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Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Melbourne - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Melbourne, Victoria
World Triathlon Corporation
24C / 75F
Total Time = 12h 20m 26s
Overall Rank = 1398/2000
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 170/240
Pre-race routine:

Well, where do I start? 3 week's after IM Melb last year, both my achilles flared up again. THe bad one from last year settled down after about 5 months, but the 'good' one is still with me. I was ready to pull the pin all the way up to last week. It did improve slowly up to Christmas until I strained a calf, so when I started again, extremely slowly to avoid it flaring, what did it do? Yup, it inflamed big time. 3 weeks ago it settled down enough for me to get a long run of 8.5km done! My run total for the year was 66km...... Not ideal prep for an Ironman I hear you say? Nope, not at all!
But....... I knew I wasn't in any shape to go anywhere as quick as last year, so wanted to just complete it this time - preferably on 2 legs!
Got registered on the Thursday, in 80k winds, got down to Frankston on the Saturday, checked bike in, and headed out for food and an early night.
Event warmup:

Got to transition, bike all sorted (had a fantastic spot 2 from the end of a rack close to bike exit!), and got ready to put the wetsuit on, when.......
it was announced there would be a delay while they sorted out the swim course. Initially we were going to do a funny 3.8k course, but the night before we got a text saying it was now a 2 lap triangular course, still totalling 3.8. Now they said it was a 1 lap 1.9k course. half an hour later, they said it was too dangerous even for that, so we were now doing an out and back 1.9k swim.

Now...... as a strong swimmer, this severely disadvantaged me, but as I wasn't heading to Kona, just to finish, it didn't bother me that much. If I was ever going to Kona it would be in these conditions! We had huge swells even at the beach, with a raging 40k/h northwesterly blowing. Not nice, and going to be even worse for the bike. Anyway, it was the right decision from a safety point of view. Was far too rough and choppy for the weakest swimmers, even though they signed up to a bay swim in Melbourne and should have been prepared for it.......
As it turned out.......
  • 31m 30s
  • 1500 meters
  • 02m 06s / 100 meters

..... this was the most fun swim I've ever done! It was hilarious.
The new wettie was awesome! Set off, running into the surf, started swimming in a huge pack, not particularly quickly due to the congestion, until we got to the end of the pier when: everybody stopped! And looked up. And saw the biggest swell/wave I've ever swum in. It was huge, 2-3m high. And we carried on swimming in this to the turnaround. Getting smashed by the waves, as well as other racers, it was great fun. (Last year I went round the outside as I was late in the water so had a boring lonely swim). We all had to stop again at the turn due to numbers - a lot of people cut this corner. DQ the lot I say.
The swim back was just as much fun. Got free water, followed a few feet but by the time we had to make a slight turn at the pier, I missed it and kept swimming straight - with everybody else around me. This meant we ended up wave surfing back about 300m down the shore. Had to run back up the beach (with a dodgy achilles remember) before hitting the timing mat. I reckon the swim would have been 27-28 minutes so really pleased with this.
What would you do differently?:

Swim straight. Pray for a full swim to get more of a headstart on all the uber-cyclists!
Transition 1
  • 08m 19s

Slow due to needing a pee-stop and the tent being ram-packed full due to half the racers finishing the swim at the same time!
What would you do differently?:

  • 6h 14m 39s
  • 180 kms
  • 28.83 km/hr

The wind wasn't just strong. It was brutal. This was a better, stronger and 'quicker' ride than last year's 5:57 but the conditions just put a stop to that being reflected on the clock.
Not mut really to say apart from the first leg was into the wind constantly and was also gently uphill.
Tunnels were a brief respite but then we turned around and I went from doing 12:49 for one 5km stretch to 6:50 for the same bit on the way back! The wind turned a little at the bottom into a stupid gusty head/crosswind, otherwise I could have gone 1:15!!! So, lap one done in 2:55 - in those conditions this was quick and with a repeat, could go under 6 again.
Lap 2 was far far worse..... My arse was fed up of being on a saddle at this point! Oh, no pee stops this time, but then again no peeing on the bike either. Had hydration and nutrition down to a tee.... Peed before I set off on the bike, and as soon as I got off it again, with no signs of dehydration. All good.
Anyway, leg 3, back up Eastlink was into an even stronger, gustier, headwind now. Started to struggle with my legs (put me on the flats with no wind and I can go all day at a great pace, but I hate wind!) But, I was then starting to look forward to the return journey with the wind behind me. It was there for 25k before it turned right round into another nasty, brutal, gusty headwind, with even more brutal gustier crosswinds! The last 20k were the hardest of the whole race. I'd pushed into the wind ready for the quick tainlwind and I had to push again into another headwind! Not nice.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing else I could do. I tihnk I rode this to the best of my abilities on the day. For next time, I'll do more specific training I think rather than commutes and long rides.
Time to get really strong on the bike!
Transition 2
  • 08m 10s

