Sunday, December 20, 2009

Enjoying recovery.

I must say straight up that I have really relaxed this last week after a week of looking for that 1 minute. And that 1 minute I will not be able to find as I had a great race. As I have said to everyone, when someone gives you 25minutes start at the beginning of the marathon and catches you, well they deserved it more than I did!!! That is well and truly in the back round and something that I will not dwell on moving forward.

I have settled into recovery and held a BBQ for a few close friends yesterday to let the hair down and have a few quiet ones. The mid afternoon "do" was just what I needed to officially close my year off and leave it all behind. A reflection of my year will be in the next few blogs, but for now, a fair bit of R&R is taking place.

Training has been on the back burner with only a few runs done, 1 ride, 2 hours on the roadie followed by a fun and 3 hour entertaining ride on the MTB. (Entertaining for Stormy & Jas at my inability to handle to MTB!!!) 2 swims just to tick the arms over is also all that has taken place since WA.

I will have a reasonably solid week leading into Christmas and then relax for the following few days. I, like another blogger Ryan Barnett have asked Santa for a similar present this year; An improved run off the bike!!! I am hoping that mine arrives in March at New Zealand.

As for now, I have started to look at a training schedule and also a few lead in races to New Zealand. I should be able to finalise my schedule by the end of the week. One thing that I am also going to change next year is to post regularly about my training. To post what I have done and how I have felt doing it. A reflection is something that you can do so that you know what you can change in the future.

For Now...


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WA Roundup

Where to start?

Well I will start from the race and work backwards. So if you are not interested in all the pre race crap, you only have to read my race report:

Ironman #2, Western Australian Ironman #2.

Race day weather: 25-30 kmh winds, temp 32 deg Celsius.

A lot windier and hotter than last year.

With the pier being under construction, it made for a very weird swim start with majority of swimmers choosing to start from the left which made for a swallow start and the minority (like myself) starting closer to the pier, deep water start.

The race started and I found myself in a really good groove early with not many people around me due to the spilt start, however I did know that eventually, there would be some crash and bash. About 600m into the swim where the two groups merged, the crash and bash began. (I still to this day don't know why people engage in this, surely they realise that it is a waste of energy and you lose momentum very quickly??) Obviously not, so trying to avoid this, I slowed down to the rear of the pack so that I would continue to get dragged through the water without having to fight for position. This tactic worked fr me, as I found myself passing swimmers at a regular rate up to the end of the pier.

Race Plan #1: Stay out of trouble in swim - Check

So, after reaching the end of the pier and heading back towards Tera firma, I was unsure which direction to take, last year I took the most direct route, with minimal others. This year I decided to be a sheep and follow the pack. The thought process was hopefully a few stronger swimmer were towing my pack along and I would continue to get a good drag. I would only know the answer of this once I got to the end of the swim. A bit more crash and bash occurred in the later part of the swim, but nothing to worry me. Once I got the beach and stood up, I looked at my watch and saw 56 min 35 sec with only the short beach run to go til transition.

Actual swim time: 57min 03 sec, 30th in my age (Yes 30th, a lot of good swimmers)

I was very happy with my swim and once in and out of transition 1min 57 sec (Fastest in age) I was on the bike.

Race Plan #2: On the bike in under 1 hour - Check

So onto the bike, trying to get some sort of gauge of where I was at. The only time that I would be able to find this was by a turn around, so I decided to follow the same plan as last year and ride solid for the first hour until I found a position that I was content with. Managed to get the first 40k done in 1 hour and 35 sec. Perfect, everything was feeling right and my race plan was once again falling into place. I found myself riding with the second age group pack and when I saw the leading age group pack not far up the road, I decided that I would rather ride with them, also seeing a few Category "c" riders in the second pack, I knew that I need time at the start of the run to be any chance.

So, halfway through the second lap, I rode away from the pack and rode up to the leading age groupers. The remaining lap on the bike was making sure that nutrition was still going in as the weather was heating up and I wanted to make sure that I had a good amount (without going overboard) for the start of the run. Coming in to T2, I composed myself to make sure, no mistakes were to be made so close to the end of the bike with a tough marathon to come.

Actual Ride time: 4hrs 43min 43sec (1st in age group and 16th overall)

Race Plan #3: Enter T2 with leading age groupers: Check

So with a smooth T2, I was off on the marathon, sitting 3rd in my age, 30th overall. I had no idea of this until later in the day, after my support crew was receiving regular updates from a lot of you informing of my actual position on course. I was confident of running faster than last year even though the conditions this year were tougher. Everything was going smooth in the run, with nutrition and how my legs were feeling until the 25k mark. Things started to get really tough at that stage. The weather started to get to me and my decision making about nutrition and when to walk, when to run, became quite unclear. So after regular encouraging from athletes and supporters I composed myself to just get to an aid station, walk and consume, walk and consume, then plod to the next one and repeat the process.

