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27 August 2015 Gazette 23


HEALTH challenge: ‘The best race ever’

Ironman? Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!  suzanne sheehy

NOW I can say it... I’m a finisher! It feels great to have faced down one my most difficult challenges to date. Since registering for the Ironman 70.3 Dublin in November 2014 along with over 2,500 athletes, I was set and ready to go on Sunday, August 9. I faced into a 1.2 mile (1.9km) swim, a 56 mile (90km) bike ride and a 13.1 mile (21.1km) run. As a two-year member of Fingal triathlon club I competed regularly. Since I now knew the triathlon it was time for a new challenge. Here was my opportunity. The Ironman 70.3 Dublin was special. First, Ironman is a global brand having its first outing in the Irish capital. You couldn’t miss these guys arriving in

their 40ft trucks only days before the event! It was also a chance to swim in Scotsman’s Bay, Dun Laoghaire, cycle through Dublin, Fingal, Meath, Kildare through closed roads and conclude with a run in Europe’s largest city park, Phoenix Park. D u r i n g my e i g h tmonth journey towards the 70.3, my training involved many Triathlon Ireland events along with Howth Aquathons. This helped prep me for the big day, helping me to try out different foods/gels/bars and find what agreed with my stomach. It also helped me identif y appropriate race gear. On the day, I had old reliables to sustain me rather than newbies! At times my confidence was knocked and I questioned my ability. For example, in one Escape from Ireland

You couldn’t miss these guys arriving in their 40ft trucks

2km Open Water event, I had difficulty with strong currents and finished – exhausted – in 75 minutes knowing the cut-off for the Ironman 70.3 swim was 70 minutes. A bad day – but an invaluable learning curve. When race day finally arrived, conditions were perfect. So many thoughts crowded into my head. I was jumping up and down on the spot not to keep warm but because of the nerves. This was a big goal race! I took comfort in knowing I was surrounded by many novices. T he horn went, I jumped into the water complete with timing chip which was fastened to my left ankle with the velcro strap. We were well and truly off. As we all began to settle into a rhythm, I managed to separate from the crowd and find some

Take care of your heart

Women urged to care for heart health

Members of Fingal Triathlon Club competing in the Ironman 70.3 Dublin. From left to right JP McKenna, David Freeman, Suzanne Sheehy, Dave Harris, Conrad O’Dea

THE Irish Heart Foundation’s September Heart Month is fast approaching and this year’s campaign is focusing on women and heart disease. In the run up to heart month, the Irish Heart Foundation is promoting a number of facts and tips on women’s heart health. Cardiovascular disease is the numberone killer of women in Ireland – yet less than one in five women know this. -----------------------

‘High blood pressure is a silent risk factor and a serious risk for stroke’


The bike race saw competitors to travel through Dublin and west of the city through Meath and Kildare. Picture: Colm Bellew

space. Occasionally, I felt someone tugging at my leg or I got a few knocks on the head from another swimmer. Nothing to do but plough on. I kept a check on the buoys to make sure I was on track. Last thing I wanted was to add needless kilometres by veering off course. Towards the end I felt the cold and was relieved when the swim was complete and I’d reached T1 (transition 1). Stripping off my wetsuit, I grabbed a gel – and the bike. I got into

a steady rhythm and my confidence grew. I knew I could do this. People cheered us along the 90km on as we hydrated at fluid stations en route. Great! As I entered Transition 2, I rushed to rack my bike and don my runners. The run was my strongest and most enjoyable moment. I kept a steady pace throughout. My family turned out in Phoenix Park along with Fingal club members. I crossed the finish line with an overall

time of 5:59:09. I swam 52:16, biked a 3:22:01, ran a 1:36:10. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Next day, I felt my pain. But it was good to know I’d finished and it made it all worthwhile. If I could bottle it, it would be worth gold! My evaluation? The best race I’ve ever experienced – and it was Dublin’s inaugural Ironman70.3 to boot. Congratulations to all those finishers and huge gratitude to all those who came to support everyone.

Also, menopausal women are at a high risk of developing heart disease or suffering from a stroke. The foundation is advising women to reshape their eating plans and stay active and healthy. According to the Irish Heart Foundation, high blood pressure is a silent risk factor and a serious risk for stroke. For this reason, its annual blood pressure roadshow will return in September, visiting approximately 50 locations nationwide. For further information on heart health and heart month, see

Profile for Suzanne Sheehy

Published Article | Half Ironman