I recently completed the Port Macquarie Ironman on May 7. I want to thank all the good folk of DHBC for helping me across the line with all the KM's put in. The Endless Eastern Hills, Waterfall and RNP rides definitely paid off. Thank You to Peter Bownes and Paul Mayson for your endless words of encouragement.
I wrote the below to share with a few fitness and gym forum. I thought I'd also share with you
3.8km Swim – 180km Bike – 42.2km Run
I’m writing this to remember what I’ve been through, what my goal was, how goals can change and the different variables that can influence a race.
Its Wednesday, 3 days after the race and my body is still very sore. The joints are good, muscles are still aching.
I’d prepared very well. I stuck to my training plan as best as I could. I did the swim distance and bike distance twice three to four weeks out from the race. I also ran 32 km’s twice in preparation. My body was ready.
Last year I did the Port Macquarie Ironman in 12hrs 50mins. The goal this year was to go below 12hrs. It was a very ambitious goal, but I knew I’d prepared for it better than last year, I’m familiar with the course and the body and mind know how much it will hurt….. I’m ready.
Everything you read about Ironman, no matter how well you prepare, there are a thousand variable factors that can occur on the day that are out of your control. You have to deal with them, adjust and keep moving.
Last year I got kicked in the face in the swim and my goggles flew off. It rained, we had crazy head wind and a big part of the run was in mud.
I’m standing in my huddle at the start of the swim, the officials are letting in 6 people at a time into the water and I’m conscious of staying away from others to not get kicked in the face again.
The swim was great. I did it in 1hr 14 mins, 3 minutes faster than last year, I feel fresh and can’t wait to jump on the bike.
180km on the bike. Port Macquarie is the toughest bike course in an Ironman. 2 laps of a 90km course full of rolling hills. The flat parts are dead road. You can’t pick up any speed and let the bike roll along. You have to push the whole way for every meter. There is one massive hill that you have to ride up at the 87km and 177km mark. Matthew Flinders Drive, the name is tattooed in my head. I’ve already decided that I will ride up it at 87km but on my second lap I will walk up. The reason I’ve figured out is that I can actually walk up it as fast as people are riding it. I will also avoid the lactic acid build up before the run.
I’ve completed the first 90km, I’m feeling good. I’m averaging 29km/h. The goal is to push it during the second lap and finish with an average of 30km/h.
I’m heading out of town for my next 90km, I’ve seen the family cheering me on, I’m on a high and ready to go.
It starts unravelling here…..
I negotiate the many hills out of town and I start feeling sick. A vomiting feeling that comes and goes. I’m trying to figure out what is bringing it on but can’t pinpoint it. My speed is starting to suffer. My average speed is down to 26km/h.
I find the trigger, whenever I pass an aid station and have a carbohydrate gel, the vomiting feeling triples. It shouldn’t happen because I’ve trained all along with these gels and never suffered. I try another gel to be sure and I nearly have to pull over and vomit. A change of plan now is to stick to bananas and water only. I’ve got about 60km to go on the bike, my speed is up to 27km/h and now the brain is trying to get me. I’m trying my hardest to push the pace but face reality that getting my average speed up from 27km/h to 30km/h with only 60km to go and feeling sick is impossible. I’m riding now and seriously praying for a flat tyre or something to go wrong with my bike. I keep looking down at my bike to see if anything is loose or about to break. I was looking for any excuse to stop. I knew I’d missed my goal on the bike and wanted to give up. Somehow I get my speed up to 28km/h at 180km, I feel so sick that I want to vomit, but nothing is coming up.
Right now, I get my head right as I ride into town. The crowds are cheering and I accept that things have gone wrong but I have to deal with them. My Goal now changes from sub 12hrs to just finishing the race. I know I have a marathon to run, I’m feeling sick, but surprisingly my legs are feeling good.
The run starts. 4 laps of a 10.6km course through the town of Port Macquarie. 50% of the course is a thin track with people cheering you on like crazy, all within touching distance. I know I’ll see my family a few times if I’m lucky.
I know if I keep my pace below 7min/km I will beat last years’ time, but still my main goal is to finish the race. The vomiting feeling will not go away!!
I break down the run into miniature goals. I’ve now convinced my mind that I’m not running a marathon. I’m simply running one 10km lap. After the first 10km lap, the thought of running another 10km lap gets too big. I break down the run even further. I’m simply running now to get to the next aid station. There is an aid station every 3-4kms. I will run to the aid station, have a drink, something to eat and keep moving on.
The sun has now set, its dark, we’ve been out since 07:30am, there is still 2 laps to go. I’m averaging 6:30min/km, my legs want to go faster, my stomach and mind don’t want to. I know it’s going to be hard to maintain that pace for another 22km’s. Now I start racking my brain for every bit of advice on running. A good friend of mind would always say “Arm Speed and increased cadence”. It worked like magic. I shortened my stride but just took more steps. It got the blood flowing and the fresh feeling stayed.
My mind is telling me to walk the last lap. Since I’ve changed my goal purely to “Just Finish”, if I walk, I can easily beat the 17hr cut off time.
Another part of my mind is fighting the urge to walk. I start looking for an injury, I stop and take my shoe off to check if there are any rocks in my shoe, nothing there. I see a medic and I’m tempted to tell him that I feel like vomiting but stop as I change direction to head towards him.
I somehow push through the pain and start the last lap. I see my kids and they’re screaming like crazy people “Go Daddy!!”. That gets me through the last lap. My small goals still don’t change, get to an aid station, then get to the next.
The final 1km is unbelievable, The pain goes away, the mind is fresh, the path is thin and people are screaming your name to keep going.
I do the marathon at 6:33min/km.
I finish in 12hrs 24mins.
Sub 12 hrs not achieved. PB achieved. Finish achieved.
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