Monday, December 31, 2012

2012...My year of playing bridesmaid!

So, it is the end of 2012....Another year gone and a new one almost here.  Upon reflection of my year is has dawned on me that I played bridesmaid for most of the year..  It hasn't fazed me as I have had an0ther cracker of a year.  Probably right up there with 2011.

Here are a list of my bridesmaid performances:

Ironman Melbourne: 2nd fastest age group bike split for the day, 2nd age grouper into T2 and onto run, 2nd in the age group (30-34), 2nd TMC athlete across the line behind Greg Farrell.

Ironman Hawaii: My 2nd race here with my 2nd best result.  2nd off the bike in my a/g (30-34) 2nd TMC athlete home behind Greg Farrell.

Murray Man Long Course: My 2nd race here and the first time I have been 2nd behind Kevin Fergusson (3rd overall).

Shepparton 70.3: 2nd in 30-34 age group behind Jamie Black, 2nd fastest run split in my a/g. 2nd fastest time I have done on the course 4hr 15min.

Canberra 70.3: 2nd TMC athlete behind Ben Hughes.  My 2nd fastest 70.3 time for the year 4hr 17min. 2nd fastest bike split in my age group.

Footscray CC Crit race: 2nd in B Grade behind Mark Micallef.

It has also been my 2nd year of coaching!

So overall I have had a great year and have had plenty of highlights, but thought that I would mention plenty of the above.  It is more a piss take as I have had a great time!

I can honestly say that I have really enjoyed finishing second on all of the above results as I know that I gave my all, have no excuses and purely got beaten by the better athlete on the day!

Now for 2013... I will be the 2nd Male Coppock to join the veterans in the cycling ranks behind The great Fos (aka Marcus).  Something that I am really looking forward to.

2013 will be another great year for me as I have many new athletes venturing into their 1st Ironman and more that are returning to improve their results.

Hope everyone out there has had a great 2012 and I look forward to sharing my 2013 with you all!

Happy New Year!!

For Now...

X-Man

PS... I can't thank enough my sponsors/partners, Andrew (TMC), Scott (Xosize & Rocket), Karl (Schnell), Darryl (Shotz), Berna & Brendan (Sexy Mart) and Anth & the crew at CBD cycles.  I will have some more news in the new year about further sponsors.

Train Smart & Race Hard!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's been a busy busy 2 weeks!

The last 2 weeks have just flown by with Western Australia Ironman (watching) and then Canberra 70.3 I don't feel like I have sat still for more than a few hours.

I will give a quick recap on how my athletes went over in Busso:

Kerri Thomas ended up 10th in the 25-29 age group and went 19min faster than her time at Ironman Melbourne where everyone said it was a fast course!  Kerri looked strong all day and when I had the pleasure of running with her for a little bit, I was super impressed by the way she finished off the run.  All I have to do now is convince her not to retire!

Alastair Thompson did a 7min faster time than what he did in Cairns this year.  When talking to Al post race his comments were that this race was a lot harder.  Another cracking effort mate!

Travis Atkins broke 9hrs 30min for the first time and finished 6th in the 35 - 39 age group.  Post race we were talking about roll down and hoping that one of the first 4 wouldn't take their spot.  Unfortunately for Trav all 4 took their spots and there wasn't many roll down spots at all.  Looks like we head to Melbourne to try and jag the elusive Kona Spot.  Great race though!

Kevin Choate As stated in my last post, the main goal was just to finish, which he did.  Although being a little disappointed with the time 13hr 51min I did remind Kev that at the beginning of the year, he couldn't walk or run, so to get through was a great effort.

Adrian Ball Should not have finished after getting his nutrition wrong in a bad bad way.  I was instructed by the medical team at an aid station the I had to walk to the turn around point and back to make sure that he got food & drink in for him to be able to continue past this point.  I had a good 10+ k walk with Arch and his determination meant that he was going to cross the finish line no matter what.  It was a shame as at one point he had run himself into 6th, but hey that's Ironman.
Arch got offered a glow stick and he told me he has never used one before and this wasn't going to be the first race, so we made it home and then into medical for 2 bags on the drip before he was allowed to do anything.  But true to his word, Arch finished.  BIG BIG lesson learnt!

So 5 starters and 5 finishers!  It is something that I try to instill into my guys/girls.  You have done so much work to get here, so why not reward yourself with finishing, if you DNF you can never get it back.  So, to date I have only had 1 athlete get a DNF which I know that if he had his time again, he would walk just to get that medal.  With just over 20 starters in Ironman races so far, some super impressive results, a lot of first timers, some PB's and some finishers.  I am just chasing that elusive Kona Qualifier!!  Who is going to be that athlete for me?  2013 I have plenty racing, hoping to get 1-2 to the BIG ISLAND!!

After enjoying the company of TEAM PIS at the awards, I can how these guys go so well..  They train hard, race super hard and play even harder.  Was a pleasure boys and congrates on a great day Leigh!!

Getting back to Melbourne 11pm Tuesday night and with plans to drive to Canberra Friday morning, I didn't really have time to get the body going again.  I had an ok day ticking the legs over Wednesday, spent Thursday catching up with athletes and packing.  Friday morning was an open water swim before heading up the Hume Hwy to Canberra, my last race of the season.

The race went as follows:

The swim was the most relaxed swim start I have had in years in this sport, the front row wasn't crowded at all.  Swimming 30min was a little disappointing, however I couldn't expect any more. 

The bike was just fast.  Although the course was short (2k's) I was still happy that I could ride at just under 42kph (garmin stat) for the duration.  Of course this was going to affect my run.  The course got crowded latter in the bike and with a no pass zone, maybe I could have gone faster.  But super happy with a 2hr 6min.

The run, well that was more a run/walk/shuffle, but I knew that was going to be the case with this race after minimal training!  1hr 35min was the result.

Overall time: 4hr 17min, a very respectable last race for 2012 and in the 30 - 34 a/g.  The age group was super competitive and saw me finish 15th.

Here at Canberra, I had a few athletes, some experiences and first timers over 70.3 and the results were great.

Ben Hughes 4th 35 - 39 4hr 14min

Mark Steers 4hr 37min 1st 70.3

Lee Martin 4hr 42min PB

Ben Robinson 4hr 44min

Kane Roach 4hr 54min 1st 70.3

Daniel Palmer 4hr 58min 1st time under 5hr

Sarah Hughes 6hr 12min 1st 70.3 and after 18k Sarah declared that she was never doing another.  Once she finished, she wanted to discuss how to break 6hrs!!

Great Work everyone.

After getting home Monday afternoon, the body has shut up shop and I have been sleeping a lot.  Recovery time from triathlon.

For Now...

X-Man

PS.  I am looking forward to racing with TEAM SCHNELL CARBON WHEELS at this weeks criterium race.  This means I have to just sharpen the legs a little bit before then.  Might try a few crit races over the next few days.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Athlete Profiles.

So on Sunday at Ironman Western Australia, I have 5 athletes racing.  I just thought I would give a small profile on the athletes I coach that are racing.

From youngest to oldest:

Kerri Thomas Female 25 - 29.

This is our first Ironman together and has been an enjoying time.  Kerri did her first Ironman at Melbourne this year and finished in a time of 11hr 53min.  Kerri then raced at Port Mc 70.3 and finished in 5hr 42min on a tough course/day.  Noosa then followed a week later where a 12min PB was recorded.

