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Well it’s all over now and time for me to tell my story. I realise I have been a bit lax in the past few weeks with updates about training and my progress but after the past weekend I am going to make an effort to be more consistent. As you will read I had a great time and want to share as much about triathlon as I can with anyone who reads this.
We drove down to Port Macquarie from the Gold Coast (I didn’t realise it at the time, but it took about the same time that it would take me to complete the race on Sunday) on Friday afternoon. I had my waterbottle by my side and was being extremely conscious to keep the water up in preparation for the race. Travelling with me was Stevo (who has done 6 full Ironman’s before and countless other triathlons) and his partner Amanda (who has selflessly supported him through them all).
Saturday morning we drove the bike course. Although I had seen it in April when we watched the full Ironman, I hadn’t recalled it being that hilly. Hopefully the legs have it in them! The rest of the day was pretty relaxing, with registration, bike check in, and competitor briefing breaking the monotony of donating money to the local TAB.
Early dinner that night of a Japanese chicken and rice dish cooked by Amanda and Jo back at the unit, and then I settled down to watch a bit of England v New Zealand in the rugby league world cup…..two boring teams ensured that I was drowsy and in bed just after 9.
4.30am rise, a couple of pieces of white toast and vegemite and I was ready for my first ever Half Ironman, and only second ever triathlon. Jo drove Stevo and I down to the start line where we pumped up tires, and organised ourselves for the race. Between 6hr and 6hr30min was the goal and as we waited for the start I wondered what lay ahead!
To say I learn’t some lessons in the swim is an understatement. Not only was it my first time wearing a wetsuit, but it was also my first ever open water swim. I noticed a heap of people standing off to the side before the starters gun went off and thought….”I’m going to head into the middle there where it looks like there’s plenty of space”. I didn’t realise that as soon as the gun went off every one of those people were going to swim across the top of me, literally, and pretty soon I realised that I was caught in the thick of it all.
It took me about 10 minutes to settle down as I thrashed all over the shop trying to take in air and avoid elbows and kicks to the head. I’m pretty sure I gave plenty back, unintentionally of course as my survival instincts kicked in. About half way through I needed to stop for a little spew….too much salt water is definately not a good thing!
I eventually emerged out of the creek in 38 minutes looking like a punch drunk boxer. I staggered into transition, took in some water and waited for the blood to start moving around my body again.
Overall the bike leg was really enjoyable. Heading out of town on the first lap was tough as the body adjusted to pumping blood through the legs and getting up the first set of hills. By the time I hit the the Golf Club I was feeling great, and had managed to get a gel and some water down my throat. I was a little anxious about my nutrition but found that taking a gel every 30-40 minutes caused me no problems and I was sure to have some water or Hi-5 with each one.
The big hill on Matthew Flinders Drive didn’t cause me any troubles and it felt like I flew up both times. I probably found one of the hills heading out of town a little tougher being a long slow grind.
I was amazed at all the stuff people had dropped out on the course, including a double bottle cage, food, gas cannisters. Found the drafting and blocking rules pretty easy to adjust to having only ever riden in packs during training….although I did pull out to try and pass a bloke at one stage just as he decided to kick into a higher gear and I found myself dropping back and letting him have it. Maybe next time.
Overall a pretty conservative finish to the bike leg as I wondered what the run would have in store for me.
What a great run course! The two lap circuit made it feel pretty short and I loved going through town and hearing from all the spectators. All the volunteers were brilliant and I had a great time giving high fives to some kids along the way. Going up the hills was a nice relief from the constant flat, although coming down ended up being pretty hard on the quads. Felt great for about 16km’s and then started to tighten up but managed to run the whole way…not bad for someone who moves like a newborn giraffe! Stevo caught me on the run and we enjoyed a chat for the final 5kms.
Like I said earlier…I loved every minute of the day and can’t wait to have a crack at the big one in April. I finished in 5hr 56min…a little under the target and managed to run across the line with Stevo. I actually pulled up ok over the next few days and am keen as mustard to get stuck into some training for the full Ironman. It was so good to see all the different athletes of various ages and sizes, working to complete a goal. Port Macquarie put on a great show…..well done to all involved.
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Before I go ahead and write a report about the Half Ironman on the weekend, I want to mention two people who were a great help in the lead up to the weekend.
It’s pretty well documented that I’m not much of a swimmer, so when I went to buy a wetsuit before the race I was a little anxious. With plenty of what I thought were stupid questions, I visited Shortis Cycle and Tri down in Tweed Heads to get some help.
Marcus hooked me up with a Blue Seventy Helix wetsuit and helped me get into it to ensure that it was the right fit. Not only that but he also answered all my questions, and was happy to pass on all his extensive knowledge about the sport in which I am truly a novice.
Before leaving I got chatting to him about all his experience and again he was more than happy to take some time and share his knowledge. Not only that, but Jason Shortis walked into the shop as I was at the counter and threw a whole heap of enthusiasm and excitement at me as well. It is easy to see why these guys are so successful at what they do and it only made me want to get stuck into Ironman triathlon even more.
Thanks guys for all you help and I will be sure to be back in again soon!
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I just got emailed this picture from the recent trip away with Brendon and Jack on Perth to Paradise.
After riding with them for 100km I jumped off the bike and went for a run. I was a great training opportunity, both physically and mentally. As the photo shows, I was convinced the road would never end.
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The aero bars on my bike are Carbon Stryke Ironman brand and they have the official Ironman logo on them.
A friend who has completed an ironman is constantly into me, calling me an imposter for “parading” around with the Ironman logo, before I have done the race.
So to shut him up, and add a little extra motivation, the black tape has come out, the Ironman logo is covered and will hopefully be uncovered on April 6 next year after I complete the race.
Here’s some proof….because he’s the type of friend who needs it!
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On Friday I returned to the Gold Coast after supporting a client who rode across Australia. It was a great trip that enabled me to spend plenty of time on the bike and I am not worried about the bike leg at Port Mac half on Nov 9.
I am however extremely concerned about the swim leg…mainly due to my lack of training. I thought while I was away that I may have been able to fit a few sessions in at some local pools along the way but in reality this never happened.
It’s 3.30pm on Monday 13th of October and I have just completed my first swim session in almost 2 months. Considering how bad I am at this sport I really should have done more training. 1km took me far longer than it should have (28 minutes) and it filled me with no confidence whatsoever.
One thing that can be taken from the session….this next 4 weeks is going to be some of the most intense swimming training that I have ever done.
Nov 9 here I come!