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Ironman Western Australia - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Busselton, Western Australia
World Triathlon Corporation
70F / 21C
Total Time = 11h 11m 48s
Overall Rank = 313/1259
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 25/170
Pre-race routine:

breakfast, relax, go through checklists. drive to race transition
Event warmup:

stretching, short swim warmup
  • 1h 08m 8s
  • 4156 yards
  • 01m 26s / 100 yards

nice visibility, cool but not cold. fairly smooth conditions.
prior practice swims had bad visibility and was quite cold, but by race day conditions were much better.
What would you do differently?:

everything went well, nothing different. might get a pair of speedos though, easier to change out to the bike shorts.
Transition 1
  • 09m 3s

grabbed my T1 bag and ran into the changing tent. I had changed my strategy to getting into dry clothes for the bike, since it had been cold pre-race. Also got arm sleeves just in case. My T1 time was really slow, but my first time with a wetsuit and also first time switching into different clothes.
What would you do differently?:

practice my T1 with wetsuit removal and changing clothes.
  • 5h 29m 39s
  • 111.97 miles
  • 20.38 mile/hr

road surfaces varies here, they use a chip and tar for paving, and can be rough in spots. generally ok. winds built as the day heated up, and had some slow segments due to headwinds, but also some good tailwinds to help out. Overall a good ride, with good conditions.
What would you do differently?:

go faster ? ;-)
Transition 2
  • 03m 55s

ok T2. much more efficient changing in to the run clothes, so not too terrible.
glad I changed, since the sun is pretty hot here and it came out for most of the run. hot! with flies!
  • 4h 21m 3s
  • 26.22 miles
  • 09m 58s  min/mile

I am hoping to develop a faster marathon as time goes by with more training. I was happy how I paced it, started slow and gradually picked up the pace. Tried to do a negative split, but maybe someday!

the flies and the heat made it less fun, but wasn't too bad. the spectators were awesome as were the volunteers at the aid stations!

my right quad went out on the last loop, and was icing every aid station, managed to make it in on sheer will power.
Post race
Warm down:

walked and did not sit down !! was afraid of getting locked up, but did not. ate hot food and felt fine. quads sore !!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

inexperience perhaps...hoping to improve for future IMs.

Event comments:

awesome pre race and post race dinners, and excellent support and management by SunSmart !

Last updated: 2011-12-08 12:00 AM
01:08:08 | 4156 yards | 01m 26s / 100yards
Age Group: 31/170
Overall: 379/1259
Performance: Good
Suit: full wetsuit
Course: counter clockwise single loop around Busselton Jetty
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 09:03
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:29:39 | 111.97 miles | 20.38 mile/hr
Age Group: 29/170
Overall: 351/1259
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind
Course: 3 loop with quite a few turns. mostly flat, scenic views through wooded lands, and coastal.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:55
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:21:03 | 26.22 miles | 09m 58s  min/mile
Age Group: 25/170
Overall: 313/1259
Performance: Good
Course: 4 loop through town and coastal views, flat.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
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

2011-12-08 9:50 PM

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Kailua, Hawaii
Subject: Ironman Western Australia

2011-12-09 1:59 PM
in reply to: #3932033

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Subject: RE: Ironman Western Australia
Holy crap rocked it.  Awesome times all around, and amazing that this is just your first IM.  Great job. 
2011-12-09 9:58 PM
in reply to: #3932033

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Kailua, Hawaii
Subject: RE: Ironman Western Australia

thanks Jason!  it was an amazing day for sure, I had a lot of fun and was so happy to run through the finish chute!!

2011-12-10 10:37 PM
in reply to: #3932033

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Kailua, Hawaii
Subject: RE: Ironman Western Australia

there was a request in a BT thread to add a race report, so I'll try to recap some of the highlight from the race here...

First of all IMWA is not a cheap race, coming to Australia is expensive. The prices are nearly double here what we pay in US, and the exchange rate isn't the best right now. Gas, food, clothes are really pricey.

That being said, I tried to economize where I could, like using the kitchen in the condo, here it makes sense to buy groceries and cook your own instead of eating out. However the beer is awesome, so you have to hit the pubs! The only thing that was inexpensive and really good was meat and eggs. Lots of free range chicken and beef here.

We arrived in Sydney on Sunday evening and stayed there for 2 nights before flying over to Perth. Was a good move, because the flight was exhausting from US to Sydney. Flying to Perth is another long flight (5+ hours), so unwinding a bit in Sydney was fun and relaxing.  We went to Bondi Beach to swim and run on monday, had fish and chips on the grass by the beach.  Water was freezing cold, and scared me to think this was going to be what I'll endure on race day. 

Then off to Perth on Tuesday. Then culture shock hit me with the first time driving on the left hand side of the road, and steering wheel on the right! wow, had to really focus on that, and be ultra careful driving 3+ hours to Busselton. Aussie drivers are ok, but just like anywhere, they drive fast. They aren't tolerant of those gingerly picking their way along in unfamilar territory.

Managed to make it to Busselton, and finally found the accomodation. I booked with Geographe Bay Holiday Park. Turned out to be awesome, as there was a full kitchen, and express grocery store across the street. The nicest was a pub down the street, to get some pints of Little Creatures Pale Ale !!!!

