Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Bikes at the Transition the day before the race

The view from my front door at Siesta
Swim Start line on Thursday

Press Conference

2 First Timers at the Carbo Night
My Bike 1457

On the course ...Pic from Exceed Tri Club

Running by the Exceed post on the run course...Pic from Exceed
On the run slowly .Pic by Paul Heyes

Molly with the Finishers Medal

Trying to eat it

Another Ironman done and dusted. 2014 has been a tough year for many friends and acquaintances. A not so good year generally with disasters and Terrorism . Lots of  illness and just sadness and lives lost. In that perspective and the fact that like Ironman Melbourne I came to the start line quite under done . I started out with the best intentions of training hard but as I have blogged before life did get in the way . There are many I know who have surpassed their own personal PBs and their own boundaries . They should be congratulated and they should justifiably be proud. Any race is hard and fraught with the the possibility of the unknown elements of racing...punctures, nutrition issues , weather and just pure bad luck.

I have seen and been down the path of what it takes to get every ounce of the best performance possible. It takes a lot of consistent training and desire. But as much as I love to improve, sadly I have not put in the work needed and more importantly the consistent work needed. I did survive an Ironman race on minimum workouts and cross fit . In fact the lack of any large volumes of run training and biking are critical but it is the choices we all have to make.

My final week was pretty relaxed despite the mild panic at the lack of swim practice. I rested on Monday and did attend a light Cross fit session ,missed swimming on Tuesday , ran with Molly on Wednesday and drove down on Thursday.

On Friday I swam at the Jetty and the water was perfect. It was flat and not too cold. Got to attend the press conference which I hadn't attended until then . The Female Pro list was impressive and I thought there would be a good race on Sunday. Jason Shortis was racing his last Ironman before retiring and he was there at the conference. He had done 82 Ironmans and that was impressive for someone who held the course record of 8.03:56 in 2006 and generally an all round nice guy. I did want to ask the pros about the new system of restricting the number of qualifying races and races with prize money for the pros but decided that they may not be too forthcoming at a WTC press conference.

The days leading up to an Ironman are pretty much relaxing for me theses days . I have a routine and this year other than not doing any activity on the Saturday morning I stuck to the routine. I did ride the new section which was a 30 km addition to make the bike course a 2 lap course.

The day came by quickly enough and I got up at 3.45 and I was down at the Start line by 4.15 am. Got everything I needed  to do including pumping the tires , putting my nutrition on the bike and my wetsuit on fairly early. Headed down to the beach talked to Richard Kelso-Marsh who did Mandurah and turned out to have a pretty good race .He was training for Rottnest and is a good swimmer anyway. (he finished under 12 hrs ) I saw Rusty at the bike transition as he is always next to me and he also had a good race as it turned out going sub 10 for a new PB and 5th in my age group .

I did manage a quick warm up no issues with the goggles and the weather was perfect and the water was great. The men and women pros were soon off and all too soon the hooter was off .The start with 1900 triathletes is always spectacular when watching from the top. I started at the extreme right heading straight for the end of the jetty. I managed for the most part to avoid the crowd of swimmers and stay on someones feet. I did not push too hard on the swim and other than at the turn around where there was some shoving I had a lot of clear water. The return after rounding the Jetty was always slow. i tried to stay on someones feet and for the first time felt pretty relaxed and had no cramping in the legs. I stood up on the beach at 1.22 and the swim time was logged at 1.23 which was about the same time I had last year. The only difference was the total lack of swim training this year.

I took my time at transition and then on to the bike . I found it pretty windy on the course and crowded. I admittedly wasn't always the regulation 12 meters as there were clumps of cyclist and passing or being passed was tiring. I did the first lap in about 3 hrs and the second a little slower. At about 107km Lindsay who does cross fit as well passed me. I managed to stay with her and we passed each other regularly for the remaining 70kms till the end. I had a slow bike time of 6.11.

