Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ironman World Championships 2016 Race Report

Kona : Adventures in Disneyland with Super Grannies








One of the Bill Boards on Ali'i Drive on the History of the Race
Anna , Carrie , Dave Scott , myself and Mark Allen at the Legacy Reception




The race is done . Finished in 14.59 and probably my slowest bike time ever .Not the fastest and certainly not my best but I finished and more importantly I enjoyed the experience. The build to Ironman had been difficult with the cold and wet winter and the flu but I think overall I had as good a prep but the legs were just not as battled hardened for the tough conditions of Kona and I knew that. After 14 races the spirit to put in the volume needed particularly in winter was  hard and my motivation despite it being Kona a little thin. I am glad I had no expectation for a target time .It would have been deeply disappointing otherwise and with only one chance it was far better to go out and enjoy the event as best I could and remain relaxed and focused on just competing and finishing. Actually Kona surprisingly was one of the most relaxed races I ever had .I actually slept well the night before the race and despite some soreness I felt pretty good the day after which probably had more to do with the fact that I did not really push as hard.

What I take with me are good memories of the race and the taper week and Hawaii. I arrived with my wife and son on the 25 September a good 13 days before the race with the intention of acclimatizing to the heat and humidity.The first 6 days were spent in Honolulu and I ran or swam everyday and felt a lot better at the end of the week in the heat.

The week before the race was spent in Kona and it being my first trip to Kona I got down to  Alii drive and had a good run around the town on the first day. I actually did a 16 km run ..On Sunday I rode the great Queen K or at least past the airport and back .There was wind but nothing I could not handle. The legs felt good. There were lots of athletes  riding the Queen K  and they were all fast. For the  week I enjoyed the Expo , the 2XU talk with Anja Beranek, Craig Alexander and Terrence Bozzone imparting words of wisdom about racing Kona. As a legacy participant it really didn't matter but one piece of advice was simply as a first timer don't have any expectations. Kona is tough. Attending the Legacy reception and pictures with Mark Allen, Dave Scott and Julie Moss the highlight .

As it turns out the weather was not as bad but I found the winds hard and my legs were pretty dead for the bike . My output through the bike leg was pretty low and whilst it was windy I think I just did not perform as well as I would have expected . I did take a lot more salt directly and in the nutrition and had no issues of cramping and no gut issues fortunately.I found the climb to Hawi difficult even though it was not steep but more rolling and whilst there were gusts of winds they were manageable.

The return  was just as hard and made tolerable with the beauty of the course , the black lava fields and the green layered mountain with the peak hidden by clouds and on the other side the ocean with the white tops as the wind blew . I was passed by loads of riders and many much older participants but it being a world championship and there is no shame in that.

The great memories will be the swim course and the stretch starting from the pier out to the bay .The water wasn't crystal clear but there were lots of fish and the water was warm . The fast sleek bodies torpedoing past  me , the coffee from the coffee boat anchored on the swim course and the hundreds of triathletes parading each morning around the town , Alii drive and Digme Beach of course.

I will remember the long queues for body marking , getting into the water and taking the time to look around me before the start. It was a race where I strangely had no nerves. I started from the left and managed to find feet quickly .the odds were that anyone I stuck to was faster than me and after about 800m I jumped on to another swimmers feet and remained with that swimmer till the end .After about 300 to 500 meters after the turnaround the lead age group women passed us and I came out of the swim at 1.24 hr which was a great swim for me .

Memories on the course  :
The blind triathlete and guide climbing towards Hawi as I head back and Agar and his son in a specially made cart climbing that same stretch , unfortunately failing to make the cut off.
My very first puncture a km from leaving T1 .A real shock but I just knuckled down and changed it and the fix lasted 180kms . The big bunches of bikes on the Queen K returning to Kona with no Marshall in sight . They were probably monitoring the pros closely. The strange episode of 3 aid stations after Hawi running out of water completely stuffing up my nutrition plan as I had no water to dilute my tailwind concentrate. I turned to taking some Gatorade with concentrated tailwind for the next 20 miles and whilst the gut did not collapse it wasn't great.

