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

Saturday, October 13, 2012

1 day to go...Time to get the nerves going!!

So sitting here with 24hrs to go, the nerves are still in check.  I know that once I start getting all my gear ready, things might change though.

Yesterday included a swim in the ocean just over 2k's and then feet up for the day.  One final massage from Sean and things are ready.  The body feels good and am excited for the cannon to fire.

I am still yet to decide my actual start position, I think that will come tomorrow morning once I enter the water.

We all ventured to the Carb Party last night, nothing new, just something that I recommend to all first timers here.

Today is a small (really small) run 15min, then a final spin on my bike and a swim later.

The all important bike check/ gear check in where people "check you out" and once this is done you just hope that you have remembered everything.  Fingers crossed!!

I can only say that I am in the shape of my life and can't wait to get going.

Hope you enjoy the below video, time to get the nerves going!


For now....

X-Man

PS... I will have my race plans posted for race day as I see the race unfolding!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Taper Day 3... Starting to feel good.

So, after 2 days of recovery, ie no biking or running, my legs actually felt a little sluggish when I got out on the bike.

A short but sharp 70min with some high intensity was enough to blow a few cobwebs out of the system.

I was happy with how the legs felt at the end of the ride and the 20min easy run off the bike was just as good.  The legs felt a bit ordinary for the first 5-10min and then felt really good for the balance.

Feet up for the rest of the day and then another run, but with some good speed.  Now when I say good speed, I am talking IM intensity, not Olympic Distance speed, because as we all know, if you can run 4min k pace in Ironman, you are flying.  If you are running the same in Olympic, you are not anywhere in the ball park.

So sitting comfortably on 4min k pace in the afternoon run was great!

My older brother also got married yesterday and I headed to the reception that evening, a great way to end the day.  Congratulations!!

This morning was a swim, which my arms felt really great.  A massage to follow soon and then Fos is coming over to give the stead the once over!  Will be shining once he lays his hands on it!!

The next videos should start to get the excitement building, I know it did for me.  And I am saving my favorite one for last!!

For now...

X-Man

PS. This time in 2 days I will be out there fighting the war.... has snuck up so fast!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 2 of Taper... Plenty of time on my hands!

Today, being my second day in taper, was another uneventful one.

I started with a full course swim with Gregory and Big Boy.  Greg was just cruising along whilst I tried to hang onto his toes.  On the way out, we had about 20 dolphins swimming under us.  We stopped to enjoy such a magnificent display of nature.  There were 2 others who stopped also.  We were about 10m apart form each other all looking below the line of the sea and just watching in awe of these amazing sea creatures.

They were having some fun around us and you could even see them gain momentum and launch themselves out above the water.  WOW, that made my day!!

We then continued out to the turning can.  This time was 33min, a little happier.

The return trip saw Greg just lead the way and myself try to hang onto his feet.  We got back in just under 30min, even happier.  Full course swam in 1hr 3min, that is better than my time last year and really gained some confidence from this.

Still learning every day meant that I am confident that with the right sit on race day I should be able to swim near my goal time of 1hr.

The rest of the crew arrived mid morning with my sister & the Fos rolling in.  A quick g'day, coffee and things were going well.

I headed to the pool for a short sharp session and who decided to rock up??

The great Dave Scott!! Wow, Matty & I were amazed on how great he still looks.  To see images of the great man...Click here Matt & I are in pic 19 and Dave Scott is pic 20.  We were trying to decide what session we were going to do.

A 400 w/up

25 max on 40 sec

50 max on 1min 20sec

75 max on 2min

100 easy

75 max on 2min

50 max on 1min 20sec

25 max on 40 sec

200 cool down

All the max efforts were with paddles and buoy and I was really happy with the time cycles. 15 sec per 25 and holding that for all distances.

Post this, caught up with my older brother, younger brother and Dad for 1 beer before I headed off.  They kicked on for some time!!

I have another short but sharp session this morning and then again this afternoon and will head down to register today.  That signals "reality"!!

Another video below to get the veins tingling.




For now....

