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Goony Kona 09

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:lol: I woke at 4am ready for the day. Even though there was a need for an alarm I didn’t use it. IM is its own alarm. I got to transition way early and readied myself for the day ahead. I caught up with the cyco crew and went and spent some time staring at pro bike born and the way they go about things. Stadler was there very early, Macca arrived at around 5:45am but Crowie didn’t get there till after 6am. At that stage I was walking to dropping off my Swim bag and I started 15 minutes after him. He looked relaxed. Jo Lawn, Bec K and Belinda G seemed to be running late for the swim start and were running to get there as Mike was calling the pros into the swim start area.


I found a little bit of space to have a sit down, stretch and think about the day ahead. 3 gels, 2 salt tablets and a cup of water and I got in the water when the pro gun went off. I did what Jimmy C said and went to the front middle. I will never do this in a race until I get my swim up to speed. I knew I was in trouble when I was chatting to a chic beside me who said “ You look like a strong swimmer, I’m going to sit on your feet.” What do you call strong I asked her. She said she had swum “in college”. A guy beside her asked her if she was a “50 swimmer” meaning out in 50 minutes and she said “yeah”. I’m in the wrong company and I was. First lesson learnt. I’ve had some rough swim starts in my time in IM but this was football stuff. You were swimming at 45 degrees I kid you not. This went on for 200m or so until I worked my way over to the side. I nearly had a panic attack again but after NZ I was ready for it. It paid to be a little bigger as I was able to use a bit of muscle to get where I wanted to go. After 500m of hell I sat comfortably right alongside the bouys and paddlers who would yell at us to get over. At this stage I was looking for the Coffee boat for a shot, a Gu and a relax but the Coffee boat was long gone (What sort of race has a boat that serves coffee on the swim course during race week and massive banners advertising coffee companies on the sea floor so you can read them as you swim over – heaven). Here it is here.


I went through half way in around 30minutes which, after the start I was very happy with. The second half was easy. I found some feet and slowly would go from one set to another. I was actually swimming through alot of groups on the way home – people were fading. T1 was good, off with the swim suit, on with the race belt and find my bike. The transition area over here is massive – it takes ages to run around them. Off onto the bike in 1:06 the clock read but I’d swam 1:03 so I was happy with that. The atmosphere in town was electric as you would imagine. We do a little loop then we head up the Kuakini Highway for what seemed about 5km then return to climb Palini Hill and head out on the Queen K. I saw the family here as we had a plan for the day of where they were going to be and when I was going t be there......dangerous I know but as it would turn out, very fortunate. More on that later.

The bike speeds for the first 60km were fast but easy. We had a slight tail wind coupled with adrenalin and testosterone and it was on but you weren’t pushing. Spinning up a hill at 40km/hr was the ordinary. 70km/hr down it....ohhh yeah! The bike porn over here is amazing – there is some serious wealth amongst triathletes. The pick for me is the Fuji D6 (I think that’s its name). That bike is nnnooooiiiiccceee. We headed up to Hawi which is about 30km of apparent climbing but really it’s about a 10km climb at the end. The side winds had picked up even though there were no white caps on the ocean at Kawaihae. Around the turn around and the fun was about to begin but I had to stop for a #2 first – my stomach wasn’t the best.... I missed special needs as it was a disaster where it was placed – Pete said he missed it too. No Opti and Gu chomps for me till the run.

The side winds on the way down were scary. This was apparently a good day so I’d hate to be here on a bad one. They whip you from one side then hit you from another to keep you entertained. I saw some near misses on the way down and I was glad to leave them alone. These winds obviousely get worse as the day wears on so it pays to get there quick.

Al had warned me about the mile stretch of road between the Hawi turn off and the return to the Queen K. We hit 65 on the way down it and he said it is one of the worst patches of road on the way back – it was. 20km’hr, hot and humid. As soon as you hit the Queen K back to turn you were hit with a massive head wind. Al Jefferson (top 10 AG finisher) had warned me about this so I knew I had 2 hours of hell ahead. Hell isn’t the word but I had trained in these conditions deliberately at home but I wasn’t surrounded by blackness that radiated heat skywards. The wind was so strong that when the wind hit your aero helmet it was so loud it was almost deafening. You just had to stay down, grin and bear it. You couldn’t get up cause you were like a sail in the wind. The penalty boxes were starting to fill up a bit on the way home as people were no doubt trying anything to get out of hell. There were a few Aussies in them but I’m not a dobber.