Lots of places to stay here, some much closer to the main part of Busselton.

The beach is very close, and an awesome bike/run path that goes for a long distance. Part of this path was used for the run course for IMWA. The accomodation required a car, because the race took place in Signal Park/Barnard Park which was about 10KM drive.

Wednesday, we went for our wetsuit swim. Air temp was really cold, I was shivering, and the water was freezing too. This was summer in Australia ?? It was like winter. Folks told me that it was warm the previous week, so I hoped it was warm up before race day otherwise I was in trouble (coming from Hawaii).

I started to think about a change in strategy. Thinking "warm" so I decided that if it remained this cold I would change to dry clothes out of the swim, heck with a slow T1. Also got some arm warmers for the bike (which I've never worn).  

We got in a 20+ ride on the bike course, and a 1 loop of the run course. The guys I was hanging with were from a training group known for fast performances. I was a little concerned, since it might disrupt my plan, but so far they seemed to be taking it easy.

Thursday, we repeated our wetsuit swim, less chilly but still cold. Kinda murky, which brought to mind the recent shark attack accounts to my mind. there was a group from Blue Seventy out in the water on rescue boards and that helped to calm my fears. We were only swimming a 1/2 mile loop near the Jetty, but still...

The Jetty was super long. The research building at the end was almost lost in haze, and seemed ridiculously far to swim. I was trying to wrap my brain around the thought of doing the whole swim, as it would be my longest swim since doing triathlons. My practice swims were 2 miles, but took some breaks along the way. Race day would be 2.4 miles, with no breaks!

We did a short bike and run, and then went off to whale watch and hit a winery for the afternoon in Margaret River. The flies were pretty ridiculous on the whale watch, as people had warned me the flies were bad here. Hoping race day would not bring out the flies.

Friday, again did a wetsuit swim, but only 1/2 mi, and then a short bike and run. Tonight was the pre-race dinner. The dinner was great, ate a lot and the presentation was great. We got all pumped for the race.

Sat, did a 20 min bike and then a 15 min run. No swim. Then got my bike ready, and bags packed for T1 and T2 drop-off.  They had us slotted by age group, and that was around 1pm for me (45-49). Dropped off the bike, and the bags onto the walls outside the changing tent. then went home for my race dinner and to bed by 6pm. I planned to be up at 3am, as transition opened at 3:30. I wanted to get there by atleast 4. The sun comes up really early here, like 4:30ish. So by race start it can already be full sun (5:45).

Sun, slept well thanks to my natural sleeping aids...although was hard to go to sleep during the daylight (6pm it's still full sun).  Got up and like a robot started to make breakfast. Get ready. Everything went nicely in the morning, and put on sunscreen. Note: the hole in the ozone affects Australia heavily and it's paramount that you put on sunscreen and lipbalm always here. Best to cover up really. 2 out of 3 get skin cancer here !! 

got my street bag prepped, drinks prepared and double checked my lists. basically jumped in the car and headed to transition. 

Loaded drinks and food onto the bike. Checked tire pressure. Hung out and talked to a few people..everyone was pretty calm. Race temp seemed pretty good so far, but we had a forecast of thunderstorms which I was praying was wrong...

As time got closer, people were changing into their wetsuits (it was declared wetsuit legal of course). I finally donned mine. I had decided to change clothes at T1 and go with bike jersey, arm sleeves and a dry bike shorts. I kinda wished I went to regular bike shorts, instead used my tri shorts. Meant a more sore butt on the end of that ride !

Got to the swim start, the Pro's would go first, and then 15 min later the Age Groupers. Weather was holding the water temp was actually nice.  So things had warmed up by race day thankfully. Still sticking to my plan however. I figured the arm sleeves and clothes were good sun protection.

Before I knew it, the gun went off for us. The swim start was so mellow. Started long consistent strokes, and not worrying about how damn far it was. It was so cool to see all the Ironman competitors fanned out in the water, struggling away to get to the end of that Jetty seemingly so far out in the ocean. 

Fairly calm water, and good viz. Although people would complain about how choppy it was, but to me, it was smooth compared to my practice swims. 

Finally reached the research buildings at the end of the Jetty. This was my 1/2 way celebration point and shook my fist out of the water. Of course no one noticed, but then I was thinking might get disqualified if they thought I was hitting someone, so ended my celebration early. I know weird..but long events are mind games. Anyway...rounded the buoys and headed back to the beach. Could not even see the beach from where I was, it was so far away. Little by little, the colorful tents appeared and I was seeing my way to the end of the swim. I started to think about transition and the bike.

Got into the changing tent, feeling good. Started stripping and the volunteers were awesome helping every step of the way. Was a bit surprised to see women in there, but I guess they didn't mind seeing everyone stripping. I spent along time in there getting everything on, and was longer than I wanted, but it was important to get it all right, since that bike would be a 5+ hour torture ride.

On the bike, I started slow. Ate and drank, tried to relax and get into the groove. The head winds hadn't built up much and was fairly easy and smooth at this point. I knew to pace it easy in the beginning since I had 3 loops of 37miles to do! 

