Well I had a busy busy week. I was about to wrap up my blog post from Australia with pics and vids when POOF. It disappeared and now gone. I had a few friends try to retrieve it with no luck... so as I sit here in California for my next Ironman I don’t have an Australia experience posted..... so here it comes. It will be more of a cliffs note post.....
Australia went well! Now onto the California report- just kidding! I didn’t get to do anything touristy as I was pretty tired. On the day of check in my host family was busy so I needed figure out how to get around without a car. We looked up all the directions on how to get to race check in using the subway and trolley systems. I figured this would be fun and some good practice for when I go to Europe and try to get around, at least here they spoke english. Before I headed to check in I checked out the swim start.... SUPER WINDY. I saw the swim area and thought for sure the swim was going to be cancelled. I would be devastated if I came all the way to Australia only to have it cancelled... or wait that happened a few weeks ago in New Zealand - still annoyed! Check out this video!
I found my way through the city to the expo which was HUGE! The energy was awesome. I went through the expo a few times and met lots of cool people. I met a guy named Al with one arm who lived right by where I needed to go later that night. He told me all about his career racing Ironman races and figured he would do one last one since it was in his own town. An Ironman swim is hard enough.... now go do it with one arm... what is your excuse? We went to the athlete dinner and then headed over to the welcome party/show. It was an over the top show with musical performances, comedians, a motivational speaker (World Champion Greg Welch) and the pro panel questions. With the huge expo, big dinner and pre race party it was the first time I felt my entry fee was really worth it. I made it back to the house and went straight to bed.
Saturday was very chill. Went to a fresh food market and really just rested. I dropped of the gear bags, did a bike run through. I should have done a quick bike and run but still felt tired... so I didn’t, sorry coach.
Race Day -
Woke up nice and early and Pat (my host) was kind enough to give me a quick lift to the race. The weather had improved slightly with not as much wind but it still wasn’t great...overcast and chilly. I made a mistake here and didn’t pack any warm clothes... I’m in Australia people!
This swim leg is brought to you by Blue Seventy :)
The swim start was one of my best moves so far this year. All the athletes were suppose to head out to these two big white buoys located in the deep water for race start. I slowly made my way to the start and planned on waiting to the last minute to jump between the buoys and into the mix.... I waited too long OR the race started early.... the gun went off and I was still 50 meters short of getting out to the start line between the buoys. The swim was along the shoreline to markers so far away I couldn’t see them - which makes this the worst marked swim course ever. When the gun went off so I just started swimming towards the rising sun. I avoided the swim insanity associated with a mass start and slowly merged with the mass group of swimmers. I made it about 800 meters without touching a single other swimmer. Anyone who has ever done an Ironman mass start knows this is a pretty big feat! I swam nice and easy and tried to protect my hurt arm as much as I could. I even did a small portion of the swim doing a single arm drill to take extra caution giving it rest. - stupid injuries! I couldn’t help but think of Al swimming along with his one arm. When I was putting this project together I never thought it would be my arms I would be struggling with, dumb! I saw the dock and thought I had arrived at the last marker. I made a sharp left and rounded with no contact, I must be getting good at creating space I thought. I looked up to sight and realized I was suppose to go straight...DRAT, more swimming to do! I swam hard the last few hundred meters of the swim just to help me feel alive and like I was in a race.