I rode past Gina Ferg and she was struggling big time. Tthen came another female pro and she was crying. The next bloke was spewing all over his bike. Someone had pulled up and was swearing as he stretched – it was a nightmare. The hills went forever and thankfully the last 10km is a slight down hill (sort of) so it was time to think about the run. Mtboy and I rode into town together. This was the last I saw of him I think. Well done mate!.

The T2 penalty box was spilling over with guys in there high 5ing each other. Fu#king cheats. At this stage of the race thinking about running 42km in these conditions wasn’t exactly appealing. Down into transition, off to the toilet for what seemed an eternity (thus the 6minute T2 time) run around 1800 bike racks and into the change tent which was covered in water. Everyone was. Even the volunteers – it is hot in there, like an oven. This was it the day before. You can see the penalty box over to the right - yellow tent.


I took my time to put some sunscreen on but it stung the back of my neck from all of the sweating. The aid stations on the bike were 10miles apart I think and at each I had drunk two bidons of water. I grabbed one on the way through the first part and put it in behind me and then I grabbed one at the end and drank it all. I had estimated I had drunk at least 10 litres on the bike. I also shoved a Gatorade down my shirt front now and then so I could use it for fuelling and use the water to “cool” myself”.

The first foot fall was ordinary - I knew I was in for a bad run. The night before the race Trina and I had gone through approximately where I would be on the course at what time. The kids and her were at the end of Alii drive which was about 5 miles into the run I think. This was the first time I had seen her since I had left on the bike. They had gone home for a swim and a lie down and were back to see me. I was 15 minutes late. I was so happy to see them but I was worried the boys would have been playing up given the fact that they had been up since 5:30am and the fact that they are, well, boys......

All 3 of them were covered in sweat and were hot as hell. The boys had been great which made me relieved. We had a quick chat and some kisses and I kept going. I said to Trina, “I may be home at 10, 10:30 or 12 – I don’t know. It wasn’t until last night that Trina thought I meant 10pm! I was in a world of hurt. I was sweating profusely and struggling in the heat. Alii Drive borders the ocean with condos on both sides. It is extremely still in there until you hit a clearing and the ocean is in view but that is only a brief respite. Michillie Jones was sitting in a chair beside the road looking like death warmed up (alot). Dan Mac was heading out looking pretty much the same. This was the land of the living dead. Nobody was happy apart from Chrissie but she’s a robot. I’m convinced.

I had a visit to a porta loo which can only be described as being in an oven. I felt like I was literally on fire. I got out and went over to a cold sponge bin and stuck my head in Macca style. Was the best feeling ever – now if only I could get this frame in there.

My running plan was to walk/run. Run a mile to the next aid station. When I passed the first cone I had permission to walk the entire aid station till the last cone where I had to run again. The sequence of events went like this. Cold sponges over the face and head, sometimes in the suit or under the hat. Drink 1 glass of water and cover myself in another. Nearly spew as I passed the gatorade and gel part. Drink 2 cups of coke then another water. Finish with sponges on the face and then RUN! Ok jog then.

I walked up Palini Hill on the way out of town – still not half way. It was good to be on the Queen K for some weird reason. I guess it was because you could suffer without getting crowds saying “looking good”, “keep it going mate – looking strong” when really you looked like you were on your last legs. I was so glad to see the entrance to the Energy Lab. I hadn’t run it and this was to be a “treat”. I caught Dan Mac on the way down and we had a quick chat. He said “My guts are gone – I’m just going to finish and live the dream.” That pretty much summed up what we were all doing. Special needs was at the base of the Energy Lab and I must say this was the only part of the volunteers and organisation of this race that needs improving. I stood there for what seemed an eternity to get it – not that it mattered. Gu chomps taste better on the way up anyway. “You go aussie – spew that evil cr@p up” one Hawaiian local said to me near the Ford Motivational mile sign. I walked from here to the top of the energy lab (200m).

From here it is about 6 miles to home. 6 more aid stations I kept saying to myself. I was spent and fading fast but I knew the last 2 miles would be relatively easy with the crowds and the lure of the finish. I was wrong - the last 2 miles were hell but I did run through the final aid station. You head down Palini towards the finish area where you can here Mike Riley going off but cruelly, you have to head left along the Kuakini Highway again for what seems an eternity before you make a right down onto Alii drive. Here you turn right to visit the holy grail about 800m up the road.

