Ironman Tallinn race report: Craig Patterson


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I’ve now completed 5 Iron distance races and this is by far the calmest I have ever been. I slept well, I was relaxed and didn't have any of those crazy butterfly’s. It felt like Roth in 2018 though with less self-induced pressure, I knew I was ready, though the bike was always an unknown as it was a bike I'd loaned off a good frined of mine. A little trepidation about the swim just because IM Arizona was so crap.

Good, good place and I think I need to relax in training life and just roll with the punches that come, let’s be honest it didn’t come in three’s, it come it about twelve this time.

Swim: Good start and felt good throughout and fully making progress through the field. Not much feet to follow as you couldn’t see your hands due to sediment etc, but the temperature was pretty perfect for me. I missed a buoy so went about 50m off course which meant my swim wasn't under the magic 1hr but I’m told it was long by the boys with watches and officially its logged at 3.9km. Happy with the swim - Came out with James Elgar who I started close to which means I was on form as I’ve been chasing his feet all winter at NEWT club swimming.

  • Time: 1:01:24 (AG: 6th & Overall: 57th)

Bike: Out onto the Green Goblin (the loaned bike!). My Garmin shut down so I switched to my watch quickly so I was still able to ride on Power, this just made feeding difficult due to notifications not programmed in like on the bike computer, but these things happen and need to crack on and actually in the end I ended up drinking & feeding to feel which seemed to work as I nailed all my gels and food. Not so great on fluid still. 

Fast start and kept with James but decided to let him go. After a chat with one of our REME guys, Al Fortune; I decided to keep my powder dry and just drop my wattage a little especially as we knew it was going to be a windy day as it was a North Easterly which meant head or cross winds all day with only minimal tail winds.

73 m 100904191 DIGITAL HIGHRES 3070 054254 31321797The wind was getting up on the first lap though seemed to be making progress. This wasn’t going to be the 4:50 bike course the Boss & John were talking about pre-race having done it last year. Still didn’t mean it wasn’t going to be quick but it certainly put the sub 9:30 in doubt. Just keep on those pedals.

Onto the 2nd lap and oh boy that wind is now up and gusting. Time to dig in and just stay on the power without blowing matches, it was all about pushing/holding the number. This course is just relentless no easing off, no breaks as it is so flat, the little climbs were a such a relief just to get out the saddle for 20s or so. The wind is brutal and once I turned off that final out & back it’s a strong headwind pushing against you all the way back to T2. Due to my position in the race that final 10km into T2 felt like a personal closed road as there was no one around me, this was awesome!

Lynz is on the run into T2 with a few ATA supporters, gave her a High 5 & great to see her. Off the bike and the hips are working, legs tired as expected but in a good place. SUB 5hrs Baby!

  • Time: 4:56:59 (AG: 8th & Overall: 45th)

Run: The aim was 4:45/Km pace. I was feeling good, just need to keep my matches for when this run really starts to bite. Steady running, getting out onto the course but once up onto the main run path new I was speeding up when I saw an Army guy/girl or James/Rich, you just get that bust of adrenaline and it is so difficult to control. Making sure I’m getting fluid onboard at the aid stations - no coke in the first half just water and a bit on slat from my special needs bag.

Great first half marathon BUT too fast. Saw the time and shit it’s going to hurt this second half marathon.

The second half of the Marathon hurt, the cobble section at the bottle half through old town was killing my knees/IT band & ankles. Just kept moving forward. I am slowing but I’m still going and hitting the aid stations for Coke & Water. I’m hurting but doing ok. Get that last lap band over that mini cobble section at T2 and it’s so painful. Three hills to go, first one done get coke, downhill onto the second one, probably quicker tabbing but ran up then the false flat round the dead turn and downhill to the last aid station. I’m not stopping.... momentum. Through and then it’s cobbles to the end.96 m 100904191 DIGITAL HIGHRES 3070 077679 31321820

Great support in the old town and up that last cobble hill OUCH. Round the bend and bang its Home straight. Picking it up great ATA support and I see the carpet passing Lynz then enjoy the finish. Through the finish and so ecstatic!

Definitely the best Ironman run I have put together. It’s what I wanted out of the day. Not the 3:29:59 I hoped for but that was a tough run course. 

  • Time: 3:33:27 (AG: 9th & Overall: 50th)

Summary: What a great race. Can’t put into words how happy I am with this race. With everything that has gone on too come up with a performance like that is was fantastic. IM Estonia still has that small intimate feel but with the Ironman razzmatazz, the local support where great and I can’t rate the race director highly enough for getting the full swim at another location when it became apparent that the Baltic sea was going to be too cold and the swim would be cancelled.

What a weekend, great race, great people and great city!