OK so if you have scrolled down my blogs and are wondering what happened to part two? Well to be honest it was a case of life getting a little busy and it never made it to print.
So as I have entered my next Ironman I think it may be best to start this with a quick review on Ironman Malaysia.
Ironman Malaysia - a brief recap.
No Ironman build up is ever perfect and I went into Malaysia carry a small hip /hamstring issue. Add into the fact that I was coming out of a kiwi winter and heading into a race legendary for heat and humidity it was always going to be a case of into the unknown. I think looking at it objectively I went into this race in decent if not great shape.
So the race. Gee I think it can only be described as one of the funniest and also one of the most brutal races I have ever done.
Yep - that is not my happy face. I think the correct term is "the hurt box." Man it was brutal.
The Race plan
The race plan was pretty simple, swim controlled and try and keep body temperature down, bike steady and super easy on the hills where there was a high risk of my body temperature climbing through the roof.
Then ideally come of the bike in good shape to just run controlled. It was all about trying to keep the body cool for as long as possible. Obviously my actual race plan had a lot more detail however that brief description sums it up nicely.
Here’s a quick summary of the Race.
This was always going to be a strength for me and it did give me the luxury of being able to swim easy and still be competitive.
The two lap swim involved a quick run along the beach at the halfway mark (pictured above) and at this point in the race when I saw the commentator with the microphone I got him to give a happy anniversary shout out over the PA to my wife (race day was our 23rd wedding anniversary). I heard him call it out as I headed back into the water.
My target time had been anything under 1 hour and 59 mins 10 seconds was perfect as to be honest I cruised and got out the water feeling like I had done nothing and was in second place in my age group so perfect. Could I have gone faster? Yes. Did I need to? No.
Note – This is me pulling the top half of my trisuit on after the swim. The reason I did not just swim with it and the swim skin over the top is that when I tested it – just tucking the top half of the trisuit underneath was 5 seconds per 100 meters faster. That equates to over 3 minutes so while this may look like a bit of a struggle it was worth it.
It was hot, hilly and there were monkeys. Add in the fact that the first lap involved trying to work my way through the back of the half Ironman athletes who had started in front of us meant it was an interesting ride.
I must say a pretty cool course and quite pretty in places. I rode pretty controlled and while my neck and shoulders were killing me from about 150 km it was manageable. That was I think the result of most of my training being indoors on a trainer as opposed to riding outdoors. I came off the bike still in second place in the age group so all on track.
.A bit of Love for Profile Design for the race wheels, Bike Barn for the Helmet and Trinc clothing for the trisuit
I headed out onto the run knowing I was in 2nd place so my mind-set was – nothing stupid. I just needed to run controlled and nothing special and I should be all good.
Yeah 10 km in and it was all about survival in 38-40 degree heat with over 85% humidity. It was brutal (see the first picture in this blog). There was a moment when I was like “ok next year for our wedding anniversary I think we might just go out to dinner like normal people.”
I ended up dropping to sixth place in my age group. That run was all about survival and I do not think I was fully prepared to cope with that heat and humidity. At one point I ran past my wife who called out “I’m so proud of you.” In my head all I could think of was – crap do I look that bad! When I heard “I am so proud of you”, in my mind it meant she is not sure I was going to finish but she still loves me regardless.
To sum up
Being objective about the run it was a case of leeching too much time at the aid stations trying to cool my body temperature. I guess it’s really hard to prepare for what you do not know and that I think was the big stumbling block.
So while on some level I was a little disappointed I was also pretty happy to have gutted it out and it was cool to be doing an Ironman again after the three year break.
The take home is that the race kind of suits me and if I can work out how to manage the heat then I think I could be very competitive. One positive is that on what was essentially not a great day I was still top ten in my age group.
So that was Ironman Malaysia and it must be said it did beat me up bit and the recovery took longer than normal but that could also be age related.
A special thank you to my wife Nicola - This is us having a small holiday in Langkawi post race. I must also give a special thanks to Scott Molina for all his help in the pool for what were some of the most boring session known to man. To everyone else that helped out thank you - you are all awesome. And to my kids - you are coming to the next one and its going to be awesome!
Project 930 - The next challenge
So I have entered Ironman Italy which is in September. A long story at how I arrived at that race but it does involve a family trip to Europe and well it’s an Ironman in Italy so why not? I think I learned from racing in Malaysia that rather than trying to chase qualifying for the world champs it might be more fun to just focus on some really cool races and see what happens.
The key thing is that Italy is a fast course and to be competitive in my age group you need to be completing the race in about 9 hrs 30 minutes or faster. Hence the tittle - project 930, which is more about planting a target that I want to try and work towards.
If I am honest I am not sure I am capable of that kind of time because it is seriously quick. Even if the course is fast you still have to go at a pace that for me will be next level.
Having said that – How hard can it be? Off course I said that about Malaysia so let’s be honest here as my enthusiasm is not always connected up to the real world but that is OK because I will still be having a blast and that’s the point really – having fun doing something I love.
So next blog will be all about going fast and what is fast.