Thought I would throw down on paper a quick review of my Cairns campaign for 2018, Awesome location and event, terrible prep!!
So I entered onsite the day after the 2017 event. I had finished 2017 in a time around 12:30 which was the 2nd quickest I had been over the distance (PB of 12.18 from Port) so im proper BOP material but don't care, I only do these events for myself and I enjoy them no matter the finish time. Did the trip solo in 2017 and after speaking with the wife via text over a few beers after the event she suggested I go around again in 2018 and we make a family holiday of it, perfect, the blessing from the bride to enter and train for another IM is something I will never knock back!
I did my normal thing post Cairns 2017, lost all fitness, ate and drank far too much and did absolutely nothing training wise until December 1, then tried to get back into training too hard too fast and injured my achilleas, you would think after the previous 6 events I would change my habits but apparently not!!
During January I did the best rehab I could do, drank and ate lots and nothing training wise!! Come early February I was keen to get into training, managed 2 solid start up weeks and then tear my rotator cuff at work. Whilst recovering from this setback I was diagnosed with Diverticulitis, an infection inside the bowel and while treating me for this the good doctor discovered 4 hernias in my gut!! Without all the boring details no real prep for Cairns happened until early March, and even then the load was very light compared to past efforts. I had resigned myself to this event being all about a finish and trying to learn something from it.
Fast forward to race week, I had ridden 4 times over 100km, the longest of which was 150km. Longest run totaled 14km and only ran over 10km 6 times. Swimming was on par with past efforts and I flew to Cairns with the family confident I would get out of the water, a little less confident but still positive that I would see T2 and from then on it was going to be anybody's guess as to what would go down! I had worked out in my own mind that if I had a good day out I may still be able to stay under 13 but I kept this quiet and would be happy to get another medal.
Did all the normal pre race stuff without any hiccups or anything too exciting happening, I was mentally ready for a looooong day and was keen to see how the body would react to my 1st race since Cairns 2017!
Race morning I woke at 2am with diarrhea, Wonderful!! this continued until 4am when I would normally have my breakfast, not wanting to fuel the fire I decided to skip breaky and take a banana and 2 bottles of a light electrolyte mix with me as I started the walk to the buses up to T2. After who knows how many pit stops I had finished my bike setup, ditched the street gear bag and pump and was sitting watching the 70.3 event, I decided to chance the Banana and some of the electrolyte which seemed to be ok and soon enough it was time to don the wettie and line up.
last year I struggled bad in the chop and swan a 1.19, I was hoping that with better conditions this year I would get closer to 1.10. Started well, found my own water quickly after the 1st turn bouy and just followed the procession. About halfway down the course I coped a decent kick to the hand which resulted in my Garmin coming of and sinking to the bottom of the ocean, no real big deal I didn't think, may even be a blessing not knowing times etc. The rest of the swim was uneventful, couple of stops to readjust goggles but got out feeling like I had swum well, but better than that feeling fresh. (Turns out I swam 1.16)
This bike course is by far the best I have ridden ever, I was very keen to get on the bike and had planned to just ride easy the 1st 10km and see how I was feeling. My gut issues hadn't reappeared so I kept to my normal Infinit nutrition plan and knuckled down to work. Got to Port Douglas the 1st time feeling good holding 32km avg and enjoying myself, this continued back to the turn around, I grabbed special needs and got back to Port Douglas all very trouble free. This was getting into the territory that my long rides had been and I wasn't sure how I would go from here on in so I made the conscious effort to spin up the rises without redlining, still work hard but not over the top, went through a couple of bad patches but came out the other side, felt the head wind on the last leg between Palm Cove and Cairns but was happy to rack the bike at 5h46m a new bike PB for me.
As mentioned above, due to lack of training for varying reasons (none probably good enough mind you) I had very little confidence in my marathon. Without my Garmin I had decided on the bike I was going to run to each aid station, walk the station even if I didn't take anything and then run to the next, unfortunately this lasted for 2 aid stations and by the time I got to my family who were out near the hockey fields about 8km into the "run" I was walking and apparently looked like death warmed up!! I started taking on redbull at any opportunity and found this helped a lot, my 2nd and 3rd laps were faster than my 1st and I managed to get to the red carpet and Pete Murray called me an Ironman for the 7th time, 12.57
What did I take from this race. Firstly I will never do another on a half arsed prep, I need to respect the distance more than I did. I stuffed up my nutrition plan by relying on my Garmin watch alarms to tell me when to drink and finished the bike with 1 full biddon of nutrition not consumed (didn't know this until picking the bike up Monday) so I need a back up incase this situation happens again. I had an absolute ball on course, maybe the most enjoyable race I have done other than my 1st, I think not taking yourself too seriously if you are BOP helps the enjoyment levels. It is still an amazing achievement no matter if it takes you 9, 10, 13, 15 or 17 hours and looking at other athletes getting it done confirmed in my mind how awesome the event really is.
Break time now to have a surgery to fix the hernias and maybe another on the rotator cuff dependant on specialist visit. Might float the idea of a return to Port Mac with the bride in the coming days and see what reaction I get, then I will tell her I entered 2 months ago....