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About Scott1985

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    Transitions Addict in Progress

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    Southern Highlands NSW
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    After being out of the IM game for 2 years racing short course I have 2 IMs (Frankfurt '13, OZ '14) planned over the next 18 months. PB of 10.21 in WA in 2010.

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  1. OK so this is the most exciting race report I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing. In fact, all race reports I have written have been to prepare me better for the day in Hawaii. As always, she’s a long’un so grab a cuppa or a beer and have a read (no really, it’s like super long!!) IRONMAN HAWAII – RACE REPORT (M30-34 AG) My 10th ironman race and I was lucky enough to have it coincide with my qualification for a race which was only ever a dream for the first 6-7 years of me racing this distance before meeting AP who instilled a sense of belief, desire and work ethic in me which allowed me to qualify at ironman Australia this year. If there was a negative, this was my 3rd ironman in 10-months (Busso, Port and Hawaii) so it has felt like an 18-month build up for this race. My weekly structure was much the same as my past 2 builds under Alex Price – this plan works well for me given my availability, time to train and has the perfect balance of hard and easy work within the week (super important and under-estimated). Monday – Swim 3-4km (AM), strength and conditioning (lunch) Tuesday – 2 hour brick as 1.5 hour bike, 30 minute run with some intensity, strength and conditioning (lunch) Wednesday – Swim ~3.5-4km (AM), 12-13km run with quite a lot of it at 4min/km pace Thursday – 2 hour brick as 1.5 hour bike, 30 minute run Friday – swim 3.5-4km (AM), strength and conditioning (lunch) Saturday – Since the week after Port I went down to W’gong to ride with the team. Most of the rides were between 4.5-5 hours and with a lot of decent work involved, with a run off the bike which built up to 18km at race pace/effort (slower than previous build). Sunday – long run (did quite a few runs between the 28-32km distance and again the second half was always faster than the first half of the run). I won’t bore you all with the details of the days leading into the race but as a brief overview the week of the race looked like this: Monday – arrived in Kona. My bike didn’t make it on the plane from Honolulu to Kona! Great start – but thankfully the team from Tri Travel, picked it up for me and brought it to me at my hotel, a great service! My mate Michael who had flown in from NYC to be there to watch the race too! Champion. Couple of beers and then an easy 30-minute run in the heat! We were staying literally 200m from the race start, registration, expo etc. it was brilliant! I was warned not to get in and around the hype too much but geez it was great for convenience and super close to all the eateries within town. Tuesday – An easy swim in the morning and then drove the course with a few in the Tri Travel crew. Shane gave us a good run down of the course and what to watch out for which was very valuable for race day. We got dropped 30km from Kona and then rode back into town. My first ride on the famous Queen K highway – magical experience. My training partner, Luke Jeffrey, arrived in time for the Parade of Nations – again, it’s these experiences which were a dream come true for me. Another few beers (common theme for my time in Hawaii actually) and dinner. Wednesday – another 1-hour bike ride with Jeff and easy 15-20 minute jog later in the afternoon to experience some more heat! Thursday – A swim out to the famous coffee boat from the pier, a couple of espressos whilst holding on to the boat was amazing. It’s such a unique experience to do these activities synonymous with only the Hawaiian ironman. Another light jog in the afternoon and Nicole came to join us today too, after flying over a few days after me. Friday – Was supposed to be a short, easy spin with Jeff but the poor bastard got his second flat tubular in 3-days (a front and rear)! But nonetheless a very easy, smooth ride. One thing of note was the wind had literally changed to the completely opposite direction to earlier in the week, crazy. Got the bike racked then lounged around for a few hours, eating, and trying my best to stay off the feet. Got to bed early and wasn’t really awoken until a knock at the door at 4:50am by Luke and Steph. Race day: Woke up at 4:50am (by the knock at the door), had some breakfast and then Luke and I walked the 200m to transition, got the body marking done, prepped the bike and then went back to the hotel room to lay low before the race start. Had some breaky and continued with some shitty American coffee before heading back down after we watched the pro start from the balcony of the hotel. I was about to race against 2400 of the best ironman athletes in the world – this was exciting! So before I get into the race itself, I have told anyone that I’ve spoken to about the race that I only plan on doing Kona once (at least for the moment) and there were a few reasons for this 1) it’s a logistical nightmare getting from Bowral to Kona but this was the least important 2) I suspected the race was going to be full of blatant drafting, aggressive swimming and full of egos and 3) I don’t like it when it’s above 25 degrees so 10-hours doing an ironman wasn’t my idea of “fun” however, I digress and will come back to this later…. SWIM: The swim start is super bloody wide! I started pretty close to the centre and about 4-5 rows back. My plan was to swim straight (not aim towards the first buoys) until the 4th buoy and then find a rhythm. The water in Kona is amazing – you just float and it’s warm, there’s fish swimming underneath you but otherwise it’s pretty much just straight out and back really. I’ve swum 57-58 minutes for the past 2 IMs so I thought if I was 4-5 minutes slower here without a wetsuit, that would be fine and it was bang on actually. I swam really easy but never really found my own space – there was plenty of elbows and pushing down going on but I wasn’t too bothered by it, because I was swimming quite conservatively, I had more energy to just push ahead if I didn’t like the space I was in. Swim time: 1:03:36 - 684th overall and 109th in the age group. I was fine with this considering I didn’t expend too much energy out there in the water. T1: Wow – there felt like there was 1000 people in this tiny changing tent. I stood up to get things organised and got changed for the bike – was the most chaotic I remember a transition area ever! Time: 3:53 BIKE: I was fitter than I was in Port Macquarie but I was going to ride a little more conservatively given APs main instruction was for Luke and I to put ourselves in a position where we can run the last 10km of the marathon. That being said, my plan