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Ironman Western Australia 2008

Blog for week running up to the race

The Race - Mission Accomplished - Hawaii slot secured - no need to say anymore really!

OK then here's how the race panned out!

Its was a lovely clear morning felt surprisingly cold, although it was probably still about 13deg, it was warmer in the water. The pro's started 15 minutes before the age groupers, and then we all started with a mass start. This was self seeded therefore it wasn't the busiest of starts. I started in the middle of the line. I'll add now that goal No.5 was to go under 9hrs, a big ask so basically I was going all out from the off! I was hoping to take at least 2minutes off last years swim time, but unfortunately the organisers had decided to make the swim longer (or maybe the correct length). The swim goes round Busselton Pier (or Jetty as I keep being reminded) the pier is 1.9km long and has a large curve in it. Last year the fastest route on the way back in was to straight line it from the end of the pier to the beach. However this year they had placed buoys about 100m off the jetty (got it right this time!) so we had to follow the curve.

From the off it was flat out for about 5 minutes until we got clear of the main pack, then settling into the middle of what seemed like a good group, although it turned out not to be so good! Not sure if people just couldn't swim in a straight line or were deliberately trying to push others into the pier, also for my first time in triathlons had somebody try and pull my goggles off and got elbowed in the face a couple of times, but I had expected it to be tough. Anyway I stayed with the group until the turn around, I had a quick look around and saw another group about 200 metres ahead, so off I went on a solo breakaway, spent most of the rest of the swim on my own which was fine, and enjoyable, eventually caught the other group with about 200m to go! Out of the water in 56:13, 20secs faster than last year so about 2mins faster taking into account the extra distance (the locals reckons it equates to about 150 - 200m extra.)

A quick transition and out onto the bike course, almost immediately my right calf and ham string started to cramp up (had similar in IMUK), not sure why but at least I knew what to do. Spin not to hard for 20-30mins until it warmed up. Got passed by loads of people until the first turn around at 22km. I had been counting bikes as they came passed me on the way back so I knew I was roughly in the mid 40's. Legs feeling better now so time to put some effort in! Up to the mid 20's by the next turn around (approx 40k). Then it was pretty much keep it steady for the rest of the first lap and see how things go after that. 1st lap was a 1hr35min (60K) so on target for a 4:45 bike at a power I knew I could easily hold for 5hrs. 2nd lap much of the same 1hr35, but slowing a bit 1hr36 on the 3rd lap as the wind picked up and the legs started to tire. Drafting was a problem, it was hard to stick to the absolute 7m gap between bikes, if you dropped back to correct distance then you would get passed by the guy behind, and then this would continue and the next think you know you've dropped 10 places. I did my usual of constantly trying to break-away and seemed to be constantly attacking, but at power I knew I could hold. Eventually it worked and managed to whittle the group down to about 5, until the last lap when we caught another group of 5 who then sat on our tails until the end. This didn't bother me as they were all fairly large blokes who didn't look like runners!.

Again another super speedy transition and out onto the run course at 5hrs 48mins. This meant I needed to do a 3hr11 marathon to break the 9hrs. Fast but not impossible I thought, I ran a 3hr16 at IMUK after a harder bike, so it was game on. Plan was to try and do the first 2 laps on 1hr 5min and use whatever was left on the last lap to get the 3hrs 11. The first 10K went to quickly I was hitting 3hr marathon pace and spent the next 20minutes trying to slow myself down. First lap bang on target at 1hr 5mins, unfortunately slowed a bit on the 2nd lap as the heat started to build (up to 27-28deg) to 1hr10min. I started to see Russell catching me at the turn around points. A good inducement to speed up. With 8k to go I picked the pace up again and thought it was do or blow up time. Managed to log a 1hr7 in for the last lap and pass at least 3 people in my age group in the last few km's, and stayed in front of Russell. Certainly paced the run right as I collapsed into the arms of the catchers at the end and had to be half carried/dragged of to the finishers tent, followed by what seemed like 1/2hr of throwing up, but it was only about 5minutes.

On my 2nd lap I was passed by the two lead pro's, this was quite an eye opener as they were running side by side basically pasting each other to see who would break first, apparently they were running 3min km's at the point! It felt like I was stopped when they passed me!

All in all a good steady race, probably the most consistent in terms of effort and pace through out each leg. It was good to meat some people I knew and was happy that Russell hit his target of 9hr 20min (just) although unfortunately he didn't get a Hawaii slot. He's got lots more opportunities with IM Australia & Lanzarote lined up for next year so I'm sue he'll manage it.

  The finish line at 11pm - 15minutes before cut-off!

We went back to the finish line to watch the last 2hrs. Just a big party and well worth it. All the spectators end up in the finish chute cheering the last few home. The melt down party on Monday is excellent and a great end to the season, pretty funny watching 1000 triathletes who haven't been drinking for months being let loose on the beer. Also missing the bus home and having to walk for 4 miles was fun (helped loosen the legs up anyway!)

Very pleased with result, and a big relief to have qualified for Hawaii with 10months to go.

Thanks to all those who have helped me over the past couple of years to get from not having done and Ironman to qualifying twice for Hawaii in 3 months! Just to name a few;

Torq - Nutrition Sponsor, my racing and training has improved massively since I started using Torq products in June this year, no more stomach problems during Ironmans that I used to get using other products!

Mum & Dad for coming out to Hawaii with me (although I don't remember it taking to much persuasion)

Ken - for all the coaching, support advice, I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am without you.

Gary - for the swim coaching and drills, which have helped me drop about 2 1/2 minutes off my IM swim and using less energy!

The 'Tinman' -  for persuading me to do an Ironman in the first place! It's all your fault! and for the moral support this past few months.

Lisa - for the swim sets and sessions at RGU - helped massively with picking up my swim pace.

Alison Fantom (Physio) for sorting out my ham string, (although I now have sore glutes instead!)

Mum & Dad, Bruce, Roy, Toad, Sandra, Jake, John for your moral support and listening to my moaning!

For those who are interested or not, here's a quick summary of the training and equipment burnt out in the last two years!

Swimming - 580km

Cycling - 18,000km

Running - 2900km


Equipment - Broken/burnt out

1 Bike,

1 Stem,

1 Zipp 808 Wheel,

2 Turbo Trainers,

8 Chains,

4 Cassettes,

8 pairs trainers,

2 pairs cycle shoes,

1 body!