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Ironman Australia - TriathlonFull Ironman


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Port Macquarie, New South Wales
Australia
WTC
21C / 70F
Sunny
Total Time = 16h 05m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Got up around 4:30 or so (after not sleeping very well of course). Had a coffee and 2x sandwich with cream cheese I recently discovered. Good stuff, beats peanut butter for sure. Cold shower to wake up, another coffee and got dressed. Staying right on course near the transition, there was no pressure to leave the hotel early, so at 5:30 or so, said good bye to my supporting wife, took the bike helmet and my M-dot bag and left.

It wasn't raining! Unlike for the last few days, the sky was clear and I couldn't believe my luck.

Transition area.
Toilet, tire check, gear check, the usual. Papson14 came to say hi and I had the pleasure to finally meet him. He flew over from Japan to do this one. We wished each other good luck and went to join the crowd near the water.
Event warmup:

None. But hearing Mike Riley announcing that in few minutes we will go into the water warmed me up alright.
At that point it also hit me: I am about to race the Ironman Australia, after few years of thinking about it and getting my body used to the distance - HOLY SHIT!!!
Swim
  • 1h 24m 24s
  • 3800 meters
  • 02m 13s / 100 meters
Comments:

After waiting for a few minutes, the cannon goes off and we are swimming!
Big crowd, I am not used to it, but trying to keep calm. The water has distinct thermal layers and it is salty! I try not to drink too much, but it is inevitable. I thought that after some time the crowd would thin out, but no, all the time there were people bumping into me, tapping my feet, I was tapping someone else's feet trying to draft, stopping and starting - this was going on till the end of the swim. I managed not to get seriously kicked and didn't kick anyone else, but it was close. The goggles on the second loop got foggy, in spite of rainex I applied the day before, and needed to be washed several times. The swim actually went surprisingly pretty quickly, I looked at my watch and couldn't believe it - sub 1:30! Great!

What would you do differently?:

Nothing really. Honestly.
Transition 1
  • 09m 55s
Comments:

It's a long haul, so no need to hurry. Let the volunteers put the sunblock on being careful not to touch the face, changed into bike gear, wrapped a jacket around just in case and entered the corral. Here I got surprised - I didn't realise I was one of the last ones out of the water - there were hardly any bikes there! What is going on?
Walked the bike out of the corral and off I went.
What would you do differently?:

I should have put tons of vaseline on bike shorts and socks. I totally forgot about it and paid the price.
Bike
  • 7h 59m 59s
  • 180.25 kms
  • 22.53 km/hr
Comments:

Apparently the first 30 kms or so on the bike are critical not to go too hard, or else your day is over... Right. Try to do this when just after you get on the bike you have to climb hills against the wind! Getting out of Port Mac is hilly to say the least, with Mathew Flinders Dive being rough as guts, then you go on some 'undulating' chip and seal road rattling your bike like never before and here it is also, where the wind hits you hard. It was demoralising for me riding so slow, thank god the bike computer stopped working and I simple threw it out at the next aid station and never had a chance to watch my speed!

10k on that chip and seal, then an old, rough surface patched many times over, but somewhat smoother. Another hilly section around Bonny Hills and soon, slowly but surely - North Haven, where we originally stayed before my wife miraculously found a room at the hotel in Port Mac. Here, while shifting gears, the chain dropped and jammed itself really hard between the chainring and the frame. Sure this happened before to me, but never so hard. Turned the bike upside down and yanked the thing many times, but it took a long while to get going again. The hands were black full of grease, but I was happy. Another 15 kms or so around Laurieton, which seemed really long and, looking at my watch, I was begining to doubt if I could beat the cut off time... This was depressing. Another thing - I noticed that if your overall time is more than 14 hrs - you are trailing behind the pack and feel like you are the last one on course... Seeing few other riders behind me was good, but not enough to get the hopes back up. Good thing - riding back to Port Mac was downwind and much faster, till you hit he hills agin and when Mathew Flinder Drive came - it was like a wall to climb. Lots of people on each side cheering and clapping, I decided to go for it. This was not a good idea and the quads felt like jelly when I got to the top. And there were few more hills left. However, looking at the time again I realised I could actulally pull it off if I managed to maintain the speed! This was like a shot of adrenalin to the system. I even noticed how scenic the course was at this point and Port Mac never looked beter. It is actually a great town, right on the ocean, perfect size, clean, parks, hills, churches, you name it, I loved it. Riding in front of our hotel I saw my wife and the Little One on the balcony cheering, I held back the tears. I felt so fortunate.

But now, after the turning point, I had to do it all over again. I felt like I have done not 90, but 190 kms already... Truth be told, I have never ridden the full distance on the bike. Come on, 180 kms on the bicycle - that's just silly... Actually, I have never even done a proper century either, but came close a good few times.

