70.3 race re-cap
Almost a week has passed since my first 70.3, so I thought now’s as good a time as any to post a race report. Thanks again for all the notes of support before and after. I really appreciated them.
Swim-I was about the fourth wave off. So while I didn’t realise it getting out of transition that morning, I didn’t have much time. I got the wetty on and headed down to the swim start…not realising I only had minutes before my wave was up. This actually worked out well, because I didn’t have time to think about the swim. We got to the beach, did a quick warm up and they were calling my wave. I got into the chute with about a minute to spare.Again—given how much I love the swim, this was a good thing. To be honest, I had been dreading the swim all week. There had been a shark attack a few hours south of where the race was being held, and even though logic tells you not to worry, logic and sharks aren’t good friends—so again, I was happy not to have extra thinking time.
Despite all of this, the swim went well. Probably the best I’ve ever done in the water in a tri. I had budgeted 40mins for the swim, so when I came in at 37 I was stoked.
Ride-Going out on the first loop the wind was at my back and I was feeling great. There was more space than I though there would be and I was averaging about 34kph at the first turn (25km) heading back I , there was a strong head wind. I tucked and let the speed/effort fall a bit. Back into town for the second lap also went well—the hills on the course were all coming in and out of town, but no worries there. The wind shifted a bit on the second lap and heading out for the turn around was tougher than the first. My lower back and shoulders started to ache from being in aero, so I started to alternate my position to stay comfortable. After the turn on the second lap (20km) back was starting to get worse…and head started to come in as well—just negative thoughts. Dealt with that by singing the most cheerful song that came to mind—good vibrations by the beach boys (we were on the beach after all). That dealt with the head…then at just over 80kms…the front tire blew. I was ticked as I was on track to easily beat the 3hr goal, but took it well. I changed the tube, used the C02 and flogged it to get back into transition before anything else could go wrong.
I got into transition in a good head space. I had missed my goal on the ride by about 15mins, but given the flat, I was ok with that. I also knew at this point that my second goal, to finish in less than 6 hours was probably lost. I was ok with that—but life was about to get tougher.
The run was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I didn’t appreciate how much the mental aspect comes into play in these longer distance races. First 3kms I was on fire…and then, it all came apart. Stitches in my side, aches in my quads and by the end full on muscle spasms in my calf. I’ve never had to walk a running race before—but I did here. And I didn’t care. After the flat, I knew I had probably lost any chance of breaking that 6hr mark, so I focussed on just getting across the line—which I did. And promptly swore off ever doing another half.
Today’s a bit different. While I won’t go rushing into another, I could see it happening—if only to do better.
All up it was done in 6:15. I missed my target of breaking 6:00, but I was really happy to have got it done.
The big one for me here was to respect the race. I had planned on doing sub 5 min kms for the run portion of this race. Which sounds reasonable—right? However, four months prior, at my first Olympic (EVER) I barely managed to get home doing 5 min kms. Now reasonably speaking, How did I expect that I was ever going to achieve sub fives after 90kms on the bike, when I could barely manage it when it was only 40kms? Unreasonable expectation. So there’s the big lesson for me. If I had gone out doing 5:30s instead of 4:30s (which is what I did the first 2kms at) than I would have been able to maintain it longer and walk less—I may have even been able to make that 6hr cutoff!
The other biggie for me is to be grateful and remember—this is for fun and fitness.
I won’t dwell on it, but one fellow competitor lost his life on this day. Like me, he was on his first 70.3, like me, he had a young family. I’ve got a lot to be grateful for. We all do.
So fellow travellers, I’ll wrap it up. This race kicked off this year’s season for me—the next big race is an Olympic distance at Noosa (the home of triathlon in Australia) the first week in November. I’ll likely try to get a sprint in before then as well.
Keep safe and enjoy.
PS—Special thanks to my wife and family for the support, Coach Ross for the answers to the mindless questions and Liz for endless inspiration and encouragement— and the BE Tri club. I seriously couldn’t have gotten this done without all of you—and I want you to know how much I appreciate it.