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IMNZ - My First IM

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This was written day after, some feelings/thoughts might've changed but I've left it as is.

Well, to me it simply is a dream come true after many years of slowly pushing myself further and further. Something I really still thought was impossible when I signed up last year. Right now, its still a bit surreal.

In summary:

Conditions were tough but my body performed well. I am walking away very happy with my marathon time considering the first 2 legs. 12hours was what I wanted but comfortably sit here at peace knowing that my time yesterday doesn't reflect my performance. I am very happy and although I'll give it some time - I can see myself doing another one.


A perfect lead up in weather here in Taupo, I woke up saturday thinking it was raining heavily outside only to see that it was blowing a gale. My stress levels only change when something within my control goes wrong, weather does not fall under that banner.

Food went down easy race morning, check-in all smooth and down to the start. Alot of talk about the weather of course.

Swim: 1:20:44. (Swam about 4.2km)

One of the few last mass starts in IM races. Although not a fast swimmer, I am a confident swimmer so the chop doesn't bother me. Positioned my self furtherest buoy away from shore, plenty of space there and not far from start line/buoys. Had space in front of my when cannon went off so started immediately.

Unlike rolling starts, you are battling for space for first 1km if not longer - copped a decent kick to the jaw somewhere. I found feet occasionally however the chop was causing chaos everyone swimming in jagged lines. Had a decent rhythm, a wave to the face and unfortunately goggle filled with water - so pretty much 'one eyed pirate' for the rest of the swim. Turn boys came quick and the return leg was when things really became difficult, it felt like none of the buoys were in line, you would hit one then nearly start swimming in a completely different heading for the next. Again found feet when I could but couldnt trust them to go in the right direction.

I'd say my Cairns swim last year was worse chop/wave sizes but this being longer and more chaotic with the mass start. Been told about 70-80 pulled from the water.

Bike+T1: 6:24:39

T1 6:44

Happy with transition time - right eye a bit blurry but it cleared, decent jog to the tent but quick otherwise.

Out onto the bike, theres a 3-4% 5km climb out of town (with some flat)- had gel whilst climbing that. Once you hit the top its a loooong rolling decent, basically flying out. No idea of the tailwind early but once you hit the flats you realized the gears were rolling a bit easy. Fed according to my plan minus 1 gel at 4.5hrs. Some crosswinds on the way out.

And then came the turnaround. Nasty. Not sure what the wind speeds were but they were enough to really make things tough. Then as you head back you hit the rolling decent you came down things become miserable. Headwinds worse on first lap interestingly, big gusts. Non-eventful bike otherwise but the return legs were mentally tough. On both for 20-30minutes at a time was head down staring at the white line, counting pedal strokes 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 to distract me (something we do in training). Worked well.

Probably mention my bike position isn't ideal - wasn't really getting comfortable, lower back pain caused from when I'm "driving legs" for long periods against the wind instead of being able to nicely roll them meant I was out of aerobars a bit more than I wanted. Will look at getting a fit.

Heart rate about 140-145 on the way out, tailwind etc meant hard to even push it much higher. About 158-168 on the way home.

This is were I felt I lost the most time, not just the time itself but energy from grinding home. My legs were there when I needed them to be, so again happy with physical performance. Came off the bike well.

Run+T2: 4:37:51

T2: 4:04

Took comfortable amount of time in T2 but not slow

By now breeze was settling even more and always enjoy a cooling wind for the run. Straight out of T2, well used to legs transitioning, first mark was our motel/Julie about 2km down the road. Had the heart rate at to mid 150's early which I was very happy about. Was finding posture, breathing and foot placement for those first 2km.

Gel at first aid station. And maybe 2km after this found my rhythm, Was happy were I was but could start seeing where this was going....I marked 20km in my head as the first monument and kept myself busy with fans/athletes and my technique until then as I didnt want to think how far to go.

My feeding on the run, was probably not ideal, I would only feed if I really knew I needed it which was often km or 2 further than I should had. I've had stomach problems in marathons before and naturally lent towards under feeding. Water/Ice at all aids stations. Ice in cap/shirt and hands. Think about 6-7 gels, other than coke, I didnt use any other fuel.

Km 23-28 was easily my slowest and toughest, I knew it would be. 28km was the final turnaround and at that point I just needed to manage it home. A final 50m walk with Julie at our motel and it was off to finish the final lap. It was painful, worked through visual targets and kept going. Final 8-10km got back to good speeds. HR was probably around high 160's for most of it.

A lot of great support in the final 4km meant you were starting to "sprint" - incredible feeling coming down that carpet. Unforgettable.

Total time: 12:34:05

I am an Ironman

Feet up today and relaxing (typing this up before I forget) - no injury concerns/blisters etc. Went and watched one of our legendary club members, only 74 years old, get a Kona slot which was an awesome sight to see!

I'll be back for more!

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Johan, #1 is always special and important. It's about realising what you can do after planning/training and not really knowing until the last km or 2 that you can actually do it.


Surreal is a great experience. Its realising that you have done what you are wanting to do but don't really think you did it. Well.....YOU DID IT !





Edited by Flanman
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thanks Flanman - precisely why I can't comprehend it. having been a goal for so long hard to think that I've now done it!


Thanks again.

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I felt exactly like you Johan. Like how did I do that?

Its been nearly 5 years since my last IM and I'm still in awe that I could achieve that

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Thanks Johan and well done! I'm planning on heading over to NZ for my first next year. I'm hoping for nicer weather! :)

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