Some solid training, doubts about how much was done and then realisation about how much had been done and Kerri arrives in good shape for IMWA.

What I am expecting from her:

Without putting pressure on, just small improvements across all 3 disciplines and maybe the biggest improvement on the run leg.  A 4hr 24min Melbourne could be a lot closer to 4hrs here.   I am looking forward to supporting her come Sunday.

Alastair Thompson Male 35 -39.

Al and I started together not long after Ironman Melbourne in which here was there as a spectator.  Our first Ironman journey together was Ironman Cairns this year.

The planned result at Cairns for Al was to have a fun day and experience his first Ironman.  We discussed him going around the 12 hour mark.  I remember following all day watching the 5 athletes there via Ironman live and as Al was getting closer to the finish, I was texting Kerri (the better half) and giving her instructions on what to tell him what to consume at that time of the race.

The end result was Al finishing in 10hr 58min + change.  We were both so over the moon, but I did remember asking him what he was doing in transitions as from memory it was up over the 10min for combined.

Since Cairns, Al & I have discussed different ways for him to get "Free time".  Transitions was one of them, experience from his first was another.  By being able to supporting him come race day, I know there will be a lot more improvements coming his way this weekend.

We have talked about "goal" times for this race and I believe that Al will go under the 10hr 30min mark if he replicates what he well at Cairns and improves on the little things that we have spoken about to get the "free time" with transitions etc.

Will be exciting to see Al go around with a firm goal of breaking 10hr 30min.

Travis Atkins Male 35 - 39.

The hardest trainer I know.  One of the very few people that I refuse to train with as it just hurts to much.  Day in day out, Trav just goes hard.  Not always to the plan, but that's Trav.

We have been working together for 3 years now, the last section of this build Travis has been working with Andrew (my coach) whilst I was in Hawaii, trying to work out how to get the 10 or so minutes of his time to try and jag a spot for Kona. 

He has been close without being close enough. Being a veteran of 5 Ironmans now & having a 9hr 33min & 9hr 38min next his name means that he can push the leaders in his age group.

I know come Sunday Trav will leave it all out there and will be around the mark.  Just hope that with another voice (Andrew) preaching the same theme as what I have, he may be able to get into the low 9hrs where he deserves to be!

Kevin Choate Male 35 - 39.

Kev & I have been on the same path since January this year after Kev had an operation on his feet and was informed that his running days were over!  Being a tough kid from the Western Suburbs, Kevin didn't accept this and we started him off very small (5min runs) back then.

The conversation has always been about how small the runs were and me talking him through the length of the runs come November (around 2hr 45min).

So Sunday, it will be great seeing Choatey prove a few people wrong and cross the finish line. 

Having a fastest time of 11hr 59min at Ironman Australia 2008 and only doing 1 Ironman since, Kev is a big chance to set his fastest Ironman time on Sunday.

Kev will be smiling soaking up the atmosphere and just cruising along having fun.  The only issue that we might encounter are the beers and bbq's set up on the side of the road.  So if Kev's times disappear, big chance he has stopped for a few cold ones and a snag.

Seriously, I think Kev is capable of turning in a time of 11hr 30mins if he has his mind right and just ticks the boxes one by one come Sunday!

Last but not least is Adrian Ball Male 55 -59.

The most interesting of all.  Last year Arch got dragged off the course whilst on the bike for riding on the wrong side of the road due to being really unwell.. (made to stop in medical after the ride) 

Once checked over, he was told that he was right to go, with the medical team thinking he was done for the day.  No not Arch, he went out and finished the Ironman.

A late starter to triathlons, Arch has come from a solid running back round boasting a sub 3hr marathon when he was in his 40's.  Learning to swim has been his biggest battle, however once he gets onto the bike, he starts to smile and enjoy the day.

We all have hard luck stories, however at this race in 2010, Arch had the dreaded 3 punctures.  Using up his spares, he had to wait on the side of the road for the Spares Van to give him a new one so that he could complete the race.  Many would have pulled the pin, but not Archie Ball.  Tough as nails.

He has visited to medical tent more than anyone I know post races and just knows how to hurt himself.

We have tried something totally different with his training this preparation (him training to his age and not trying to keep up with the young bucks!) and it has paid off so far with a 4th place at Shepparton 70.3 a few weeks back and having the 2nd fastest run time in his a/g.

I have also put Archie onto Daryl from Shotz Nutrition to help him get a nutrition plan that will work on Sunday.

With a few 11hr 47min under his belt, I really expect to see Arch down between 11hr and 11hr 15min which will be a great result.

So, overall I am very happy with the above are at and where I believe they will finish.  Am happy for them to prove me wrong and perform a whole lot better ;)!!

Another quick shout out to Kim Michell (30 - 34 fem) who is also under the TMC banner and great mate "Ron can swim".  Ron Ziessler who I stayed with here in my first Ironman.  The man can punish the water and will be supporting him all day long.

Good luck to everyone who is racing!

For Now....

X-Man

PS.  I have started my Canberra carb load and taper 9 days out.  Will be fresh/fat & big chance of being slow! 



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ironman Western Australia Age Group Tips!

So here I go again, trying to tip the winners of the age groupers at Ironman Western Australia 2012.  A race that I have finished 3 times and have fond memories as it was my first Ironman in 2008 9hr 27min and also the race in which I qualified for my first Hawaiian Ironman.  20120 9hr 6min.

Getting straight into it:

Female 18 - 24:

Helen King - Returning champion from 2011

Male 18 -24:

Amos Gollach 3rd 2011 and also coming back from Hawaiian Ironman 2012 which he will have a fair bit of carry over fitness.

Luke Burton 9th 2011

Female 25 - 29:

A toss up between Kimberley Russell and Kacey Willoughby, both these two podiums at their respective Ironman races earlier in the year and both missed out on Hawaiian spots.  I am pretty sure they both will be fighting tooth and nail until the end to gain that spot.

Kimberley Russell has the experience of knowing how to get a spot after racing Kona in 2010.

Male 25 -29:

Once again a split decision between Brad Wall and Levi Maxwell.  One has no pressure after returning from Kona and the other has all the expectations on him after enduranceteam.net had 9 (i think) athletes race Hawaii in 2012.

Going on how Jarrod gets his athletes to the start line, Levi gets my nod here.

Female 30 - 34:

Returning Champion Marina Jurjevic is back, after racing Hawaii and struggling to get her mojo back I think there will be a new champion in this age group.  However Marina knows how to win, and with the fitness from Kona, I know that she won't be far away.

Nera Jerab 9.48 at Ironman Melbourne and Julianne Schliebs are my picks in this age group.

Kim Michell might be a podium chance if she can produce on the day.

Now into my favourite category Male 30 - 34:

Unlike last year, I think this will be a fast year in this age group, the following names explain why:

Daniel McPherson
Leigh Chapman
Charles Rodgers
Jason Gerde
Jarrod Owen
Nathan Dunkley
Rod Hutchinson
Ben Wood

Sub 9 will win this one, my tips for the win are between Daniel McPherson, Leigh Chapman (if taking it seriously), Charles Rodgers (12th 30-34 Hawaii 2010) & Jarrod Owen.  3 of the above 4 have been to Hawaii previously and Jarrod is a 70.3 superstar and to my knowledge this will be his 1st Ironman.  I am looking forward to watching this battle.

