Monday, December 14, 2009

Canberra 1/2 Ironman Report

Ever since some of our crew raced at Busselton at the end of 2008 I’ve had my eye on the challenge of an Ironman. For me, competing and finishing is everything. Unless I can outlast everyone in my age group the podium will never be for me!

So, after quite a few Olympic distance and other races it was time to step up to the ½ Ironman distance. Having it here in Canberra always makes life easier. I entered months ago to make sure that I did all the training!

Race day came around very quickly I must admit. Here’s a rundown:

Swim 1.9km – excellent, I got a good position on the left of the field, which meant I could see almost everyone without having to look into the sun. Pretty uneventful apart from some swimmers going waaaay off course. I was glad I had paid attention to Coach in regards to open water swim technique.

Transition 1 – not a short run to the bike and my soft feet didn’t like the carpark! Apart from that it was all going to plan. I chose to put a cycling jersey on to avoid some sunburn – glad I did too. I figured I’d be out there for a while so I took riding gloves and banana bread as well.

Ride 94km – I expected this to hurt a lot more than it did. I really had no problems at all out there although more than one portaloo on the course might’ve been good! Even the 3rd time up Coppins Crossing was fine. It was great to get the support from the Tridents and QUON folks at the top of that hill. Three laps came and went without a drama – the extra cycling paid off – even the hated home trainer!

Transition 2 – uneventful – I remembered to have that extra Powerade drink I’d left beside my bike as well as to put my socks on! With the sun beating down and me having fairer skin than the majority of redheads I left the cycling jersey on. I figured I could chuck it if it annoyed me later – it didn’t.

Run 21km – shocking. After 5 pretty good kilometres where I felt great my left ITB suddenly began to protest. No amount of stretching or swearing would make it behave. I was torn, there was no way I wanted to pull out but I wasn’t sure I could face walking the rest of the way. In the end I shuffled, ran and walked (saving my best running moments for going past the Tridents HQ tent!). I was very, very pleased to have Howsie and then AB riding alongside me at a couple of points on the run – they kept me going at pretty dark moments. After I got over “Hospital hill” for the second time the end was in sight and I was fairly determined that the Bilby behind me wouldn’t catch me. It wasn’t pretty and in the end my daughter Zoë could walk faster than I was running but I got to the end. She ran across the line with me which was very special and I look forward to the official photos.

In review I reckon it went pretty well for a first go. I’ll work more on the ITB even though it hasn’t troubled me for 18 months – probably a combination of a hard ride and the hard running surface.

To all the Tridents who hung around in the hottest part of the day waiting for me to drag myself across the finish line – a HUGE thankyou. And to all those competing who encouraged me along the way – you guys ROCK. Of course, none of this would happen without my understanding family and Coach.

Busselton Ironman 2010? Ask me in a few weeks.

Rob (I have the finishers towel and the t-shirt and that is what matters!)

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