Some great racing at the weekend and excellent results.. The hard work is paying off?!
Its essential to Recover and learn from each race.. here’s a few tips that might help you.
1. Refuel and stretch, – Refuel with quality nutrition, its always tempting to down a few beers and scoff a burger, but plan ahead, the first few hour are essential, have a protein/recovery drink ready (a 50/50 mix of simple sugar carbs and protein is good) re-store the carbs in your body and supply some protein to aid the healing process in the muscle fibres, if there’s the offer of a free 10min leg massage then take it!. a couple of beers is fine but too much will wreck the recovery!
2. Review, – take time to look at your splits and compare to your predictions, make notes of what went well (and why) what can be improved on (how will you do that!), Did the race highlight some real weakness’s that need addressing so you don’t make the same mistakes again, if you’re self-coached or have a coach your own analysis of the race is very important to progress your training.
3. Plan, – Make sure you plan for the next race, this will give your training more purpose and supply the motivation you need to get in the pool and work harder.
4. Kit, – Is it time upgrade your kit? add tri-bars to get more aero, invest in some recover compression kit,.. Don’t forget to clean your bike, wash out your wetsuit and air your trainers!
Training hard and consistently will bring rewards and success, it won’t happen over night, you’ve gotta keep reminding yourself why you started!
This is the BIG one! Kona, Ironaman World Championships..
I’d read about it, watched it, Dreamed it…. Now I was in it!.
Before I get onto the nitty gritty of the race let me first tell you how well this race is ‘run’ like ‘precision’ I can honestly say we were treated like Royalty.. There were 5000+ volunteers which equals more than 2 per athlete, from the get go the support team & volunteers made sure you were well looked after, right from registration there was someone chaperoning you and helping in anyway possible. When it came to bike racking and bag drop off a member of the support team guided you through the whole process (one 2 one service), they’d walk you through the swim exit, changing tent, finding your bike etc etc and they carried your bags!! After the race there were TWO volunteers to carry you to the athlete village and provide drinks, food, towels and anything you might need.. Real Royalty treatment.
So the swim.. simple really! 1.2miles swim out into the ocean, turn around the boats and swim back 1.2miles! the only problem is there’s 1,200 crazy athletes pumped up to to thrash themselves around the course with you! The start was signalled with a cannon fire ‘BOOM’!
The first 400/500mtrs were chaos, arms flying, legs kicks and the water turned pure white! But I loved it.. I settled into the swim and focussed on keeping calm and relaxed. It did seem to take forever to get to the turn around and when we did the water felt rougher and the current was pulling you around, I was definately tiring on the last 400mtrs, the finish for the swim couldn’t come soon enough for me
With a clean transition I was soon on my bike and ready to push the pedals.. I couldn’t wait to ride the Queen K Highway a famous road through the heat of the lava fields. For about the first 30miles I was averaging 24mph+ but then the infamous trade winds kicked in and the climb the Hawi, this is a long gradual climb but with a 50mph head and cross wind! my speed was now showing 10mph at times and less! But I was overtaking loads of athletes who were finding it tougher, this section certainly broke away the drafters (Drafting!! yep it was happening but there were lots of referee’s giving out penalties and the it was pleasing to see the penatly tents full). So the climb takes you to Hawi, this is the turn around point. The drop from Hawi is FAST and dangerous, some athletes struggled with the crosswinds, there was no way I was gonna slow down after the tough climb, I wanted to claw some time back!.. I passed loads downhill my top speed must of been 45mph+ at least! The speedy downhill section didn’t last long though and the crosswinds and head winds on the flat sections soon slowed you down again. I remember looking at my garmin at about the 70 mile point and thinking WOW I’m hot, my feet are burning, my heading is pounding and I’ve still got 42miles to go!
70 miles in and the race was truly beginning.. It’s important to keep to the plan, Hydration, Nutrition and Motivation! Yep all still working ok, I went through in total 8 500ml bottles on the bike course, at least 10 bottles of water were thrown over my head & body in an attempt to stay cool. I consumed, two snickers (melted!) a jackoat.com bar, two gels, 3 nuun tabs, 2 bonk bars and 2 banana’s!
Good news I wasn’t slowing down or feeling ill, in fact I felt I was just getting into my rhythm! before I knew it I was near the airport, only 5/6 miles to go! this is time to take stock.. go through the next section in your head and remind yourself of the survival plan for the run sections coming up!
Boom! me and the Planet X were back in transition zone, I hoped off the bike and quickly changed! and ready to run., No! I’d lost my race number! the volunteers tried to sort a new one but in the end they said just run it’s ok (I only probably lost 2mins at most, but as most triathletes will tell you it felt like an hour!)
