Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ironman New Zealand 2013 ..How not to execute an Ironman Race.PART 1

Lake Taupo ...Ironman New Zealand


Finish (picture from Marathon pix)

What sums up the experience of this last Ironman journey is Relief at completing the race despite the 15 hour time.

If i thought I had reached rock bottom last year at Busselton , this was a new low in preparedness and execution totally from a lack of trying. I carried all the mental exhaustion of last year into this race. It was a plan than included everything I should not do . I had  not really done a lot but i still wanted to get to the start race. I had prepared myself for the fact that I was going to struggle and I just had to finish. It never is that easy and I failed to respect the distance and the toll it can and  does take on the body especially one not really prepared.

But my mind in its Machiavellian twist of logic convinced me that I was able to ride out the minor detail of preparation.

I did very little after Busselton but I just could not face rising at 5am and training 3 sometimes longer each day. I was also really off  any long rides. It was hot and I was 10kgs over weight. mentally i now know I was tired  from  the routine and the desire. What was really difficult was pulling away from a race I entered nearly a year ago.

Eight weeks to the race suddenly became a week. I managed my logistic well.i had booked accommodation with a month to go .Got a flight to Taupo and sorted out the packing of my bike .my bike and case weighed only 20kgs. I had everything else packed in a small suitcase. It was a pleasant enough flight to Auckland arriving at about 6am Auckland time a mere 5 hour difference. I then caught a 45minute flight to Taupo on the smallest commercial plane I have flown a NZ twin propeller Beech Aircraft holding 20 people. I met and chatted to Dave from Perth doing his 2nd Ironman after a 13 year break. (he did well with a 12.40 result)

There were others on the flight heading to Taupo to race. in all there were at least 20 from WA I believe . Including Courtney Ogden the only Australian Pro who came in 4th. The fastest female amateur on that day was  Kira Flanagan who was also from WA.( her time was 9.53)

I settled in to my hotel after 10 as I had to wait for the room to be available so I wondered around the town I was 10 minutes from the city center.Taupo is very much a laid back town of 20,000 people with the lake the main focal point .It is a town with one set of traffic lights. I got my bike set up and went for a ride .It was hilly but not hard. there was a bit of wind  as well but the weather was great .It was mainly in the 20s . I had a short swim on Wednesday and on Thursday went down to registration. I saw Courtney Ogden and Terrence Bozzone was also around I got a picture with him and an autograph. At registration I ran into Mal Hopkins fellow Exceed Triathlete and I was wearing my Rule 5 Exceed T-shirt which was HTFU and which 4 girls seem to know what rule 5 was and had a good laugh at my T shirt. had my wetsuit soaked in some bio detergent to prevent any contamination of the lake by Didymo Dave

Swim practice by the lake

Mal at Registration on 29 february 2013


Did a short run and swam in my wetsuit and did another swim with Enrico from Singapore without. The water was really quite pleasant . On Thursday evening we had the Carbo night at the Taupo Events centre just outside the Town. Same sort of food for a carbo loading WTC event but getting to hear from the Pros was always a thrill.There was Cameron Brown , Bevan Doherty and Meredith Kessler, last years winner in the rain shortened course.

They are all inspiring , unassuming and focused. Whilst I dread the hype , the marketing and the packaging of a WTC Ironman event . You do know what you are getting a slick professional product. What I yearn for is the close amateur friendly affair such races were only 10 years ago. But what is not plastic is the genuine sense of excitement and enthusiasm that exudes out of the event . You know what everyone has had to do to get there and the inspirational stories and the dedication of the athletes and their families.

The theme if there was one from the event organisers was family. It is true to a degree. Every where I travel , I meet people and there is a shared bond . It probably is like being a Freemason , we have a secret handshake ... a love for a sport ,probably a significantly greater enthusiasm than most in other sports given the hours that most put in ( I didn't this time round ).

The week before Ironman is a week to frolic in all things Triathlon. It is like a drug addict at a cocaine factory or a pig in s**t .I get to look at gear , merchandise( i didn't buy any as I just have too many ironman stuff anyway) talk and look at all the buff bodies and be a pro groupie. It isn't too many sports where you can actually talk to the professionals .

The 29th Ironman NZ race (the 15th in Taupo) was one which seems to be backed by everyone in the Town. 2000 volunteers , lots of friendly kiwis willing to help and on race day lots of crowd support on the run and bike course.

On Friday I checked in my gear and had done all my preparation.If anything , my routine was pretty straightforward after 9 attempts. I didn't quite bring enough Gatorade but I had about 70-75gms of carbohydrates per hour for the bike with 6 carbo shotz gels and dates and Gatorade with 2400mg of salt.

The plan to be executed was easy .Get from the start to the finish .time was not an issue as I was really not in any real condition to be aiming for a time.I was actually not really fit and was carrying about 10kgs more than I wanted to be.