I had worked out that I wasn’t going to break 10 hours earlier so it wasn’t in my mind. Going under 10:10 was but what was more important was getting to the finish line relatively “on time” so my family didn’t have to wait till “10pm” for me.

There is a work over here called “Kapau” pronounced kupow. It means everything has come full circle. In 2003 I did my first IM in Forster. I was running down the finishing chute and Trina threw our 9 month old son’s (now 7) beanie at me to get my attention. It rained all day that year and was cold for NQ’ers. Trina and Kelly stayed out for most of that miserable day waiting for me. I owed it too them to get my ar#e home relatively on time. Trina looked after a 4 and a 7 year old boy in stifling heat and humidity for 12 hours yesterday. She has battled post natal depression both times and still does. She is more than an Ironman. If she wasn’t there yesterday I would have walked most of the marathon.

I stopped, picked up the beanie, gave her a kiss and finished my first IM. Today I was heading down the finishing chute where she threw an Australian hat at me. I picked it up, gave the whole crew a kiss and ran the best 50m of my life.

To say I was a little excited was an understatement. 50 000 people each year attempt to get to this spot. It’s taken me years to get here and I know how lucky I am. Some may take a World Champs finishes medal for granted but not this black duck (or red today). I will cherish it and hope to encourage as many people as possible to get over here and endure the world’s hardest one day physical endurance test. This is the World Champs for a good reason.

The catchers took me out to the recovery area where I had some soup and more coke. I wasn’t the best but I didn’t want to go to medical cause I had family waiting. I found the pizza tent where Chris Southwell was and I caught up on all the goss about who won etc. Chris is an amazing athlete and a very humble guy to boot. Well done on a podium finish. I sent a text to Trina telling her where I was and then I had a piece of pizza which I thought was just meat sort of stuff but it was spicy hot. Now I can’t move cause Trina knows where I am and not only is my body burning but my mouth was as well and I needed a drink. I started to go down hill fast in those 5 minutes until she got there. I gave a quick heads up to PJ after he was interviewed by Bevan James Eyles (pro triathlete not competing but BodyAttack Master Trainer from NZ). It was nice to meet Bevan and have a good chat and it took my mind off the medical tent. Trina arrived and it was hugs all round.

Every IM I’ve been to I have hung around the finishing area for a while and gone back to relive people finishing to see into their souls but not this one. I just wanted to get the hell out of there for some reason. I went and got my bike (Cannondale had a good day for the women going 1 and 2) and we headed home.

I caught up with Marinda days before the race at the expo and she was completely naive about it all.


It was her first IM and she didn’t know what to expect – she has a very care free (Carfrae get it) attitude to it all and it paid off. A 2:56 marathon is amazing – she was hooting! She's very cool.

Here’s a couple of general observation as you finish your coffee.


Volunteers and general Hawaiian people

We have a lot to learn from the way they conduct themselves. Sure the island is laid back, it’s paradise but the support from everybody from aid station to catchers to rego was terrific. These people really know how to make you feel special and welcome. It blew the whole family away. As I walked through the second last aid station with about 3km to go a big native Hawaiian bloke said to me, “I hope you have enjoyed what the Kona Coast has to offer.”



I first saw him heading down from Hawi with Norman and he was grimacing and doing the punching thighs thing. He was a fair way off the lead and looked ordinary. His courage is enormous. He could have given up but he didn’t – a true champion.


The German athlete’s national outfit

Sure they were professionals and probably part of a central training group but they looked great. You knew when they went past where they were from. If only our national federation could get together and do the same for our athletes. I know it would be near impossible with sponsors and all that but it would be good.


Chrissie W


She needs to breed with Lance. The most athletic female specimen I have ever seen. She’s fairly tall too. Sadly we will never know her full potential because she will never be pushed to the limit. When she plays golf she has to tee off on the men’s tee. She is walking evidence that females are slowly beginning to edge closer to males in the endurance and pain threshold stakes of human physiology. Brownie beat her by 22 seconds. He has won IM NZ 7 times.


The result and the day after

This morning all 4 of us had a swim at turtle beach where they were out in force. At one stage there was 4 of them around us and the fish were in a feeding frenzy. We paddle the kids around on noodles and a body board so that we can all be together. You had to be careful not to touch or kick one of them. Truly an amazing experience to share as a group. We are off to the Lava tubes for some photos and Hapana Beach this afternoon to do much the same and then around to Hilo and Volcano tomorrow for a few days before we head back to Honululu for 5 days. Life is tough.