was to ride a NP of 230-340 watts for the bike. One element I didn’t appreciate enough about Kona was the difficulty of the bike course. It’s not super hilly but it feels like you’re never riding along the flat – you’re either going up or down what feels like 2% grade, it’s difficult to get a nice rhythm riding in Hawaii. As Luke so elegantly put in his race report, the first 30-40km of the bike is about how big of a circle you can create swinging your d#*k so I wanted to be conservative! This is a SUPER fast start to the day. I covered the first 50km in a bit over 1h15m riding 232 watts so it’s fast. After about 50km you climb up towards Hawi which is about a 10km climb but felt more like 40km, it was slow going and I was very envious of those coming back down the other way. Got to the top and you then fly back down at 60-70km/hour at little effort. Another side note – I do not rate my bike handling skills and get scared when going down a hill too fast but some of these other athletes were horrible! Super slow, riding the breaks, sitting up – I couldn’t believe it! Anyway, so I reached the halfway point in the race in 2:33 and 233 watts. By this point, it reaffirmed I wouldn’t be coming back to this race any time soon with the amount of drafting that happens here – some unavoidable but much of it blatant! Trains of riders who didn’t give a shit about rules. What I also noticed by this point in the race was that I’d had about 6-7 litres of fluid of was struggling to pee. I also felt like nothing came easy. Power was hard to come by, although heart rate was fine, it just “felt” hard! After 120km, I was getting pretty bored of riding the push bike and was keen to get the ride done with. I made a conscious effort to ride the last 60km a little easier than I had previously planned so I rode at 220 watts coming back into the wind along the Queen K in towards Kona. This bike ride felt like it took forever, and I can’t explain it but I didn’t particularly enjoy it either. Time was 5:08:15 at 226 NP and HR average of 142 for the ride. I was about 75kg for the race. This was about 25 watts and 5bpm lower than Port Macquaire but geez it felt much much harder and the only thing I could put it down to was the heat and I was starting to cook from the inside! 421st overall and 93rd in the age group for the bike. Nutrition on the bike: Simple. Infinit in my bottle where I'd have ~80g carbs per hour and a bottle of water between aid stations. T2: I seemed to fluff more in T2 than I normally do, making sure I took in water and got some vaso and sunscreen on me. Time was 3:51 RUN: I knew the best case scenario for my run here was to run a 3:30 marathon – after running during the week and watching my heart rate, I knew that would be near impossible for me. Shit it was hot. I started the run and saw Nicole and asked her “is Jeff out running yet”, when the answer was “no” I just thought that bastard is riding conservatively so he can run past me! But this was the least of my worries to be honest. During the early part of the run you run down the most famous stretch in world triathlon Ali’I drive – this is phenomenal, but I felt HORRIBLE, I felt unwell, my quads were cramping and I couldn’t cool myself down. I started getting quite teary after 5km because I didn’t think I could do this, I started to think about pulling out of the race and how I would explain it to Nicole, my coach, my friends, my family, my clients, everyone that’s asked about the race… I got quite emotional about it. I got to the next aid station and just walked – sponges x 5-10 into the top, down the neck, ice everywhere and I just drank a lot more water to cool down. The next 5km I started to feel much better and I knew I could just plug away, I didn’t have that thought about pulling out of the race anymore but I was so uncomfortable and in so much pain for 10km into an ironman marathon – I knew this was going to hurt! I ran past Jeff on Ali’I drive and we manoeuvred ourselves to make sure we high-fived and gave each other a rev up – I saw he looked fresh and I felt shit so I figured he’d probably get me along the Queen K somewhere. I saw Nic, Michael and Steph on the climb up Palani road which was perfect timing for me to re-energise and re-focus. After about 16km you hit the Queen K and you enter the most boring, mentally draining ironman run ever! It’s exposed, there’s zero shade. None. It’s like someone closing the M5 in Sydney and just running along there, the only real spectators are at aid stations otherwise, there’s not much happening except other people running. At 20km-22km my quads were ready to shut down so I did the unthinkable and tried something new on race day – a big no no in many people’s books but this quad cramping was going to stop me running. I took some salt, which I don’t normally use – that did nothing so I tried some hot shots at about 26-27km (I think it was) which tastes like dirty garbage water except with a spicey taste at the end but I was willing to try anything, honestly. I went past an aid station at about 32km or so and took in some coke and water and then stopped, staggered over and just vomited as if I’d punished too many beers during a night out (which I also know well) and then every time I had water or anything, I’d vomit it straight up. I was worried. 10km to go in this heat with no water, no calories and already feeling like shit was worrying but I couldn’t do anything by this point I just had to keep moving forward. Down through the energy lab, which is stupidly hot and saw Jeff again on the other side, I wasn’t in any state to work out how far behind he was but I knew if I kept jogging I should be able to hold him off. I got to about 1 mile to go where Pete Murray was who just said something like “Scott Connolly from AP10 in Australia, Alex Price will be very proud of you mate” which gave me chills – it was only now, with about 1.5km to go (downhill) where I felt I could relax because I knew I was going to finish the famous ironman Hawaii and realise a dream I’ve had for a very long time. Run time: 3:37:12 (I just checked and I went past halfway in 1:45/1:46 and I’m actually shocked to see the last 10km “only” took me 54:23 – I’m super chuffed about that considering everything that was happening internally and externally at the time). Nutrition on the run: Nothing you should follow given the fact I almost ruined my race! But the goal is 80g of CHO. My Infinit bottle must have leaked which meant I went through, what should have been 21km worth within 8km! End result: 9:56:47 - 357th overall and 71st in the 30-34 AG. I had no idea of my race time during the ironman. I didn’t look at it after 3-4km into the marathon as I knew it was about survival, resilience and focus. I crossed the line, saw I was under 10-hours and just felt this huge sense of relief and emotion. I waited for Jeff in the recovery area and after a chat and a swim, Michael was waiting outside with beers, what a legend! Finishing the Hawaiian ironman…. This surreal feeling of accomplishment was complete. People that either know me, or know ironman triathlon know and understand this isn’t “just a sport”. The sacrifice, time, energy, mental application, love and effort that go into this sport make it much more than that. For so many years, I laughed when people would say “are you going to race the Hawaiian ironman” and my response over the years moved from “hahaha no way, they’re way too fast” to “yeah I’ll keep doing ironman until I get my legacy spot” to “yes, hopefully” to just simple “yes, I am”. I’ve lived a dream – I’ve been with Nicole for 7-years and this is something she knows how badly I’ve wanted to do this since the day we met, my dog is named after the race location, Kona. I’m super proud to have achieved this. