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