As I get back into town in the late afternoon , triathletes are finishing and I am just starting the run. Its here that everyone digs deep , the back end of the race is where I like to think the backbone of the sport lies , we are the ones that make the elites look even better  .There is no first in a race of one but there is a first in a race of many . Here the atmosphere is more lets enjoy the suffering together ,we are not competing we are helping each other finish. There is time to exchange words of encouragement and cheer each other on.  The crowd is still around Ali'i drive and the first 16km is in town before swinging out onto Queen K and the famed Energy lab. By now it is dark and I have my own small head lamp . There are fewer triathletes on the course and it takes a quiet slow death march feel. At the start the music is blaring and then it is quiet and then as I approach another aid station there is activity and music. The Cliff Bar camp were stationed at the turnaround at the Energy lab and after that it was another 8 miles or 14 kms to the finish line . Throughout the race I was taking salt over and above the salt in the tailwind. I had managed to drink the Gatorade every other station and take some tailwind till the 20km mark before moving onto the coke. By the end of 15 miles I was also having some chicken soup which made a change. The pace was slow but steady .I ran and only walked the aid stations. Still was one of the slower runs but surprisingly , the legs were not hurting just dead.
The last stretch winds through the town before hitting  Ali'i drive and the stands built along the drive for the finish .After 42 kms I did have a cramp but a minute of stretching sorts that out .The course is nothing fancy other than that history of 35 years on the big island. My son Jonathan catches me  200m before the end . His first words are, "Dad do you know how many Grannies have passed you" . But they are super Grannies. After all it is the best in the world. For the many finishing hours earlier it is a passion and a life of tireless hours of training and probably some talent in endurance sports for which I have none . I understand the devotion it takes to reach such a pinnacle in the sport and to get to Kona. There are those who are repeat offenders because they can .For many it was hard work and single minded desire and some talent. For us mere mortals it is the enjoyable experience of a lifetime it was meant to be and the philosophy of Commander John Collins to allow a small group of “average” triathletes to compete in Kona..


Terrence Bozzone Myself and Craig Alexander


As Craig Alexander in the 2XU talk said Kona is like Disneyland for triathletes and he is correct .The best in the world in Endurance triathlon sport is here , the major sponsors the elite professionals Triathletes  and some serious age groupers  For me it did feel  like Disneyland ..

A more comprehensive race report by others are:

Turia Pitt : Kona becomes reality

Beau Waters Ironman: If you tip over the edge there’s no coming back


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ironman Hawaii Preparation

On the famous Queen K



On the Queen K



The Participants List



A Tough Road


The last week before the big Dance at Kona .I have no expectations because after 14 ironman races I know what it takes and unfortunately I haven't put in the work.As I had  drinks with the other legacy participants it takes a special person to win a slot and tons of focussed almost OCD mentality plus possibly some talent .All I don't have in spades and more than I can commit. The desire and the mental strength to race and win is critical.But having said that it is good to be prepared and to know what is doable and to enjoy the journey which I have .Being here is great.

The final piece is to get the nutrition and mental frame sorted.

This is mine:


Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose
         Star Wars YODA
Preparation’ is vital for running ultras. Physical health, nutrition, water, feet, support, weather, mental health and focus are all essential, but the fine line in racing, leading to dictate a DNF after your name or not, is what you do when your ‘preparation’ doesn’t go to plan. After all, even the best ultra race plans won’t go exactly to plan, that’s why we love them.

Matt Cooper
Preparation for any ultra race is about putting together many facets that will ultimately come together on Race day. There is the physical training and that is important. The logistics of getting to the race , getting the equipment/gear together and the necessary gear ,food and nutrition. What we most often spend the least time on is the mental preparation .

