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

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.

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??


Do I have regrets?


What will I do differently?


For now....


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!


  1. Congratulations mate. Obviously not the way you wanted it to pan out, but what an incredibly gutsy effort to finish.

  2. Wow Xavier just read your race report here (just found your blog). You were/are an amazing athlete and you give npme encouragement to keep going! Debi from Team Wess