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Ironman Austria - TriathlonFull Ironman

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30C / 86F
Total Time = 12h 44m 45s
Overall Rank = 1563/2500
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 311/
Pre-race routine:

Arrived in Austria for my first Ironman on Thursday and got to our apartment. The host was really nice but explained that there was a wedding taking place on Saturday night in another part of the building and a concert taking place on the same night in an adjacent park. He said that the concert would be finished by ten o’clock though which is my pre-race day bedtime so no worries (you can see what’s coming there can’t you?)

Saturday I cycled to transition to rack my bike and spent the rest of the day relaxing. After another Italian meal we returned to the apartment at 9.45pm to find the windows shaking with the bass of the concerts drum kit and a deafening noise. This calmed down dead on 10pm so we went off to bed. At 10.30pm it all kicked off again – they had just had their interval! At midnight I moved a mattress into the hallway and tried to sleep there whilst trying to remain calm about the whole situation – I said to myself in advance of the weekend that there would be things to deal with and that’s all part of the experience so I kept calm. At 1am the wife came out to the hallway and said I could get back to bed.

Event warmup:

I woke at 5 and felt ok. I ate some cereal and a strong coffee (which ‘worked’ its magic before the cab came) before going down to meet my cab. Got to my bike and loaded up my drinks bottles only to find I had forgotten the straw for my aero bottle. After immediately discarding the idea of ‘borrowing’ someone else’s and all the karma that would bring with it, I darted off to the Expo. Fortunately one of the shops had anticipated just this kind of error and I was able to grab one. Pumped up my tyres, said a silent prayer for those whose tyres I heard exploding as they inflated them and headed to the lake side.
  • 1h 09m 44s
  • 3800 meters
  • 01m 36s / 100 meters

The commentator advised that the quicker swimmers went to the right and the slower to the left with the undecided in the middle! I went to the right thinking that if everyone swam away I would have clear water to swim into. After swimming round and over a couple of dozen people I found clear water for the next mile or so – I could see swarms of people 20 feet to my left and to my right but I seemed to have my own bit of clear water. Whether this was down to my personal hygiene issues remains unproven. I enjoyed the scenery around the lake and relaxed into a rhythm. The last 900m is down a canal which was lined with people all cheering, whistling and shouting encouragement – it was awesome. I got out of the water on target. So far so good. I saw the wife and stopped for a quick kiss which gave me a real lift.
What would you do differently?:

Nada - loved every second.
Transition 1
  • 10m 56s

I was in there for 10 minutes. Heaven knows what I was doing but it took a while. Got fully changed into my cycling gear, started the heart rate monitor and got on my bike
What would you do differently?:

Get a bit more of a wiggle on.
  • 6h 21m 8s
  • 111.85 miles
  • 17.61 mile/hr

The bike course is known for being fast but not flat and two laps of 56 miles each. My plan was to keep my heart rate under control, eat regularly and enjoy myself. Hundreds of people were streaming past me on the bike which isn’t unusual but after an hour of that it was getting a bit silly. I told myself I had to stick to my race plan and not chase people or panic so I let them go and focussed on my own goals. I had a target of around 6 hours 30 minutes and completed the first lap in just over 3 hours which was a surprise. I’d stuck religiously to my nutrition plan and felt really good. Then it started to get a bit hotter. I stuck to my plan of being guided by my heart rate and upped the amount of water I took on. I also made myself take in a bit of the beautiful scenery on the route and shared some words of encouragement with anyone that drifted by me (a few too many words for one marshal’s liking who whistled and shook a finger at me! – sorry Barry from Brentwood!!). The second lap took 3 hours and 25 minutes which was quite a reduction in speed but still within my target so I was happy enough
What would you do differently?:

Nothing on the day - in retrospect I wonder if I couldn't have pushed a little harder.
Transition 2
  • 10m 20s

Another 10 minutes but I’m no runner (relatively speaking) and I probably did put the marathon off two minutes longer than I could have done whilst getting my head into gear.
  • 4h 52m 37s
  • 26.1 miles
  • 11m 13s  min/mile