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – a massive thanks goes to Alex Price. He started telling me from day one to verbalise what my goals are “to qualify for Kona”, make it known, believe it and chase it. He has gone above and beyond to make sure everything was in place for me to firstly qualify but then to race as well as possible in Hawaii. It’s not just about writing sessions into Training Peaks, coaching has so many more elements involved from athlete psychology to nutrition to mental health and fatigue all of which Pricey integrates into the coaching/mentor relationship with his athletes. But an enormous thank you to Nicole – training for ironman means all those things I’ve just mentioned – time and energy sacrifice and it takes more than the individual to make a dream come true, so thank you so very much! So where to from here? I’m racing ironman Australia again next May, where my goal will be to try and get in to the top 3 of the age group. I have no intention of racing Kona again, not any time soon at least. Something needs to be done about the numbers and the drafting before I’d contemplate that but I still want to be the best athlete I can be, so I want to do well in my ‘local’ race first and foremost for the moment and possibly get back in to some shorter distance races.
  2. Hello all, it's been a long time since I've been an "active member" on the forum but thought I'd post my race report from IMWA for those interested. IRONMAN WESTERN AUSTRALIA – RACE REPORT (M30-34 AG) This was to be my 7th iron distance race but first under the guidance of Alex Price of AP10. There was quite a shift in the way that my training was being done but most notably there was an increase in intensity in almost all elements of my training but primarily my bike. I signed up for Busso after not having the race I wanted to in Port this year and was really keen to have a good, solid race in WA. I'd not actually done any racing since Port in May so it was going to be a Winter focused on long, cold weekend riding. A vague outline of my training this time around would look like: Monday – Group swim ~3.5-4km (AM), strength and conditioning (lunch) Tuesday – 2 hour brick as 1.5 hour bike, 30 minute run with some intensity Wednesday – Swim ~3.5-4km (AM), 10km run with quite a lot of it at 4min/km pace Thursday – 2 hour brick as 1.5 hour bike, 30 minute run Friday – swim 3.5-4km (AM), strength and conditioning (lunch) Saturday – This is where there was great shift in my training as I drove the 45 minutes down to ride with the AP10 team each week for the 16 weeks before the race. Most weeks it was riding between 4-5 hours with some good intensity and building up to 15-18km runs off the bike Sunday – long run (started at 18km and built to 32km with pace increasing throughout the run) As most men, I'm a creature of habit and loved the fact that AP developed a template for my training week and it was just repeated week in, week out with obvious changes in sessions, focuses and specifics but the schedule remained constant. My main problem in Port was the fact I rode ~5:30 which just isn't anywhere near good enough to be towards the front end of the age group so I knew my biking needed a lot of work. Even though my biking duration didn't really change compared to previous preps, there was definite boost in intensity. I also learned A LOT from riding in a group – things that I never took time to learn E.g. angles of the bike when turning, how to descend better, how to ride in a group and just better bike handling skills in general. My mate, Michael and I, arrived in Busso on the Thursday before the race where things just seem to run smoothly from the get go. No hiccups with travel, got rego done with plenty of time and we seemed to have a lot more time up our sleeves than normal. Because of this I found myself doing an “extra” ride which wasn't programmed and AP wasn't a happy camper about this so backed off the ride on the Saturday. Nothing extremely noteworthy seemed to happen in the lead up to race, for the first time before an ironman I felt in complete control and “knew” I was in for a good race. We did a couple of easy swims, a few easy to moderate bike rides and an easy jog in the days beforehand and just got ourselves organised. The day before I met up with Mick from AP10 and went for a nice 30km spin on the course to get used to the feel of the roads etc. Had a chat with coach AP the day before to go over some more specifics, which made me feel very much at ease about the day ahead, and then it was feet up for the afternoon and evening. Race day: After having my best day before an IM sleep and the obligatory few toilet stops in the morning, it was go time! SWIM: Mass start. I must admit, I'm a wuss and love the Port Mac rolling starts so not having done a mass start in a few years did make me worry a little but AP said “don't take a backward step for anyone” which stuck in my mind. So there I was, a 1:00-1:08 swimmer starting 3rd row back from the front as close to the jetty as possible. I knew it was going to be a fight but I was ready to hold my own. Swam the first 500m strong, not stupid but hard and then bang, my breathing was fierce and I was getting chest pain. I stopped and started pulling at my wetsuit to let some air in but was struggling to breathe. My mind did 3 things, firstly it went to “shit, I'm going to have to pull out, how embarrassing after all the training” and then it went to “I'll swim over to the boat and take it off” to “shut up, just swim easier” - this all probably happened in the space of 45 seconds so I then backed of the gas and just swum easy to moderate and concentrated on not losing the draft I was taking up towards the end of the jetty. I got to the turn around and looked at my watch and thought I saw “33:xx” (turns out I was wrong) and was quite pissed off that I was going to swim 1:06 after all the good swim prep I felt like I'd done. Swum back very uneventfully and just focused on drafting all the way back into shore. AP instructed me to stay focused in the last km of the swim which I was very concious of. When I came out of the water and glanced at the watch at 56:xx I almost