A year is a long time – Sunshine Coast 70.3 Race Report!

Sunshine Coast 70.3 complete for 2015.  After last years ‘DNF’ (did not finish) I was very excited, relieved and happy to finally put my demons to bed and complete and race this one well!  This weekend also marked the first weekend that both my daughters completed the Ironkids race.  This was the first kids race that was timed, so my eldest daughter was very excited and interested to review her results.  My youngest competed in the family wave, so she had adult company during the race!  I got burned and she asked Uncle Johnny (a very close friend) to race with her, as she was concerned I was not going to be able to finish like last year, oh from the mouth of babes!  Both girls competed and finished with big smiles on their faces the whole time.  These smiles are inspirational and proved to be so for me on Sunday!

So before I get into the nitty gritty of the day here is my result:

Year Number Overall time Swim time T1 Bike time T2 Run time
Sunshine Coast 70.3 2015 646 5:00:06 0:31:21 0:03:06 2:32:52 0:02:11 1:50:31

Yes you are reading correctly, I missed the 5 hour mark by 6 seconds!  So, in summary I improved my swim time by 1 minute 40 seconds, my bike time by just short of 9 minutes and my run time by 35 minutes 31 seconds.  A total improvement on my last 70.3 (half ironman) of just over 46 minutes!  Very happy with that!

So here’s how my day went, a 4am wake up on race day, after a typical restless night (because really who sleeps on the eve of a race).  I had my usual french toast (eggy bread) for breakfast with maple syrup and banana with 300mm of Endura Opti from Metagenics, this meal has served me well over the years and is a steady constant.  For the first time in a while Mel (my wife) was able to accompany me down to transition, Khioni (my sister), decided to have a sleep over at our unit with her eldest daughter, so we left them all asleep and headed to transition to set up for the day.  I really love this part of the race, the nervous energy can almost be cut with a knife.  The elites right down to the first timers setting up all their gear in one area.  Electric is a great word to describe it!  I’m very methodical in transition, pump up my tires first, set up the bike with drinks (shots tables in two bottles & Endura magnesium enriched endurance in the 3rd bottle) and nutrition (for this race I took 6 gels, 3 Endura cool mint and 3 Ettixx lime), then lay out the towel, running shoes, socks (yes I always wear socks for the run), number belt, glasses and bike helmet.  Leaving two gels & a bar in transition, as back up and just in case!  Before leaving and heading to the swim start / warm up I always run through the steps of navigating transition smoothly:

  1. Cap & goggles off & down, wetsuit off (placed under the rack at the back wheel of the bike), helmet on, sunglasses and go, T1 done!
  2. Rack my bike, helmet off, cap (running hat) on, number belt on, socks & shoes on, tie laces (tight but not over tight), quick gel and go, T2 done!

Once I was confident & comfortable I headed up to the info booth to put my wetsuit on (which should almost be a 4th & 1st leg of every triathlon) and then down to the swim start.  I left my run to the swim start a little later than normal this year, so ended up skipping the ocean warm up and met a mate (Troy) in the Zone 1 line up and headed straight to the start line, figured I would warm up out to the first buoy!  The new rolling swim start was a welcome change in my opinion!  It meant I had clean water from start to end of the swim.  The swim was solid, I didn’t push to my limits, but focused on keeping my stroke long and strong.  Conditions were perfect for the ocean swim and I was very happy to exit the water and hear my wife’s voice cheering me on in a perfect time of 31 minutes.  Now up the torturous stairs and into T1.

The bike course at Mooloolaba is perfect for going fast, it a long flat motorway, once you navigate the little punchy rollers on Buderium Avenue.  As always there is a wind to contend with on this course, the motor way is unprotected, open and very susceptible to winds.  I have my watch set up to give me 5km laps, my goal is always keep them around 9 minutes per 5km.  On the way out to the Peregian roundabout I was hitting 7 min 5km laps and starting to worry about the head wind.  Heading back to Mooloolaba I managed to hold very close to the 9min/5km laps.  Very happy!

SC703 Bike Lap Splits

On the second lap just after the aid station and fellow BMC rider dropped his bottle of gel (nutrition) in front of me and no mater where I headed it skidded (and seemed to change directions with me) and slid straight under my front wheel.  I appologised and rode up beside and offered him a spare gel, which he graciously accepted, commenting that is should get him back to the aid station on the way back!  turning for the last stretch back to Mooloolaba the head wind seemed to have pick up, this is time to knuckle down, aero up and punch through to the end of the bike.  The 90km bike finished with an average speed of 35.4km/hr in a time of 2:32:35, was almost unbelievable and amazing.  I have not ridden that fast and felt so good in a very long time.  I do have a very particular soft spot for this bike course!  Into T2 and through the motions of preparing for the run!  At this point I thought a 5 hour race was not out of realms of possibility, depending on how my run went, daring to dream at this point!

My run was and still is a bit of a blur to me, I got my rhythm on the first downhill and it seemed to stick.  Out of transition I had some small cramping in the quads, which was uncomfortable on the way up the headland.  However I stuck to the technique and managed to get to the top with out walking, knowing the downhill would allow a better stride and release the cramps.  It worked and the rhythm I adopted was just over 5min/km and felt really good.  I don’t tend to eat a lot during the run, instead relying on fluids (coke & endura) to get me through, however today was different, at around 8km & 12km mark I took a gel to keep the energy levels up.  It seems to help as splits remained fairly consistent as follows:

SC703 Run Lap Splits

The second lap is always tougher and took some serious concentration to lengthen, lean and relax.  Screaming for ice at the aid stations and drowning myself in cold water to try and keep the body temperature down.  Constantly analysing my watch to see how close the 5 hour mark I was, the maths was a handy distraction.  Working it out at the 18km mark I realised I had been making a grave error assuming the race was only 20km not the 21km it actually is (round numbers are so much easier to work with in a race situation).  All of a sudden I thought my target was gone, bundle dropped 😦  A fellow athlete, Helen, who I had been around for most of the run and parts of the ride, passed me again and encouraged me to keep going and her 5 hour target was still achievable!  So with the last bit of strength and energy I had I gave it a shot, pushing as hard as I physically could.  Alas, all to miss it my a very small margin!  Waiting at the finish line to watch Helen cross, hoping she could achieve the target, but devastation, she missed it by 10 seconds!  We both vowed, over a recovery Endura, to break 5 hours at our next 70.3 race!

So the elation is finally wearing off and the reflection is now complete, I have enjoyed basking in the glory of a 46 minute personal best, but now its almost time to start preparing for the next race!  Before I do that here are a few links provide further data and insight into my race, feel free to review.

Official 2015 Sunshine Coast 70.3 Results

Garmin Connect Sunshine Coast 70.3 Data

Strava Sunshine Coast 70.3 – Swim

Strava Sunshine Coast 70.3 – Bike

Strava Sunshine Coast 70.3 – Run

Time to thank my amazing wife, inspiration (smiling) kids, my sister (who got me into this crazy sport), the friends that traveled to Mooloolaba to support me, Johnny, Emily, Tammy, Craig, Aaron, Hanna and fellow competitors Ben, Troy & Helen.  Next up is the world famous Noosa, I’ll detail my plan & program soon with the intensity increasing and the distances decreasing, bring on Summer, tri season is here!

Till next time build consistency, keep smiling and live to Tri!

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