Got off the bike, nearly fell over.... handed it to an amazing volunteer, and very slowly walked/ran into the tent. This was also very slow, as I had to change socks, put my compression calf sleeves on, then had to take them off to move the timing strap to the outside.... back on, pee-stop and off we go.
What would you do differently?:

Not have dicky achilles that needed compression!
  • 5h 17m 47s
  • 42.2 kms
  • 07m 32s  min/km

Had no expectations of this, just had to get to the finish. All I really wanted to do was walk all the aid stations, and run to the first timing mat, then some sort of run/walk and walk to the finish.
Managed to get to the first timing mat at 8.5, equalling my long run, as planned, but the achilles was starting to hurt a fair bit. Stopped and had a chat with Jess, who told me just to walk it in...... Ran the 2k to the next aid station and got my wonderful hug from Tammie (sorry for the disgusting state I was in Tammie!!), stopped for another chat and got told again to just walk it in again.....
So what did I do? I started a run/walk plan of 5 mins run, 1 min walk, plus walk the aid stations. This wasn't too bad and for some miraculous reason, my achilles started to feel less painful. At this point I decided it would be good to start putting ice in my sock which I think did help, but I'm suffering now with a huge blister on my heel from the damp sock rubbing!
Got to Mordi using this method, got my vegemite sandwich, had 2 bites for salty goodness, and started on my Red Bull. Ran with this for a while, slowly sipping it until I was off again. The third leg is the longest leg, and this was where I started walking more. Had a chat with a random guy who caught me trying to hang tough on some gorgeous pace booty but eventually had to let her go and talk to this guy instead! After the slowest km of the run, I had to set off running again, got to the third timing mat and knew there was only 10k to go. I could do this..... and at the pace I was going could go under 5:30 !! (My plans the week before were an hour and a half lsower than last year's 4:38, so this was good!) Started running more and more, picking people off who had passed me ages ago - including the booty from before (but I did take my time passing her...!) Apart from the first leg, this was my quickest leg of the run. Got to the finish chute, what a huge crowd of people, far more than last year. The new finish line was simply awesome! Missed my wife again (I had lights and a camera in my face so had an excuse), and sprinted for the line.
All done only 40 minutes slower than last year - who says you have to train for a marathon!!!!! I cannot believe how I did that with 66k for the year and a long run of 8.5k. It just does not make any sense.
What would you do differently?:

Not be injured.
I would also not be in such a state that I just accepted the first catcher that got me - I'd make sure I got Tammie to catch me!!
Post race
Warm down:

Got my medal from Pete Jacobs - what a star he is, and such a nice bloke!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Injuries, wind, sea, wind, and talent.

Event comments:

Volunteers - you are the best!!! Love you all, but Jess and Tammie, love you more! Thankyou for the huge effort you put in, simply cannot overstate how good the vollies were.

Amazingly, I've pulled up quite well. Achilles hasn't inflamed, it's like the 'run' did it good. The blister though is a beauty!

I think I've decided I'm not doing Melbourne next year. Want to finally get healthy, spend some time at home doing jobs around the house. I'll go short-course next season and look to IM at the end of 2014, early 2015, either Busso, Cairns, NZ or maybe head overseas...?

Profile Album

Last updated: 2012-07-28 12:00 AM
00:31:30 | 1500 meters | 02m 06s / 100meters
Age Group: 115/240
Overall: 928/2000
Performance: Good
Suit: Blue Seventy Helix
Course: Straight out and back
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 19C / 66F Current: High
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 08:19
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
06:14:39 | 180 kms | 28.83 km/hr
Age Group: 149/240
Overall: 1258/2000
Performance: Good
Leg 1: 1:38:15 Leg 2: 1:17:34 Leg 3: 1:44:34 Leg 4: 1:34:17
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: 2 laps of Eastlink.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 08:10
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Below average
Jumping off bike Bad
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:17:47 | 42.2 kms | 07m 32s  min/km
Age Group: 187/240
Overall: 1522/2000
Course: Just run to St Kilda
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
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

2013-03-30 7:14 PM

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Subject: Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Melbourne

2013-04-02 6:13 AM
in reply to: #4680327

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Eltham North, Victoria
Subject: RE: Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Melbourne
Awesome report, Nigel and an awesome race. Amazing that you ran so well. And you weren't icky to hug at all...I'd do it all again in a heart beat!As for everyone being so grateful for the vollies..I can't believe how much fun it is and being a catcher at the finish line and experiencing the first few minutes of victory with the competitors is an absolute privledge.So pleased you ended up with such a terrific race...maybe you can be my catcher next year.....
2013-05-15 4:52 PM
in reply to: #4680327

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Perth, WA
Subject: RE: Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Melbourne

You're my inspiration for this season, they say that the Ironman comes down to the run and even with next to no run training, you managed to conquer it once more! Well done, most would have pulled out!

Sorry for my late post!

2013-05-15 5:10 PM
in reply to: #4680327

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Melbourne
Good going Nigel, you learn more about yourself in these type of races where you have a bit more to overcome.  Well done on finishing.  I've only done a stand alone marathon on that type of run training so can't imagine how you made it through after the 'warm up'.
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