X-Man

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Taper Day 1....Counting down

The thing about entering taper is that it signals the start of the countdown.  Time to put the body into cotton wool as you can't get any fitter, but you can do a few things wrong to hinder your race.

A rest day was just what I needed... A rest day.  I did have the option of going for a swim, but I decided just to out the feet up and relax.  A massage was the only thing locked in.

I had organised new tyres for my bikes to be glued on, so had to pick them up and with a few of the family arriving today was hoping to catch up briefly with them.

So heading down after my massage to pick up the tyres, beep beep, there was my older brother hanging out of a taxi.    A quick hi to him and seeing that he was suffering a bit from the heat, we decided the best action for him right now was to get to his hotel into the a/c.

No more than 5 min later, we bumped into my younger brother and sister, they were eating lunch, so a quick g'day and we continued on our merry way.

First stop, tyres.  Picked up, running so true, all I need now to test ride them.  I haven't cleaned my bike because I can never get it up to "Marcus standard" (Dad has a standard in which he cleans to and none of us can reach it, so we have named it "Marcus standard") and sent him a little message to say just that.

I could almost see the smile on his face when he would have received it, as for some reason he really loves getting into the nook and crannies of the bike to make it shine.  It does come back from his football days where he used to tell my older brother & I, if you are having a bad day, at least you look the part!

A relaxing afternoon followed, catching up with Clayton & Janine and an early night to boot. 

Here is the next video in my week full of them just to set the scene for the weekend!



For now... X-Man

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 26... Well that's a wrap!!

Ah, Taper.  Finally!!

Well, I shouldn't really say that, as I have loved the training camp/ race preparation that I have had since landing here 1 month ago.  Time just flies.

I could easily continue to go along this path of training, however the reason that I am here is now less then 1 week away.

Time to shut up shop.

I woke with sore legs, I think that they already had taper going on.  But little did they realise that there was 1 more solid day to go before the cotton wool comes out.

A ride out to Kawaihae and return was first up with some cracking race paced efforts.  I have still been working the course, and targeting different sections every ride.  Hoping to put it all together on race day.  I am still amazed by a few things and have never stopped learning on every ride.  If you want to be a student here, the Queen K can teach you so much.

All you have to do is pay attention and absorb it.

The weather was quite pleasant, as the trend for the last few days.  I am hoping for a hot race day though.  I was happy with how it all went, but I am still a bit disappointed in the complacency I showed at the turn around.  I "thought" that I could get back on what hydration was left on my bike, so I only got 2 cans of coke.

I should have fully checked my bike to see if I needed any water.  This would have saved me from running out 30 odd k's from home.  I guess having a cooler day meant that no damage was done.

Lucky one there.

Off to the pool just after lunch for a short sharp hit out.

400 w/up
10 x 25 max on 45sec cycle, coming in on the 15
200 easy
10 x 25 max on 45 sec cycle, coming on the 15
200 c/d

Nice short and sharp and feeling ok.

The last session for the preparation was a 1hr 20min run with 50min at above race pace.  Hmmmm Not looking forward to this one.

Andrew asked me to go late in the day to stay out of the heat.  So I headed out at 4.30pm.  Once again I got Carla to be my pacer.

The plan was to warm up for 15min minutes and then run 4min k pace for the first 20min and then pick it up for the last five.  Easy 5min b/t and repeat.

All I can say it that it was a tough tough session and I was happy to see the back of it.

I managed to hold low 4's (4.00 - 4.07) for the trip out and got down to 3.57 for my last k.  The return was a little different as I asked Carla to go up the road and not directly pace me.  Come next week on the return from the energy lab, I will be solo running and needed to be in a good head space hurting getting back to Palani.  I did hurt, but I loved it.

My paces were a little slower, but was holding b/t (4.09 - 4.13) depending on the terrain also.

Finishing up I was soaking with sweat, but happy to have banked that session.  Getting this session done was another big confidence booster.  Now I just have get a running race pace and hope that I run the gauntlet and not cross the line.

The purpose for the rest of the night was to refuel and rehydrate.  Easy done!