fell over, I was pumped. Swim time: 57:07 (PB by 3:40) 105th overall out of the water and 15th in the AG (this still blows me away as someone that came dead last in the AG in my first triathlon and swam ~28 minutes for 1km) T1: it was a 380m run into T1, over a bridge and back down. Wow this was the quietest I'd seen T1. Unfortunately, the volunteers were busy so had to strip the wetsuit myself and get it all organised – no issues. Time 4:01. BIKE: Plan was simple today on a flat course – keep the power at ~225-230 watts and be diligent with staying aero. I couldn't believe how few people were on the course, it makes the day so much more enjoyable. In all honesty there was really not much to report on the bike – there were some small groups working together towards the front end of the race but from what I saw, most were sitting legal – I actually saw more drafting from those riding ~5:30 than anyone towards the front of the race. I actually started overtaking a few pro females on the bike, again another first for me! I went through the first lap of 90km in about 2:23 or so with a power of 241NP (239AP) and HR 145, power was a little high but I felt great so was just going to plug away for a while. Got to ~140km and saw a group of 4 working so thought I'd hook on the back of that. I was in 2 minds of what to do now, I could push through the group and ride back into town solo or I could deliberately try to conserve some power but will sacrifice a few minutes on the bike by doing so. I thought I would “test” the best option – I let the group go 75m up the road and soft pedalled and thought 'I'll see how much power I would have to ride to catch them up' – turns out once they got away I had to ride ~240 watts to catch them anyway so would have to ride harder to get around them. Decision made, I'll sacrifice a few minutes and ride 12m behind the group back into town. My NP dropped to 220 watts and HR to 140bpm for the final 40-45km but was still riding 36km/hour as the wind was picking up. It wasn't super windy by any means but there times when you'd have to slow a fair bit and work into the wind. Time was 4:50:47 (PB by 11 minutes) at 232 average watts (235NP). I was about 76.5kg during weigh in on the Friday so would be 75kg normally I'd suggest). 53rd fasted bike split overall and 11th fastest in the age group (at this point, it looks like I was 47th overall and 11th in the AG in the race) Nutrition on the bike: Simple. Infinit in my bottle where I'd have ~80g carbs per hour and a bottle of water between aid stations. Out of T2 with about 5:56 on the race clock, again by far the best position I'd been in. RUN: Here is probably where I made a couple of errors. My thoughts were to dial in race “effort” but should have been more diligent with setting out at 4:30/km pace which I'd practiced a lot. I went through halfway in about 1:35-1:36 but knew I was already fading with the quads starting to shut down and just shear pain with every step I was running. Heart rate average for the first half of the race was 148bpm but I knew this wasn't going to be my problem anymore – it was going to be about trying to minimise the slow down! At no point in the last 20km did I feel comfortable and things were just starting to slow down bit by bit and it was just a game of 'moving forward' – in the last 15km I found myself taking in anything at the aid stations including coke and fruit just to break up the Infinit (which was the first time I'd used this in an IM run leg). The second half of the marathon I went around in 1:47. I think the run would have sucked a lot less if I did the first half in say, 1:38-1:39 and I conserved a little more early but I'm always learning in this long distance triathlon game that we play. All I could think about in the last 500m of the run was 'please let me having the chute to myself, I don't want to sprint against anyone' and thankfully it was all mine so I enjoyed it and was so happy with the day and the hard work paying off! Run time: 3:22:21 Nutrition on the run: 80g of CHO per hour in Infinit (I carried a small bottle which I changed halfway through in special needs) plus some coke and fruit when I felt like it. End result: 9:16:10 (PB of 22 minutes!) 51st overall (including ~25 pros) and 10th in 30-34 AG. We had 6 blokes go under 9 hours in the 30-34 age group and some freaky talented age-groupers racing. 2 blokes who went sub 9-hours couldn't jag a Kona spot, crazy! This race has given me confidence that I will keep getting better and better each year and I'm now really confident I have the ability to qualify for Kona if I stick to the plans that AP sets for me. I don't feel like I'm “chasing” Kona by any stretch but I am chasing improvement with every race and lead up that I do. I came 10th at Port and 10th here, yet I could not be happier with what I did in Busso, it's all to do with how well you execute what YOU know YOU are capable of and racing to potential which makes me feel so satisfied! There were so many positives of the race performance and lead up: Getting AP to coach me was something I needed to take me to the next level. My previous coach was a mate of mine, who is now based in the UK, took me a bloody long way from last in my age group to a few sub-10 hour ironmans but I needed to be more accountable to someone and constant communications. The athlete:coach relationship is an interesting one and I firmly believe you have to buy into what they want you to do 100% otherwise you're wasting your time and energy and I'm 100% behind anything that AP asks me to do. Using intensity on the bike to improve performance but importantly confidence when riding Training with a great group of people for the longest and hardest session each week – the Saturday brick – makes life a lot easier and was a huge stepping stone to my improvement in my biking. Strength and conditioning training 2-3 days per week for 6 months made me feel bullet proof. Hardly an injury or ache to worry about the entire build. Using, what I would consider, triathlon specific toys and sets within swims – for me swimming 57 minutes is crazy and one of the things I am most proud of. Paying more attention to aero – had a bike fit a couple months before the race, changed water bottle systems, practiced relaxing a lot in the TT position and bought a new helmet made me feel super comfortable in the race position. No after work sessions – only morning and lunchtime sessions made me relax after work a lot more than usual and enjoy some nighttime rest. Negatives of the race performance: Little panic attack in the water – might be due to wearing a long sleeve wetsuit for the first time in a race since 2009! Not following the pacing strategy early in the run! It is time for a few weeks easy training before getting back into training for Port Mac 2017. The main point out of all this is the fact I have really enjoyed training and the process of it all as opposed to training to race and living and dying by the race result.