What is great about such races is the challenge .There is no doubt about that . What makes it interesting is to be able to test the plan and hopefully pull it off on race day. The article by Matt Cooper called the The mental side of Running is a good start. It is important not as he says when everything is going well but when it is not . When it all doesn't go to plan . The negative thoughts pile in and its easier to give up then go on.As Chris McCormack says in Ironman racing we have to Embrace the Suck because at some stage everything will hurt and thats when you have to find your happy place. (see my blog piece My Happy Place )

Chrissie Wellington provided some advice in a piece called 10 tips from the Worlds Top Female triathlete She said :
It amazes me how little time people spend on mental training. 30K into a marathon on race day is too late to figure out that you need to train your brain. There are many different tools you can use. Have a bank of positive images and songs. It doesn’t have to be related to sport at all. That way, when the going gets tough—and it will get tough—you can draw on those images and have peace of mind.”

She suggested having a mantra or two. Finding a happy place and not allowing the mind to wander or to be filled with negativity .That is the slippery slide to the DNF . Our mind is our most powerful tool and can be used to overcome all difficulties and equally is the most vulnerable link in bringing the whole game down. Chrissie Wellington used  Rudyard Kipling’s If.  
It encapsulates everything you need to do to be a good athlete, especially the mental side of the game. ‘If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;/If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,/But make allowance for their doubting too…’
There are many more great words/thoughts or visions to race by and to use as a mantra/a focus when times get hard . Just think of that Happy Place.

At the Legacy Reception ,kona 5 ocotober 2016 with the legends Mark Allen and Dave Scott


At 2XU talk.Terrence Bozzone and Craig Alexander

These are from my previous blog in preparation for a race but it was comforting hearing the same thoughts being repeated first by Craig Alexander , terrence Bozzone and Anja Beranek at the 2XU talk in kona on5 October 2016 and again by Julie Mossand Dave Scott at the legacy reception. Its knowing that it is going to be tough and being prepared forthe challenge ,not shying away and keeping to the plan as best as possible and breaking it up into segments. if Ironman teaches you anything  , it is their motto Anything is possible and you eat an Elephant one bite at a time.

The Nutrition Plan For IM

AM : Breakfast Toast jam coffee
          Bidon Tailwind 200calories/ 50gms carbohydrates .
          Before swim a cliff bar and  water sip throughout before the start


           Water as going thru transition
           Start nutrition regime on bike
           Bidon of concentrated tailwind 2 scoops per hour for 7 or 14 scoops = 200 calories
           per hour     Add every hour to Aero bottle and dilute
           down with water from aid station .One bidon every aid station
           Salt 300mg per scoop so 600mg per hr plus extra salt to make about
          1000mg  per  should  be    about right . In case it is warmer have added
           salt tablets available May add 600mg to make it up to 1000mg per hr
           Also take on cliff bars and whatever is on Aid station for something different on the bike.
           (I have eaten everything on the aid stations before )

           Off Bike/Run
           Carry 2 flask of  tailwind powder to make a concentrate at first chance and again   
           taking bars on the run course (cliff) and  electrolyte (endurance ) plus water at
           aid stations  to make up about 200-300 calories per hour plus food on the aid stations to make
           up another 100 calories .I usually aleternate electrolytes and water but given the heat will be
           drinking a lot more . Finally if I can mange it only taking Coke at 20km point if  I can hold  
           out till then. 

Ironman Hawaii Preparation

On the famous Queen K



On the Queen K



The Participants List





The last week before the big Dance at Kona .I have no expectations because after 14 ironman races I know what it takes and unfortunately I haven't put in the work.As I had  drinks with the other legacy participants it takes a special person to win a slot and tons of focussed almost OCD mentality. More than I can comit and hence the desire and the mental strength to race and win is critical.But having said that it is good to be prepared and to know what is doable and to enjoy the journey which I have .being here is great.

The final piece is to get the nutrition and mental frame sorted.

This is mine:


Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose
         Star Wars YODA
Preparation’ is vital for running ultras. Physical health, nutrition, water, feet, support, weather, mental health and focus are all essential, but the fine line in racing, leading to dictate a DNF after your name or not, is what you do when your ‘preparation’ doesn’t go to plan. After all, even the best ultra race plans won’t go exactly to plan, that’s why we love them.

