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Monday, 19 September 2011

Ironman 70.3 World Championships Race Report


I deliberately chose to get to the race fairly close to the day arriving on the Thursday before the race.  For the 4 weeks leading up to the race I had spent 20-30mins as often as I can in the sauna for heat acclimation.  My strategy based on years (too many) of travelling is to immediately set my clock on the destination time and then try to sleep based on that time zone.  We arrived in Vegas around 1pm so the goal was to stay awake till 9pm which was a struggle but achievable especially with a short run before dinner to shake out the cobwebs.

Registration and expo.  The american know how to organise a race.  Like Kona you have a volunteer walk you through registration.  Expo was pretty impressive as well – new newtons to be unveiled at Melbourne Marathon..

Swim, run and check in the bike.  Again there was a personal volunteer to help with check in.  I deliberately checked in the bike late.  As you check in there are people filling out stat sheets on every component on your bike.  Interestingly there were more Ceepo's than Fujis….  Didn't pig out on the day.  Ben's wife cooked us sweet potato chips cooked with coconut butter and herbs.  Awesome!

Race Day
Got up at 5am (transition closed at 6am).  Had my sweet potato mash (actually it was a jar of baby food with 100% sweet potato)

The swim was an out and back course in a freshwater lake.  As the sun was just coming up I had been experimenting with some new polarised goggles from Zoggs.  Worked well even when looking into the sun – highly recommended.  The swim course was pretty good – lots of markers.  Focused on a 4/2 breathing i.e. Alternating between breathing every 4 and every 2 strokes which I find helps me stay balanced in the water


Tough course.  Was basically out to where Hoover dam is and back.  As the race director said if you weren't riding up hill you were riding down.  The hills weren't steep – just long grinders kind of like Stromlo except for the first one which was straight out of transition!  For the first 20km I had a lot of guys going past me which typically doesn't happen.  After a while I noticed most where in the 25-29 AG so I could tell why they were going past – not because they were younger but because they were dumber :)  I stuck to my plan of riding at a HR of 3.9 (4.0 represents threshold).  First criticism of the course – aid stations were too far apart (about 20km) and the water bottles were just standard bottled water bottles which didn't fit securely on the cage.  Lost a bottle only a km or two after an aid station so had 40mins without water.  Nutrition plan was a GU Roctane every 20mins.  I used 3 flavours so I could 'cycle' them and not get sick of a flavour.  My goal was to run sub 1:30 off the bike so was very religious in my pacing so as not to tax the legs too much.  Went past a lot of the 25-29ers in the last 30km :)

I used one of the new Specialized side entry water bottle cages due to the compact frame and need to position my race number inside the triangle.  Work really well.

T2 was actually about 20km from T1 which was a bit silly for spectators.  I do like the dismount system though were you hand your bike to a volunteer at the dismount line.

Toughest run course I've seen.  First 1.5km was down hill and then a U-Turn and 3.5km uphill (again think Stromlo) and then another U-Turn and 2km down hill to the start.  3 laps of this, all on bitumen.  First lap was great.  Sat on 4:00 pace which was just above threshold.  At 5km I had a glucose shot – at 7km I felt SICK.  I think the reason is that as your body gets hotter it shunts blood away from the stomach to the skin which means 'food' isn't digested and ferments.  My only option was to drop my HR below threshold and wait for the nausea to pass.  No point sticking my fingers down my throat to chuck as that would have just expelled all my fuel..


VERY FRUSTRATED, VERY P!SSED OFF.  My legs felt fine and I knew I could hold the pace.  My running style which is a higher cadence works well on hills but my stomach didn't want to play.  Even when my stomach started to feel ok I basically couldn't be bothered running as my goal time was long gone. 


Still – Unlike others I don't quit so jogged the rest of the race. Ran up to a friend of mine - Joelene Cullen and we ran across the finish line together  Funny – unless you finish on the podium everyone seems to get the same medal.  Was proud to finish at the World Champs.

Collected my bike and found that my Garmin 800 had been stolen off it – sigh……

Interestingly, based on Tim Noakes studies, I didn't take any electrolytes.  No cramps.  My trisuit had a bit of salt on it after the bike which meant my salt reserves where already high (your body won't expel something it is short of…)

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