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Scott1985

IRONMAN WESTERN AUSTRALIA 2016

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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.

 

 

 

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