So with under three weeks (19 days actually) to go I have just competed in a sprint distance triathlon on the Gold Coast, the Luke Harrop Memorial triathlon.
Hardly the perfect race in the lead up to ironman, but as I’ve written in the past, racing is great training. I had intentions of combining this with a mini training camp & basing myself from the coast, however my plans have changed & I ended up doing most stuff from home. I’ve discovered that my lifestyle or maybe my genetic make up is just not conducive for trying to be a pro-athlete. So before I get into a quick race report, here’s what my training cap weekend looked like:
Totals were Swim – 6.95m, Bike – 128.9km and Run – 28.9km over the 4 days. Well short on the plan, but as I’ve noted, life and my body told me that pushing any harder or squeezing anything more into the weekend was a bad idea. I am now very sore, very tired and desperate for the ironman to hurry up and get here, 19 days to go!
So back to the sprint distance triathlon I did on Sunday. I entered Mates wave to race against a more social group and a very good friend Ben. Ben is very early in his triathlon journey and we have been exchanging information for a few months. The improvement he has shown are scary. So the day started out early with a 4am wake up, sleeping in a camper trailer on a blow up mattress in a busy camp ground, didn’t leave me well rested at all, but I got on with the job. Sunday was not just all about me this time around, both my girls (Miss 8 & Miss 9) were very excited and did a amazing job to finish yet another kids tri, I can only hope they stick at it long enough for me to race a triathlon with them one day! Transition open at 5:15 and with three people to look after, we were there when it opened. Miss 8 & Miss 9 first, kids bike don’t hang from the rack as neatly (or at all) so the space is very limited, but we run through the same routine as I have done for all these years.
- Pump tyres
- Towel out,
- Running shoes, cap and number belt laid out the back.
- Helmet, cycle shoes/joggers (clipped in to my pedals) laid out on the front of the towel.
- Walk transition from swim, to bike, to rack to run.
- Head to start line and say a prayer!
Its a simple enough list, but it gets me through almost every race. Depending on the distance I add a couple of minor steps in, like nutrition and bottles. My transition was set up as quickly as the girls, I helped a few people around me with their tyres and even very close friend Emily’s tyres. The sun was rising now and the kids were going first.
6:45 the kid’s race started and they were amazing. The traditional mass beach start for each age group and out to a single buoy they had to swim. The combined transition I imagine would seem massive for these kids, but they all found their bikes reasonably quickly. No incidents on the bike and back to transition they all headed. Both the girls did themself proud running super fast up the blue finish carpet and under the big finish arch. Both the girls did me proud and raced amazingly. Now it was my turn.
Standing on the start line next to Ben the nerves kick in, I am not as fresh as I like to be for races, but that was always the plan, 24km run the day before is less than ideal, but this event was all about the training, not necessarily racing! Ben swam stroke for stroke with me out to the first buoy, then I started to generate a small gap. It took me a while to find clear water this race, which is a little unusual, but the numbers in this waved seemed bigger than normal. I exited the water in 10:15 about 67 seconds faster than last year, happy days.
The bike is a 10km loop complete twice with an epic head wind 1 way every year I have raced here. This year was no different, heading north into the headwind first then south with a tail wind back toward transition. The second lap on the bike is organised chaos, the number of bike on course result in some epic drafting, but I kept my distance to ensure an indcident free race. Finished the bike in 32:39, about 6 second slower than last year. Back into transition for a quick change for the run!
The run is always my achilles heal, I never really know what I going to do until I’m out there. Even over the first kilometre I felt terrible, but when the Gramin beeped and I looped down to see a 4:15, I was stoked and got an amazing 2nd wind. There was hope I might be able to hold my fast chasing friend Ben off. Through the first lap, Ben was closing fast, but I was pushing as hard as I could. In the end I didn’t have the legs and with 500m to go Ben cruised past with a little encouraging word he was gone. As we turned for the finishing chute I gave 1 last ditch effort to try and catch him, closing to within meters! Alas my heavy feet gave me away and Ben cruised to the finish line about 10 seconds ahead! My total time for the day was 1:07:28 second, approximately 96 second faster then last year. I was very happy to have banked such a solid performance under the heavy load of ironman training.
I need to take a moment to thank the amazing pink panthers (you know who you are), The Hyde Family (including the ring in’s Johnny & Hanna) for your amazing cheering and support out there on Sunday. You have absolutely no idea how a simple cheer from someone you know can lift our performance or even dull the ache, just a little. To my amazing family, Mum & Dad for always being there and encouraging my dreams as a youngster, Mel your support and strength I am forever grateful for words are not enough, my little triathlete girls, you are my inspiration and the reason I keep doing what I do in my life. For without my family I am nothing! Another race complete, and another on the horizon, bring it on!
Following the weekend I am ready for the challenge of my next ironman, I just need to freshen up, because at the moment I don’t think I could run out of sight! I’m sore all over and very fatigued (excuse the grammar). Bring on the TAPER!
On a side note I received my Athlete Information Guide for Port Macquarie Ironman this afternoon. 19 days to go, this s&!% just got very real again!
Till next time build consistency, keep smiling and live to Tri!