Melbourne Ironman – Jeremy Leach
To me Melbourne Ironman arrived fairly quickly after I had completed Ironman Busselton in early December. I was lucky enough to get a few days off training for recovery after that race, and sneak in a few coffee shop rides. Thanks Dave!
Out of the two races this was my A-race, and I was going for a 9:20ish time. I had had a fantastic training block leading into this race, even getting on the treadmill at the local gym after my long bikes on the consecutive weekends where temperatures topped 40 odd degrees. From this preparation, and a tinkering of my nutrition plan, I went into the race with a huge amount of confidence.
It wasn’t all like this though. Two weeks prior I checked my bike over and found a crack in the front fork. On taking it to the bike shop for checking, they took the front wheel off, tested the fork and on hearing the sound of carbon breaking, told me to not use the bike again.. I then said, well I have an Ironman in 10 days. Panic! Immediately I found a solution to borrow my brother’s bike – it is certainly good to have someone of similar height, especially as my height of 198cm, and a much better bike! Thanks also to Craig Cotter at Bike Society for fitting me perfectly to the bike! I had a bike fit there recently so my measurements were known.
Race morning arrived and the rolling start was something I was happy with. I started in a fast group in the theory of jumping onto feet and groups along the way in an attempt to swim a faster time. I am not sure if this worked as my time was a couple of minutes slower than in Busso, but still a time I was fairly happy with. My left shoulder has had a constant niggle for a while now.
Through transition I was filmed by one of the cameras at close up, however this bit of filming only made it to the cutting room floor.. disappointing!
Onto the bike, where the race starts right? As always the legs and body feel awesome. The crowd had begun to build up and the adrenaline was already pumping, so I made sure I controlled myself and kept the HR low, well relatively.
Part of my new nutrition plan was to make sure I started getting in the water and electrolytes from the go. On a borrowed bike there is a bit of guilt when releasing a build up of liquid from drinking water along the 180kms.. I’ll give it a wash straight after the race..
The bike leg in Melbourne is nothing too exciting, generally uphill to the tunnel and turnaround and then the reverse back in to Frankston. This was fine the first lap out, however on the second lap the wind had picked up a bit. But still it was nothing horrendous. I kept to the plan of getting nutrition in regularly and drinking the water/electrolytes.
In special needs I had a second bottle of nutrition. My thinking was as I am in Melbourne and the weather is never warm/hot there would be no use freezing this bottle. Big mistake. When I got to it, it was warm and the taste was.. well disgusting is the word I will use… Now what do I do?!?! The nutrition plan has gone.. there were about 20km to the next aid station and 90kms to go for the bike. I did have a few gels with me though, but not my main source of energy.
I had to then modify my plan and ensure I got the energy in. So at every aid station I grabbed a bottle of energy along with my gels to ensure I kept getting the energy in. I don’t think the calories were up enough to what I needed, but it was better than nothing. In saying that, it felt quite good heading into T2 however, flying along the Eastlink with a nice tailwind.
All that was need now was a low three hour marathon. I know I am capable of doing it. I started the run around 4:30-4:40 pace and was cruising comfortably along the Nepean highway towards Mordialloc. I had a meet and greet with Dave W and was running along with a few others at the same pace. A few kms after Mordialloc (I think) is when the pain and fatigue in the legs kicked in. I gave in and begun walking an aid station and then a bit in between. The next minute I hear Alex screaming out “Jeremy! Run!” And with that I began running again… Simple! He gave me some good motivation and to keep on pushing and running. To ‘check’ the body and its form. The mind wants the body to stop, but you need to keep on pushing and not give in.
I kept on trying to push myself, and also stay ahead of my coach, Dave W. I did not give into temptation and grab a beer as I ran through the Giant area. It was at the 40km mark and through the final aid station where I heard Dave yell out “Jeremy, why are you walking”. I couldn’t let Dave get in front of me, so pushed the final couple of kms, even passing a few other competitors before turning onto the carpet for the finish chute, and enjoyed that as I always do! This just makes the day so worthwhile!
The end result was a 9:52, and a PB. I am very happy with the result and the direction I am going with my training. Not the total goal I wanted, but very pleasing to say the least.
A big thanks to Ali, Dave W, Alex and the whole AP10 crew there on the day and in Adelaide. The support was awesome!