Saturday, 18 December 2010

2011 Race Plans

So nearly 2 weeks on from Ironman WA, thoughts have turned to next year and what events to focus on. The rough plan at the moment looks a bit like this...

Early 2011 = mainly sprint distance racing:

Feb / March = XOSIZE Tri Series races 4 & 5
Feb 13 - Falls Creek Long Course
Feb 20 - Geelong Olympic Distance
+ going to have a go at a few Crit races when I have the time SKCC Crit racing

Then I'll start moving to having more of a running focus:

Mid April - Run for the Kids
Mid May - Great Ocean Road Half Marathon
July 3 - Gold Coast Marathon

After that I'm going to get back into Ironman mode (very predictable I know)

December 4th 2011 - Ironman Western Australia

Erika is thinking about running the full marathon in Melbourne next October, so another goal for the season will be to help her with a training program for that. I won't run Melbourne marathon next year. I found it was too close to Busselton but not from a running recovery point of view, more from the fact that I lost a couple of weeks of good bike volume as I tapered for the run. I could do it without such a taper but I think that kind of defeats the point so this year I will hopefully act as coach instead (although I may still have time to sneak in the half marathon on the day!!).

The Ironman still motivates me to get up and train in the mornings and keep myself fit so I decided to put it on the agenda again, after 3 races in 18 months I am pleased that this one is still a year away though. It gives me a chance to try out some other things. I'm keen to have a go at some bike racng and see how I stack up in what I consider to be my strongest sport. Planning to have my first crack at this tomorrow at the SKCC crits, gave my legs a little outing with the North Road bunch ride on Thursday and all seemed good so we'll see what happens.

My cycling informer (thanks MG!) has told me that she thinks I could cope with B grade but might be able to mix it up the front of C grade. I was all keen to start in D grade!! Half of me expects to get dropped from the group early as the style of event is so different from long course triathlon but we'll see what happens...better start coming up with some excuses now!!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Ironman Western Australia - Race Report

I’ve found the build to this race fairly frustrating as fitting in training has been harder than ever. Being Ironman number 3 I found that the nerves did not kick in until much later and I got to enjoy the carbo dinner and the last few days as the tension around town rises. Pre race training was a simple lap of the bike course and a bit of a swim to check out the course, other than that it was feet up for most of the time!
Catching up with some of the TA crew as they head out to check out the course

It's a long way to the end of that pier!!

By the time my alarm went off on Sunday (at 3am!!!) the challenge ahead still felt pretty daunting. The weather forecast looked good, only mid 20s and a little windy but I’ll take some wind over heat anyday!
Some of the team pre-start - some nervous faces??

Some of the dedicated support crew ready for a long day

And so we found ourselves on the start line and before too long the cannon sounds and we are away. The swim is pretty straightforward, just do a lap around a very long pier!! I got a bit bashed around for the first few hundred meters but then moved right of the main pack and had a fairly uneventful swim out.  There are a couple of buildings out at the end of the pier and I was pleased to finally get to them so that I could turn for home only to find that the turning buoy was 100m or so past those!

Once you turn for home, you look up and realise that 1.9km out to sea is quite a long way!! There was a bit more chop to deal with on the way back in so I struggled a little to maintain my rhythm and got a couple of kicks in the head resulting in some water filled goggles which was a bit annoying!! Wasn’t too long until I was back on the beach though, checked the watch and I was on 1.04.xx, pretty much as expected, a little slower than I would have ideally liked but more than happy to be on my way to the bike.

T1 was chaos as ever, I went for a full change into bike kit but seemed to get through without too much fuss then it was off out on the bike.

Lap 1 - Feeling good at this point
My plan was to take lap 1 very easy, I have a habit of going out too hard and I think this comes back to get me later in the race so lap 1 felt fine. Lap 2 was also passing without too much trouble, the effort level was up a little but still felt comfortable. I stopped at the 90km mark for my special needs bag (more calories) and a quick toilet stop but was soon back on my way again. With the course having so many out and back sections, I could keep track of all the other guys from the squad which at least gave me something other than 180km of flat road to keep my mind occupied!

End of lap 2 - starting to feel it a little
I started to feel the fatigue as I went into town at the end of the second lap. So lap 3 was a bit more of a struggle but my pace didn’t drop too much apart from the last 10km or so when I clearly started thinking about the run rather than keeping my pace up on the bike. I’d done a pretty good job with nutrition and although my legs were tired, I was almost looking forward to getting on with the run.

I headed out of T2 and my legs felt relatively good, I tried to hold back with my pace but at the same time was keen to get some of the k’s out of the way as quickly as possible. As I ran past the race clock within the first few hundred metres is said 6.39 so I knew that my best run might get me close to 10.30, and it is nice to know that you have 5 hours up your sleeve to still get a pb!

On the long stretch between aid stations - someone pass me a gatorade!!
The run course was pretty straightforward with 4 laps, each time going right past the finish line in the centre of town. My only complaint was one section where you had to run about 3.5km between aid stations, might not sound much but by 2km you are hanging out for some more liquid so after the first lap I ran into that section with a cup of ice so that I at least has something. 

Coming round for the end of lap 1 I heard lots of shouts of ‘go Rob’ quickly followed by ‘go Kev’ as Mr. Fountain came bolting out of T2 like a man possessed, clearly relishing the fact that he was now onto the strongest part of his race. 

I watched him disappear into the distance and just tried to settle back into my own pace. I hit a tough patch on the end of lap 2 and into lap 3 but for the first time in an Ironman, I actually seemed to come out the other side of it and although I was not running fast the km were still ticking over.

As I went out on lap 4 10.30 was probably just out of reach but I started to focus on making sure that I got my run split under 4 hours which was one of my main aims in the lead up. I saw Brad, who I had done plenty of training with heading back in for home, he’d had a great race and that was the first time I flicked my watch to elapsed time to see where he was at, it was on 9.52.xx so he was going to break 10 hours which was awesome, gave him a big shout and that actually picked me up for the next k or so as I enjoyed covering the lap for the final time. As I got to the far aid station, I thanked all of the aid station volunteers and in the nicest possible way told them that I was please not to be seeing them again, I think the understood!!

Before too long I was making my way to get my final wrist band, the coveted red one! I also grabbed the t-shirt that I had in my special needs bag, the white top that I had been running in was a bit of a mess, covered in coke, Gatorade gels etc! From there it was on to the finish area and a left turn to the finish line.

This is where you get the pay back for all the training, it’s an awesome place and for once I managed to spot Erika in the crowd rather than running straight past! I tried to soak up the atmosphere as much as possible, it takes a lot of effort to get yourself to this point but it passes so quickly! A few more metres and up the ramp to the finish to be called over the line by Mike Reilly; “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN”.

Official time 10.32.30 - they stole 1 second from me!!!!

It was then great to be able to go back to the finish line and see the other guys come in and complete their first time finish. We stayed at the finish line until the 14.5 hour mark and the final member of our squad came made it to the end. I was shattered by that point though so it was off home, via KFC to try and get some well earned sleep!!

I’m so happy with my time, 10.32.30 is a 70 minute pb and a time that I am really proud of. I’m really grateful for everyone that helped me to get this far, Erika continually puts up with my tiredness and constant eating and is simply the best race day supporter there is.
I’m also grateful to all those that have trained with me over the last year, it’s been fun sharing the journey with others and I’ve enjoyed having others push me on. Also thanks to Scott and the guys at XOSIZE for their support.

Plans for 2011 are still being this space!
Monday = recovery day - for supporters too!