Monday, December 9, 2013

why i feel like i won

first up I have to say just how great this race is.  it didn't feel this good last year but for some reason I cant put  my finger on it just had a fabulous vibe.  maybe because it was the 10th anniversary year ?  anyway all the volunteers were just brilliant.  everything was so well run and organised.  from the swim practice sessions to the pasta night.  all the aid stations were excellent and the supporters out on the course were amazing. especially on the run course.  it is hard work being out there that long so it really is something that they stay and cheer all day.  and all the merchandise was good quality and cheaper !!  now that is amazing.

i had a quick warm up swim and then stayed back waiting for the start.  it was a beach start but with that many people some were already in the water.  just not as far out as prior races.  i was on the right side and well away from the jetty.  since all advice says to start out wide and just swim toward to the end it is amazing that so many start further in.  the reason for this is the bend in the jetty and if you follow the jetty on the way out you actually swim further.  the first 100m were a bit uncomfortable but then i got my groove and just kept swimming.  the water was calm and the best conditions i have had at busselton.  the water was clear and you could see the bottom the whole way.  it was really enjoyable.  i decided that i would stop every 500m or so and bring my knees up to  my chest as this would relax my back.  it seems that being horizontal for so long is what annoys it the most.  as i got towards the end there were a lot of people all converging at the turn around buoy that takes you across the end to another buoy before heading back in.  i rarely got touched and i never got swam over or had any bad contact.  from the look of some of the swimmers around me i knew i was swimming okay.  i was even passing a few people but i did notice that the current had picked up and it was going to be a little tougher on the way back in.  the only things that worried me were my calves feeling a little tight and cramping and my wetsuit rubbing on my neck.  i did not want wetsuit rash.  this had happened at the city beach swim so i had smothered myself in glide but obviously something is not working.  might be time for a new wetsuit.  i didn't do as much swim training this year and while i felt like i really wanted to push it i knew my stamina probably wasnt there and i had a long day ahead of me.  i got out of the water in 1.16.09.  i secretly wanted 1.15 but this was just as good and a four minute improvement on last year.  to be honest it was probably the conditions and not so much my improved swim skills however i don't care !!!  it was a PB.

i took over 12 minutes last time in both T1 and T2.  so sticking with my decision to make different choices this year i was only wearing one outfit.  the risk was the tri pants as they did not have anywhere near the padding that my bike shorts had.  because they have a narrow chamois cut they can rub.  i had forgotten to put extra chamois butt butter in my bike bag (the only thing i forgot) so i had some waiting with my bike.  so if anyone saw me sticking my hands down my pants that is what i was doing !!!  i was outta T1 in 8.37.  being wet makes whatever you do slow.

on the bike and focused.  my plan and goal was to come in under 6 hours without burning too many matches.  the wind was light and the weather cool.  we ended up with four seasons in one day but compared to the heat of last year it did make things a bit easier. 

the first lap went well and i was well above my average speed of 30k per hour.  i started eating etc after the first 15 minutes and really only had to worry about not getting caught up with other riders.  the course was pretty busy but this would spread out over time.  there really are some real wankers out there who just cannot leave their egos at transition.  the bike is all about holding a constant pace over 180k.  not going flat out over 90k and then flat lining.  you want to do the last lap close to the same speed as you did the first.  on my way out for the second lap i had to stop for a pee.  i didn't feel like it during the swim but decided i didn't want to stink all day either.  luckily the porta loo was empty so it was very quick.  the wind was picking up and it was during the second lap that i had a dark patch.  i don't know why exactly but i was feeling tired and knew i had a long way to go.  my neck was hurting and i had some niggles in the back of my left leg and my right knee wasn't feeling that good either.  and my tri shorts were starting to rub.  i then made the decision to stop at special needs and stick my hands down my pants once more.  i had included some aussie butt cream and really went nuts with it.  the volunteers were so quick i was out of there in a flash but i think that little break did wonders for me.  i also took two nurofen to ease the neck/shoulder pain.  at least my back was fine so the little exercise during the swim was well worth it.  my average speed was still at 30.3 and while this went up and down a few times it never went below this. 