Female 35 - 39:

My tips in this age group are Venessa Colless or Sarah Egan though.  Venessa finished 5th in 2011 and Sarah had a great race at Ironman Melbourne.

My new age group in 2012:  The boys that fly

Male 35 - 39:

Throw a blanket over a handful again here, but as per the previous male age group, I will name a few and then try to pick the winner.

Assad Attamini - Sub 9 2011
Mark Jensen - Podium Hawaiian Ironman 2011
Glenn Martinovich
Marcus Smith
The Vicary Boys - Any PIS athlete who is serious will almost always give it a shake
Ross Jackson - In my first Ironman here, we ran together for 30k and finished 1min apart, he will be there abouts.
Corey Chapman - Surname speaks for itself
Ben Scull - PIS athlete

Although there are a few to choose from, I am going for Assad or Mark Jenson.  I think that these two have a little more then the rest, but will be a cracking race all the same!

Female 40 - 44:

For me, this was the easiest to pick.... Michelle Boyes. A clear class above the rest of the girls in this field.

Men 40 - 44:

As above, was easy to pick the favourite.... Bradley Hosking..... Sub 9 here, top 10 as an age grouper, too good for this age group.

Before I found his name, these were the guys I had listed whom I think will be fighting for 2nd:

Matt Illingsworth - Uber Biker
Bevan Colless - Rode with this guy in 2010 and has good all round ability
Richard Kay - Will be close this year after some experience.

Female 45 - 49:

With the first few from last year not racing, I think that the race will be between Jane Handy & Fiona Longden.

Male 45 - 49:

Shaun Cattonach is the only one that's name rings a bell here.

Female 50 - 54:

Returning Champ June Ward should go back to back however 3rd place from last year Mary Mitchell should give her a run for her money.

Mens 50 - 54:

A local rivalry here, both men returning from Hawaii with one of them finishing 2nd.  He always gives it to me if I don't mention him, but this time I think he will pick up the "W".

David Boyes, with Murray Bridgland the only other one to challenge him. 

If David wins here, I think it will be a great weekend for the Boyes family with Michelle also being my favourite as above.

Female 55 - 59:

Nancy Cullen here for me...Far too good for this field.

Male 55 - 59:

The standout here for me is John Hill, that name speaks for itself.

For me, I am really hoping that Adrian Ball finally has the race he deserves!  I have been working with Arch for a few years and after finishing 4th at Shepparton 70.3 a few weeks back he is in the best condition heading into an Ironman than ever previously.

Female 60 - 64:

Stab in the dark with this one.... Pamela Williams

Male 60 - 64:

A 3 way tussle between the 2nd, 3rd & 4th form 2011.  Could go either way.
Ray Schliebs, Ron Howett & Geoff Graham should battle this out.

Female 65 - 69:

The ever lasting Karla McKinley is the only competitor in her age group.

Male 65 - 69:

A 2 way battle between Geoff Thorsten & Cyril Tolsen for me.

Male 70 - 74:

Anther stab in the dark....Hideki Ishii

Male 75 - 79:

As above, flying blind.... Yetaka Kojima

My tips for the FASTEST AGE GROUPERS are:

Female:  Between Michelle Boyes (40-44) & Nera Jareb (30-34)

Male: 3 options here between Leigh Chapman (30-34) Assad Attamini (35-39) & Brad Hosking (40-44)


And as for the Pro's.....

Female:

If Rebekah Keat doesn't win this one by 30min or more, it will be a fail in my eyes.  She is a class above the rest of the field and that should show come Sunday.

But as in 2010, an upset can be caused and I don't think Keat handles the pressure to well in a big situation.  So if one of the other girls is willing to push her, an upset in 2012 might be on the cards.  Here's hoping she can prove me wrong!

Male:

With the recent addition of last years winner Timo Bracht, the field looks pretty good.

Through in Matty White who is just finding form, Jimmy Johnsen who is in form, the man who just keeps running people down Jason Shortis, Mitch "crashed into a truck" Anderson, Josh Rix (returning from Hawaii) & surprise packet at Ironman Melbourne Todd Israel, there are many who can get into the top 3.

For me, I am going for Matty White to take his maiden win.

I look forward to watching up close to see many battles form and unfold.

For now...

X-Man

PS...I am unsure if all who I have named are starting and have left out some of the contenders whom I know that are not starting.






Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shepparton 70.3... Another great race!

Race Number 5 at Shepparton 70.3 has come and gone.

I didn't have my fastest time there, however did manage my best result. 2nd in my A/G & 8th Amateur across the line.

I didn't think that the field was as strong as previous years when I went through the start list due to a lot of the familiar names in my age group either missing or in the 35-39.

As the saying goes, you can only race against those you turn up.  My main threat for the day was Jamie Black (4hr10min Busso 70.3 2012) and whom I swim with (when I get there) at Yarra Tri.

The swim start was the calmest that I have ever been in, so it was easy to settle into a good rhythm.  I was a bit surprised how early in the race we caught the waves ahead, so all I could do was to negotiate them by taking an inside line to get an uninterrupted swim.  By half way around the swim I did notice someone in my a/g that I was swimming next too.  A bit of experience here and I know how big the male ego is, I let him go and just tucked in behind him and got sucked around for the remaining part.  Thanks Brett!!

Swim time: 29.07...nothing flash, but was 8th in my a/g on the day.  Probably a little faster than where I am at due to the Rocket Science Wetsuit.



Getting my wetsuit off, I also removed my timing chip, so was unsure what would happen post race.

On looking back at the results, I was really surprised that the fastest swimmer only swam 27.37 as previous years there had been  few 25's in there.

Onto the bike, I was just satisfied with having a solid day.  I settled quite early and started to pass people at a rapid rate.  I did recognise Barny who was in my a/g and when I went by, I was confident that I would be near leading the age group, if not in 2nd.  The good thing about Shepparton's numbering system is that it is in alphabetical order, so unless you know the person, it is hard to determine what age group they are in.

Catching Banger around the 35k mark was also pleasing as he is a far superior swimmer than me and also started a few minutes ahead.

Heading back towards the turnaround, I could see the pro's coming towards me and looked like a fair bit of separation at the head of the field.  Once I turned, I saw the age groupers coming towards me and did see some good packs (but that doesn't mean drafting as you can legally sit off the back and still be a back) and was expecting them to catch me on the second lap.

Nothing else exciting happened on the bike, I started to catch a few female pro's and at about 75k into a cross head wind, David Meade caught me, which was a blessing due to I was just starting to struggle.  I was able to pace of David and work a few turns with him (all legal as we had a bike with us) until into T2.  As we were getting near T2, I noticed Jason Shortis was just ahead of us and was pleased to have caught him getting into transition.

Ride time was about 2hr 16min (results not correct on site due to timing chip and they made up the times!)

Fastest in Age Group and only possible due to the Schnell Carbon Wheels, so thanks again Karl for your support and also to CBD Cycles for fixing my bike on the Saturday pre race!

I got off the bike and got my running gear on and got out in front of Jason Shortis and David Meade.  I was and settled into a sub 4min pace and had David Meade fly by.  The guy is a freak.  After 2k Jason Shortis came steaming past and all I could hear was the puffing and panting he was making.