  3. Hey mate, sorry about the very delayed reply. I haven't been on the forum too much this year. For the bike I exclusively use Infinit - very simple plan of getting in 80g CHO each hour. I mix it one bottle with water so it's more like a gel than a drink per se but it works perfectly for me and has done for quite a few IMs now. Highly recommended.
  4. Hello all, I haven't been active on this forum for a little while now but always love reading race reports so thought I'd share my experiences from Sunday's IM: IRONMAN AUSTRALIA – RACE REPORT – Scott Connolly (M30-34 AG) This was my 7th iron distance race now, and my first triathlon since doing IMOZ in 2015 so I was low in racing exposure over the past 12-months. My goals for the race, which I kept relatively quiet, were to come between 5th and 10th in my age group and PB in my overall placing for the race (my best result was 70th overall in IMOZ in 2014). I knew coming into this race I was the fittest I had been in all 3 disciplines, I had done a fair bit of work leading in. For those that use Training Peaks and love numbers my peak CTL for the lead up was 134 and I was probably training 17-18 hours for 3 consecutive weeks and then a ~10-hour recovery week. I had pretty much done this cycle for 7-months leading into Port. I had done 7 race simulations in the final 10-weeks which involved a 30-minute easy run, 3.25 hour race effort on the Wahoo Kickr and then a 2-hour run at race HR (which I was doing as 13 x 2km loops around my house in the Southern Highlands). 5-weeks out from race day I did a big week which was ~27.5 hours of training. I knew I had some decent fitness coming into the event and was confident on a good performance but needed to execute well. A very vague outline of my training would look like: Monday – Squad swim (3-4km) (AM), easy run (30-60 minutes) (PM) Tuesday – 2-hour bike + 30-minute T-run Wednesday – Squad swim (3-4km) (AM), easy to moderate run (30-60 minutes) (PM) Thursday – 1.5-2 hour bike + 20-minute T-run Friday – Swim (3km) (AM), easy run (30-45 minutes) (PM) Saturday – Race simulation Sunday – 2-2.5 hours easy bike ride I drove up to Port Macquarie on the Friday and after some stressful valve replacements and bike repairs at 2 different bike shops everything seemed in order. Did a few little sessions on the Saturday before the race to make sure everything was good to go. I had a few mates doing the IM and half IM so there were plenty of familiar faces around town. I had been following a LCHF diet up until about 6-weeks before the race before gradually increasing my CHO intake. Thankfully, after a few IMs I feel like I’ve got my pre-race and during race nutrition dialled in so it’s one less stressful thing to worry about. Race day: We were only about 1.5km from transition so Azza and I strolled down to the race, fiddled with the bikes for 10-minutes and then headed back to the hotel for the normal pre-race toilet stops (plural, yes). We headed back down about 40-minutes before kick off, popped the wetsuits on and then it was time to go. I hadn’t paid too much attention to the weather forecast leading into the race, I figured it would be fine, maybe a bit warm but nothing outstanding. The relentless rain, wet roads, muddy run and wind gusts weren’t in my thinking – some ignorance on my behalf admittedly! SWIM (3.8km): I was confident after doing this race the past couple of years that I would swim in the ball park of 1-hour. I’m not a great swimmer and my pool times show that I shouldn’t be swimming near an hour but I think I’ve improved my drafting and general open water swim skills the past few years that one hour was attainable this time around. A rolling start in IM is something I absolutely love, I must say. After moving from feet to feet in the opening ~800m, I found someone who was swimming bang on the pace I wanted so I quite literally drafted him for the remaining 3km of the swim. I was checking every now and again to see how his navigation was, and all seemed good so I tucked in and just used him the whole way around. The swim was very uneventful which I think is a perfect way to start the day. Water was calm and conditions favourable. Swim time was 1:00:42 (240th Overall and 32nd in the age group – a PB swim time and placing for me. T1: I was dirty that I didn’t get anyone to help me off with my wettie but thankfully it came off without a drama and it was time to go. Time: 2:55 (100th OA and 12th AG). BIKE (180km): Having done the course a couple of times I knew what to expect. There is a lot of rolling getting out of Port Macquarie, some flat open sections, some more rollers and then Matthew Flinders drive – I had changed my cassette purely for this race because I was scared shitless of this hill after really struggling to get up last year. I moved from a 21 to a 25 which made it quite simple in the end thankfully! My plan for this race was to ride between 210-220 watts for most the race and let it rise to 250-270W during the climbs and aiming to finish with a Normalised Power of ~220 watts. I had put a disc cover on my rear wheel for this race and the day before popped some tape over the flaps – within the first 10km I saw this tape wrapped around my rear hub and I was worried it would somehow find its way into my chain so I pulled over and took it off and popped it in my pocket (no littering of course). Everything felt like it was going along fine coming out of town. I had been listening to Fitter Radio podcast on the drive up and the reiteration of being conservative in the first 40km so I had that ringing through my head but after 20km, bang! My right tri bar had come loose and bent inwards! So basically my right arm rest was now resting on my drop bar and the extension had turned in so it was now touching the left shifter, a most uncomfortable position but not unbearable. It was annoying because I like plenty of room on my right side so my hip doesn’t ‘jam up’ when I ride. At about 30km a nice little group went by me at a decent clip so I tacked on the back and rode legally but I found the constant changes of positions and surging was making me stressed and I was already worried about my bike so I made the decision to relax, let them go and try to ride conservative. I realised after about half an hour of riding I had forgotten to clear my ride from the day before so I cleared everything and started again (in hindsight I really shouldn’t have done this for race analysis purposes, but anyway). There was a nice tailwind going along the main stretch and everyone was moving at a decent pace but the rain started really coming down the further north we went. It was relentless the whole bike ride, I was saturated and even though