Just crack on with the run, my time to ‘take it home’! I was looking forward to Alii Drive and following in the footsteps of the Greats! But the heat and the humidity was crazy! There was no way I was gonna let the elements play with my mind! I had a plan.. stick to it! (I’d decided to use my fuel belt with 2 nuun tabs.. couldn’t afford to let my salts drop in these conditions)
The aid stations were brilliant, water, energy drinks, gels, snacks, coke, ice, cold sponges and even chicken soup in the last 1/2 of the run!
This was pretty much my routine through the aid stations:- 2 cold sponges stuffed down my tri top, 2 waters – drink one, throw one over the head, 1 energy drink, 1 gel, 2 cups of ice (thrown down my shorts, and down my top).. and finally 2 more waters to throw over the body! and sip my double strength nuun drink every 30mins
The crowds on Alii Drive were amazing and motivating but I was feeling slow, but the Garmin was telling me ‘OK’ on target! and no one was running past me, so just keep going!
Onto Palani! another famous road in Kona.. uphill, Bloody hell this 5omtr section was a killer, most were walking.. Then onto the Queen K Highway again, one long road, I’d got about 16miles still to go and I was still feeling good, ! In fact it wasn’t until mile 22 when I began to suffer! Talk about Talk to yourself! I was having a right old rant to myself.. Come on Hold it together!, just keep moving the legs! the final 2-3 miles to go I could see I wasn’t on my own in the suffer world, it was carnage! people pulling up with cramp, stopping & sitting down, throwing up etc..
Talking to yourself works! well it did for me! and with 1 mile to go I was back in the race, back on Palani (downhill) the crowds here were absolutely amazing, typical USA style motivation ‘wow man you’re looking awesome’! ‘hey go get that finish line’ it made me smile and pick up the pace, then onto the final 400mtrs I turned back onto Alii drive and soaked up the atmosphere ‘high 5’s all round’ but still time to chase down 2 athletes in front on me! I sprinted the last 100mtrs (not like me at all) and jumped through the finish line ‘COME ON’! 9hr 49mins the toughest, hottest race day I’ve been in!
Kona is the place to be if you’re a triathlete, it’s a beautiful (and moody at times) Island, with amazing views & beaches.. This was my once in a lifetime race and it DID live up to my expectations, my dream race, my best race ever (so far) and at the Worlds best triathlon event with Best of the Best from around the World,…. I’ll be back!
Huge thanks to my supporters and Sponsors, Ironman racing is made much easier with these guys!
Final thanks to my wife Deb! fully supporting me again!, putting up with my training moods swings, my intense obsession for anything I do! Yes you need a bit of talent and lots of drive, determination and perseverance, But if there isn’t that ONE person by your side throughout the good and bad times of racing then you’ll never get to KONA!
My ‘A’ Race for the Year! Target to qualify for KONA!
So my training had been consistent and the stats were good.. but putting it all together to race for 10+hrs is discipline you’ve gotta master! Carful carb loading, hydration, sodium/electrolytes (I loaded with nuun hydration) , muscle recovery, mind setting etc etc this part is just as tough as the training!
Race day – I’d slept well, slightly nervous but that’s good.. scoffed down a small bowl of porridge, 1/2 bagel with jam/peanut butter and a banana, drank some water and slipped on an energy drink
lets get on with it!
The swim – its starts at 6am.. so I like to put my wetsuit on 30mins before to give me time to adjust the sleeves and makes sure it fitted in the right places, 5.50am get into the water, loosen off (thanks to Panda swim coaching for the wetsuit and support!) with 2000 competitors all setting off at the same time this could be carnage.. its important to stay calm & don’t fight against the other swimmers (these swim starts can be mass brawl) I picked a spot, I could see the first line of buoys.. I heard the 20 seconds warning… COME ON!