I was really happy with my pace, running about 4min/k and when the 3k mark hit, Jamie came smoking by.  My next concern was to minimize the loss and the amount of people running by, so I kept the intake of the Shotz Gels and knew that I would be fine.   My legs held really strong until the 18k mark where they started to fatigued and my splits blew out above 4min 10sec per k.  But by then I had 2nd in the bag.

Run time approx 1hr 24min

Getting to the line in 4hr 15min & 2nd was really satisfying and another solid race and podium under the belt.



The more pleasing part of my day was the athlete's results that I coach.

Rene Rutze 4th 50-54 incl Vegas Spot
Adrian Ball 4th 55-59
John Cahill 5th 45-49 including fastest age group swim time of the day & Vegas spot
Ben Hughes 6th 35-39

 

Michael Harvey 8th 25-29

Photo

Tim Tingiri 30min PB
Jason Dwyer 6min PB

 






Cameron Wood 1st 70.3 5hrs 20min
Adam McCarthy 1st 70.3 5hrs 31min
Naomi Wood 1st 70.3 5hrs 32min
Nathan Coppock 1st 70.3 6hr 24min



With the remaining athletes, everyone got something out of the race, whether it be a good hit out for Ironman or a PB in a particular discipline.  So a BIG congrates to all who took the start line.

For me, have to thank Andy again for getting me up and about for this race only 2 weeks after my 3rd at Murray Man and only 5 weeks after the Hawaiian Ironman.

For Now... A bit of rest and recovery before I get fine tuned for Canberra 70.3 in 3.5weeks.

X-Man

PS.  A big shout out to Matt Stacey for the treatment to get me mobile again after my back was playing up.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Next Stop... Shepparton 70.3

As I have stated in earlier posts, I have decided to have a big season of racing.  Not to perform at my best in every race, just to get a few races under the belt.

After Murray Man 2 weeks ago, this weekend sees me back in the 30-34 a/g at Shepparton 70.3.

A quick update on how things are going:

Swim: Average, if I swim 29min it will be a good result

Bike: Ok, aiming for a fast first lap and then hold on for the 2nd sub 2hr 20min will be a good time.

Run: I am happiest running at the moment, with the only concern is the constant flaring up of the sciatica at the moment.  It has been really random and comes on without any regularity.  I am getting treatment a couple of times a week just to free it up.  So based on this I will either run just under 1hr 30min or blow out to 1hr 50min if it flares up on race day.

Shep 70.3 for me is just for a good hit out.  This will be my 5th race here and one that I have had good results but never been on the podium.  A few years back I went 4hr 11min and finished 7th in my a/g after towing the group around on the bike.

To have a good result, I need the wind to be blowing a bit to break up the bike and give me some time to catch the swimmers and put time into the runners.

After Shepparton, I head to Canberra to race for the first time there which I am looking forward to.  Canberra will be my last race for the year.

In the new year, I am off to race the Trek Albany Triathlon in WA, then hit Auckland 70.3, then Geelong Long Course before I have another crack at Ironman Melbourne.  I have a couple of other options in mind also and will make decisions on those races as it gets closer.

So, what am I looking for by doing all these races??

Just to have some fun with races that I know and races that I don't.  To experience a few different courses without any expectation on results.  I know once I get to the start line I will want to race well, however I will not be focusing on 1 race more than an other.

To get a series of races in the legs will also save me from the real long hard slog of training leading into Melbourne, yes I will have long days, but this will be mixed in with racing.  A perfect blend I think (hope!!)

For Now...

X-Man

PS. If anyone out there is willing to offer any kind of support, please either leave a comment and I can contact you or send an email using the contact section in the top left of my blog.  I am happy to discuss what I can do in return.

My next blog will discuss "Operation 30"!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Murray Man - Race Report

This one won't be as long as my Kona Race Report... The race was only 1/2 the distance.

After being first across the line in 2011, I thought that I would throw my hat into the "open" category for 2012.

Seeing a good dozen or so male "open" entrants was going to enable me to just gauge where I am at. 

And No, I don't have ambition to take a pro licence!  However, if I think that I am in good shape I might do another "open" level race.

Seeing Matty White (triathlete, not cyclist) on the list meant that the rest of us were really racing for 2nd unless something went wrong on race day for him.

The race morning was rather eventful, getting to the race at 7.20am for registration and transition closing at 7.30am meant for a frantic start.  The main cause of this was due to the temperature forecast for 39 deg and me pumping in 3-4 bidons of Shotz Electrolytes on the 2.5hr drive there from my best mates house.  So, yes the morning started at about 4.30am.

Getting everything set up, with the help of Carla, Paul, Sam & Isla, I was done by about 7.32am.  The next 20min were about getting relaxed ready for the start.

I was excited to have a good race, not to make up for Kona, but to see if I could "hold my own" in "open" company.

I had also heard that a swim start for the "open" is easier as you can find someone's feet to sit on from the start and there is less hustle and bustle.

That was my plan, find Kev Fergusson (2nd O/A 2011, 1st Open 2011) and try to sit on his feet as I was sure that if I worked to this plan, I could be able to run him down earlier than last year.

After a short warm up, getting the HR going again, I was ready.  The countdown was on and I was in the perfect position for me.  As the horn sounded, we were off.  I had the perfect sit, behind Kev and another guy (think his name was Phil, I will call him that for now!!)

After about 300 odd metres, Phil started to swim me off course, unsure if this was a plan or just bad navigation.  I tried to bridge the gap across to Kev, however I had lost his toes.  Phil was a far superior swimmer to me and he left me for dead.  I was back solo and with my arms and lungs screaming at me, my initial thought was it is going to be a long day.  I settled back into a rhythm and was soon passed by some other "open" category male and females and then some age groupers came swimming by (Yes, swimming is my weak leg).

The rest of the swim was uneventful and seeing 30min + change as I hit the beach, I wasn't that disappointed from what training I had done since Kona on my swim.

The weirdest thing about the swim... With a couple of days in a row above 30 deg, it was still a wetsuit swim and the water was cold.

Getting into T1, I saw most of the "open" bikes had gone and thought that I have a lot of work to do.

Onto the bike and noticing that sun was out in full force.  My main goal was to have a solid ride and see if I could bridge the gap to Kev.  Carla let me know that I was 3min behind him.  Being a 4 lap course, it was easy to see the field.  I was passing a/g after a/g and then a few of the "open" athletes.  By the time the 3rd lap was starting I was in 5th overall and 3rd "open".  My legs felt heavy and the heat was taking its toll on me.  The hot dry wind meant that the fluid intake felt like it was just being sucked out of my body.  I vomited a lot on the bike (becoming a regular thing) and also squirted electrolytes on me as I thought it was water, sticky situation!

Getting back into T2, I knew that I had given up another 3min to Kev on the bike (Meanwhile Matty White was a long way up the road on the run).  A 6min lead to run down over 20k was always going to be tough, esp after Kev was fresh and I was unsure how much carry over fatigue I had in my legs from Kona.

Heading out onto the run I was in 2 minds, do I try to run him down or do I try just to hang onto 3rd?  I decided to have a crack for the first 10k's and see what my position was and then reassess.  The temperature was hot and staying hydrated was another key.

