This is Steve Head’s experience at IM NZ. Unfortunately for him and many others the ironman was not to be, with severe weather seeing it called off. Steve did however, race the 70.3 the following day and put in a cracking effort. He was like a human metronome…. I got texts throughout the race with updates and each split (every 15km on the bike and 5km in the run) never varied by more than 45seconds – which was a goal we had worked very hard on in training. A very admirable effort considering the fact he is very new to the long course racing!
I know it wasn’t the length of race your were after mate, but his application to the cause and recovery following a tough outcome of not racing has been awesome!
Ironman NZ – The Ironman that never was…
By Steve Head
My first Ironman…. But, the Ironman that never was……
Triathlon is one of those sports where you get out of it - what you put in. What ever the reason you decide to take it on, what ever motivates you to get out and have a crack, well if there’s no reward - Why do we keep going? So, many of you may now know that Ironman New Zealand, turned out to be Ironman 70.3 NZ. You may even think, along with coach Alex that I would be so disappointed and disillusioned with the sport and possibly be even struggling to continue but let me tell you, it is so not the case.
As Alex knows, I had my fair share of up’s and downs during the course of our Prep for IM - crook gary jack (back), torn left and right baby cow (calf), I was without a bike for 3 of the 10 weeks of preparation due to a cracked frame and picked up a virus, but with the support from Alex, Irish (Claire my wife) and many of my training partners, I still managed to make it across the ditch.
Thursday came and went with the tradional carbo party and I assume the banter was different from most, as the talk had already started that the race may not go ahead. We were told if the weather was headed in the direction they thought to keep our phones close and expect a text. Speaking with coach and a few others back home, people were trying to stay positive and keep me focused as triathlons always go ahead, but with me distractions keep me calm – I never really switch on till I pull on the ole wetty or lace up the boots. The text came in, an emergency meeting was called and well – Ironman NZ was all she wrote. At the time I was thinking like many people would – Stick a fork in me, get some pea’s and carrotts, Im done. They could make all the promise’s in the world, “we’re gonna put on a race, we’re gonna get you entry into any IM you want, we will look after you” - well ya know what IM, you can go and get …………..!! Then the storm hit, goodness gracious me – yep, they made the right call. I tried to drive the bike course around midday Saturday, 100km/h to 140km/h winds, it would have been impossible to ride a pushy in it.
Sunday the 4th of March
Taupo for those of you that don’t know is situated on a prestine, fresh water massive lake. At the foot of some pretty steep hills and surrounded by beautiful farming land. The morning of the race I woke with a strange feeling that everything was going to be Ok, cant put my finger on it but I knew we (Alex and I) had prepared well. You have those doubts, have I done enough? did I miss too many sessions? can I really do this? But all those doubts were gone, we had prep’d for the long course, I can enjoy this. Our plans for the race had obviously changed, I just basically halved everything Alex and I had discussed but decided on my own that as I had no idea how the calf was going to hold up, I may have a crack on the bike and see if these old pins could make it to the finish line.
For me, I had a great day. About 5km into the run to’ing and fro’ing with the demons of its time to walk, I was already planning my next trip to New Zealand.
1.9km Swim – 34.24min, 90km Ride – 2hrs 37min and Run 21km – (after the little left cow decided I had not been thinking about him too much, decided to have a god almighty crack at ruining our day 500m from T2) 1hr 59min in a Total of 5hrs 22min.
So what did I get out of it? Satisfaction, relief, pride and to race a long distance event in front of my 2 greatest supporters, absolute joy.
Big thanks to all my training partners – Trent ‘I wish I was stephen head’ Cook, Campbell ‘im a natural blonde’ Saunders, Shannon ‘the best looking man this side of the great western highway’ Spargo, Michael ‘mutton chops’ Perry, Ed ‘the silver fox’ Birchall and Megan ‘I prefer Tracey’ Gregory – a big thanks guys.
And to our Coach – Alex ‘get a hair cut ya hippy’ Price – to have a tailor made program, weekly, sometimes daily conversations, to manage illness and injury and still some how mange to get my big arse to NZ, there is no way I could have got through this without ya mate – Thankyou.
It has been such a thrill to be involved with a team environment that Alex and AP10 has provided. He really understands what it takes to prepare an ‘individual’ and understands the psychology behind getting the most out of you, more than anyone I’ve met.
See you all at the Sydney Dextro race and feel free to punch me straight in the teeth if I have offended anyone.
Chat soon, Heady.