'Ironman' New Zealand - The race that never was, 150km/h winds meant that they couldn't hold the full Ironman event, hugely disappointing given the amount of effort that had gone into the prep but just one of those things. The wind on race day would have made the event pretty unsafe, thankfully we got to do something with a half Ironman the day after, I had a good solid race and was fairly happy with the result but that wasn't what I had trained for. Nice to bank another sub 5 hour half on a challenging course. (32.38 swim, 2.30.49 bike, 1.40.21 run - 4.52.36)
Post IMNZ - I had tried contacting race organisers to get an entry into Ironman Melbourne but with no luck so spent the day watching, was great knowing so many people racing but I can't say I wasn't a little bit jealous watching everyone hit massive pb's on a perfect Ironman weather day.
Gatorade Portarlington - Trying to salvage something from my season which has so far consisted of 9 months of consistent training, one Ironman suffer-fest in the 35 degree West Australian sun and spending 3 days carb loading in NZ just to watch the wind blowing, I decided to enter my favourite sprint distance race of the year in Portarlington. It's not really a distance that suits me with 800m swim, 26km bike and 8km run, its a little biased towards the strong runner. I knew that the field would be a little weaker than a 'standard' Gatorade race and had one aim for the day, full gas from start to finish.
Was thrilled to pull off a podium spot with 3rd place, I had a good swim (11th in my age group), drilled the bike for the 2nd fastest time in my AG and then had a great run, with a run split of 31.32 for 8k that has a few undulations in it. I held on to 3rd place by just 6 seconds.
The rest of the season - I had wanted to do some more run focussed work as although I was happy with my Portarlington run, I'm still in the position where I am hanging on in the run rather than using it to gain time on the field. It felt like too early in the year to start focusing on running a fast 5k so when a few of the MTC team were talking about doing the Great Ocean Road marathon, that seemed like a good idea, would give me some run focus and hopeful make use of all of that Ironman training.
Having done the half marathon down there a couple of times, I've always driven the marathon course thinking that people who do that are mental, the first 30k undulates the whole way and the actual event is 45km (although you do get an official 42.2km time too).
So I'm now at the end of a serious block of run training, feeling as good as I ever have running and learning to embrace running in the hills. I'm hopeful of a good race next weekend but trying not to put too much pressure on it, given my luck so far with major events this year, I am expecting driving rain and freezing temperatures for this one, and given that it is point to point run (Lorne to Apollo Bay) I suspect I'll have a headwind for 45k too!!
Future plans - Once I recover from the marathon I'm going to be putting all my focus on sprint distance racing, I'm doing one race when we go back over to the UK which gives me an outside chance of qualifying to race for GB in the age group world championships over sprint distance. In reality I'm only going to have about 4 weeks of training for it and have to race only a couple of days after the 24 hour flight back to the UK so again expectations are low but you never know unless you try.
Final Update!! I've also been helping out with coaching a couple of guys who are trying to do their first marathon this year. Erika was my test subject last year and she had a great result so I've been enjoying trying to help people get through the training. It's somehow more stressful worrying about other people's training but rewarding when they get some great race results.
I'll finish off with a few pictures from 'IM'NZ and IM Melbourne, 8 days until what will officially be my first 'ultra'marathon!! Bring it on!
|Nice set of steps up to T1 in NZ|
|Swim exit - not the fastest swim but well up the field|
|I was in the hurt locker for most of the run in NZ!|
|Bikes had to be racked the day before the planned race, these were the only set of wheels I had with me, was pretty nervous of having to try and ride in gale force winds with that front wheel, I think I would have ended up in a field somewhere!|
|This is what I had expected from Taupo - sadly this was Monday, 2 days too late!|
|The world champ being put under pressure at Ironman Melbourne, someone please explain how you can run a 2.38 Ironman marathon, simply incredible athletes - good luck Lance, I think you may have your work cut out!!|
|Getting my 'sprint' on|
|Hopefully the first of more podiums slots, clearly 2nd place was nervous of my improvement and went straight off to do some more training!|
|Liz is currently suffering through the last few weeks of her marathon prep for the Gold Coast, this was at the start of the run for the kids, not sure I quite qualified to stand in this section but wanted to get close to the front!|