The run was always going to be tough this time round as I had managed one 21km run and lots of short runs. I struggled through the first 6km and then just had to walk from the fatigue setting in .But after the 8km mark I managed to jog slowly and as Rod Atkinson was riding by and supporting Exceed triathletes stated , it was better to have a system of run/walk and sticking to it. I had planned on doing just that. I managed to run 10 minutes and walk 2 minutes.As slow as I was that seemed to work. The legs were hurting and I had about 6 Nurofen and 2 Panadol . The quads were  still  hurting.  The support on the run course is always good. In the past 8 years of  being in this sport I have come to meet lots of people . I kept up the run/walk routine .Lots of people were sick and/or walking. John D was ahead of me by about 2 or 3 kms and that remained  for the rest of the 42 kms as I was never going faster . I managed to survive on water and Gatorade at the aid stations with some water melon till the 24km point when I started taking coke as well. 

Finishing a race is always a relief. I was glad to cross the line . I had caught up with Nick Crane towards the end and whilst it was my slowest time at Busso , I had no set times and no pressure on myself to beat any particular time. I crossed the line with Nick Crane in 13.21 hrs . I was glad and relieved to finish . Trevor , who introduced me to triathlons ,  was riding the run course and followed me for the few kms before the end. There are many emotions racing through the day but this time round despite the lack of race fitness,  it was one of immense gratitude I was able to race and finish. What has been a difficult year for many makes the race pale into insignificance. I am a finisher ,  an Ironman , a triathlete but it isn't everything I am . I am a Father , a son , a brother , a husband , a colleague and friend . 

Ultimately , winning and doing ones best is important , I strive to be competitive. Not so much this year . But in the context of everything in life , there is a bigger truth about what it is that is important about training and racing , it is are we having fun. The race organization of an Ironman is very good and they put on a show but over the years I have felt that it has lost a bit of its soul, that edgy , grassroots atmosphere of just everyone getting together to do a race because we can. It is slick and the President of Asia-Pacific WTC shakes your hand ,you get a medal and a picture taken and a towel and you are herded to the recovery area . All this was great at my first Ironman and what makes WTC so successful is that cookie cutter recipe of a successful show .You know what you are getting. With Challenge on the scene , there is at least an alternative to racing Ironman .

Post the race I tried to have some food but could not hold anything down. I did have a massage and usually after the race I would be cramping badly .For the first time I had no cramping issues through out possibly as I did not race hard .  I slept well and again no screaming cramps in the middle of the night. I struggled to walk on the Monday but by Tuesday aside from the general fatigue I was fine .Life goes on .

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Week 29 Stay Calm You are an Ironman

Relaxing with Molly

ATTA Time Trial Tuesday at Kings Park

Cottesloe beach Sunday Swim

Sorrento Monday's Swim

Wednesday Sorrento Beach

After Saturday's Ride Playing with the Dog
Two weeks out to Ironman WA on 7 December 2014 at Busselton .My eight Busselton race in as many years . I missed the first to third races as I had not started on this Triathlon journey back then.

This has been one of the more relaxed and enjoyable training period leading into an Ironman. I did wish I had swum more but time and energy conspired against that . Having said that , I will try and enjoy the experience . The female Pro list is very impressive and I hope I get a chance to meet a few of them. I particularly hope Pip Taylor does start as she has a long Triathlon Pedigree and as a new mom it will be nice to see her back in Triathlon as will Beth Gerdes who raced IM Langkawi some 5 months after giving birth to a baby girl . Luke McKenzie will be with her cheering so I hope to say Hi. I still have his little hand scrawled note transferring his Kona slot after his IM Japan win .(can't cash it in unfortunately) . But they make the race a little more special and it will be sad that there will not be pros in the field this time next year.