After the first 10k I had caught 2 1/2 min on Kev and when the course changed to run a short lap (2 big and 2 small laps) Kev, ran the big lap by mistake which meant that he ran an extra 500m or so.  The call came out that I was then only 2min down on him with 4k to go.  Was going to be tough.  Did I want to defeat a guy who accidentally ran too far, or could I even catch him??

I decided that if I tried to run him down, that I would battle to get to the end, so I played it safe and protected 3rd which by then I was informed that I was over 10min ahead of 4th (talking open category).

Getting to the end was a massive relief and knowing that I finished 3rd "open" was very satisfying also.  I was 4th across the line behind Matty White, Kev Ferguson & Derik Cross (30-34 a/g).

Once official results are posted, I will add them here.

For Now..

X-Man

Next race Shepparton, back to age group racing where I belong!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

2 weeks on...

So, after 2 weeks post Kona, I thought that I would give an update.

I had a great week off in Honolulu getting some well earned rest & recovery and catching up with everyone that came across to support.

Since being back in Australia, since have been going well.  I have sorted out some races (stopping me from getting fat) and also to try to capitalize on the fitness I gained from the Kona preparation.

People keep asking if I have recovered.  My answer has been, not quite, however when you walk a big portion of the marathon, it doesn't take too much out of the body, so you can get going again.....Albeit slowly.

So that is what the plan has been.  The first week was just getting the body going, 1 session per day is all that my body would allow and all that I wanted to do.

My mind and motivation is high, but I was never going to push it hard getting back into it.

A couple of rides, a few run and a swim was what I got through.  I have been a little crook from the change in weather, however the body was feeling good in general.

The highlight of the week was getting back with the "usual suspects" on the training track and having a good laugh.  The legs struggled a bit on the bike but felt really good and strong on the run.

The plan this week is just to maintain the body in the lead up to Murray Man.  Heading over to Adelaide this weekend to "attempt" to defend the race that I won last year.

I have entered the "open" category this year and it will be the first time that I am racing "open".  Last year I raced a/g and managed to have the fastest time of the day, this year will be different.  The field is stronger with Matty White racing and with a bigger "open" field along with some really good a/ger's it is going to be a big ask to be up the front.  Also, Kev Ferguson, who last year was coming off Shepparton 70.3 will be determined to turn the tables on me this year, will be a great race.

I enjoyed this race last year and am looking forward to having another crack at it.  The weather looks like it is going to be warm, which I am looking forward to and the race plan will be just to go as hard for as long as I can and see what the result will be.  I know I have a whole lot of k's in the body and just have to keep myself going this week.

Having CBD Cycles in my corner enabled me to get my bike fixed straight away after I discovered my rear derailleur.  Also having Shotz backing me will assist once again in the heat along with the new Rocket Science Race kit and the Schnell Carbon Wheels will give me the edge on the chasers.

From Murray Man, I have entered Shepparton 70.3, Canberra 70.3 (have to try and enjoy my last few races in the 30-34 a/g)!! and in 2013 have Auckland 70.3, Geelong LC also locked in.  I am considering a few other Long Course races and am just making sure that the body will be able to handle these before I hit Ironman Melbourne once again.

The advantage of racing a lot, less training, the body will be race hardened and rearing to go come IMMelb.  I used this a few years back and found myself really enjoying the work load that I put the body under.

Throwing in a few XOSIZE races and I should be in great race shape for 2013.  Hawaii 2013 is still the plan, so if I qualify for that, I will also look at a few mid year races to fine tune the body.  Also in 2013 I officially become a "veteran" in cycling ranks so am looking at getting on the "new" roadie and just having a great summer/winter.

I am also looking forward to seeing how my athletes go over the summer with a few working towards getting a Qualification spot at Kona.  With already having Jane jagging a Vegas spot, the season has started well.

I will keep everything updated regulary and look forward to getting into a great summer of training/racing.

For now...

X-Man

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Run.... Make or Break?

As we all know the result the headline is answered already, however I will write this as the run unfolded.

So, getting off the bike into T2 with Matt, I was never going to try and run with him.  I knew that I just had to stick to my race plan of running a 3hr 5min marathon.

I was unsure exactly where I was in my a/g however I knew it had to be in the top couple.  As I exited transition, I saw my support crew and true to form I ran straight to them and gave them all a high 5.  I was feeling really good!  A smile on my face and off I went.

Te first section of Palani was no drama then the right turn, Matt was pulling away from me, all I could think was for him to have a great, achieve his goal, not just of winning his a/g but putting himself o the world stage.  From there I just worried about myself.

Seeing the TMC gang was amazing, the cheer as I ran towards them just blew me away, and I loved it.
One Section of the TMC crew, they were everywhere!
The support was amazing at this point.
About to dispose of an empty Shotz Gel Flask
Just before I got to TMC crew.






At this point I heard a few, you are in the top 5 age groupers, but was still unsure where I was sitting in my age group.  I was conscious of taking on nutrition and getting some hydration right.

As I turned down onto Ali'i Drive I saw Carla, she was trying to run past me to tell me where I was.  I might have just increased the pace just a little....hehehehe

video
From there, Carla informed me that I was leading my age group and that I was looking strong.  I felt exactly that way.  The next few k's saw me holding my, I did get passed by a female pro and a guy in my age group, the one that I caught with 5k left on the bike.  All, it was hot and I was just trying to stick to my game plan.

One thing I did find weird was that my Dad & Older Brother cheered me on again, what is weird about this???  Well they were at the start of the run and both have had hip operations, so all I could think about was how funny it would have been watching them trying to get to that point.  I was running at just over 4min per k, so they must have been flying!!

Getting as much ice, sponges and nutrition in the body to keep my going strong was all I could focus on.  As I was approaching the turn, Matty was already heading back, looking smooth and we both gave some good encouragement to each other.

When I turned, I had a good look at my watch to give me an idea of how far 3rd was behind me.  I saw the watch get to over 4min which meant I was almost 9min ahead at this point.  Greg & Sam Hume was closing in on me, however they were running well and both in different age groups.

I stopped at one aid station here to get some good nutrition in as I was going through mine faster than I ever had before and I knew that it wouldn't get me to the special needs.  I just focused on maintaining a comfortable speed around the 4min 20sec per k (will upload data soon also).  Getting back near the start of Ali'i Drive, the support from everyone was amazing, let alone the ones who came across to watch me race.  I tried to acknowledge everyone that I saw as from previous experience, this always signals a great day!


 As I turned off Ali'i Drive, I started to feel the pinch a little bit, seeing some family kept me going, however I was forced to walk soon after.  Rounding the corner to where the TMC crew had set up, I ran towards Andrew and let him know that I was really struggling.  He gave me some really great words that kept me going.  "Things can change fast in this sport, so just hang in there".

Up Palani, my goal was to run to the aid station, walk & refuel and then run to the top, keeping all in check before I got back into rhythm.  Done, getting some good nutrition in, I started to feel a little better, not flash, just better.  I knew that I was low, so trying to get as much in without losing time was my goal.