the air temperature wasn’t too cold, I was soon becoming a little cold from being wet. Port is definitely not known for its smooth roads and the wet conditions just amplified this! I went around the first lap in ~2:40 which was a little slower than I hoped, I was hoping to bike 5:15-5:20 to put me in a decent position and I knew the second lap was going to be slower and it sure was! After the turn around I checked my power and had averaged 200w (218NP now looking at the data but I didn’t have this available to me on race day). I felt just as I thought I should at this point in time, quite good. The second lap I was completely isolated the whole ride, anyone I went past seemed to be people who had over-biked the first lap so they weren’t any use to me unfortunately as they were slowing and I wanted to try and pick up the effort. The straight bit, which had been a tailwind out now turned to be a headwind! For the same power I was now going 4-5km/hour slower this time around and the rain was hitting me straight in the face making visibility difficult. I started getting some cross-wind gusts which with the disc cover and a broken aero bar made me crap myself and ride up on the drop bars for a while. By ~120km my shoulder was getting really sore from being in this stupid position and my back was the same. The last 60km just felt slow the whole time, my effort felt OK, I didn’t go through any significant bad patch, my nutrition was bang on but it was just an uncomfortable slog. Got back up Matthew Flinders drive and back into town feeling disappointed with my ride time and knew it had put me out of contention for a top-5 AG finish unfortunately but there was still a marathon to go and my legs felt quite comfortable and ready to get running. Total bike time 5:32:02 – From the data I have my NP was 216 (average 201), weight 74-75kg, HR was playing up for the majority of the ride but seemed to be 130-137bpm when it did come good. (170th OA and 21st in the AG) by this point in the race I was 164th overall and 22nd in the age group. T2 – Here is where I peaked for the day! Time 1:01 (4th fastest overall and 1st fastest in the age group!) RUN (42.2km): I knew I was IM run fit, I was confident I could run 3:10 (ish). I had a plan that revolved around HR but this didn’t even come into contention, it was all about how fast I could run without a) my right hamstring cramping and my quads not falling to pieces. I had set my Garmin to alert me every 2km and I knew I would have to start at about 4:20-4:25/km pace and then let things drift if I was to run a decent time. First 4km I averaged 4:12/km – too fast! So I slowed myself down and over the next ~15km I was running in the vicinity of 4:20-4:25 per km. I checked my time at 14km and I was “on pace” for a 3:04-3:05 marathon (I knew I was going to slow down so I didn’t think I was actually going to run this fast mind you.). The first 2 laps flew by without too many problems. I had heard Tim Berkel being interviewed on Fitter Radio and he mentioned in South Africa he went through a bad patch at 22km so this stuck in my mind also so wanted to make sure I stayed mentally focused around this point in time and kept chugging along. Even though I was slowing down between the 20-30km, I was still moving OK at about 4:35-4:40/km pace. I could feel when I was moving into bad points and I would consciously make the effort to force 3-4 cups of cola down at aid stations, even though I really didn’t want to but I knew I needed the calories. By this point, the rain had stopped but the ground was wet, and there is some grass which you have to run over which was now just thick mud and no fun at all. By 34km I had had enough and would have liked to curl up and have a nap. Even though there’s “only” 8km to go, it is still a LONG time when you are in a world of hurt as any IM athlete will tell you. I kept chugging along for the next 4km at 4:50-4:55/km pace and then tried to ‘pick it up’ for the last 4km (who was I kidding – all I did was not slow down but managed to run ~4:45/km for the final few kms). The last 10km of an IM is about minimising lost time, many people lose a lot of time in this period if they haven’t paced the day well. I remember seeing the 42km sign and instead of thinking ‘great, I’m almost finished’, my thought was ‘shit, still another 200m!!’ – I was stoked to get into the finisher chute. I enjoyed my jog up, taking in the atmosphere, got to the finish line and then hit the deck, got wheel-chaired into medical to deal with this really bad dizziness I was experiencing. After about half an hour in medical I was good to get some food into me and enjoy the recovery ice cream and milo. Run time: 3:13:17 (16th fastest run overall and 2nd fastest in my age group) End result: 9:49:58 – 53rd overall and 10th in 30-34 AG. We had 4 allocated slots and it only rolled down to 5th. Positives of the race performance: · An overall IM PB on this course. An overall swim and run PB. · My swim performance and execution was exactly the way I envisioned it happening. · I ran close to my potential in an IM, I still think I have another 3-5 minute improvement in me. · I ticked all the boxes I could in this lead up to the event, I was very processed driven and wasn’t overly outcome-focused although I did have goals I wanted to achieve as mentioned above. · My nutrition seems dialled in which is great! Negatives of the race performance: · The bike was a big disappointment. I haven’t had an in-depth look at the data but I expected to be riding ~5:15-5:20 for the power. I am going to see Alex Price again before my next race to get my position tweaked and get some more advice from him. I need to work on my biking in general if I want to press for a top-5 finish in my age group. If I can take 10-15 minutes off my bike leg I will be in the mix. · I did a hard treadmill session 10-days before the race and twinged my right hamstring. I shouldn’t have done this particular session on the treadmill and I should have dialled it back a fraction in hindsight. · Initially feeling quite despondent after the race. That’s why I think these race reports are so valuable as it’s made me realise there were so many positives from Sunday’s race and I’m proud of what I’ve done with it. I know I’ll learn from this race and I still feel hungry and motivated to continue to train and race as opposed to last year where I knew I needed to step away from the sport to recharge my batteries and let my motivation return. What’s next? I’ll be back to Port in 2017, that’s almost a definite but I am actually going to try and do another IRONMAN before the year is out hopefully, but will run it by the girlfriend and coach before committing to anything.
