Ironman Western Australia 2016
After a very disappointing DNF at IM Malaysia 3 weeks prior to IM Western Australia due to a stomach bug I picked up in the days leading up to the race I was itching for a chance to redeem myself. I flew into Perth and headed down to Eaton(about 45 miles north of Busselton) 17 days before the race. I was fortunate that I found a wonderful place to stay(thanks to my friend Ben) and quickly settled into a good rhythm after 7 days off recovering from Malaysia. I was amazed how beautiful western Australia is. I knew the prep for my upcoming race would be less than ideal and I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t feeling any pressure to have a great race after all the amazing training that I had done in this build, my recent DNF and the large expense that that this 5 week trip represented. The days leading up to the race were a roller coaster ride in terms of confidence and I was really struggling to stay positive and not worry about the outcome. With only 5 or 6 swims in the 4 weeks leading up to WA(due to travel, taper, crazy sea lice and no pool in Malaysia then recovery from the race), and only 1 session over 3hrs(IM Malysia), I was in unknown territory with my fitness level and this only made the inevitable IM self doubt worse. As the worry, pressure and fear became too much I had an epiphany, I AM REALLY DONT HAVE CONTROL OF EVERYTHING! This really isn’t a new concept for me but I find it is VERY easy to loose perspective in the face of difficulties and when things don’t go the way I think they should. So…I adjusted my thinking and did my best to let go of expectations, choosing to focus on the beautiful scenery all around me, trying to connect with the people I was meeting and doing my best in each training session. Wouldn’t you know it in less than a day the pressure, fear and worry quickly melted away! By no means did I loose my focus, in fact my renewed outlook allowed me to train harder, sleep better and ultimately show up to the start line as fit, happy and ready to race as fast as possible.
Swim 53:29 20th pro out of the water
My plan on the swim was to take out under control knowing that my swim fitness was the weakest of the three(even more than usual due to almost no swimming). It was strange letting the 2nd group go with out a fight but I knew it would be a long day and going anaerobic and getting dropped wouldn’t be a good way to start things off. I settled into a group of 4 and enjoyed plenty of oxygen all the way to T1.
Bike 4:27:23 11th off the bike
I knew in order to have a good result in such a competitive field I would have to take some risks on the bike. So when I looked down and saw my power was not registering on my Garmin, I wasn’t upset. I put my head down and rode hard but I had in my mind that I would not go crazy in the first hour. I had my Garmin set to start a new lap every 28 miles and my heart rate monitor was working so I did have some data to help gauge my effort. I had just dropped the 4 guys I had swam with as the first 28 miles came to an end in 1:05:06(not bad I thought, if I can hold this pace it will be 4:20ish). I rode alone the next 28 miles, again clocking 1:05:xx and as the second lap started I caught up to another group of 4. I immediately went to the front of this new group and kept riding hard thinking since I had caught up to them so easily that I would be able to ride away from them but for WHATEVER reason that didn’t happen. I did my best to not be bothered by the group behind me but honestly this situation upsets me no matter how hard I try to focus on my own race. I was still feeling strong in the 3rd 28 miles(though the wind was really starting to pick up), coming through in 1:06:xx. As the final 28 miles began the group behind me started to splinter and my legs were really starting to hurt. It felt like the last 28 miles were all into a headwind as I limped my way back to T2 in 1:11:xx(Ouch).
Run 3:07:02 Finished 13th in 8:32:37
Out of T2 and my legs were clearly not interested in running the pace my mind wanted. The run was 4 laps back and forth along the ocean, perfectly flat with a strong head wind one direction and tail wind the other. My plan was to pick up a bottle of Infinit at special needs at the beginning of the first and 3rd laps but I was frustrated when I found that my bag wasn’t where it was supposed to be. I started drinking coke and the sports drink they had on course. Unfortunately around mile 9 my legs started to really hurt and my pace began to slow dramatically. My first thought was “I guess my recent lack of training was finally catching up to me”. By mile 10 I was walking and starting to feel extremely hungry. I decided since my race was falling apart and I might be walking for a long time that I was going to eat EVERYTHING at the next aid station. Gels, coke, sports drink, gummy worms(maybe the best thing I had ever eaten) and watermelon. I was expecting to have problems from this mid race binge but to my surprise the only change was my legs stopped hurting, well not really but at least I could run again. As the miles ticked off, I actually felt better and better. Unlike any other Ironman I have done I actually felt best from about miles 15-21(strange?). Don’t worry miles 21-26 felt just like they always do, and the mantras of “just don’t walk” and “shut up legs” soon came to the forefront. I knew I was outside the top 10 and a long way from the top 5 but I was still going to run as hard as I could and try to finish the season off on a positive note, and I did. Crossing the finish line I was amazed that my time wasn’t over 9 hours after the run I had just experienced(definitely a fast course). Now time for a break (at least once I get over this jet lag). I am already getting excited thinking about working on my weaknesses and racing even faster in 2017.Thanks for following along.