At the commencement of the final lap, Carla informed me that I was still in 3rd with 1st and 2nd not far up the road and if I held firm I should be able to hold on. Heading towards the final turnaround point, I actually had visions of many Ironman races where you see a leader slow to a walk. I gained some confidence as I passed a fellow "c" category athlete which meant I was into 2nd. Never ever would I have thought that this was possible. I pushed on, maybe too hard and just as I approached the turn around point I was passed and was back into 3rd. This did no faze me as all I had to do was keep "hanging in there". I started to look for other athletes on the return to see how much time I had on them (this is a sign of weakness and my only mistake for the day.....JUST WORRY ABOUT MY OWN RACE!!!) Never will this be repeated again.

So just to aid station, I walked, consumed and consumed some more: Water, Ice, Cola, Ice etc. With having no idea of how much time I had between myself and 4th, I started to really suffer and found myself walking between aid stations. Once again I received support from fellow athletes and supporters. Benny, coming the other direction handed me some ice and told my that if I wanted the Kona spot, I had to move my ass. I ran/walked/ran/walked as best I could. Coming to the 2nd last aid station, I was still in 3rd position, however I knew that the time gap was closing, and I tried to keep going.

Ok, this is where it gets really hard:

Within the final 1.5k being still in 3rd, this didn't last for long. Little did I know, there was another battle happening behind me with 2 guys in my age group, racing each other for the last part of the run. So, by the time they caught me, the pace was just too fast for me to stay with. I knew that I had fallen into 5th place and was determined not to drop any more spots. It would not have done me justice to finish any lower than 5th.

Coming into the finish chute, mixed emotions started to run through my mind, knowing that my Automatic Kona spot was within 1.5k from the finish and I felt like I dropped it. I crossed the line in:

9hrs 23min 03sec with a run time of 3hrs 38min 13sec.

So a Pb overall by 3min 47 sec and a run pb of 3min 8 sec. Now how could I be disappointed?

The fact that Kona was only 1 min in front of me?? What about the poor guy who beat in the sprint and missed by 7 sec??

From 2nd to 5th, the gap was only 3min 40sec. So close after so long.

I have replayed the race over and over in my head since then to try and find the lost minute.....Can I????

No, I had another perfect race day with a PB in 2 legs and overall. I managed to also finish 36th overall. Not bad for my 2nd Ironman.

Will this affect me mentally? NO CHANCE, just gives me more drive and motivation.

My plans from here are to blog about the pre-race week including my Top 10 Favourite moments. I will have a few weeks off to recover then sit down and plot a race schedule leading into IRONMAN NZ.

I am also considering a Triathlon Running coach, to assist me in the later part of the marathon. So If there is anyone out there interested, drop me a line to discuss.

Other than that, nothing will be changing for me. I train to race and enjoy what I do, having a great result proves that you can enjoy the sport and get results.

Too many people stress about minor issues that gives them excuses for under performances.

For Now...


Thursday, December 3, 2009

2 days til Ironman #2.

I thought that I would jot a few things down, now that I have settled in at Busso, WA. The week has gone really well with registration out of the way and carb loading about to begin. We (Benny & I + Support crew) have the carb loading party tonite, in which we will go and enjoy again, for two reasons. To get out of the unit and to save cooking and cleaning after dinner!!

The body is feeling good, the equipment is set up and rearing to go and my nutrition strategy is locked away also. I just have to conserve as much energy as I can now to be as ready as I can for Saturday.

My lead up has gone according to plan, with a PB at Shepparton 1/2 Ironman 3 weeks ago, running a 4 min pb after a 1 min pb on the bike. My swim was slower, however due to being a non wetsuit swim, that was to be expected. I was very happy with my swim and how I have also felt in the water since that race.

Today is a full day of R & R with 2 small session just to make sure the body keeps ticking over. I have a great support crew here with me, Carla, fresh form racing at Kona, with plenty of experience of what to do in lead ups, and Dodge (AKA Nath, my little bro) who decided to venture across to watch instead of going to schoolies. I promised him a great time afterwards to thank him for it. I know that plenty of others will be following online. My race number is 254. Feel free to send through updates to my phone as the support crew will be in control of it.

For now...


PS. I will post again pre race.