Matt Cooper
Preparation for any ultra race is about putting together many facets that will ultimately come together on Race day. There is the physical training and that is important. The logistics of getting to the race , getting the equipment/gear together and the necessary gear ,food and nutrition. What we most often spend the least time on is the mental preparation .

What is great about such races is the challenge .There is no doubt about that . What makes it interesting is to be able to test the plan and hopefully pull it off on race day. The article by Matt Cooper called the The mental side of Running is a good start. It is important not as he says when everything is going well but when it is not . When it all doesn't go to plan . The negative thoughts pile in and its easier to give up then go on.As Chris McCormack says in Ironman racing we have to Embrace the Suck because at some stage everything will hurt and thats when you have to find your happy place. (see my blog piece My Happy Place )

Chrissie Wellington provided some advice in a piece called 10 tips from the Worlds Top Female triathlete She said :
It amazes me how little time people spend on mental training. 30K into a marathon on race day is too late to figure out that you need to train your brain. There are many different tools you can use. Have a bank of positive images and songs. It doesn’t have to be related to sport at all. That way, when the going gets tough—and it will get tough—you can draw on those images and have peace of mind.”

She suggested having a mantra or two. Finding a happy place and not allowing the mind to wander or to be filled with negativity .That is the slippery slide to the DNF . Our mind is our most powerful tool and can be used to overcome all difficulties and equally is the most vulnerable link in bringing the whole game down. Chrissie Wellington used  Rudyard Kipling’s If.  
It encapsulates everything you need to do to be a good athlete, especially the mental side of the game. ‘If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;/If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,/But make allowance for their doubting too…’
There are many more great words/thoughts or visions to race by and to use as a mantra/a focus when times get hard . Just think of that Happy Place.



Nutrition Plan For IM

AM : Breakfast Toast jam coffee
          Bidon Tailwind 200calories/ 50gms carbohydrates with caffeine
          Before swim one gel shotz/ water sip throughout before the start


           Water as going thru transition
           Start nutrition regime on bike
           Bidon of concentrated tailwind 2 scoops per hour for 7 or 14 scoops = 200 calories
           per hour     Add every hour to Aero bottle and dilute
           down with water from aid station .One bidon every aid station
           Salt 300mg per scoop so 600mg per hr plus extra salt to make about
          1000mg  per  should  be    about right . In case it is warmer have added
           salt tablets available May add 600mg to make it 1000mg per hr
           Also take on some dates and bananas for something different on the bike.


            Off Bike/Run
           Carry 2 flask of gels .About 2-3 gels per hour plus water and electrolyte on the run alternate
           aid stations  to make up about 200-300 calories per hour plus food on the aid stations to make
           up another 100 calories or 3 gels per hour. Coke at 20km point if can hold out till then .

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Week 18 Hawaii taper


















Finaaly in Hawaii ,with the first week in Honollulu trying to acclimatise after the coldest winter perth has had for 20 years and probably the wettest as far as days with rain.Everyone in the family has had the flu and I have survived with a lingering cough.

kept to a routine although i have not ridden ion the roads as honollulu is pretty crowded so all the training has been in the gym

Had the Sunday 25 September off with travelling via Sydney to honollulu a mere 16-17 hours with a short stopover . Got to the Hotel and had a ful day to adjust to the timezone .Got a full day and started Monday with a 10km run in the Hawaiian sun in the arvo and then a swim on Waikiki beach but just a short 1km swim.

Tuesday a bike session in the gym with 1 hour mixing in 20x 1minutes at max pace then 10 minutes hard on the threadmill .Wednesday a swim 2km and a run on the threadmill with 1minute at 8%,2 mins at 6% and 3 minutes at 4% and 5 minutes flat between and cooldown.

While swimming i got stung on the left wrist and that swelled up a fair bit ,could not move or flex the wrist and I assumed it was a jelly fish but not sure what stung me.Still stiff but took an antihistamine and some anti inflamatories for it.

Thursday had a rest day and Frida a nother 1 hour bike in the gym and a 40 minute easy run along the beach and then a swim in the evening in the crowded Waikiki Beach.