Just to start getting into the mood, I will start posting Videos of previous Ironmans.

Here is the first one:



For Now.... Feet up & rest and ready for my massage today!

X-Man

Ps.  Don't forget to check out http://rossburrage.com for other updates an insights to my Kona Experience.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 25... Nice way to bounce back!

So after yesterdays mind destroying swim, I was determined to get back out there and have another crack.

To be honest my times were not too flash in the water, however felt strong.

I did a pretty solid 2.4k (Garmin measured) in the open water and got out knowing that it is more the ocean conditions than my "loss of swimming".

To re-assure this, and with the perfect timing of the pool re-opening, Matt and I headed there this afternoon for a confidence hit out (for me anyway)!.

The session:

400 w/up

5 x 100 hard on a 1.40 cycle coming in under 1.15 paddles/buoy
50 easy
4 x 100 hard on a 1.30 cycle coming in under 1.15 paddles/buoy
50 easy
3 x 100 hard on a 1.25 cycle coming in under 1.15 paddles/buoy
50 easy
2 x 100 hard on a 1.20 cycle coming in under 1.15 paddles/buoy
50 easy
100 MAX no paddles/buoy, just an attempt to spew!

How did it go?  Remembering that I was doing the other sessions on 1.15's and having a "bad" swim in the open water.  Well I was surprised.

Every one of the above (apart from two where I missed the wall in a turn and the other where I lost a paddle, swimming 1 paddle and the other hand bare is REALLY weird!!) under 1.10.

The very last one, I came in 1.07, a few shakes but no spew...

Of course it got harder as it went, my arms hurting, but the confidence grew a little more that I am in still good swimming shape.  Just have to get my position right on race day and see what happens.

On race day everyone will have the same conditions, so if it is slow for me, it is for them (I hope!!)

The easy run this afternoon capped off a nice day of training.  Tomorrow is my last solid day and then I shut up shop before race day!

To get photos like these to show support is amazing:


My Nephew and 2 nieces (well one might not be able to contribute yet) just show endless support and I love it.  So a BIG BIG thanks!! And to Nuts & Omi for helping them!!

For now.... Bed time and prepare to have another battle on the Queen K

X-Man

PS.. Travis, promise this will be my last hit out on the bike and last run session of note! ;)

Day 24.... The Bad & then the Good!

So, the morning was a full course swim, something that I was looking forward to.  I had been swimming consistently to Kings Buoy and return (1.9k) and was keen to get a full course under the belt.

Setting out, feeling really good, I got to King Buoy as per normal and was comfortable about getting to the turn.  The orange marker buoys were further apart and the water is not as sheltered and you feel the chop and swell more.

This is where I lost my mind a bit.

After getting out of the water I have decided that the water is like the Queen K, there is no consistency through out and you don't know what you are going to get.

So getting to the turn buoy, I looked at my watch and saw 31.30....I can say that I was rather annoyed.  I have been swimming so well in the pool and felt strong.  Ok I will see how I go on the return.

WOW!

Cut a long and frustrating swim short, it took me over 35min to get back.  A total trip time of just under 1hr 6min, 2 min slower than my race last year.

I got out of the water and was stunned, I felt good but produced a stinker!

This really put a dampener on my spirits.  I got in contact with Greg as I knew that he had swam the course also.  He had a Garmin on, whilst I only had my stop watch.  He said that he felt the same and his Garmin said that the course was 4.25k's.  That did make me a fair bit happier, maybe the buoy was just too far out!

Then talking to another guy in the afternoon and having a chat to him, the same thing was said, but he had 4.28k's on his Garmin, that was good enough to help ease my mind.  Although I was spewing on it all day.  Hoping the next open water swim would be better!

Getting back, heading out for breakfast, removed the disappointment only a little bit, I just couldn't get my head around it.

The afternoon session was a short but sharp ride and a solid run off it.

Heading out for the ride, I have noticed that the town is getting considerably busier and the traffic is a lot heavier.  So I am very aware of just taking things easy until getting out on the Queen K.