  5. Scott1985

    Flying with CO2

    Not sure what the answer would be from the airplane but I've just left them in my bike bag a couple of times without issue - haven't been pulled up. Same thing has happened to a few people.
  6. Scott1985

    Park runs

    Yep did my first one today whilst in some down training after Busso. Has about 60 people in Bowral running around this morning, great initiative.
  7. Thanks Rox - doing a great job.
  8. IRONMAN WESTERN AUSTRALIA – RACE REPORT – Scott Connolly (M25-29 AG) This was my 5th iron distance race now, 2nd in 2014 and a race I was quite confident going into. I went into the race with the same mentality as I did at IMOZ where I just wanted to aim to tick the sessions off without too much thought. As always, the goal was just to be consistent throughout the year and I think I hit a pretty good percentage of sessions my coach, Benny, had prescribed. I did a little hit out 6 weeks before at Huskisson sprint just to get a bit of confidence – I came 11th OA and 2nd the AG so I was happy with the race. The other reason I was really looking forward to this race was because I was doing it with two good mates from high school. One was doing his first IM. I put a training overview in my last race report but not much had changed in this lead up to the race with the exception of instead of doing my race simulation days as a 30min run: 3 hour bike: 2 hour run, I was doing 4.25 hour bike and 2 hour runs so I had a little more cycling in the legs this time around. A very vague outline of my training would look like: Monday – Squad swim (AM), easy run (PM) Tuesday – 90min bike + resistance training (PM) Wednesday – Squad swim (AM), easy to moderate run (PM) Thursday – 90min bike + resistance training (PM) Friday – short swim (AM), easy run (PM) Saturday – long ride or race simulation closer to race day Sunday – long run or rest if SIM completed the day before After a 3am wake up on the Thursday before the race it was time to drive up to Sydney (from Bowral) and get to the airport for a 6.30am flight. There were 4 of us, 3 racing and my mate’s girlfriend. Last time I did WA in 2010 we arrived on the Wednesday and I felt that was a lot of time fluffing about before race day so opted to arrive a day later this time around. We did a few sessions in the lead up to race day including a couple of swims and a bike ride close to town where it was probably the most exposed part of the course. When we did a ride, even though the wind was really low, it still impacted speed and power on the bike so we knew if the wind got up on race day it was going to have a strong influence. Fuelled up on the Saturday with quite a lot of carbs (I follow a low-carb, high-fat diet but start loading up 24 hours before the race). Got a really good night’s sleep before race day which was another positive so felt good come race morning. Race day: Even though we were only about 2km for transition we were lucky enough to jag a lift down to the start area. After a very brief (solid 1min) warm-up swim it was nearly time for the race to get underway. My coach has raced WA the last couple of years and advised to start to the right of the group which I did. Conditions for the day were pretty much perfect, water looked flat, wind was down and it was actually quite cool in the morning. SWIM: I’d be working pretty hard on my swim since Port. I had been swimming in a very small squad since June and could feel myself getting stronger through the water and effort becoming much easier. After the gun went off (or siren I can’t actually remember) the first 400m was typical craziness – nothing insane just standard IM swim brawl. This race I made a conscious effort to push off the line hard for the first 30 strokes and try to get on to some of the faster swimmers. Unfortunately, given the congestion I was swimming pretty crappy for the first ½ km having to breathe every 2 strokes just trying to get some air without being elbowed. After this, until the end of the jetty, it was quite calm. I just continued to shift from person to person trying to find some feet. Once at the turn around it got really congested again and I had a glance at my Garmin and it was 31:xx which I was pretty happy with. For the first few hundred metres following the turn around there was a fair current rolling into us. From here onward I followed a single person, who had a nice strong kick, all the way back into shore. Swim time was 1:03:18 (310 OA and 32 AG – by far my best result in an IM swim). T1: Uneventful – in, had help with getting the wettie off and just kept moving. Time: 3:23 (171 OA and 14 AG). BIKE: We had driven the bike course the day before the race so we had a fair idea of the road surface changes and the turn arounds. One thing which was a positive on the new 2-lap course was the fact you never really had the wind in your face for an extended time as there were a lot of small out-and-back sections. My plan for this race was to ride between 200-215 watts for the race and just stay diligent with remaining aero. Even though being 300th of the water isn’t anything to write home about there was noticeably less congestion on the road compared to coming out where I normally do 1:06-1:10. As in most IMs I’ve done the first 20km is pretty tight and not marshalled. The course at Busso is dead flat, the only thing that slows you (well me) down is the road surface at times and if the wind picks up. Once I got through 40km odd I legally sat myself at the back of a pack for the next 20km but the continual changes in power and some in the group were so blatantly drafting it was pissing me off so I got myself ahead and put in some slight surges (230-250 watts) to bridge up to other groups. Got around the first lap in 2:29:xx (216 NP) when a big group of about 15 riders swarmed past me heading out of town. I again just thought ‘sit on the back and save some energy if they’re moving at a good speed’ – this probably lasted 20km before the group started slowing down and I went ahead. After about 120-130km I got ahead of another group and then that was pretty much it in all honesty. It was just me for the rest of the ride. There were times in the last 40-60km where I couldn’t see anyone in front of me or anyone behind me. I actually thought I went off course for a while there. Coming back into Busso the wind was definitely stronger than lap one and had almost swung around a little so the last ~20km had a mild to moderate head wind and I really could have used someone to ride with at this point. I started to dial