Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ironman New Zealand Race Report 2013 Part 2

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.

Whilst experienced enough to know what I was doing , by Friday evening as I rested in my unit , I was increasingly becoming anxious and worried . I wasn't able to sleep and actually didn't really manage much sleep at all.  I was getting really  anxious about the race and my lack of preparation. Even a few nightmares. Not ideal but the reality .

Race morning and I was up at 4.30 am and walking to transition by 5am .I got into the Transition area and sorted out my gel and nutrition and water on the bike and checked my bike. I then got my wetsuit on and by 6am I was ready .I hung around with Enrico Varella (15 time Ironman) and then we walked to the swim start.

The water on the lake was like a millpond .It was great conditions and whilst nervous I felt a lot better . At 6.45am the Pros went off. It was a deep water start. At 7am the age groupers were off. 1400 athletes in the water as Mike Reilly said it is a sight to behold. I quickly tried to get into a  rhythm and manage to draft off  somebody. It was an out and back course and for the journey out I had the buoys just on my left (they were supposed to be on the right) but it meant I was keeping pretty straight. I was out of the water in about 1.23 hr. Not my best but better than Busselton last year and that with very little swim training and my bursitis so I was pleased.  Having said that it is not an excuse as I know enough athletes who talk about what would have been. I genuinely was happy with the swim and know I will be able to build on that.

Swim Start From triathlete Magazine Delly Carr

As I got onto the carpet snaking its way up to T1 I struggled to get my wetsuit top half off but once I managed it I was able to run up the hill and get to T1 and the change tent.It was get the wetsuit off with a volunteer stripper and my top on and socks and bike shoes and I was out .I had a transition of about10 minutes with the run up the Hill ...sounds long but I didn't doddle. The record was an athlete at T2 who took 45 minutes .

Once on the bike , it was my strategy to just focus on the ride and nothing else.I immediately started eating and drinking every few minutes.It was cool and I had my arm warmers on . I tried to settle down and just build a decent pace .The first lap I did conservatively and it was pretty much downhill on the 2 lap out and back course with a few climbs. The ride back was tougher with a slight gradient and a few rollings hills. I did it in about 3.15 and I was hoping I could manage this for the next lap but unfortunately it got harder and my legs just were not as strong. I just struggled and got passed  a lot. On the last 45 kms I got off for a toilet stop and cramped badly.The legs were really screaming at this point. The one good point was my nutrition was pretty much on track .It was basic but I had no major gut issues just a bit of bloating .I had a lot of fluids and at least 4-5 litres of water plain or mixed with Gatorade concentrate into my aero bottle. The one issue was my feet were hurting on the soles . By the time I got into T2 it was about 7.12 hrs and I knew the run was going to be a struggle.

Delly Carr's Picture in triathlete magazines website ...Watching the Cows watching the atheletes

Finisher Pix
Another Hill Triathlete magazine Delly Carr

As I entered the run course , Meredith Kessler was finishing hers . The first 14 km were manageable but I was feeling weaker and weaker .On my second lap , I was struggling especially as I knew I had 28 kms to go.  The run course reminded me of the Lanzarote run course (accept that the  Lanzarote run was flat). This time I was walking lots more and the undulating run course made it very tempting to walk up the hill. The far end of the course was a lot quieter and that is when it was hard especially in the dark. On my last lap it was getting dusk and I was trying to shuffle more than walk and running 1 or 2km before walking through an aid station. I thanked all the volunteers and supporters. I walked part of the way with a fellow athlete Jimmy from Singapore.

On the run Pic from Finisher Pic

It was a night of many first.It was the first time I had a glow stick , my longest Ironman result by a country mile and my slowest bike and run times. Whilst the course wasn't easy , it wasn't the toughest. I just had no strength. If anything it confirmed my fears that I was really not in the physical or mental state to Race but whilst I don't regret the decision , it was tough and not the ideal way to go about racing an ironman. But it has given me some hope that I can but continue to try to improve. I will need to have a break from training mentally and just focus on my weight and build my core.

I crossed the line at 15.03.More relief than joy. I hurt everywhere and I was tired. I lost about 2.5kgs in fluid.

I got my bike and gear back after a recovery massage and some food. I had an awful metallic taste in my mouth and could not really eat much. I was really tired and slept like a log .The next morning I had an easy spin and breakfast at McDonald's  overlooking the Lake .

It was then packing up and lunch with Enrico at his unit and he invited me to drinks at the Cystic Fibrosis Tent .Enrico had raised money for the charity and it was going to a good cause of helping New Zealanders with the therapies they needed to survive longer. We then headed to the awards night which was always spectacular . There were some fast results and Bevan's and Meredith's speeches were very heart felt . They talked about the great race and the support from many who helped them get to the line and to get the results.

At the Awards Dinner with Enrico

Ironman New Zealand 2013 Champion Bevan Doherty

I saw Bevan the next morning as he was on the same flight to Auckland. I congratulated him and got a quick picture before he headed to the international terminal for his flight back to Santa Cruz.

What can I do better ? Simply don't race when I am not ready .Other wise it will be a long build and core strength and strength work for the next few months as I look towards  IM Busselton 2013  in December.

On the flight home  , Courtney Ogden was a few rows in front of me and whilst I didn't say hallo , he was equally inspiring with a 8.30 plus result. I bought  the latest edition of Time magazine to read the main piece which was a long detailed piece on  Oscar Pistorious titled “Man, Superman, Gunman”  by Matt Rudnitsky.Whilst really irrelevant to Ironman racing I did come across one of the key inspirations for Oscar was his mother and her determination he fight his disabilities. She wrote a letter to him ...

Sheila, a devout Christian, wrote a letter to her son before the operation with a message he could digest when he was older.

'The real loser is never the person who crosses the finishing line last,' she said.

'The real loser is the person who sits on the side. The person who does not even try to compete.'

Read more:

Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

That summed up the week for me . I felt bad I hadn't trained as hard and I wasn't as fit and I was just mentally unprepared but at the end I am glad I did race . I feel privileged to have been able to have got out and swum and biked and run. For the many out there on the run course in the dark there are many stories and sacrifices and pain endured .It was a privileged to have been part of the experience and to share that experience. If anything there is a uniting force of love of the sport , the mutual respect and that many don't have the same opportunities or through their disabilities struggle to finish .For that it is better to have tried and  crossed the line last.