Melbourne Ironman 2013
The one that got away!
I had targeted Melbourne Ironman from early on in the season, really wanting to have a great race, therefore had put all my egg’s in that basket from December through to race day.
It was quite a juggle throughout the prep with many big things happening, including travel with work, getting married! and moving into our first house all within a few weeks. While it was a very busy time, I got in probably the best shape I have ever been and everything in training was going just how I planned.
A week out from the race, while I was at home after a slightly shorter ride, I got a phone call from Megan, my wifes phone, with her training partner on the other end. She said “Don’t panic, but Megan has just been hit by a car.” Well, it was one of the worst phone calls I have ever got. You automatically expect the worse, especially not to have Megan on the phone. Megan had been hit 400m from home, almost home from a 6hour ride, by a man who had gone straight through a round about without giving may. Lucky in the end this turned out far better than it could have as Megan wasn’t seriously injured. However, I think this really knocked us about a fair bit.
Trying to put that behind us, I travelled to Melbourne and it was great to catch up with good friends Eneko Llanos and Ruth, who I hadn’t seen since last European summer. He was in great shape and we all saw that in the race with a stellar effort. It was also great to see the other AP10 athletes looking so fit and ready, Jon who hadn’t raced for 3 years with injuries, Domenica who had lost over 70kg to get to the start line of ironman (yes 70ks’s!), David and Ed who both were ready to go after great prep’s!
Leading into the race I felt great. Race morning threw a couple of obstacles with the change of swim, but that is life and you have to continually adjust and be flexible when racing, especially in an Ironman. In training there are often days when the weather is not perfect and it is easy to use this as an excuse. But I think it is vital to train in all conditions (unless dangerous), as learning how to adjust to all elements is as much a part of training as the physical adaption. Sure, it was pretty rough in the swim, but no worse than we have had most Thursday nights when open water swimming, so in the end it was quite fun!
As a result of the swim being shortened, the road was very crowded with athletes, with 2200 heading out on the road within a short time.
Heading out of town we had a solid head wind, again we had had plenty of this during summer training!
For some it was hard to break up groups with the sort of numbers that headed out on the first lap. However, (my constant gripe) – on the second lap there were several groups of athletes, as there often are, at the front of the field blatantly cheating. Near me there were 7 or 8 people all rolling turns and sitting no more than 20cm from each others wheels, constantly looking behind for officials. Unfortunately there were very few officials on the second lap for some reason. While on race day I ignored this as I tried to stay 100% focused on myself, this sort of action is no better in my eyes than any other forms of cheating, all of which are much more frowned upon. Drafting, especially as closely as this gives you a MASSIVE advantage. I wish it wasn’t a part racing, but it so often is….
After sitting back behind this group, I made a decision to ride off on the group after 120km. I had got a lot of calories and fluid in throughout the ride, but had been starting to get bloated and things weren’t sitting that great after the turn at 135km. That said, I felt really strong all the way to T2.
The run started really well, I felt as good as I ever have off the bike. Following training and past performances, I had set a target pace, which I felt very comfortable at apart from my stomach. I continued to not force nutrition in, as I was still having trouble getting anything at all down. And there we have it. This never changed through the run for some reason. Perhaps in hindsight, I should have stopped and walk for a while to see if it settled, but I didn’t in the hope it would come good whilst moving. This was my race in a nutshell. I got more and more dehydrated as the race went on and started cramping from about 30km. I pushed as hard as I could, with the last 20km being bloody tough and faded badly as a result. I fell over the line and the next thing I remember was waking up in a bed in the medical tent. I had lost 6.5kg’s during the race with the dehydration and apparently was a solid shade of yellow, which the doc’s were a bit worried about.
I finished in 8:52, running about 20min slower than I was in shape for, a huge margin when every minute counts. I later realised that I missed a Hawaii spot by less than 2minutes. While Hawaii wasn’t my goal, it certainly was a nail in the coffin.
Sport and especially Ironman triathlon is not always beer and skittles, in fact there is not much pretty about it. There are plenty of tough times and this was definitely one of those, if not the most disappointing races I have had, mostly because of the amount of work that went in and that I missed the opportunity. I also have a left foot that I injured in the first 5km of the run, (was like a knife throughout) which is badly bruised and I have also torn some muscle off of the bone. As a result I won’t be racing Port Mac Ironman, as I still can’t get a cycle shoe on, never mind run!
But, I now have more fire in my belly than ever before. Having learnt another few valuable lessons I have registered for the race next year and will be ready. Really ready!
A big thank you to Dextro Energy, Champion Systems, Cervelo and EKB Creative for their ongoing support, it is hugely appreciated. Also to my parents who are always there supporting and my wife Megan, as without her I wouldn’t be able to continue the journey down the triathlon trail, so thank you for everything.
Congratulations to all of the athletes that finished on a great course, but under tough conditions. Special well done to Jon, Dom, Ed and David from the AP10 team who had great races across the board!