I got going and felt great.  I was thinking that I must have had a really strong tail wind as I was sitting in the high 40's very comfortably.  I was a bit concerned that the ride back would be into a block head wind, so I turned a fraction early. 

Turning and getting going again, I settled at 39 to 40kph easily.  Once again, something that I couldn't work out.  I know that with getting fresher this helps however to turn and settle as this speed was really pleasing.

The only thing that was entering my head was that I was going to slow really fast, this didn't phase me.  My 90min ride ended up being 81min, 40min out and 41min back. Happy days!

Getting off the bike and into the run, I decided to try and run above Ironman Pace for the 30min.  Once again I was surprised at my speed and got back averaging 4min 13 k pace.  A fair bit faster then I expected, however was happy all the same.  Has got me thinking about my "race pace" now. 

Do I stick to my plan or do I try to push it a little bit??  I had a great race last year and got here early again this year to have a better race.  What is my limit?  That I don't know, one thing that I do know is that I don't want to be walking from the energy lab to the finish due to going too hard to early.

More thinking time required, but I do know my target time will be exactly what I have planned and the bonus will be if I go faster.

On that note, I will be posting my goal times soon, however will only publish them race day, once I am out there.  So although I will be out fighting the war, my plans will be here to read.

For now... Feet up and food ready for another light day.  My energy is rising and have plenty to do!!

As long as I have internet access I will post again today, it has been really bad the last few days!

X-Man

PS.  The below are my niece and nephew missing me!!  Dallas is telling Scarlett-May that Uncle X will be home soon!  Love them dearly!



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day 23...Nice just to be easy!

So after the Big day previous, I was eagerly waiting to see how my legs would recover. 

The days plans were an easy 1hr ride, a swim and an easy 45min run.

Now, one thing that I have failed to mention for this whole week is that the local swimming pool has been shut.  Originally, it was only supposed to be shut for 2 days, however they decided to shut the pool for the entire week.  There is only one way to describe it..

PAIN IN THE ASS!!

Now with the water choppy in the afternoon, my swimming has dropped off a little bit, however am still trying to get out often to keep the feel for it.

Ok, back to the days plan.

Heading out early, Matty tried to talk me into going to Kawaihae and return.  My legs feeling a little heavy, I kindly declined, little does he know if he had of asked me a little later in the ride, I might have just said yes as they came good after about 25min.

Turning after 30min and heading back into town, my legs really started to come good.  Gave them a little blow out and got off the bike feeling great.

Headed for a midday swim, open water. Was happy to get 1500m in the arms as it had felt like ages since I had swam.  Like everything on the island, it is so hard to get gauge of how you are traveling.  Sometimes I feel like I am swimming well, the next few minutes it feels like an endless swim spa.  Knowing that I had plans to swim the course the following morning, just to get out there was pleasing.  I also used this time to test out the new race suit and speed suit.  I got a little bit of chaffing, however I know where to cover up come race day.

For the first time in a while I am really looking forward to getting back in the pool to get some specific training down.  But for now, it is open water swimming and just trying to get it done!

The afternoon run was nothing flash, nor did it need to be after the previous run session.  45min easy just to tick the legs over.  And it was just that.  I don't think I even got 9k in, or if I did, was just.  But box ticked and legs recovering rather well from another consistent day under the sun.

As race day draws closer, I am starting to get a few things organised.  I will have a photo of my race suit with logos on soon, just finishing the layout.

Today has already commenced with a full course swim, something that I will post about later and then a solid brick session.

For now...

X-Man

Friday, October 5, 2012

Some of yesterday's photos!

Below are some of the "action" shots from yesterday's run session.  As you can see the sky is blue (hot), the surface pure quality but the length being 1k, it did the job.  There was no hiding out there.

The track for the session.
Getting into stride!

Carla with her well earnt drink after being my pacer!
No where to hide, just under the sun!
The sun was sorting me out by this one.
The last of the 12, happy to see the back of them.
One Word.... Spent & in need of Coffee!
Big Boy was tired just thinking about it.