as i headed out on the final lap i was feeling very positive.  the wind was back to being what you expect from Busselton so i decided that when i was with it i would fly and when i was riding into i would just pretend i was back on campersic road and it was another training session.  head down and just fucking pedal.  the course had spread out by this time so it was easier to have your own spot to ride.  when you did come across other riders they were going slow and you could see everyone was getting uncomfortable on the bike and were wriggling about.  those last 20k were tough but i just kept riding as i knew i was going to make my goal of coming in under six hours.  i knew i was capable it was just going to be a matter of doing it.  was i worried about my legs for the run ?  sure but i figured i suck at running anyway so i didn't have that much to lose.  bike time 5.56.28.  Woot Woot !!!!!!!  i am OVER the moon and this is amazingly satisfying.  11th fastest in my age group. 

T2 was done in 7.58 so another PB.  the most time was getting my compression things on and my injinji socks.  this has been the BEST discovery of all time.  no more fucking blisters.  the wonderful volunteers lathered my up with sunscreen and i had also had the biggest pee ever so i was feeling good.  i had eaten really well on the bike and with the cooler conditions the hydration was also easier.  did i mention that it did start spitting with rain on the bike.  like i said four seasons in one day.

so i headed out on the run.  my biggest challenge and where i could really lose the most time.  this year i did all my long runs and most of my shorter ones on the road.  i was hoping that i had some toughness built up.  my right knee didn't feel great so my plan was to run as long as i could and hope that it didn't get worse.  last year this was where i basically fucked up the most.  i didn't have a plan and i flipped flopped and got overly worried about not being able to pee.  i again found i didn't want to pee anymore and after two toilet stops i just didn't worry about it anymore.  i also decided that no matter what the pace i would always run but i would walk every aid station. and so for 42.2 kms this is what i did.    i can be buried with my medals knowing that at least once i ran the marathon.  it hurt.  my legs got tired and i had various aches and pains.  i suffered some more sweat rash and grabbed some vaseline at the aid stations.  my knee held up and was fine and my feet always felt great.  at different points i chatted to different people and that kept my mind off things.  i suffered but after awhile i knew that i wasnt going to quit and that i was going to keep running. this was the biggest thing i learnt from last year.  it is actually harder to keep going if you start walking.  you need to keep running.  i think the hardest part was from around the 28k mark to 32k which is probably normal for most people.  each lap you received a wrist band and it seemed that it took ages until i got the second one. each lap seemed different from each other.  on the last lap the wind was terrible but as i headed towards the finish line about 3k out i knew that i was going to come in under 5 hours for the run.  for most this would seem pretty average but it was a massive improvement on my part.  my friend daniel from the pool was out on the course as he knew other people doing the race and he had yelled out a few times.  on my last lap he yelled out again and thought it was only my third lap.  i had been through and got the precious last black band so i screamed out that i was finishing and all the supporters cheered me on.  it was awesome.  i was so excited that i had ran so much better than last year.  i came around the last bend and the crowd was the usual yelling and screaming.  daniel had found his way to the finishing chute so i gave a high five and then just ran down the finish chute.  once again i didnt hear them call out that i am an ironman (damn i will have to do another one !!). i was so excited to see my finish time and i didnt want to give up a second.  i was totally excited to look up and see 12.23.57. You fucking beauty !!!!  i ran a 4.54.45 marathon which was an improvement on last years 5.42.11.  this meant that i had improved on last year by almost 80 minutes. i really felt like i had won.

was it the training ?  did i have more miles in the legs ?  were the conditions overall easier ?  does experience count ?  probably yes to all of those variables.  but i think above all it is believing you can do it and having the determination to then do it.  everything is relative.  some people feel like they won just by finishing.  it is by exceeding your own goals and expectations that you will feel like a winner.


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