My run plan was to keep my heart rate low for 20 miles and then see what I had left. I had run (and cycled) through a bitter winter in training which had prepared me well mentally but unfortunately I wasn’t used to this kind of heat. But using my heart rate monitor as my guide I slowed down and took on more water than usual at each aid station. At my intended heart rate level (lower zone two) I had been hitting between 9 and 9.5 minute miles in training. In the heat and after what had gone before I was hitting closer to 11.5 minute miles. But that was fine – you take what the race gives you and adapt. The crowds on the run were superb. I’d never understood it when people said that they can get you through a marathon. How could that be? You still have to do it! Now I know – a few times I’ve been out on my bike in training and had to really search my soul to keep going – it’s windy and your sixty miles away from home and you start to question what you’re doing and what you’re getting out of it. In the race I never had time to go through this thought process as you’ve always got someone cheering your name, a child wanting to high five you or another competitor giving you an encouraging grin. At about 15 miles I started to feel pretty uncomfortable in my quads but nothing too serious. Then the clouds rushed in and there was a massive down pour – just what I needed! It didn’t ease the pain but my heart rate started to drop and I was able to up my pace a bit to 10.5 minute miles for the same effort. All of a sudden there were three miles to go and I decided it was time to leave everything I had on the course and started to run properly.For the last 400m the crowds are three people thick, everyone wants a high five and they’re all shouting your name. As I rounded the final bend I saw the clock was at 12:44:30 – I had 50 metres to go and decided I wanted under 12:45 – that meant a sprint finish. With a soppy grin on my face and feeling no pain at all I got over the line to the words “Daniel Liddard from England, you are an Ironman”. To be fair I’m a soppy bastard at the best of times I had to fight back a bit of a tear at hearing that. A woman of advancing years put my medal around my neck and was caught somewhat by surprise by my kiss on the cheek and massive hug!
What would you do differently?:

Get used to running in the heat more in training
Post race
Warm down:

The Wife – Julie wrote in my valentines card this year; “I love you for who you are and for the man you want to be”. That was by far the most motivating sentence I have ever read. Whenever I considered dumping a training session, ignoring the diet or being lazy I remembered that sentence. It doesn’t just apply to Ironman of course but it got me through when the going got tough to tell myself this was required to be the man I wanted to be. Training for Ironman takes time – we’d talked before about the time it would take each week and Julie gave me her blessing and supported me every day. Preparing lunches that helped me train, washing endless kit and listening to my rambling about heart rates, training plans and other related worries. One of the reasons I started triathlons was to set a standard of healthy living to my two girls – one they’ve both picked up on and are very active as a result. Seeing them enthusiastic about swimming, biking and running makes it all worthwhile. I can’t wait until we can all train together!

Event comments:

Well pleased with beating my target time of 13 hours but more proud of my diligence to training and execution of the plan. It’s magical to have the memory of race day and all the glitz and vanity the day brings but that achievement is in the 800+ hours of training I’ve done in preparation (yes I’ve been counting). That said when I compare my splits to those around me my bike time looks too slow and I wonder if I didn’t take it a bit too easy. Also, I wonder if I didn’t ‘listen to my heart (rate)’ a little too much in the heat and should have switched to RPE instead. No regrets but something to consider for next time (which I plan to be 2011 – I want to do one every other year)

Last updated: 2009-07-10 12:00 AM
01:09:44 | 3800 meters | 01m 36s / 100meters
Age Group: 165/
Overall: 817/2500
Performance: Good
Suit: Snugg stealth full body
Course: Out 1500 to a buoy, turn left for 400m, last 900m in a canal lined with supporters.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 10:56
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
06:21:08 | 111.85 miles | 17.61 mile/hr
Age Group: 348/
Overall: 1730/2500
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: Pretty quick course, sharp ascents, long descents. Certainly not flat!
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 10:20
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:52:37 | 26.1 miles | 11m 13s  min/mile
Age Group: 311/
Overall: 1563/2500
Performance: Average
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2009-07-10 4:02 AM

Extreme Veteran
Subject: Ironman Austria

2009-07-11 1:17 PM
in reply to: #2275253

User image

the colony texas
Subject: RE: Ironman Austria
Congrats Ironman !!!!!

I doubt it was the personal hygeine issue that kept the other swimmers away.. most likely there was a shark behind you that you didnt' see

that part you wrote about how your wife did the V-day cards and how it inspires you is great..

congrats again

2009-07-15 10:46 AM
in reply to: #2278209

South Jersey
Subject: RE: Ironman Austria


It sounded like a great day. And that finish through the canal on the swim seems really cool !

Good job sticking to your bike plan and run. You executed things perfectly. Yes, next time, make sure to get more of a wiggle on when in transition. Haha.

Nice work, Ironman!!

2009-07-21 5:33 AM
in reply to: #2275253

User image

London, UK
Subject: RE: Ironman Austria

Hey Dan,

Great to hear from you and many congrats on becoming an Ironman. Sounds like you had a plan and stuck to it. Who cares if you had a bit more to give you completed that beast and that's the main thing.

I haven't done ANY racing for a few years, but have kept running and off course doing the bike commute and the odd slightly longer ride. I did manage to have another kid though

Ironman will have to wait for me. Congrats again on yours.

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