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Fulton Hogan Tauranga Half Ironman - Triathlon

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New Zealand
29C / 84F
Total Time = 8h 04m 35s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Drove down to Tauranga with my parents and 1 child on Friday lunch time. Checked into the apartment, registered, no queues. Racked the bike, back to the apartment for fish and chips for dinner before Mrs Bullfrog and the 2nd child arrived about 7pm. (unfortunately she couldn't take a half day so had to come down after work)

After a terrible nights sleep (stressing about the race and little girl kept waking up. 4 bottles that night!), I woke up at 5am, breakfast of pb and nutella on toast. Out the door at 5:45, at transition around 6 to get sorted.

After racking the bike hung around, watched the elites start at 6:30 and noted where they were swimming relative to the moored boats on the course to help with navigation. into the wetsuit about 6:45, and lined up with the other blue caps at 7, ready for our stat at 7:08.
Event warmup:

No warm up. first 500m of the swim is warm up.
  • 47m 21s
  • 2000 meters
  • 02m 22s / 100 meters

I went into this very, very under trained. I had swum 2 times since March. (Both in the last 10 days) 100 odd days of pools closed due to lockdown was the main reason. But also swimming is just logistically difficult to fit in with family life, so it is too easy to push to the side.

So, knowing I was not prepared the goal was to swim relatively easy, not burn too many matches this early in the day and get to the bike. And to top it off, the tide was incoming which means a slow swim anyway. So I was prepared for it to hurt.

The swim actually went well to start, I felt smooth and comfortable, the first leg is only 250m before turning so it's congested so no doubt there is some drafting assisting me, but my first 500m split was done in 1:56/100m. way faster than my best guess going in. The 2nd 500m was 2:12/100. But that was in the worst of the tide, straight into it and close to the channel. So always going to be slow. 3rd split turned the corner, back into, and then along the beach. 2:04/100 for this one. Slow, but doing better than I had expected.

And then the last 500m... I hit the proverbial brick wall/my lack of swim training caught up with me and punched me in the face. 2:36/100 and 2:40/100 for the last 100m (navigation was poor so swam 2,106m on a supposed 2,000m course.

Out of the water and stopped the clock in 47:21 Comfortably my slowest swim in a HIM. and hopeful that I hadn't destroyed myself for the rest of the day.

What would you do differently?:

Umm, train for it?
Transition 1
  • 04m 57s

Walked through transition. Slow and Steady.
  • 3h 32m 29s
  • 90 kms
  • 25.41 km/hr

My most consistent training over the last 5-6 months has been on the bike. I've done a lot of 30-60 minute rides on zwift in the evenings. I had not done enough long rides, enough outdoor rides, or spent enough time on the TT bike. But I was hopeful that the higher intensity of my zwift rides would translate into a semi decent ride. From my training rides I was planning on a comfortably paced 27-28km/hr average so a finish of around 3:10-3:20

Unfortunately, from the first pedal stroke that was clearly going to be a struggle. As my strava says, the tank was empty. And I'm going to blame the swim (or rather the lack of training for the swim)

For whatever reason I struggled to maintain power when down in the aero position, right from the start. So, I spent too much time riding on the bullhorns, which makes for a slower ride. I ate a lolly, drank some water every 5km lap (when the garmin beeps) and then tried to get back into aero and maintain it for 3-4km. before repeating the process. It kind of worked, things weren't great but I maintained a reasonably consistent 26-27km/hr (slow, but in the ball park to what I had expected)

Until the last 1/3rd of the ride. Every split got slower, and harder, until I was riding hte last 20odd km at 22km/hr... I lost probably 10 minutes over the last 30km of the ride. Obviously this was where the lack of long rides reared its ugly head.

Oh well you get what you deserve.