With 2 week to go , not a lot I can do to get stronger or faster , just maintain what I have and hope for the best . I started out the week with a swim at Sorrento in the morning. It was a lot calmer and Lindsay and I and Dennis got in a good 1600m swim. I felt slow but more comfortable in the water . In tha afternoon a slow 7km run in my Hokas .

Tuesday I did the ATTA time trial at Kings Park .Hard work as I was really slow on the ride up Lovekin Drive even though it was not steep . I managed to keep at Threshold pace on average and did the 17km loop in about 38 minutes .Pretty slow but good baseline level for future rides at Kings Park. In the evening did a short crossfit session , about 30 minutes and I did not push hard.

Wednesday , another swim at Sorrento and we did about 1400meters .It was a good and flat ocean day.

Thursday  I did not ride in the morning as it was thundering and just did my cross fit. A solid session of 45 minutes .Friday , I swam again , lots of stingers but we managed about 1400 meters.

Saturday , Lindsay , Alan and I rode from Sorrento to Rous Head at Fremantle and back .A distance of 55km and we averaged just under 30kph. It was hard work going down in the headwind but we got the tailwind coming back and made good time. It was a short 2 hour ride and then took Molly out for a walk and run .In the afternoon , cross fit with 150 push press , 150 squats and 50 push ups for time  . I managed it in under 30 minutes .

Sunday , I swam with Les at Cottesloe .Managed about 2.25 km and again I was slow but got more comfortable as I went. Tim came along and Trevor was suppose to come but he got burgled that morning .

Tim is fighting a recurrence of his cancer and so life is put in perspective. You can get ill, bad things happen and great sporting heroes die suddenly (as in Phillip Hughes tragic death this week) but life goes on and there is more to be thankful for then sad. Despite the lack of preparation and training , I made it to the other end , I am not stressed and I am glad I am here . I have printed my checklist and I have started getting ready for the race. Lots can go wrong hence I always revisit the basics. (see my blog on  Helpful hints and Words )( Coping with pre-race nerves )

In fact it is chalk and cheese how I recall my first IM race in 2007 and now. Watching the first timers prepare , it isn't sufficient to tell them it will be alright the work has been done and time to just enjoy the day for what it is ...a long training day.The sun will rise the next day and no one else will notice but you will be an Ironman. No matter how the race pans out , your race doesn't define you.  It should hopefully make you stronger for having tried .

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 28 Tapering & Living On A Prayer

The in joke about my Training for an Ironman is simply that I haven't . Life somehow conspired to get in the way of a perfectly good training programme or simply put I just got distracted .As in all journeys there were lots of detours , false starts and just plain laziness. Its been the most laid back relaxed preparation since Ironman New Zealand which was just a case of being mentally exhausted from too much training.

This time round it has been fun and relaxed. The dog takes some responsibility for the rather slack attitude as I have spent far more time with her and the Family . Even when training this year she has been by my side whilst I do my wind trainer sessions and she has been on some runs.

This past week with 3 weeks to Ironman WA at Busselton , I put in a decent effort . I did have a few rest days as I needed it . I got my weekly massage from Adele and that helped at least get my legs back to some level of not feeling sore all the time. Thursday , I got in a cross fit session , Friday , a run with stairs and ramps along Sorrento. Not a lot of distance but just lots of climbing for an hour.

Saturday , another 112km ride down the freeway bike path and run off the bike .It was a little wet and windy at times . Lots of friends and fellow triathletes were out . Managed a reasonable pace around 30kph and I felt reasonable comfortable.

Not the fastest but for the little training I have done. I think I am where I am . Sunday , I was down at Sorrento , the old stalking grounds . We all swam but it was a little swelly and I struggled .We did about 1200 possibly 1600 m before calling it a day.We then all ran 10 , I did 11km in just over 1 hr so felt like a good pace.My swim training has been non existent and for a not so strong swimmer it will be he leg I would be worried about .

It has been a good week .The training has dropped down , not that I had any hard weeks this time round. There were far more issues to get stressed about and an Ironman Race is just not one of them .