Friends for life.. Sean, Shoko & Horoshi.  Could not be in better hands! 

Will update the blog a bit more tomorrow, early to bed to get some good training in tomorrow.  The mid day naps will start coming into play soon!

For Now...

X-Man

Day 22 Starting to Shut up shop..

So, yesterday was almost my last big day of training.

I still have a couple of important sessions in front of me, however yesterday was my last Big day.

A ride in the morning with some high intensity efforts and then the "death session" as I named it.  I was thinking about this session all day, wondering how I was going to get my head and legs around it.

Back to the ride.

Heading out for a couple of hours, it was really interesting to see more and more athletes and even pro's out there.  Getting out to Waikaloa and return in good time was pleasing as the legs were feeling great.

Getting back into town, Sebastian Keinle came flying past, wow, he can push a pedal!  Coming across NZ superstar Cam Brown & Melb local Josh Rix was pretty cool.  I had a good chat to Cam Brown.  I couldn't help myself but to say that if he didn't have that funny accent (Kiwi) I would really hope that he win!! He had a good chuckle and appreciated the sense of humor.

Getting off the bike in just over 2 hrs, my legs felt really great, and am starting to feel some good rhythm on the treddly!  Throughout the entire ride, all I could think about was the 12 x 1k efforts that I had to do that afternoon.

I have never really been intimidated by a session, however this one had me by the nuts!  Out in the open, under the rays of the beating sun doing one of the hardest sessions I have ever had to tackle.

So getting prepared and loading up the back pack, asking Carla to be my pacer and meeting Matty, out there I was the most prepared that I was going to be.

The session was 12 x 1k's holding a pace that would see me have a consistent time from go to woe.
 
 Lap Time Dist

 3:35.21.00   3:35
2:11.8 0.04 5:17
3 1:10.9 0.12 9:46
43:35.3 1.00 3:35
51:27.1 0.05  29:24
63:36.4  1.00 3:36
71:24.6 0.07 19:58
83:37.3 1.00 3:37
91:22.4 0.05 27:55
103:41.7 1.00 3:42
111:19.2 0.06 20:27
123:39.3 1.00 3:39
133:58.8 0.88 4:31
141:22.7 0.09 15:44
153:41.4 1.00 3:41
161:18.4 0.08 16:31
173:35.7 1.00 3:36
181:22.4 0.07 19:38
193:41.7 1.00 3:42
201:20.8 0.07 18:26
213:40.9 1.00 3:41
221:16.9 0.07 19:05
233:50.5 1.00 3:51
24:23.7 0.04 9:13 
The above numbers relate to the laps...Every "bold" lap is my effort and the normal is the recovery.  Carla had my Garmin, so I was just purely pacing of her on the bike.  Was so great just worrying about the running vs the time.  I can't thank Carla enough for getting me through them.

Laps 13 includes some of the rest from lap 12 so is a bit distorted.  My goal was to get Carla to ride at 3min 40sec k pace and either finish with her or just in front.

I stopped after 6, had a drink and a short break (1km easy jog) and then got going again.  Getting them all done on a 5 min cycle was pleasing as yesterday was one of the hottest days here in a while.

My legs started to suffer at the 11th effort and to just get the last one in albeit a little slower was a massive box ticked.  Considering that my race plan is no where this speed, I am confident that I should be able to lock in my pace and just tick of everyone of the 42.2k's at that pace.

The main purpose of me posting this is to educate a few of my athletes about evenly pacing whilst doing efforts.  The actual file is below.  There is no point blowing a gasket and not getting through it, picking a speed and being consistent will outdo the the sessions where either you go out too fast and "pop" or even not finish.  I know that my speeds are not really "high end", but I also know that I would not have faded much from here if I had another 10 to do.


The day was topped off in a fantastic way when Sean, Shoko & Horoshi came & had dinner with us.  Both Carla & I were so appreciative, Carla more so of the Chocolate Brownies!

I have got some photos to add, which I will once they download.  And I will add another post later today about today's proceedings.

For Now...

X-Man