I finished in 3 hours 32 minutes. My slowest ride at Tauranga (2nd slowest of the 5 x HIM's I've done)
What would you do differently?:

More longer rides
More outdoor rides
More rides on the TT bike....
Transition 2
  • 04m 24s

When I jumped off the bike I felt an Immediate pain in my upper calf/groin area. So was even slower than usual here.
  • 3h 35m 26s
  • 21.1 kms
  • 10m 13s  min/km

Honestly I was close to quitting at the start of the run. the closest I have ever been to quiting a triathlon. After the slow swim, and the slow bike, plus the sore calf/groin area this was always going to be a slow/painful run/walk. So why put myself through it. I've done 4 previous HIM's. I have proven I can do it, that I can suffer through. Why keep going.

I kept going for my son. At the moment we're trying to teach him to do more things for himself. When he gets stuck he asks mummy or daddy to do it for him. How can I tell him to keep trying, even if it gets hard if I quit.

So I did the damn half marathon.

My plan was use a run/walk technique to hold of as much fatuige as long as possible. Start easier than I nneded to, so as the fatuige builds I would be able to maintain relatively even splits. Avoid the 12min/km death march as long as possible.

I walked the first km in 10:24 to aid station 1, then went into the run/walk plan but reversed the run and walk parts. So was running 30 sec, walking 1 minute. And I always walked the aid stations, so skipped some run intervals if they lined up badly. I maintained around 9:30/km for most of the first lap, until the 3km mount base track. A hilly, gravel part of the course. My plan for that was run/walk if flat, walk up hills, and jog down them. That lasted 1 hill, and became walk the whole track. 10:47/km average for the first time round the mount.

2nd lap, I switched the run/walk intervals back. Now running 1 minute, walking 30 seconds. Kilometers11 - 17 were done in 9:20-9:40 (1st half of lap 2 was actually faster than 1st half of lap 1) So I'm pretty happy how I paced things. Slow and painful, but I feel I avoided to total death march as long as possible. 2nd time round the mount track. It's going to be a walk the whole way, and it was a slow, very slow one. (maybe mental I had been working torwards making it to the final time around. Maybe physical but either way I was a spent force) 12:33/km for the 2nd mount track loop. My 2nd lap was 5 minutes slower than the 1st. the 2nd mount track section was 6 minutes slower than the first. Easy to see where the time was lost.

Back into the run walk for the final 500m to the finish, before jogging the blue carpet to the end.
What would you do differently?:

be better prepared. and practice 'power walking' so if I do find myself waking sections, I don't lose 6 minutes because I'm walking slower than the first lap.
Post race
Warm down:

2 beers in the recovery tent.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Piss Poor Preparation.

By far the least prepared I have ever been for a 70.3 event.

This is now unfinished business. Next time I race here I want to be finishing closer to 5 hours than to 8. That may be next year, it may not. We will see how the year goes with training before making that call.

Event comments:

Still love this race. Flat, fast course. Lots of volunteers manning aid stations. Beautiful weather and a great location. 9/10 chance will be back in 2023.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2022-01-31 12:00 AM
00:47:21 | 2000 meters | 02m 22s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 04:57
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:32:29 | 90 kms | 25.41 km/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 04:24
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
03:35:26 | 21.1 kms | 10m 13s  min/km
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2022-01-31 5:01 PM

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Auckland, North Island
Subject: Fulton Hogan Tauranga Half Ironman

2022-02-01 6:48 AM
in reply to: #5279720

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Atlanta, Georgia
Silver member
Subject: RE: Fulton Hogan Tauranga Half Ironman
I think mental toughness was on full display here..well done. Looking forward to reading about your taking care of that unfinished business in 2023..
2022-02-01 7:47 AM
in reply to: alltom1

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Middle River, Maryland
Silver member
Subject: RE: Fulton Hogan Tauranga Half Ironman

That's a great race report, Andrew.  And there are like 50 things you'll probably do differently next year (except for maybe 2 beers in the recovery tent..I mean, BDAS and all...).  Nice job pushing through and managing the fatigue (and not getting injured in the process, which is a big win).

2022-02-02 6:50 PM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Auckland, North Island
Subject: RE: Fulton Hogan Tauranga Half Ironman
Thanks guys.
2022-02-23 4:03 PM
in reply to: #5279720

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Extreme Veteran
, Queensland
Gold member
Subject: RE: Fulton Hogan Tauranga Half Ironman

Showed some real grit to not drop out of the race! Well done! 

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