Tomorrow heading to Kona for the final week and soaking up the atmosphere and festivities before the race.looking forward to getting the bike on the Queen K and experiencing the atmosphere butmindful of the history and the heat and winds.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Weeks 16 & 17 September 12-25


Always a few detours
At Cross fit 24 September 2016

The next 2 weeks I was hoping to crank out a big long ride but unfortunately by the end of the week I was down with the flu again and was out of action.The preparation for Kona has been hard simply because of the weather and the fact that I just have had an office full of sick people this winter..Despite that I have done a fair bit of training and whilst not as many long rides as I like I feel comfortable.

The week was off well with a swim session and my pace remains slow and the same but I feel good in the water and hopefully once in Hawaii I will be able to get a lot of swims in the ocean as its just not been possible here .On Tuesday a 2 hour session riding with Exceed on the Birwood loop .I found it harder this week with the chest still feeling weak but managed to keep going. The legs weren't tired just the lungs . In the afternoon a good cross fit session with 105 clean & jerks, push ups and hollow rocks.I also did a 55 minute wind trainer session with 10 x 1 min at threshold and then 10 mins on the treadmill at 5.30 minutes per km.

Wednesday another treadmill session with various gradients and I had to miss the swim session with work

Thursday I did a run and then in the evening a wind trainer session which was hard and so felt I was coming down with the flu.On Friday an easy run which was a struggle and so off to to Doctors and a quiet weekend.

It was another 7days before I could resume training and did a wind trainer session on Thursday with a lot of wheezing and coughing but got through the session .Friday swam a straight 2.5km and felt better .On Saturday a ride down the Freeway bike path with Borisfit crew and then a run off the bike 5km on my own and 2 with Irondog.In the afternoon a cross fit session just focusing on snatches and  cleans. Sunday morning with the rain I ran late and did a slow steady run with about 10 km.

The test will be the weather and the heat but it is what it is and there is a fine line with over training and getting sick and under training and suffering on the course. Ultimately I recall Paula Newby Frasers article from 6 years ago as she recounted taking on a younger Natasha Badmann and Karen Smyers in 1997 she was the consummate athlete and whilst there is no comparison with me a back of the pack triathlete there is a slow realization that in all endeavors you learn to confront your shortcomings and ultimately your fears and accept that sometimes it is that fear of not winning that you must overcome.For me it not winning but doing ones best and that has been difficult with competing pressures which everyone faces and manages  and most possibly the motivation of knowing why you are out there .It has moved more to getting a PB to really just finishing what I started which was 10 years ago just getting to Kona .Interestingly  Natasha has a wildcard entry to Kona where she will retire and finish her illustrious career of more than 20 years and I saw her at Lanzarote in 2011 as she was coming back from injury.

Two notable quotes in the article are (Its not easy ): Most impressively, Newby-Fraser admit­ted, “I was finally free of the ego or the fears that people would say I was a quitter. I was quite comfortable retiring out on the Queen K because that was the place where I had left so many pieces of myself in the past. I didn’t need that again.”
 In 1998, when Newby-Fraser crossed the Kona line in 11th place in a humbling 10:03:44, she was bathed in loving applause. “I real­ized today that people cared about me for who I am and did not care where I finished, only that I was OK and happy,” she said.
(On the way she was named “Greatest All Around Female Endurance Athlete in the World” by ABC Sports and the Los Angeles Times and named as one of the top five professional female athletes in the world from 1972 to 1997 by the United States Sports Academy. Sports Illustrated listed her as number 60 among the greatest female athletes of the twentieth century. Until Wellington broke her course record at Kona in 2008, Newby-Fraser held the top six times in the history of Ironman Hawaii. By 1999 she had won 21 of the 26 Ironman races she entered around the globe.)
 The adventure is about to start .Leaving for Hawaii and in 2 weeks Ironman World Championships ...the blog iwantakonaspot gets realized.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week14 & 15

Saturday Instead of a bike ride



Its Alright-End of the line


A big week trying to get back into training after the flu.