Top of Palani, and onto the Queen K.  This is where is all changed.  I was done, both with nutrition and my left hip started to pinch.  Was really weird, no signs of it before.  Looking back and speaking to a few, I knew it was from driving so hard on the bike and dehydration.  Having to walk from here did not interest me, so I contemplated sitting down.  For the first time in a race, I was upset, distraught, wondering how I was going to finish.  Being down on nutrition, the inability to run was not something that I planned for, not in the slightest.

I had one last look at Palani and thought, you have to finish.

I started the walk, the long lonely walk as I was so far up the a/g rankings there was no-one around, this didn't take long to change!!

Soon after, the age groupers were coming, so were flying, some plodding whilst I just walked.  Sam Hume & Greg looked really good as they went by.  I got to the next set of lights to see some familiar faces on bikes... Tom & Steve, they asked what was wrong and encouraged me to try to get as much in my body.  The words were great and through this I tried to get into a slow jog, to no avail, my hip was locked and my lower left leg was tingly.  I was going to keep going, even if I had to walk to rest.

The familiar names ran by me and asked if I was ok, that was just phenomenal.  Matt Craft stopped and walked with me for a while as he had a rough day, Ben Bell, Scott Ashcroft, David Boyes, Jason Nuttman, Ross Young along with a few others gave me some words of encouragement also.  So I thank you all.  If I have missed anyone here, I apologize as it was all amazing.

I stopped for a stretch and who would stop....The one and only Chrissie Wellington, she saw that I was having a less then great day, stopped told me that I was going to finish and just to get the forward momentum going.  I agreed and tried to stretch, no, just get going was her words.  And like in Phuket last year, when Michael Raelert said the same, I just started jogging, step by step, until my hip jammed again.

From here, the Carla and my Sister arrived on their bikes and checked to see if I was ok, explaining the story to them was hard, but true.  I was pretty emotional at this stage as I knew that the family would be concerned and after feeling so good the last time they saw me to being hit so hard so fast, they wouldn't quite understand.  After a little while my spirits lifted and then heard this from behind me, "Xavier Coppock, you are not pulling out, you are going to finish this."

Doing a head check, who did I see, Ollie Allan, he was also having a tough day and stopped to walk with me.  We had a laugh and got a picture taken together.



















It wasn't all doom and gloom, there were so many people out there supporting, having good, bad and indifferent days.

I got to the Energy Lab with Ollie and was determined to run the entire way. FAIL.  Ollie decided to keep running whilst I did my best to get as much running as possible before my hip kept pinching and locking up.

Seeing Matt Jennings vomit gave me the chance to try and walk with him, I ran, he walked, he ran by me whilst I walked, a great game of leapfrog in the Energy Lab.

I got to me special needs bag and all my nutrition was off, sour and disgusting, so I tipped it out and just held the bottles until I could see Carla.

One positive this year over last year was that I was true to my word of running out of the Energy Lab, last year I walked out....lol....just over 1 hour slower!!

Back onto the Queen K and I had had enough, just wanting to get to the finish, it was hot, I was bothered and ready to sit down.  With Naomi (sis) next to me I tried to run, feeling great, I got into a good rhythm and was running at 4min 10 per k, not for long, locked up again.  Frustrated would be an understatement.

Naomi then decided to go back and tell the family and friends the situation.  Whilst Carla hung tough and stayed with me.



The pattern followed for the next few k's, no matter how fast or slow I tried to run, I could only get a few hundred metres or 1k before it went again.













Below is a video Carla took, I remember what I was saying and if you listen carefully, you can vaguely hear it.

video

It went something like this:

Long day at the office:

I have no regrets today, I left it all out there!
Just means that I have to try and come back next year.


The remaining of the run followed the same process, run fast, pinch, walk, run slow, pinch, walk.



Running with Brooksy, who had a tough day also!
I actually asked this guy if I could wait until the light went green!


Once I got to the TMC crew, I stopped gave them all a big thank-you as I really appreciated their support not just on the day, but the entire time from training to race day.

Then onto Ali'i Drive, seeing my family and a few others was just as emotional, giving them all a big hug and thanks, my day was just about over.

Just relief at seeing everyone near the finish!




















Getting to the finish line was such a big relief and wonderful feeling.  Although I didn't have the result I wanted, it has to be the most satisfying finish in my 7 Ironmans.  To have such a mixed day and finish was so enjoyable.

My most satisfying finish!
A 10hr 24min finish.

I want to send a massive shout out to Matty Burton & Greggy Farrell.  The time we spent together preparing for this race was truly wonderful and amazing.  I am so happy you both had super races and that I was a part of this.  Matty to go back to back just proves you are a superstar in the making, and Greg to finish 3rd in your first attempt here, just shows what is in store.  Although you both handed it to me, if you want to learn how to ride a bike, you have my number......hehehehehe

Now, to everyone who not supported me on race day, but throughout the whole preparation, I can't thank you enough.

Andrew (Coach) from TMC thank you for getting me in the shape of my life.  We now have unfinished business here and I look forward to the next attempt.

Scott from XOSIZE & ROCKET SCIENCE SPORT, to be aligned with you is such a privilege and I really appreciate all the support you have given.

Darryl from SHOTZ thanks for you education and support.  Shotz is a great product and you had a great day out there with Pete Jacobs winning, Greg 3rd in his a/g.  I look forward to many more years together.

Karl from SCHNELL.  The wheels just speak for themselves.  To be able to have the 2nd fastest a/g time in 2011 and then back up and have the fastest a/g time 2012 and 4th fastest a/g overall, nothing more needs to be said.  SCHNELL=FAST

Anthony from CBD cycles thanks for getting my bike in A1 condition for the race.  I look forward to developing this partnership even further.

Aunty Berna & Uncle Brendan from SEXY MART EPPING I really appreciate the support you gave me.  It made a few things a lot easier over there.

And finally to the boys at Ross Burrage.com for allowing me to give an insight to different parts of the course and although they are from the dark side of MTB, they go ok!

Without the support of the above, things would be a lot tougher for me, I cannot thank you all enough!  For everyone else, there are too many to mention, however you all who you are and know how much I appreciated everything.

Where to from now??

I have a busy summer of racing with 5 x 70.3 races and then Ironman Melbourne.  I move up an age group next year so I will enjoy my last few races in my current one.  I have some new ideas for next year that I will keep blogging about, but for now it is time to get the body moving again after a wonderful week off in Honolulu.

As I said in my original post, am I disappointed??

YES

Do I have regrets?

NO

What will I do differently?

YOU WILL JUST HAVE TO WAIT!

For now....

X-Man


PS. Many people have asked if I will keep this blog going, a simple answer is YES.  If I can give any advice, hints, tips by blogging I am happy.  If you want any advice, hints, tips...Just ask.


Post Race, some really painful chaffing
Just some of the amazing supporters! From behind!





And again form the front!















Monday, October 22, 2012

Part 2... The Bike... Laying it all on the line!

So after seeing 1hr 5min on the clock after the swim, I knew that I had a bit of work to do on the bike.  My plan was always to work really hard on the bike and with the road racing that I had been doing throughout the year and the other groups rides, I was confident that I could achieve this.

Onto the bike and through the first section of town, as per last year I was just mowing people down.  Once back out onto the Queen K, I really got comfortable, put the head down and worked hard.  My plan of just working the course on the way out didn't really take effect until after Waikaloa as with the tail wind, it was just a matter of finding a strong rhythm and focusing on that.