It was on, like a said the mass swim start can be crazy and it can screw your race plan, this wasn’t gonna happen to me ‘I was in the ZONE’. I swam the first lap without incident, I was calm and in control, before you start the second lap you run out the water though a corridoor of screaming supporters, this really drove me onto the 2nd lap.. again no problems., when you’re on the last section of the swim I like to go through T1 process and remind myself where my bike change bag is, what I’ll put on first, where my bike is racked and what nutrition I’ll take! BOOM I was out the water 1hr 10mins, slower than expected, but I felt great (don’t panic or fret if something has gone to plan, there could be a good reason! as it was I later found out the swim course was longer and everyones times were slower)
T1 – I’m usually pretty good at this stuff.. 3mins DONE and out on the bike
The bike sections – NEWish course, lots of turns, lots of little climbs and 2 larger climbs, crap road surface and a bit wet! I knew this would be a challenging course and some athletes would destroy their race on this course, not me, I knew I needed to play the long game, this course will sap the calories and motivation if you go above the ‘redline’, my plan was hit the first 20miles at a strong pace, then play safe until 80miles then ride home strong and pumped for the RUN!.. And that’s pretty much what happened – about 5 guys passed me at 50miles but I shot past them at 90miles.. everything was going to plan, no punctures no crashes.. T2 was looming and I felt great! bike section done in 5hrs 37mins.. not a pb or fast but a strong well paced ride on a tough course., not a problem for the Planet x Stealth Pro Carbon
T2 – again no time wasted and out on the marathon RUN
The Run – slight change again due to bike course changes.. after about 200 metres you’re running UPHILL! But my leg want to play today so ‘lets do this shit’ I remember looking at my garmin for the first 2-3miles and seeing sub 7min mile pace, was I going too quick too soon? Nah! as long as kept consuming sugar/salt and water my body would hold up.. The RUN section was amazing, the support from the crowds, the aid station support crew, everything about the run was going good, It’s certainly not an easy run, some sharp up hill sections, long drags uphill but also long drags going down! the town centre atmosphere was awesome.. not just because of the crowds and seeing my mates Clarky, Dobbers, Em and Claire BUT seeing my wife Deb who puts up with me everyday (always wanting to do more training, buy more triathlon crap.. she puts up with my moods, the highs and lows.. this run section was to show her I could do it – CHASE KONA!) Ironman marathons are normally broken down into 3 or 4 loops, after each loop you collect a band when you have the last band ‘RED’ you can run HOME!, collecting the red band is like collecting a superhuman power, you feel great again and I picked up the pace and ran harder! so with 3miles to go I knew I was ONIT.. I’d gone through about 8-10 gels, 10 cups of coke, 20 cups of water and about 20 pritzels! the legs were still strong and I’d over taken at least 25 athletes, the skecher Go Speed shoes were awesome, light.. and no blisters! and thanks to nuun hydration, I didn’t suffer with cramps or dehydration (I’d loaded with electrolytes for 5 days and downed 3 tabs in 1 litre of water the day before.. It worked!
BOOM the finish – lap it up! Marathon completed in 3hr 22mins…. I’d ran my way to KONA!
Had to wait until 10am Monday morning for the results to be confirmed! once that happened I let everyone know.. KONA BABY!!
Big thanks as always to Planet X Bikes, Skechers GoRun, nuun and PANDA wetsuits for their ongoing support and help
Pre race warm up! over 30 degrees on race day – the hottest day of the year.. The plan was go steady on the swim, hit the bike and then run smart! Swim went ok, the bike was flat and rolling with only one real climb on the course, I posted a 5hr 6min split.. one of the fastest (if you don’t count Kev Dawson – awesome ride by him!) The the Run…. Total carnage, over 30degrees no breeze no clouds…. usually I’m good with the heat but I was feeling it and the last 10k were a blur! glad to finish in one piece and respect to everyone who finished!
Splits – swim 1hr 8mins, bike 5hr 6mins, run 3hr 31mins – Finish 9hr 50mins
Ultimate Tri Half Ironman – 2nd overall, AG Winner
I was using this race as a warm up for Ironman Wales
I came out the water in 19th, moved upto 4th on the bike and Run into 1st on the RUN!.. But then I took a wrong turn on the run and lost 2 to 3mins, still finish 2nd and only seconds behind the winner!
Splits – swim 29mins, bike 2hr 24mins, run 1hr 26mins – Finish 4hr 23mins
Brigg Sprint ! 3rd overall, AG Winner
Thought I’d give a sprint race a go…. as they say ‘To be a fast Ironman you need to be a Fast Triathlete’.. a packed field of over 150 in this race with some super young fast guns! (well done Josh on the win 18yrs old!)
Splits – swim 7mins, bike 29mins, run 18mins – Finish 56mins 46secs
Althorp Duathlon, European Champs Qualifier! – 2nd Overall, AG winner
Its all legs!! no swim.. Duathlons hurt, 10k run followed by 40k bike finshed with a 5k run!
The run course was hilly and more cross country and trails, only a small section on road.. So Trail shoes it was ‘Skechers Trail Go Bionic’. The 10k was 2 5k laps as usual it was a chaotic start but at the beginning of lap 2 it was just me and another guy in the lead, we ran in T1 transition seconds apart but my super quick transition took me out on the bike first.
The bike leg started uphill only 200metres or so, but then undulating and windy.. the roads were wet with lots of pot holes after the first climb I threw in some nutrtion High5 Iso Gel and then some High5 EnergySource X’treme(caffine!) Gotta have caffeine on these races!
With in 5k I’d been overtaken by the guy who I ran in with (after a long season of Ironman and Half Ironman races I knew my top end speed wasn’t quiet there so I kept to the same intencity and pace)
I knew if I continued to fuel I’d maintain my speed and keep him in sight there’d be a good chance I’d catch him again on the run!
The last 5k of the bike I could feel myself slowing but I was still in 2nd!