Monday whilst still struggling with the chest and wheezing a bit I did a 4km swim .It was a pretty nice day and actually got a little sunburnt .Then went to the Drs for antibiotics and in the evening did a windtrainer session on trainer road with 4 x 10 minutes at 200watts .Tuesday I went down to the Exceed ride but it was an easy river loop as the main triathletes were heading to the World 70.3 championships.It was a pretty easy ride but I was still struggling a bit with the cold air and my flu. In the evening I rode to cross fit and then had a good 30 minute session of bench press with 25 to 50kgs and starting with 10 reps and down to 2-3s with the heavier weights.Then the ride home.

Wednesday , run to the pool and then a swim of 2.2kms and then a fast run to the office .managed to get the pace at about 5.20 with 1km under 5 minutes but again coughing from the cold air and the rain at the end.In the afternoon an easy 5km run.

Thursday a windtrainer session with 3 x 14 minutes at 130 to 150 watts. Friday an easy run of 9km and then 2.1km swim

Saturday a late start and rode a lone down the Freeway bikepath to Mandurah and back 5 hours but just 125km with the traffic and some wind.Ran off the bike and felt better .Still a bit of coughing and in the afternoon did cross fit with just a 25 minute boxing session.

Sunday ran from Burns Beach for 2.5 hours .Managed 22 kms at about 6.50 minutes per km .A little slow but managed to finish on tired legs . In the afternoon a slow 2km swim in the pool.


Did a full week and 21 hours with about 260kms of biking and 50km of running .

The next week started out again with a swim session of 3km .The main set was 75m fast 25 easy for 1500m then Pullbuoy and paddles and cooldown. Tuesday I did a windtrainer session with 1min on and 1 min recovery and all out effort for 15 repeats then 10 minutes on a thread mill again at 5.30 mins per km . In the evening did another windtriner session and cross fit for 30 minutes.

Wednesday I ran on the threadmill with 2 x 1 min @8% ,5 mins flat,2mins @6% ,5mins flat , 3 mins @4% and 5  mins flat  and then 10 mins cooldown .In the evening a massage.Skipped the swim because of the rain . Thursday a wind trainer session with again maintaining above FTP pace and found it pretty hard with my lingering chest infection.

Friday I ran an easy 8km and then swam 3.5kms with 15 x 50m fast 50m recovery as the main set.

Unfortunately Saturday and Sunday were non starters and I just felt mentally really tired.

Two more big weeks and have to crank out the mileage .





Monday, September 12, 2016

WEEK 12 & 13 August 15-28


Molly Saturday 







 
Let the Sunshine In -The Fifth Dimension (Hair)

The next few weeks are usually the big build and the long rides cranking up to 5hours or more.

The wet weather was certainly making training this winter a lot harder than usual.The spirit tends to wax and wain  despite this being Kona.

The work week started much the same with a swim session and an easy 2000m swim with a straight session of non stop swimming.Tuesday I rode to cross fit and also ran 5kms and then had a cross fit session before riding home. Cross fit was back squats from 30 to 50kgs , with at least 100 squats .

Wednesday I had a run to the pool and then to work about 70 minutes in total and the pool session was just a short 1600m with various drills. In the afternoon a short easy 5km run. Thursday a hard wind trainer session with the Kickr and Traineroad. Basically 2x 7 mins at threshold and then 2x 5mins at 105% FTP and then 3 Mins at FTP . Struggled a bit with fatigue at the end and maintaining the levels. Friday a 3km swim and easy run.

On Saturday not feeling a 100% so opted for a run and swim 13km run and 1600m swim and then cross fit for 30 minutes.Started getting a cold and by Sunday had aches and I was down with the dreaded flu which meant I was out for the whole of the next week unfortunately.It had been through the population and was a lot worse this year possibly because of the cold wet weather . I admit I had it reasonably mild but just could not train particularly as I needed to get rid of it quickly and not let it linger.I did visit the Doctor and had antibiotics after 8 days and that helped with the chest and lungs .

Not a lot of training but life goes on.