I feel an extreme sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. There is an element of sadness that it is over sure, but this a part of life not life itself. I’m really excited about taking this feeling home and passing it to my squad knowing that “anything is possible”. I’ve gone 11:11, 10:37, 9:31 and now 10:09 at Hawaii. I’m not disappointed at all. Getting here is an accomplishment. Finishing this race was an accomplishment. Some are saying that it was 40+ on the Queen K in the run. The wind on the bike was almost small chain ring stuff, downhill. Some people didn’t finish and lots sat at home on the net and didn’t get to start.

If you’re one of those people dreaming of getting over here, then find a way, not an excuse. I’ve turned full circle from a cold, miserable, drenched 11:11 in 2003 thinking of how the hell people go so fast at this distance to a 10:09 in Hawaii 09 with quite a few years off in between. And the single biggest difference was having somebody (thanks AP) make me realise that I should believe in myself that I belonged in that group. I had a massive base of training behind me. I just had to be smart on how to use it appropriately. That’s what a good coach is for.

Change your mindset to change your life.

Kapau :lol:



PS Thanks to CQ and Nealo for the updates and the Youtube links. As Nealo’s avatar reads, “There is nothing more painful than regret.” So true.

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Mate, that is a sensational read.


I was over there last year watching my wife race and that just bought it all back. Anyone who finishes that race is as tough as nails. It makes the Australian Ironman seem a walk in the park.


I've set my sights on improving from 11:20 and 10:55 to get down to 9:45 and a spot to Hawaii. It won't happy next year, but it'll happen. I've been there twice as a spectator and last year did a lot of training there. I'm not sure I have what it takes to finish that race, but geez I want to find out.


Congratulations. Enjoy the rest of your stay in Hawaii.

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dont know whether that just makes me think theres no way in hell id ever want to do that, or f#$% yes I want some of that crazy action.


Inspirational. (and well written)







TheAntisport - you can stop crying now :lol:

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What an absolutely fantastic report , race and outlook. Congratulations man.


Your posts have been fantastic this week. You could tell from your pre race reports that your head was in the right place and even if you had done 15hrs you would have had fun and enjoyed the experience for all its worth.


Voting this go straight to the pool room, or Tri gold. Inspirational!

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Great story Goony :lol:


I want to know how you can still run 5:24 min kms for a marathon feeling so crook and walking - amazing effort. You must have been flying when you were running.


I love the bit about the Pro's crying etc on the bike in the headwind. I've ridden in some icy cold gales and although it is complete sh*t, totally demoralising and absolutely no fun at all, it's great for your head. All that riding you did in the wind up north clearly paid off with your great bike time :D


Top effort


PS - what do i have to do to get a flat stomach like yours :D that's more of a goal for me than getting to Kona :lol:

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I don't know you from a bar of soap BUT that was the most inspiring and best written race report I have read!!! : :lol:




I also enjoyed your training reports.


I think we will all start going to those extra gym glasses!!!



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That was such an inspiring report - I think it really captured just how hard a day it was - I could hardly read it as it made me cry! I think it has made me even more determined to get there one day - it's so "special"!


We watched your finish and we could see on your face what it meant to you as you crossed the line - I would dowload that finished and watch it daily if I were you!!


I hope you have a fantastic time over there now with your family - I'm lucky that Steve and I both train and race and no longer have young children but I can imagine what a big day it would have been for your wife and little ones - I'm sure they're really proud of you! Enjoy yourself - you've earnet it!



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Great read Goony - this is the race I watched as a kid and always wanted to try tri's since then. Maybe will be my turn one day, you never know.


And mate - you look like you belong in this world. Jeeze you're ripped mate. Time for me to lose the jelly belly!!!

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Gooney, I remember racking my bike next to yours at my first ever olympic distance race.


You impressed me then with your kind words of encouragement.


I have gotton to know you better over the years and you are a remarkable person.


Congratulations in your achievements- no one deserves it more than you.


Your words continue to inspire.........................

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A briliant race and a perfect race report. Im so glad your family were there to watch you finish. Thats something I would need in the last stages of a race to keep me going when the chips are down.


Congratulations on the amazing race.



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Dont know you personally but have followed your journey as if i was a good mate. (we do share the same birthday) :lol:


Its awesome to know if your willing to do the work its possible to get to Kona. Awesome report and top job on the race. I watched on in anticipation and when i heard your name called you were just seconds away. To see your reaction was unreal.


Would you go back again or is once enough???


Good work



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