The views were nice on the bike. Coastal leg, and then a forest leg, then back to town. The aid stations were great and well positioned. The race officials were heavy and all over zooming around on motorcycles to make sure the 12meter draft zone was being maintained. This was a longer draft zone than I was used to, and we had to ride on the left, and pass on the right. Which I got used to fairly quickly. However the patrols were a bit unnerving and were constant. 

I made it through the first and second loop feeling pretty good, but the 3rd loop was tiring. Head winds had built all through the second loop and were quite strong on the third loop, especially coming out of town. My feet were aching and I wanted off the bike. Tried every trick in the book to avert the pain coming from everywhere, feet, butt, hands, neck. Was really really happy to come back to town and see the end to the bike segment. YAY ! Made it with no penalties too, which seemed like a miracle.

Volunteers took my bike and racked it, so I just had to clomp to the changing tent in my cycle shoes. I know, so unsophisticated as an Ironman competitor! but alas, that's what I did. Managed to have a fairly good T2, with awesome assistance from the volunteers. Again changed clothes, which is something I've never done in a tri, but was glad I did for this one.

Headed out on the first of 4 loops of the run. I felt ok. Legs seemed like they survived the bike and had some gas for the run still. I started off really slow. As I was very worried about my marathon performance. I melted down last year in my second marathon ever, and hoped that my attempt this year (my third marathon ever) would be successful in the Ironman. I was taking no chances, and my strategy was a negative split. Even if I didn't attain it, I wanted it as a goal.

My first and second loops were fine. Felt great. Volunteers and spectators were super duper. People dressed up in costumes and cheered all the way. Lots of people were sitting outside their homes, playing music, and some sprayed us with garden hoses. Some were drunk and yelled to us, which was entertaining. 

The run loop was mostly coastal, with some parts in town center, where droves of people hung over the barriers to cheer us on. We were tortured every loop to hear the announcer say " are an Ironman" although we had multiple loops to go still...haha. They had a black band system, you got a band for your wrist at the end of each loop...and the final loop was a golden band which allowed you to the finish chute. Ah that golden band we all sought.

Finally got to loop 4! my right quad was spent and started icing it every aid station. By this point I was walking the aid stations. They seemed really far apart now, and was taking all I had to keep going. I thought of everything from my training, my coach, other important things to me, and keep the spirit. I realized if I kept going I was going to blow away my fantasy goal of 11:30! I really only hoped for breaking 12 hours, and had a ultimate goal of 11:30. But this was amazing ! If I kept going I would come in close to 11! But it was a struggle to even run a step, so I was having a hard time.

As I saw the sightings of the town, I was energized. I started running again, and faster. I knew it was the end !! I blew off the final aid station, and ran all the way to get the GOLDEN BAND !!!! YES!

And bolted around the carpeted town's square to the glorious entrance to the FINISH CHUTE ! 

Hand slapped everyone all the way to the finish line! THis was it, "Noel Mackisoc, YOU are an Ironman" seemed so amazing that I had done it. I finished with a guy that I started running with on loop 1, we crossed together, was super cool. Just absolutely amazing, as it was my first Ironman at 11:11:48 !

Volunteers held me on both sides and walked me out, asking how I felt and if I was ok. I was fine. Slightly wobbily, but ok and didn't need any assistance. Walked to the table to get my finisher shirt !! and my street bag. Then to the tent for hot food.

I stood there gobbling my hot food, and drink. Scared to sit down thinking my legs would spasm and lock up. But they didn't, well I also didn't sit down ;-)

Hung out for awhile and then got a ride with some people to transition. I was walking VERY slowly and was doing everything I could to move forward.  Somehow I was able to get my stuff, and bike and load it into the car. Which took forever. Then drove back to the condo.

Showered and headed over to the pub for celebrating with a few pints of pale ale. Yes ! Tons of red finisher shirts all over and was happy to see them all.

Monday was the post race dinner and awards. Another great event and was astonished at how fast the top finishers were in their age groups. Lots of very fast Australians. Lots of food and drink, was great. Stuffed to the gills.

I was happy with my performance, and learned a lot from this first Ironman. No real complaints and if I had to do it all over, I'd change almost nothing, except put on real bike shorts ! (ouch)

I want to do another Ironman at some point but for now it's off season, and I'm laying low for awhile.

Edited by metafizx 2011-12-10 10:47 PM
2011-12-11 10:18 PM
in reply to: #3932033

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Extreme Veteran
Penticton, BC
Subject: RE: Ironman Western Australia
Excellent report.  Thanks for writing it all out for us.
2012-06-27 1:48 PM
in reply to: #3932033

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Subject: RE: Ironman Western Australia

Hey Noel - nice work... sorry I didn't write something here awhile back.

I agree the swim was just rolling... very predictable unlike the choppy water you get in lakes.  That was probably the best part of the day for me.

My race execution unfortunately was poor... blew up on the bike.  I recovered eventually but my split was terrible.  And the flies really broke my mental game on the run.  I probably wouldn't race there again just because of them.  Still glad I did it though.

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