Anyway, turned around and battled again. This time I was behind a girl on a really nice tri bike (...) and we passed each other few times. She was clearly faster downhill, but anytime the hill came up, she was all over the road. This went on till Laurieton where I took the wrong turn! Nobody directed me and I added few kms to the ride. Had to ask a guy mowing the lawn for directios, he stopped surprised, turned the mower off and I realised he didn't speak any English, only Japanese. Great. Had to rely on my intuition then, but it worked. Soon I was on the road again.

At this point I was also really sick of all the sugar. I ran out of my sandwiches and had to rely on Powerbars, cookies, Gatorade and occasional bananas. On that subject - I was really looking forwrd to eating bananas again. Specially for free. You might not believe it, but after the massive floods in Queensland, the price of bananas went up to $13.-/ kilo!!! This is pretty much $2.- +/average banana... Crazy. Naturally, I stopped buying and eating them, so this race was a chance to taste them again ;).

Port Mac appeared again but this time, along with 3 other people, decided to dimount and walk the monster climb. Great decision, chance to relax, talk and save the legs. Soon we were coasting down to town seeing runners along the ocean doing their run part and being happy to have finally finished the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, other than training harder of course.
Transition 2
  • 08m 21s
Comments:

Changed slowly in the tent, took a bottle with Gatorade with me and off I went.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing.
Run
  • 6h 22m 51s
  • 42.16 kms
  • 09m 05s  min/km
Comments:

The plan was to walk for the first 30 min to get the legs used to the new routine and so I did, only in front of the hotel I put on a show for my wife... The next 30 min did 50/50 every 5 min and then it started getting darker and I couldn't see the time so did some math (took me something like 30 min to figure it out) and concluded I could really walk till the end and still pull it off! Well, that did it, the desire to run disapeared, specially because the plan has alwas been to finish it and not to finish it fast.

But walking fast for over 6 hours is an exprience too. Things were fantastic however, nothing to compare with the feeling on the bike. The stars were shining, people were cheering, I was occasionally chatting to somebody and waving my glow stick - life was great! Unill the point on the 3rd lap where I missed the turn... It was dark, nobody said anything and soon, the street was empty, cones disapeared and I realised I was going the wrong bloody way! Damn. A while passed till I rejoined the course walking over some muddy soccer field...

On the last lap I caught up with a guy wearing a Sponge Bob costume. We were both in great spirits but didn't want to run anymore so time flew as we talked. Turns out he was finishing IM here for the 12th time, started a tri club in Sydney and was a celebrity known by almost everyone here wearing a funny, but different costume each year.

It was Sponge Bob who told me that no matter how good I feel when I enter the final chute - do not run, but rather, slow down and enjoy it. He was so right. Being the last few ones on course, the crowd and Mike Riley went quiet for a long while as nobody was crossing the line. It seemed they all went home, but when we entered the chute the crowd went bananas, started banging whatever they had in their hands, Mike Riley says something about you and then: Mark Zielinski - YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

I almost lost it. The contrast of the long and painful day and now this - it was too much. Still, put on a composed face, accepted the medal (and cool towel) and went to the tent to get a massage... What a day!

Outside of the tent I was greated by my wife and the Little One sleeping in the stroller bundled up -it was chilly. We walked (limped) to the hotel and I couldn't believe I pulled it off. I still can't.
Post race
Warm down:

None, we just walked to the hotel slowly.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The plan was to finish, time was not important.

Event comments:

Prior to the race I thought it was just a dare, like Evil Knievel's jumping the Grad Canyon on a motorcycle... Well, this perception changed - it became much more than just a challenge, but I still can't put my finger on it...


Profile Album


Last updated: 2010-09-01 12:00 AM
Swimming
01:24:24 | 3800 meters | 02m 13s / 100meters
Age Group: 91/
Overall: 959/
Performance: Good
Suit: Neosport sleeveless over a rash vest.
Course: Sheltered salt water course in the boat anchorage area in front of the main ramp. 2 loops.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 21C / 70F Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Rounding:
T1
Time: 09:55
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
Biking
07:59:59 | 180.25 kms | 22.53 km/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Wind: Strong
Course: As they call it - it is undulating with some challenging climbes and flat sections.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
T2
Time: 08:21
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
06:22:51 | 42.16 kms | 09m 05s  min/km
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance:
Course: Flat and scenic.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized?
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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2011-05-03 8:43 PM

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Master
1609
1000500100
Gold Coast Australia.
Subject: Ironman Australia


2011-05-03 9:53 PM
in reply to: #3480797

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Master
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Baden
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia
Mark, it has been an honour to witness this journey with you. You have worked very hard and consistently to complete this journey, and you did. My only wish... would have been to be there with you. You have been a consistent and wonderful friend and I feel blessed to have known you... even if it's a cyber friendship.

