Blog — 07 April 2015
Alex Thorpe on booking his trip to Kona at Melbourne IM!

I started working with Alex and the team at AP10 in August 2014. I had been doing triathlon for 4 years and wanted a more hands on coach and the team environment for key sessions. Being from Sydney I knew I would mainly train with everyone for the long ride/runs Saturday but Alex I agreed this would be a big benefit. Ironman Melbourne prep began in September 2014 6-7 months out from the big day. The coaching and team environment couldn’t have been better for my prep. I found the improvements I gained as the months went by were much greater than I had experienced in any coaching situation prior.

Alex and I set the fairly audacious goal for me to go sub 9 at Ironman Melbourne. The day kicked off in a fairly ordinary way with my goggles getting water in them dolphin diving through the sand bars at Frankston which resulted in a very uneven non-direct swim. This schoolboy error and not having brand new goggles that didn’t fog at all made me swim an extra 300m or so which cost valuable time. Alex is big on learning from every experience and I totally agree with that approach. I will swim better next time for sure. Into transition and another thing Alex is big on, urgency. I have been notoriously slow in transitions especially at Ironman but I had prepared well and practised them many times in my head to ensure Melbourne was going to be different. I will come back to that but the transitions made the day in the end. It is the little things that count in training, racing and life in general and again Alex had drummed this into me. If you do a thousand little things professionally and well and you do the all the time it becomes habit.

Onto the bike and my legs were heavy. The first 45km were a bit heavy, but watts, heart rate and pace were all fine and I knew it’d swing around. I just focused on staying in the moment (another thing I worked on with Alex) and by 90km it had come good just in time for the 45km push into the head wind. That 45km was also a turning point as I felt good the whole way then come home with the wind strongly. Another quick transition and onto the run with 5:50 on the clock. An easy 3:10 marathon and the job was done! I had paced the bike exactly to the plan Alex and I set, nutrition had gone perfectly and no damage had been done.

IMG_0902Ironman doesn’t always reward things fairly and 5km into the run my left foot started to hurt fairly badly. Soon after a huge blister opened up on the same foot but the pain of that disappeared by 15km and the real pain of Ironman kicked in. I really struggled from 15-42km. I can hardly remember whole parts I just kept moving and trying to stay with the discomfort. Alex asked how I was around the 30km mark and a grunt and whimper of “I’m ok” was about all I got out. I was pretty far from ok but others were a lot worse so I kept plugging away. The goal of sub 9 was gone by the 20km mark so I moved to goal B then probably C = finish with some spirit and my chin up and never give in or let up until I cross the line, which Alex has reinforces almost weekly! I shuffled my way to a 3:30 marathon and 9:20 overall time and even stopped for a quick kiss of my wife and kids which was great to see them at the end of a big day and are a huge inspiration for me!

In the end I was 12th in the 30-34 and 67th overall on the day. I went to roll down and got the final Kona spot which was very fortunate. I owe Alex and the AP10 team big time for this result as without them it would not have occurred. My A goal was missed by a bit but the Kona dream came true which I am very grateful for. The little things and details turned the day into my best day out in triathlon so far. October 10 will be another step forward!! Kona here we come!

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