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 .