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Ironman Oz 2019

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I really enjoy reading race reports and wish there was more of them, so that being so here is mine from Port Mac, sorry its lengthy!!

After a 2 year hiatus from Port Mac where I raced Cairns I decided to return to Ironman Australia for 2019. As per my normal form I do nothing other than eat crap and drink booze all through winter (and most of spring....) and this year was no exception!! I was not in shape for Cairns last year and I made myself a promise that I wouldn't toe a start line again unless I was in decent condition so when a mate of mine from my local AFL club asked if I would help him tick the event off his bucket list I formulated my build plan starting December 1 and had a crack. My initial weight on December 1 was 121.3kg (F@CK!!!) but through cutting out beer and coke after new years eve by the end of March id gotten down to 100.7kg and felt strong. Without a huge boring report I raced Coffs BCU Olympic distance and Forster Ultimate as lead in events and trained on average 6 days per week for a total of 12 hours per week average (including a coupe or rest weeks where volume was as low as 3-4 hours and a couple of large weeks nudging 18 hours) normally consisting of 3 swims, 3 runs and 2 rides plus a RPM spin class.

We arrived in Port Mac Thursday before the event, I enjoy the pre event hype and being around the town during this period. Did the standard spin on the bike out to the roundabout before the golf club and back up MFD on Friday morning, rego'd and expo etc during the morning Friday and drove a lap of the bike course in the arvo just to make sure there was no surprises since my last trip around this course. Saturday was just a short 20min swim on course, and I racked the bike and hung the bags early in the day allowing me to lay about the motel listen to my Raiders smash the Panthers and generally rest up.

Race morning seem to come around quite quickly this year and after checking the bike, pumping the tyres and adding the Garmin and some nutrition I battled the portaloo line and got that part of the morning out of the way! Found zone 2 which was where I wanted to start but im not sure if I was day dreaming or the announcement didn't come over but all the front zones seemed to have already moved down into the start schute and I think I was more in the very back of zone 2 or maybe even in zone 3, not that any of this was going to have a huge impact on my day. 


I measured 3789m, so I would say accurate swim course to spite the seemingly cracking fast times being produced, Im not so sure how much help we had from the tides or if it is mostly drag from the other swimmers in the water before but the swim seemed very easy, I exited with a 1.04 feeling very good and that I hadn't burned too many matches so early in the day, my goal was to be throwing a leg over my bike on the course before an hour and 10min of race time had passed so I was smack on target when my Garmin read 1h9min.26sec as I clipped into the shoes, part 1 of the day ticked off!


Im certainly most at home in the leg, I enjoy riding, I can ride ok (for a 100kg bloke) and to spite most peoples dislike for the port roads I actually enjoy this course. As per my race plan I ride the rollers out of town very easy spinning the legs over with a high rpm on the way out of town, I was feeling good as I approached the short climb to the 1st aid station at the golf club when I stupidly attempted to change from big ring to small ring while in the hardest gear on the back and predictably I dropped the chain off the inside. In an attempt to get this back on without coming to a halt I somehow managed to tangle the chain in the rear derailleur, after a stop to sort this mess out I quickly learned I only had 5 gears on the back cluster accessible, I couldn't pick up the 2 hardest gears nor the 4 easiest, so with the mind going a million miles an hour and thoughts of my race day slipping away I decided just to keep riding and settle the brain down in a hope of making rational decisions soon. At some point along the straights heading to Lake Cathie I got all but the 2 easiest gears back into service so I now had a decent spread to work with and decided to just make do with what I had rather than giving up a large block of time with the mechanics tent. Fast forward to 90km and the turn around, I had an avg of 32.2kmh, felt great, nutrition was going in well and best of all I was enjoying myself! The 2nd lap was largely the same, rode in a legal group of 4 with only myself and 1 other working on the way down and managed to drop all but my fellow helper on the way home (he dropped me very early on) but rolled back into T2 5h39 mins after I started, feeling fairly good and knowing I was under my 2nd goal of the day which was to be setting foot on the run course short of 7 hours of race time.


You don't have to be a rocket scientist to work out I don't run well at 100kgs! I had done 7 Ironman previous to this race and my marathon PB is 4:58, my training suggested I was in enough form to give that number a shake but my main goal was to break 12 hours, I have not been able to get this done and setting out of the change tent I was in the best position I had ever been in to make it happen. I started off well and had planned to walk the hill that leads up to special needs each lap, by the time I was back at transition heading out toward settlement point I had been averaging mid 6min/km pace but then shortly after the wheels came loose. I just couldn't find any rhythm and what was worrying me even more was I couldn't seem to find enough desire to push, I have never felt like this before in a race. I mopped along up until about 15km mark and seem to come good, got excited again, started to run with something that resembled run form and found the fight to finish this off. At 25km I worked out what I needed to avg to get home under 12hours, I had to pick up 20seconds per km over my current pace to get it done and im very proud to say I went deep, deeper than I have ever been before and to spite some cramps at 38km and again at 40km I turned into the finisher schute with a few minutes up my sleeve, 11:57, over the moon that something I had been working at for  such a long time had been accomplished and then lights out!!! Quick trip in the wheel chair to medical to be sorted and then out to see the family and some awesome friends who drove the 5 hours down to surprise me and then drove home after the race to be at work Monday morning, legendary effort!

So as I sit back and analyse the day now, I had a 2 min Pb in the swim, a 21 min bike pb on this course (and an overall bike pb of 5 mins), I missed a run PB by 8 mins but that was enough to get me a 21min Ironman PB! I am stocked with the result, had a great build and what is perhaps more encouraging than anything else is I am keen to race again, keen to loose more weight and see what I can do with my run as I get lighter. There is obvious areas of improvement and I am going to work on these rather than my beer drinking ability over the winter and im even thinking of trying to talk the bride into a shot at Busso in December. Port Mac is a special place to me, I did my 1st there and I finally broke 12 hours there, 4 more finishes away from legend status, bring it on!! 

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