes. Many don't and fall short of their goals. My boyfriend was walking like a cowboy, suffering from DOM's. So a quick double cake stop in Tenby and we were off, Maxifuel powering us along.

Amazing how the memory blazes back and soon I was spouting off about where the photographers were, when I took the heat pads out of the legs of my shorts and which climbs were coming next. A few wrong turns, another double cake stop and a few rain showers later we were back in Tenby. I had done it, revisited the dreaded bike course and come to the conclusion that it is hard, up there with the toughest on the circuit. Summed up by my boyfriend who has been a professional cyclist for 10 years and done three Ironman's himself "I will NEVER do this course, running a marathon after that? You have got to be mad."

If you call yourself mad then this is your course.

11 weeks to Norseman and 22 to Kona. Big week planned as I settle in to a routine and start a three week build phase.

Challenge Weymouth Coverage

Penny Comins


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