The bike was a two loop out and back course on a PERFECT road, and I mean perfect. They shut down the entire freeway and gave us free reign of it. At the far end of the ‘out’ section there was a huge tunnel we got to bike through. This was the highlight of the ride and race the for that matter. The elevation in the tunnel was like a valley, super fast in and climbing to get out. It was fast, really fast. It was really cool in the dimly lit tunnel as you could only hear the buzzing of disk or deep dish wheels and the whizzing of rear cassettes. Boom baby, so fun. I biked consistent and finished the bike in decent time. I was however a little uncomfortable on my very aggressive Specialized Shiv.... something still needed adjusting... but I just can’t put my finger on it. At every race there seems to be these groups of Korean who are all decked out in super high end expensive gear. It also appears they don’t train vey much for these IRONMAN events. I am just assuming since many don’t complete the swim and upon my completion of the bike section a group of them were just heading out for their second loop.... a long day ahead of them for sure if they make the cut off. I need to find a way to crack into this coaching market, any ideas?
|Welcome to the Bike|
|Home sweet home|
|Must be the start of the bike...I'm still smiling ;)|
|In the tunnel|
|No longer smiling|
|Focus my friends...|
|I only look a little crazy....|
I stepped out of transition and knew immediately I was in trouble and that my run wasn’t going to go as planned. I put on a happy face for the camera and went to work but within the first few steps I got an over powering side stitch. I rarely if ever get side stitches and if I do they go away in about a mile or less. I really couldn’t remember the last one.... Well 18 miles later this one finally went away. The marathon portion of an Ironman is where you man up or crumble. Before I started this quest of 30+ Ironman races I didn’t want to just “complete” the races, I wanted to challenge myself and have a time goal I thought would be challenging and realistic (realistic in my mind as I have no idea what is really in store for me). Late last year I had a good friend do his first Ironman and finished in a time of 12:27:14. This quickly became the benchmark for the year. The bet is dinner at the fanciest steak house we know called Ruth Chis and I hear it is to die for. When this side stitch settled in I knew this marathon would be a battle. Despite the rather routine looking splits online this run was a fight.....no not a fight a war! It wasn’t so much muscle fatigue or cardiovascular problems but that darn side stitch. I had to find a comfortable pace where my breathing wasn’t at all labored as it elevated the pain to breath too deep. When I stopped running the pain would buckle me over. I had no idea what was going on within my body. Anytime my kids tell me they have a tummy ache I simply tell them to ‘fart’. I tried a porto potty stop but that didn’t work and I just annoyed other racers who actually needed to use the facility - ha ha sorry guys I was trying to solve a major problem.
I used self talk and my mental abilities (which is my strength and will ultimately get me through the year) to get me through this run. I could have just ‘walked it in’ and crossed the finish line but I had set a goal. I wasn’t risking injury or putting the next race start at risk by pushing, so I pushed and fought. I will fight for a sub 12:27 finish unless it is risking injury or severely compromising the overall big picture. I kept telling myself I was in Australia, running by the ocean. I tried engage with the crowd to take my mind off of the struggle. I thought of my family and friends at home and just put one foot in front of the other. Success!!!!!! I crossed the finish line in 11:36:31 and was glad to be done with this one. One of the things that made this run hard was the fact that I wasn’t fully adjusted to Australia time. I try to stay on ‘home’ time so I can adjust quickly back to work and family. The marathon portion of this Australis Ironman was run between 10 pm - 2 am, according to my body that is. After more thought I think my stomach issues may have had something to do with the Fish and Chips I ate the night before. It was good but maybe not the best choice the night before. The fish was actually Shark meat - BOOM, a new food crossed of my ‘to eat life list’.
After the race I headed toward the massage tent. The therapist selection is like a lottery where you could get some good beneficial work done or a complete waste of time where they just rub you down with oil doing your body no good at all. I waited in line and when my turn came I was shattered. When I most needed a good rub down I drew a woman who looked to be in her early 90’s. I almost thanked her and passed on the massage but hoped up on the table anyways. THIS WOMAN WAS SENT FROM HEAVEN. How many times am I going to learn not to judge a book by it’s cover. She was incredible and just what I needed. Thank you to my very old mysterious angle!
A huge thanks to my host family who took me in like I was their own. The Bear family is a special family who will be apart of my quest forever. Thank you Pat and gang!
|Which Bike is Mine??? Can you disaster....|
|Tired little Cowboy!|
|Ironman Australia in the books!|