You have completed something that only a very select few people (in the grand scheme) have ever done. You did it smiling and you did what you set out to do. It is unfortunate that you had that head wind, but you were able to ride thru it and get her done.... also sorry you had to repair the chain... that sucks... but you didn't panic and you were able to keep going.

Great race report... and wonderful finish! I saw it live and was so very happy for you. Again, I say to you... CONGRATULATIONS, IRONMAN!!!!!!
2011-05-03 10:29 PM
in reply to: #3480797

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Expert
1255
10001001002525
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia

What a great race report.  I feel like I was there with all the detail and frustration and highs and lows.  And I'm really glad it wasn't raining.  BTW, we ride on that chip and seal crap all the time.

I am so inspired now.  I'm trying to figure out how I could do an Ironman before getting too much older Laughing

Congratulations again on a tremendous accomplishment.  What's next?

2011-05-04 12:01 AM
in reply to: #3480890

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Master
1609
1000500100
Gold Coast Australia.
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia

Bopper - 2011-05-03 9:53 PM Mark, it has been an honour to witness this journey with you. You have worked very hard and consistently to complete this journey, and you did. My only wish... would have been to be there with you. You have been a consistent and wonderful friend and I feel blessed to have known you... even if it's a cyber friendship.

You have completed something that only a very select few people (in the grand scheme) have ever done. You did it smiling and you did what you set out to do. It is unfortunate that you had that head wind, but you were able to ride thru it and get her done.... also sorry you had to repair the chain... that sucks... but you didn't panic and you were able to keep going.

Great race report... and wonderful finish! I saw it live and was so very happy for you. Again, I say to you... CONGRATULATIONS, IRONMAN!!!!!!

 

Kevin, it is you who I should thank for the support, good advice, friendship, everything. I also wish you were there, the show they put on is amazing and the whole town lives and breathes this event. It is simply unforgetable experience. We were all there like a great extended family and the spectators waited till the last person crossed that finish line and cheered with equal enthusiasm.

Thank you again!

 

2011-05-04 12:15 AM
in reply to: #3480929

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Master
1609
1000500100
Gold Coast Australia.
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia
jdiis - 2011-05-03 10:29 PM

What a great race report.  I feel like I was there with all the detail and frustration and highs and lows.  And I'm really glad it wasn't raining.  BTW, we ride on that chip and seal crap all the time.

I am so inspired now.  I'm trying to figure out how I could do an Ironman before getting too much older Laughing

Congratulations again on a tremendous accomplishment.  What's next?

 

Thanks Jackie!

It is never too late to do something like this and many people have proved it, as long as the dream is there. As Ernesto said: race execution beats fitness 10:1!!! Sure, a lot of things are out of your control and can go wrong, but if finishing is your goal - it is within everyone's reach.

What's next... Swimming the English Channel? Climbing Mt. Everest? I don't know...Wink but I sure would like to cheer for somebody else like they did for me.

 

2011-05-04 11:34 AM
in reply to: #3480797

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Extreme Veteran
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5002525
Land of living sighs
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia

Great race report. And I appreciate the honesty. You echo many of the thoughts that went through my head as I raced IMC. Of course, like you, I use "race" very loosely.

I still believe that if you had "practiced" the long ride a little bit more, or even once, this would have been a very different race for you because your fitness and abilities are obvious and I have had the great pleasure of reading about your training over the past years.

This is an amazing accomplishment Mark. It really isn't about the race, as you have no doubt figured out. It is about setting a goal and changing from the journey to accomplish that goal. Even the race itself is a journey. You are not racing others, but yourself, your demons and your motivation. I came out of the experience a different man. I suspect you may have too.

Congratulations for your tenacity, your experimentation and your no-nonsense approach to doing what needs to get done to cross the finish line!



2011-05-04 10:57 PM
in reply to: #3481728

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Master
1609
1000500100
Gold Coast Australia.
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia
windnsnow - 2011-05-04 11:34 AM

Great race report. And I appreciate the honesty. You echo many of the thoughts that went through my head as I raced IMC. Of course, like you, I use "race" very loosely.

I still believe that if you had "practiced" the long ride a little bit more, or even once, this would have been a very different race for you because your fitness and abilities are obvious and I have had the great pleasure of reading about your training over the past years.

This is an amazing accomplishment Mark. It really isn't about the race, as you have no doubt figured out. It is about setting a goal and changing from the journey to accomplish that goal. Even the race itself is a journey. You are not racing others, but yourself, your demons and your motivation. I came out of the experience a different man. I suspect you may have too.

Congratulations for your tenacity, your experimentation and your no-nonsense approach to doing what needs to get done to cross the finish line!

Terry,

Thank you for your comments. As you have watched me go through the journey -  I have watched you go through yours and was always inspired by your approach. Thank you for your advice over the last few years, sense of humour, friendship and for being there.