back the power a touch as my HR was starting to get higher than what I normally ride at – it was 140-142bpm where I normally try to ride 132-136bpm. Riding by myself I started becoming aware of some right knee pain which was bothering me and I didn’t know how it would affect my run. The pain felt ‘deep’ and was getting worse as the ride went on. 2nd lap 2:32 (204 NP) Total bike time 5:01:24 – NP 210 (average 206), weight 76-77kg, HR average: 136bpm. (124 OA and 10 AG) T2 – Uneventful. Great vollies. In and out with some sunscreen on. Time 1:39 (26 OA and 2 AG) RUN: Plan was to run to HR as first half @ 145bpm, 2nd half 150bpm and whatever is left in the tank. My goal before the race was to hopefully run around the 3:15 mark. I ran 3:17 at Port but knew I had probably cycled more this plan and ran a little less but was still quite confident. I knew I was going to walk through aid stations to take on 2 cups of coke, water and ice so this mentally breaks up the run for me. The first lap (of 4) came and went pretty fast just ticking by at 4:38/km or so but I wasn’t feeling good at all. 2nd lap went around at 4:40-4:45 and I knew I was going backwards pretty fast. HR was fine, this was never my issue during the race it was the fatigue I had built up in my legs. 3rd lap was sliding to 4:50-5:00/km pace and things were getting bloody tough. The run at WA is very exposed so even in not-so-hot days the heat gradually wears you down nonetheless. On to the 4th lap and after about 36km and instead of walking at only aid stations it turned in to walking every km and walking every 500m – basically I wasn’t in control anymore, I was reacting to the body being so uncomfortable. The last lap my times varied between 5:10-6:00/km pace and this was a big struggle to hold but I just kept saying ‘any running is faster than walking’. Then with about 300m to go I saw an individual with a surname (on the back of his tri suit) who beat me by <1min in Port – he didn’t have his AG on his leg so I couldn’t be sure but after he started holding on to me as I went past (and people were cheering his first name) I knew we were in for a painful finish to the race! He chipped ahead of me and then we had a little argy bargy coming down the chute and I was able to sprint past him and return the favour by beating him by a few seconds (he may on this forum somewhere actually). In the end, the knee pain on the bike didn’t have any influence on my run but still not sure what brought it on. Run time: 3:28:24 (71 OA, 7 AG). End result: 9:38:10 – 82nd overall and 6th in 25-29 AG (my last race in this age group before moving to 30-34). There were 2 slots in our AG and the winner of the AG was 8th OA and the first Aussie over the line in 8:45 and 2nd was 8:51. It rolled to 3rd – who rode a 4:30! And went 9:10. There was daylight between 5th (9:24) and myself so I wasn’t expecting anything but you have to be there to get the spot so we tagged along anyway. I just can’t compete with those guys going that fast! – it’s another couple of levels up. Positives of the race performance: · Relatively stress-free lead up but started thinking too outcome-based closer to the day. · Pre-race and during-race nutrition – 3rd IM in a row without GI issues. · Really happy with my swim, especially comparing my placing and against guys that have beaten me for many years in the swim. I still think I need it 6-8min faster though! · Getting the better of the sprint at the end of the race. I’ve previously crumbled in similar situations in shorter distance races. Negatives of the race performance: · In hindsight I should have gone with my instinct and when my HR drifted considerably I should have relaxed on the power and almost waited for a group to catch me. I think ego got the better of me and I wanted to ride as close to 5 hours as possible. Why? For no reason at all! Bad decision at an important time! · Due to the above this made the last 8-10km of the marathon a very unpleasant and unenjoyable experience. I also had to ‘reactively’ walk in the latter stages of the run. I’m confident if I biked 5min slower I would have been 10-13min faster on the run. I have to make sure I learn from this race. It’s IM 101 but if you over-bike, your run is slower and is much harder! (This is a note for me to read in future preps). At this point in time my mind is saying yes to signing up for IMOZ 2015 but I just want to make sure the body wants to follow.
  9. I have a mate coach me for $80/month who does my program on TP and continues to review my data and give me feedback. I then do swim squads elsewhere and the bike/run stuff solo.... Until we get a Southern highlands tri club happening!
  10. Rolling start at Port again I'd presume?
  11. I rode 5.27 this year Brett at 221 NP. My FTP would be about 280W - I think with less wind 200-210 W will get you pretty close.
  12. I haven't done Melbourne but went down to watch a mate but I'd rank them as: Melb Busso Cairns Port I agree road surface is a big one and Port just saps your energy but I think the undulating nature of it makes it easier to control power as where Busso, power gets away from you a little and it's easy to run out of gas from gradually pushing too hard.
  13. Well done and taking the step to IM. I'd say a few things - I found doing a few 2 hour runs off long rides helpful to know the discomfort of an IM run. As already mentioned, seriously practice race day nutrition, it can ruin your day if you get it wrong. The course is quite undulating and the road surface is pretty crappy so get used to the beating your legs receive by riding on country roads if possible. One thing is to not over think the race. Have a plan for the day and stick to it. Don't spend too much time and mental energy over-analysing every aspect of the race. It's tiring. I over thought every element before my first IM and I was mentally tired before the race. Talk to people about it, but not too many (odd thing to say on a forum) but everyone has an opinion and everyone believes in their opinion strongly. It'll make it confusing. If you don't have one already, I'd suggest (maybe others wouldn't) using a coach leading to the race just so you have one main source of advice. Obviously enjoy yourself.
  14. Scott1985

    IM WA race day

    I agree with Zed. Not what I would call smooth but not terribly rough, just constantly slightly annoying. Also agree psychologically the smaller sections and turns made it quite easy to stay focused and have a quick stretch of the back.
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