One thing that I did notice this year compared to last year was the packs on the ride.  Last year seemed to be one continuous line, however this year, there was gaps between groups of 10-15 riders and I can say that it wasn't the most legal that I have seen in races.  The penalty bins were crowded so I know the marshalls were doing a good job.  Catching Scott Ashcroft at Waikaloa was pretty cool, we had a quick chat and worked some good legal turns with 2 others until the small climb about 5km short of the end of the queen k.  This is where I got to see if I could use my race tactics to good use.

The four of us were unable to shake each other, however I enjoyed this as I was confident that the other 3 wouldn't be able to hang onto me for the entire ride.  The short sharp climb, I stayed in the big chain ring (always rode up in the small in training) and just pushed over it.  Once at the top and over, I turned around and the others were gone.  This is where I grew some confidence about knowing the course and working it to my advantage.

The left turn at the end of the Queen K and down into Kawaihae was where I really tried to recover, free wheeling at 50+ kph was sufficient for me to still hit my time.

The right turn began the climb to Hawi.  I was so confident of getting to the turn around point in a lot better position than last year as I knew that I had done the work.  Passing Greg and Sam Hume about 10k into the climb meant that I was traveling ok.  Working to my plan of dropping into the small chain chain with 7mile to go almost cost me a drafting penalty.  Kona Bob (PIS) went by as he was still in the big chain ring and as I gained my momentum back I began gaining on him, probably not enough to warrant a pass, however with the motor bike watching us, I had to put it back into the Big Dog and work hard to pass and stay in front.

I settled back into rhythm and worked hard for the last 5 or so k's.  Only seeing about a dozen age groupers on the way back was pleasing as this time last year I was a lot further back.

A quick "where you been?" from Matty Burton going the opposite way made me laugh, as we always enjoyed the friendly banter throughout the trip.

Getting to the turn and then picking up my Special needs bag, I was ready to make up/put some time into the guys in my age.  Little did I know that my banana was just soggy, so ditched that and I forgot to get my gel flask out of the bag. No biggy, will just get some more nutrition on the return.

Heading down Hawi, I just clicked into my biggest gear and went for it.  Hitting near 70 kph (haven't seen my data yet as I didn't have a speed device on my bike, just my garmin on my arm) I was happy with the effort that I was putting in.  I got through 100k in about 2hr 20min from memory (will download and post at the end of this, see how close I was!!) I was on track for a smoking bike.  The wind turned from tail to cross and this was very interesting.

I could feel the wind work against my aero helmet and I found myself working hard just to keep my head still, never had that before, the wind was really strong.  I managed to catch 2 guys on the decent and started to reel in the female pros, I was having a good ride, knowing that they started 25min in front and most of them could easily out swim me.  I didn't catch any until deep into the ride last year.

Back into Kawaihae was where my training was really going to take effect.  As I tried to push hard up this climb, I could really feel the heat from the road and from the sun.  I had to decide whether to push or conserve.  I conserved this section, knowing that everyone else would be feeling the pinch also.

It didn't change my overall bike plan, I still planned to attack hard from the beginning of the Queen K back, 58k's of it.

Turning onto Queen K i got a really big surprise, a block head wind.  With the trip out we had a slight head/cross for this section, so I thought that it would be a tail.  Not to worry, I was already in a great spot and was ready to drive home hard.

Getting over the first few climbs, I was really happy with my execution of my race plan, driving hard and then having a few small recoveries, then repeat, for the first 25k on the return as it is rolling hills.  I turned around to see my progress and smiled as I saw the gaps really increase behind me.  I was still catching the female pro's and could see a few other riders on the hills.

I was conscious of getting in nutrition and hydration here and started to grab 2-3 bottles at every aid station being a combination of electrolyte drink, coke and water.  The water mainly to wet my self down and wash my face etc and the other 2 to refuel.

To my surprise with about 20k's to go I could see someone gaining on me.  Before I knew it he caught me and flew passed.  I tried to pace off him, but had nothing to go.  He was flying, after the race I looked at his time and noticed he rode 4hr 43min, and must have really put some time into me over the last 40-50k's!

After passing the last aid station and refueling, this was the first time that I was actually looking for another aid station in between, it was getting so hot out there.

I caught another guy in my a/g with 5k to go and wanted to put some time into him, so I drove hard again for the last 5k. 

Getting into T2 in a time of 4hr 47min + change was really pleasing and seeing Matty 50m in front of me getting off the bike was really satisfying as from training with him, I knew that he was flying.  I saw the family cheering loudly, got off the bike, handed it off and set about getting changed for the run of my life.

Having the fastest bike split in my a/g by a few minutes and being not far off the top pro times (10min) is rewarding for the work that I had put in.

Will upload my Garmin file....once I find my Garmin...

From the Ironman Live site, below are the differences in the 2 years:

2011...

5.5 mi 5.5 mi 13:06 1:20:38 25.19 mi/h


28 mi 22.5 mi 57:18 2:17:56 23.56 mi/h


59 mi 31 mi 1:19:32 3:37:28 23.39 mi/h


88 mi 29 mi 1:10:34 4:48:02 24.66 mi/h


112 mi 24 mi 1:03:09 5:51:11 22.80 mi/h


Total 112 mi 4:43:39 5:51:11 23.69 mi/h

2012...

5.3 mi 5.3 mi 12:44 1:20:56 24.97 mi/h


7.4 mi 2.1 mi 4:33 1:25:29 27.69 mi/h


11 mi 3.6 mi 5:48 1:31:17 37.24 mi/h


30 mi 19 mi 45:20 2:16:37 25.15 mi/h


45.2 mi 15.2 mi 36:53 2:53:30 24.73 mi/h


60.5 mi 15.3 mi 45:12 3:38:42 20.31 mi/h


75.3 mi 14.8 mi 31:44 4:10:26 27.98 mi/h


90 mi 14.7 mi 40:03 4:50:29 22.02 mi/h


112 mi 22 mi 1:04:53 5:55:22 20.34 mi/h


Total 112 mi 4:47:10 5:55:22 23.40 mi/h

For now...

X-Man

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Some Pics/Videos of Pre-Race and Swim!


Not quite awake yet!

Never been one for "posed" shots. Race Morning

video
The walk from home to the swim start.

Just after being numbered!
video 
Just as I am coming out from being numbered.

With Andrew, Race morning.

video
Carla commentating the swim start. Yes there was a fair bit of creeping also.
On the way to the swim start.



I am in there somewhere, battle field.
Just before the cannon sounded.
Pre-Race with Mike Reilly!

For Now....

X-Man





The Race Report - Part 1, Pre Race & Swim!

So, after many months of planning and training it was finally race day.

I was confident of a good result knowing the work I had put in.

The brief version in like this:

Swim 1hr 5min
T1            3 odd min
Ride   4hr 47min
T2            3 odd min
Run   4hr 26min

Total Time: 10 hr 24 min

Disappointed: Yes

Regrets: None

Race Morning was the standard up early.  I felt really great on race morning as I went to bed about 8pm the night before and was up at 4.30am.  Had a few toilet stops, but nothing different.

My pre race vomits also happened, a coffee, breakfast and then down to the start. 

I love this sport for many reasons, the nerves you get race morning when it is pitch black and all you can see is the Transition Lights, all you can hear is Mike Reilly (The voice of Ironman) and all you can feel is the nervous energy from all athletes and supporters.