And by the way, you were right,  this is not the end as I have thought before.

2011-05-07 10:17 AM
in reply to: #3480797

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Expert
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Lafayette, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia

Congrads on an epic day and a great race.  The IM is an endurance event--and you endured.  It was great cyberstalking you on race day--waiting for each segment to check off.

This has a been a long journey for you and your family.  Congrads to a great day--probably one of the top days of your life.

Well done.

2011-05-07 6:19 PM
in reply to: #3480797

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Member
281
100100252525
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia
Nice Report Mark.
I cannot imagine finishing an Ironman.
Your report had me thinking maybe someday but today after a 42 mile ride I'm back to thinking completing an Ironman is totally crazy.
Once again congratulations on being an Ironman.
2011-05-08 3:10 AM
in reply to: #3480797

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Master
1609
1000500100
Gold Coast Australia.
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia

Thank you guys!

It was one of the top days in my life Goeff. So true. It is a great effort and I'm so happy to have done it. Having said that, Polywog, if you don't have ambitious time goals, just finishing it is within everyone's reach and fitness is not even that important, just determination. That's my observation anyway.

2011-05-08 6:29 PM
in reply to: #3480797

Veteran
261
1001002525
Townsville, Australia
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia

awesome dude.. and great report, thanks for sharing.

 

I managed to capture the last couple of hours of the finish line stream, and would be able to cut your section out of the video if you would like it. (I remember seeing Spongebob finish) Its pretty lo-fi, but watchable.



2011-05-08 7:12 PM
in reply to: #3480797

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Champion
7704
50002000500100100
Williamston, Michigan
Gold member
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia

Great job out there!!! Enjoyed your Race report.  I'm so happy for you that you enjoyed the day.  Too many people don't take the time to appreciate the accomplishment   Congratulations

2011-05-08 7:22 PM
in reply to: #3488145

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Master
1609
1000500100
Gold Coast Australia.
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia
serenityau - 2011-05-08 6:29 PM

awesome dude.. and great report, thanks for sharing.

 

I managed to capture the last couple of hours of the finish line stream, and would be able to cut your section out of the video if you would like it. (I remember seeing Spongebob finish) Its pretty lo-fi, but watchable.

Thanks a lot for watching and commenting here.Yes, I would love to see the finish if you'd be so kind to cut it for me! I missed Sponge Bob's dance... Thanks in advance.



Edited by markz 2011-05-08 7:23 PM
2011-05-08 8:26 PM
in reply to: #3480797

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Veteran
339
10010010025
Melbourne
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia

Great job IRONMAN!

Just finished Busso 70.3 and trying to decide whether to go for the full next year and thought I'd read the IMOZ reports to help me make my mind up, and found yours..... wow, what a read, what a great race you ran, you were so disciplined when it would have been so easy to overdo it early and suffer.

You should be so proud!!  Awesome!!

Nigel

2011-05-09 6:45 PM
in reply to: #3488227

Veteran
261
1001002525
Townsville, Australia
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia

here you go Mark :

 

zipped video

 

I have also put it on youtube

 

if you want me to take anything offline let me know, no sweat.

 

cheers

John

 

2011-05-09 9:35 PM
in reply to: #3490315

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Master
1609
1000500100
Gold Coast Australia.
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia
serenityau - 2011-05-09 6:45 PM

here you go Mark :

 

zipped video

 

I have also put it on youtube

 

if you want me to take anything offline let me know, no sweat.

 

cheers

John

 

John,

Thanks a lot, I really appreciate it. You made my day today!!!

(Sponge Bob was AWESOME btw)



2011-05-09 11:41 PM
in reply to: #3480797

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Master
2468
20001001001001002525
Muskego, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia

Great RR Mark, and great race.  Having your training derailed so many times with travel and bad weather you did one heck of a job.  I saw sponge bob many times on the course, he looked like he was having a good time, glad you hooked up with him and enjoyed your night.  I'm glad you had a good time and stuck to your guns to enjoy the race.  It's been a pleasure going through this journey with you.

Congratulations again...Ironman.

2011-05-10 8:13 AM
in reply to: #3480797

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Champion
19812
50005000500020002000500100100100
MA
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia

Congrats Ironman!

Great race report and it showed how much fun you had during the day. Very cool to see your finish! Meeting up with unique people can make a huge difference towards the end of a race.

 

2011-05-10 8:26 AM
in reply to: #3490650

Veteran
261
1001002525
Townsville, Australia
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia

hey Mark, no drama mate.. glad you liked it.

I've been trying to capture as much end line video as I can of late.. it is very motivating.

2011-05-12 1:09 PM
in reply to: #3480797

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Elite
3471
200010001001001001002525
Evergreen, CO
Subject: RE: Ironman Australia
Congratulations!!!! 
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