IM Cairns 2017
Originally planning to do Busselton in December but having found out we are expecting our first child in December (very close to Busselton race-day) I decided to change races, on relatively short notice (8 weeks).
Preparation went well, I felt fresher the whole way through, for IMNZ the lead-in had practically been 5 years from when I first joined the sport to race-day. Throughout the 8 weeks I also kept intensity even lower than before (same mileage, mostly same sort of sessions) and did not have the summer heat to deal with which is fairly taxing on the long training days.
Arrived on Thursday night, Friday check-in, build bike, 4-5km jog and early night. Saturday short roll on the bike, pack bags and drop off at all the required spots. Race-briefing with Coach Al Pitman.
Woke up to great conditions - slightly cloudy and a little breeze. Went through normal rituals and settled down to refocus thoughts. There was no issue about finishing this one - I was going to make sure I was about 10-20% above where I thought I was comfortable at any time, being a naturally "over-conservative racer" this was how my brain thought it could learn to push itself. Are you comfortable? yes - well then you should be going harder.
Swim: 1:16:04 (2min/100m)
Rolling start - huge difference from the mass start and IMNZ, I get what all the fuss about a mass start is. It really think it makes it something special - a rolling start certainly makes no occasion of it.
First 500m, fast arm-turnover, rolling waves but minimal chop vs IMNZ/Last year Cairns. Couple of kicks/punches with people but nothing major. Slightly zig-zag but turn buoys came. I rolled over to check watch - 39mins. Very disappointed as I went out fairly hard. So I went harder home. It was either current or faster swimming but ended with 1:16 for 4.17km. okish~happyish.
T2: ~6:30 - nothing to note really.
Bike: 5:33 (32.1kph)
Hired a set of wheels 80/60mm TLR carbon clinchers with vittoria tyres. Fast and did they roll! I knew the course from last year - started out around 36kh before hitting the few hills and then held around 34. My heart rate monitor didnt work for the first half but suddenly kicked into action about 2hrs into the bike leg. Was getting around where I wanted to be by then, but a bit high towards end of first lap - 165bpm+. Fairly comfortable in my position spent much longer in TT position than in IMNZ
Settled back in to a good pace just under 33. Picked up second set of bottles from special needs. I think, (for first time) my second bottle of Opti was off. Felt quite sick in the stomach so had to wait for ~1hr for it to settle around the Port Douglas turn around. Disappointing as had found a decent group, good rhythm but was dropped. Water at the next aid station and a gel and I settled again. (Also dropped my first GU waffle at Port D turnaround)
Last 20kms, slightly more exposed roads, a bit more of a headwind. After my IMNZ experience this was acceptable levels of headwind. I had however arrived at some significant back pain and discomfort in my shoe. These things start messing with your head and ended up in a fairly miserable mental position coming off the bike despite being very happy about the time/speed.
Nutrition: 3 bottles Endura, 2 bottles water, 1 (and a bit) bottle Opti, 3 gels, 1 GU waffle. 1 No-Doz towards the end + extra salt tab. Theres 2 salt tabs in each opti bottle.
T2 - 3:20~: In a bad place, I was questioning it all for a moment. Sat down - closed eyes for a second and then got going again. I walked somewhat slowly out of T2 not sure how 42.2km was going to pass.
Run: 4:20 (6:14km’s)
Hard to explain but within 1-2km my entire attitude had changed. Not sure if it was the crowd/atmosphere in town or just finally being off the bike but body kicked straight into gear. I had thought through a few affirmations I wanted to have for the day in the last week, but ended up only with one from the coach briefing - run hard between aid stations (walk aid stations).
I headed out at 5:40-5:50's, despite my IM "goal plans" always reading 6-6:10's. It just all seemed to work, as much as I can't explain the mental turnaround, I can't explain why I was able to keep running at the pace I was. First goal was a 2hr 20km, which gave me 2.5hrs to go sub 11:30 or 3hrs for sub 12. I didnt know what the second half was going to end up with, had to drink more salt than ever before, and kept a good mix of gel/coke/water/redbull as I felt like it. Walked more of the aid stations and even in between in the final 20km, also felt left hamstring twinge a couple of times in final 10km.
It all hurts, it hurts for a long time but at the end of the day on a pain scale its really only a 6/10 so you just keep going. This one evidently felt faster, its mostly a blur now but the day went surprisingly fast (the last 10-20kms on the bike probably took up half the day)
Nutrition – 1 pack of Shot-Blokz, 5 (maybe 6?) gels, coke/redbull and bit of watermelon. 3-4 salt tabs, 1 more no-doz.
Total: 11hrs 23mins10secs
I really wanted it this time, I know it can fall apart on race day for anyone but the stars aligned for this one with weather, good luck with no bike issues and fairly good nutrition. Count myself lucky to be able to race and to put it all together. Not saying a lot of hard work didn’t go into getting lucky but this was one of those days.
Can I go faster? With some changes I’m pretty sure I can.....it all depends when I will get the next chance to.