Getting down to the meeting point and seeing my support crew was really great.  I saw Mike Reilly and got a photo with him (All photos will be downloaded on my return to Aust).

I then went to get the famous stamps on my arms, on the way out, who was walking next to me Faris Al Sultan, I was loving it.  Walking side by side with a previous winner here was just amazing.  Getting weighed was next....

I weighed in at 96kgs, happy days.  No that was not my race weight, it was well under 90kgs, that was fully loaded from carbs and liquid.  I must agree with what Pete Jacobs said in his victory speech that too many people start way too light and by the time they get to the run, they have nothing left!!

Off to my bike to add my nutrition and pump up the tyres.  A bit of De Ja Vue here as my front tyre wouldn't inflate... My first thought was not again, I didn't panic, I checked the valve and noticed some muck in it, so I got rid of that and bingo, tyre at 120psi.

After double checking everything, it was time to relax for a bit before the start.  With the pros starting 30mins in front of us and me being ready with 1hr to go, I just kicked back with the family.  Greg & family also were near us, so we had a chat about a few things and relaxed.  Andrew and a few others were also there, so a few pictures and things were looking good.

Fast forward 30min.

The first of the cannons sounded and the pro race was off.  Oh, I love that noise.

This is where I made my first change from last year.  I decided to get into the water early and find a good spot (or what I thought was).  I swam up to the marshalls on the boards and just hung onto one of those.  All things looking good.  I positioned myself about 10-15metres from the pier and was really happy with this.

After a few more minutes, it got crowded.  REALLY crowded.  I did question my reasoning for choosing this spot and did think about moving.  No, not today, I needed to find out if this was a better spot than last year.

The nerves were all in check and I was just counting down the time until race start.  Coping a few kicks and some elbows, I was really enjoying this.

The cannon misfired so all we got was Mike's voice going... GO GO GO!!  Then apparently the cannon sounded.

Straight into a fight...  Arms and legs going everywhere, I couldn't find a good rhythm, but I just kept forcing my way.  This must have lasted for 500m, wow, I started to think that this was probably a bad position to start in.  Never mind, let's just keep going and see.  The speed suit I wore started to chaff me (I have some great pics of this) however it didn't stop me, I knew it was going to hurt later.

Don't stress, I have a race to try and win here.

Getting to the turning boat in 32min 50 sec was just a fraction slower than last year, maybe a favorable current on return.

Oh yeah, I failed to mention the guy whose toes I was touching, who turned around, pushed me and said, "Stop touching my toes Asshole!" in a real strong American accent.  This surprised me as with this many people, it was always going to happen!

Anyway, back to the turn boat where I stopped after 1 guy tried to swim over me and dunked him under, I think he got the point!!

Heading back to the pier, the chaffing was hurting but all I could think about was getting onto my bike, knowing that I was here to give that a massive crack!

With about 500m to go I was still feeling good and was thinking that I might swim close to 1hr.  I stopped at one stage to have a quick look at my watch and saw 51min 40 sec (don't know why I did this one as I had no idea of how far I had to go!!).

Getting back to the pier I was relieved, once I looked at the clock and saw 1hr 5min + I knew I had some work to do.  Getting some sunscreen on my back, I realised then that my chaffing was bad!! (It is just about healed now, 6 days after the race).

Shoes on, banana eaten, a flask full of gels consumed and I was ready to "start my race".

I will update the ride part soon and try to add some photos.

For now...

X-Man

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Race Plan

Yes I am writing this post race, however I will still put exactly what my race plan was and then in the next post, will write my race report.  As it panned out without holding back!

The Swim:

I was pretty confident heading into the swim as I had done a lot of work.  Last year I started really wide and swam a 1hr 4min, so this year my plan was to start closer to the pier to see if I could get closer to the 1hr mark.  That was my goal time.  I knew that this would create a rougher start, however I was confident that I would be able to handle it.

The Bike:

This is where I was going to make my move.  Had been doing more cycling this year with racing again and doing some pretty solid group rides before I flew over.  During the 5 weeks prior to race day I really worked the course and worked on where I was going to attack to make time.

My plan was like this:

From the swim exit right until Waikaloa, just drive as hard as I could, knowing it was 50k in distance.  My plan was to get out there in about 1hr 10 - 1hr 15min.

From here there are a few rolling hills which I was going to really have a crack at, as they were short and sharp and had a long decent the other side, I really thought that some good time gains were available here. 

A bit of a recovery in Kawaihae before the climb starts.  Now depending on the wind direction, I had a few different plans in mind.  Mostly just drive hard up the hills and have a bit of a recovery on the flats.  As per last year I knew that I would give up some time in the swim, so my plan was to try to get to Hawi a lot closer to the leaders, this is what I had worked on since being here.

The last 10k on the climb was a bit of recovery.  I figure that everyone would be hurting a little by now, so to recover a little before trying to monster the decent was the plan.

Making sure I filled up at the special needs was part of my tactics, as with the plan to drive hard, I would most likely have to use more calories.

The first 10k decent is where I felt you could make up so much time.  As long as I was in a good position.  If it was going to be anything like last year, I knew that I could push high 60kph whilst the others were climbing at < 30kph.  Really driving on the downs here was the plan as being heavier, I am never affected by the winds as much as the lighter athletes, so here was my chance to either chase down the leaders or consolidate my position, depending on the situation.

Climbing hard out of Kawaihae and onto the Queen K was another big decision as the climb is around 1.5k long (I think) and then you turn right and instantly descend for a bit to recover.  I tested this out in training with Greg and Matt.  I let them go up the climb to see how long it would take me to real them in..... over 10k!!  Wow.

When I get back onto the Queen K, I planned to ride really hard back to Waikaloa as with the rolling hills and the training I had done, I knew that you could easily gain 5min on the opposition purely by working that little bit harder on the climbs.

From Waikaloa to the end, I had encountered a head wind on most training rides, so I thought this might be the case on race day, so I planned to conserve a little bit before getting off the bike.

Overall, I intended to work hard on every section of rolling hills and recover a bit on the flats.

My goal time was sub 4hrs 40mins on a day comparable to last year.

The Run:

Was a short and simple plan.  Try and run 3hr 5min off a hard bike.  This meant holding 4min 25 per k on average.

My plan was to hit Ali'i Drive hard as there is plenty of shelter through there and not as hot as the Queen K.  Knowing that everyone always slows down towards the end, my plan was to run 4.15's for the first 15-16k and then consolidate out on the Queen K to the Energy Lab.

Once out of the Energy Lab, I was going to decide on how I was feeling, where I was in the race to see what course of action was required to get the result I was chasing.

Overall, my plan was to win my age group.  Our planning was to achieve this, sub 9 was required, so the training was planned accordingly, with hot afternoon runs and loads of riding.

If you look at the above this was the plan:

Swim: 1hr

Bike: 4hr 38min

Run: 3hr 5min

Incl about 5 min for transitions and my goal was:

approx 8hr 50min.

The guy who won my a/g in 2011 went 8hr 48min so we based everything around this.

We all know the results, however I am not scared to list the above and what my goals were this year.

I will post my actual race report soon on how it panned out and how I felt I was traveling along the way.

For now...

X-Man