With a big group from the team choosing Port 70.3 as their first race, it was set to be a day of firsts and also some exploration after a long and consistent winter of training by all.
For Jon it was his first race back after almost 3 years on the side lines with several severe injuries which cause most people to retire. For Ellyse it was her first half ironman, after stepping straight up to the distance after her previous longest distance being a sprint distance! For Sam and Michael it was a great litmus test after a long 6 months of training following ending their last seasons not in the way they wanted. Kellie has been in the thick of training for Busselton IM in 6 weeks and this was a last race like test before some more long training and a taper. And for Meg’s it was a chance to test out her ‘new outlook’ on racing and to step up a bit after training consistently through winter.
Myself on the other hand was let down by my body at the last post. I got sick 9 days out from the race and spent the majority of the week laid flat on my back.. This was very disappointing as I had been training very hard and was feeling great in training. But I needed to pack a lunch box to walk up a set of stairs 2 days out from the race, so the decision was clear.
It was a great day for racing in Port, with the weather sunny, but not too hot. There was a wind, but when isn’t there in Port! All the team had trained in ALL conditions over winter, which always helps to deal with situations when the conditions aren’t perfect, which is more often than not, so no one was fazed. Apart from Meg’s, who had a solid head cold and cracking cough, everyone had a smile when they got onto the bike!
While I couldn’t race I loved being out on course to support (yell at) the crew, along with give some ‘discrete’ feedback. Everyone was riding well and looked great on the hills heading back out of town where I positioned myself. For the run, I got on my road bike which was great, as I could cover a heap of ground, sneak up on people and generally give them a kick up the back side. Michael and Jon were first off the bike and both running really well. Michael has had a big emphasis on run strength straight off the bike, which was paying off. Jon on the other hand, has had a total change of pretty much everything since he last raced – run/swim/ride technique, pacing, weight, nutrition, bike set up etc. So this was a great test for him. Then we had Kel, Sam, Ellyse and Meg’s all getting off the bike pretty close to each other. Meg’s had rode 15min quicker than her last half time – NICE! While the others were stomping through the run.
It was awesome watching the run, seeing the mistakes some people were making with their running off the bike – many bums pushed back, with closed hips – putting a lot more load on the quads, low cadences and people trying to start the run on their toes… At the same time, it was very pleasing to see that all the AP10 group held their cadences up under fatigue and kept compact with a forward pelvic position. It was very obvious that the specific work was paying off for them.
Combining this with the specific race mental training that everyone had been rehearsing, saw them all in the hurt locker for the final part of the run, but still moving well. Everyone was pleased with their results as a whole, along with the ‘spectating’ coach, who was proud as punch for each of the group for different reasons. It gave me an awesome insight on to what effect training had had on each athlete, what part of techniques and skills each still had to work on and also an invaluable chance to do some filming of each athlete running under fatigue, which will be implemented for planning moving forward.
A few words from the team following the race:
I am feeling so much better and the directed hard work is really paying off. I am super motivated to keep moving forward and really excited for the season ahead! Learning every day!
“I didn’t think I would be able to race with sickness in the days leading up, so it was great to test out the new racing strategy, as Alex says – “get your hands dirty”, or otherwise known as digging in. The daily rehearsal in training is so important and I can’t wait to start the preparation for the Ironman in May!
” I woke up on Monday after the race with a real spring in my step. I had an overall PB and PB’s in all the individual sports by big margins. I couldn’t be happier!”
“A great bunch of people to be up there with and to have the support out on the course from all the team really made a huge difference to the day. Very happy with how my first half went, thanks to Megan for her coaching and the AP10 team for the support!”
“An awesome weekend and great to test the current fitness levels. Stoked with where I am at!”