Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ironman Busselton 70.3



Duffield sisters cooking Pasta the night before 70.3

Where to begin . Racing is always filled with drama , stories and sagas for everyone. There were thousands of stories told by athletes following the event.

Mine is a continuing story. Busselton 70.3 2012 is just part of it. It is not pretty and for that is the reality of chasing PBs and improvements and getting faster. I stumble sometimes .In this case literary on the bike. But I was happy I was at Busselton . I knew I was not quite going to be smashing it especially on the bike . I did feel a lot better on the run with the training the last 3-4 weeks. Having said that as the results above show , it was my slowest Busselton result in 5 attempts and just faster than my first Singapore 70.3 in 2007 .

But there are  many lessons to be learnt in the not so good races . I don't mean just in results , because despite , IM Lanzarote being my slowest result I rank it as a success as everything fell into place and I did my best within my capacity.

Back to the many stories.Mine like  many others didn't unfold as planned .Despite the injuries and stomach issues I had in the week before  and no cycling or swimming , I was hopeful. But the night before the race the storm front that passed did leave some uncertainty about weather conditions for the race . With little swim training with the sore shoulder , I was hopeful I could pull off a reasonable swim leg. Unfortunately not being the strongest of swimmers , the swell and choppy conditions that were at the start  just compounded the swim leg for a fair weather swimmer like me. It was 54 minutes of being tossed around. I could only breathe on my left , my right arm being able to be forward leaving me breathing into the chop ? A lot of seawater and gagging was the result. After the first turn I was seriously contemplating pulling out.I persevered because despite that I could not face having to just say I gave up .It was better to have got through the swim last then give up.

For many it was the same issue and very slow times. This was by far my slowest swim leg surpassing the 70.3 swim leg in Singapore last year by 1 minute.

I got to T1 and did my best to get out . Managed it in 4 plus mins.  I thought I was going well on the ride but by the turn around I was just really struggling .I had no strength and again as the results show was just a really average result in the end. I 'think the swim and the lead up all conspired but it wasn't one issue , just many including a lack of mental focus after the fall. That probably was a large factor in setting the tone for the race. I could not visualise or even focus on the task and my legs just lacked strength. I will never know absolutely why . I had some minor issues with my nutrition and reflux on the bike but nothing that stopped me performing. During the ride , I kept passing and being passed by the same riders . I was in an absolute rut .

I was by this stage going through the motions and having very little confidence in salvaging much from the race. I was still hopeful to try and put on a good run leg? . Another sad reality , mental toughness comes from confronting not giving up . I unfortunately didn't do either. I drifted into automatic pilot . Hence the very average result for the bike leg . My left arm and neck were sore and every niggle seemed to just be multiplied in my head .

Once off the bike , I felt I had a very quick transition .It was about 1 plus minute and I managed to get my shoes on and I was out the exit. It started fast and then slowed down. there was great crowd support as always accept at the far end , where it was a grind. I saw a few of my training squad and Exceed and North Coasters on the run. I had a comfortable first lap and then the 2nd lap became harder but I was still going well in my mind at least. My Garmin unfortunately was not giving me my pace as it was in multi sport mode. I should have been pushing harder again but the mind was really in survival mode unfortunately.

As I was running my second lap , I saw Lauren Jones run by mumbling to herself not far to go and edging herself . There was the mental fortitude running by . I tried to pick it up in the last lap but  my head was just not really in it. I thought I had a good run but in the end I was still slower than where I should have been on the basis of the training especially my brick session 3 weeks earlier.

But no excuses . The results are what they are . Do they paint the whole picture ? They don't . Yesterday's 70.3 , showed up weaknesses and the reality of my training (or the lack off) the mental focus , the direction , the weather and its impact but it heightens the good results I have had and like anything I am not going to be as consistent as I would love to be.

I am glad I got to the start line, I had a really good training squad to work with and  enjoyed the experience with Brad . I took away some good sessions to build on for the next challenge. I stuck at it despite the mental lapses. I had a good house of triathletes to share the experience with on the weekend. Despite the drawbacks , it was better to have gone out there and given it a go .

On reflection , I wished I wasn't injured and had a solid block of training behind me, but I have to focus on the positves , it could have always been alot worse. The water in the glass can be half full or half empty , we choose and sometimes it can even be choppy. C'est_la_vie