Apologies for the delay and putting up this race report, I caught a bad virus leading into the race and haven’t been able to shake it since.
Firstly, taken out of context there is no doubt that 4hr22min is a poor result for my standards even in those conditions however knowing the circumstances that led to that performance and how I dealt with them on the day I am still taking a good level of satisfaction, confidence and positives from the day.
Following the birth of my first born new son Elijah it took me a longer than I initially thought, to figure out how to balance working full time, spending quality time with my son and training sufficiently to compete in the professional field.
What made it especially challenging was the limited optimal times to train in the Townsville heat and humidity over the summer. I guess what was most noticeable was times when I would previously have been putting my feet up to recover after a long ride or such, I would be rushing to the supermarket or the shops to grab something for Kate or Elijah. This just needed some getting used too. It was not really until mid-January that I was finally able to complete a solid week of training I had set myself. This is certainly not a bad thing, I wanted this life and my life has even more meaning with my son in this world who I absolutely adore and would do anything for. I know many of you reading this have got families of your own and say yip welcome to the real world but this was new for me, a new challenge to work around to still get the results I wanted.
From mid January to really the week before Geelong, training went very well, across the three disciplines’ things just seemed to be coming together. Of course another month of training would be useful but at least I would be in some shape for Geelong. Everything ran to plan until the Friday evening, two days before race start when my throat started to get sore. Through my work with Maurice from Skilful Thinking I was able to put this out my mind and concentrate on making the most of race day.
The alarm went off at 5am, and I got into my race morning routine. 4x peanut butter toast and a coffee, my usual pre long course race breakfast. Was a little chilly, but I didn’t mind since being one of the larger build pro athletes even if I am based in tropical Townsville. I headed down to sort my transition, and all went fairly smoothly. I took my time and got everything sorted. My throat was particularly sore, but I chose to put that aside, there is nothing I can do for it at this stage.
The gun went off and with a mad dash from the beach start we were in the water before I knew it. I have made a habit of getting a fairly good start knowing my swim is normally a bit off the pace once we get going. The pace was pretty hot from the get go and I fell off the group around 600m. Perhaps my virus held me back or perhaps 4 months without racing had me a bit rusty. Either way I went into trying to hold a rhythm on my own. When I was racing as an age grouper I was always up there, but racing as a pro it’s a whole another level in the water. As I existed the water, I looked at my watch, 28minutes and was shocked, I had worked fairly hard in the water and thought I would have been quicker than that. Never the less I felt my biking was my strength at the moment so it didn’t stress too much.
As I jumped on the bike it took me a little longer than usual to get my feet in and tighten the boa wires. Must have been my frozen hands. Once in though I got away ok and hit my target power level fairly quickly. I felt pretty comfortable on the bike but did have a bit of flem from the virus that was affecting my breathing a little. As I sat on my power I was slowly pulling in a few other pros and when I got to the end of the first lap I saw a group of 4 or so just up ahead of me. I got a bit excited as I hadn’t been able to bridge up to a group as a pro as yet. I picked up the pace and as I was cornering a gust of wind came through which in combination with the wet road from the drizzle was just enough to send me sliding across the tarmac. I was gutted, as I felt I was really riding well and was getting myself back into the race. I managed to get up and back on my bike as quickly as I could but was in a bit of shock. The bike was still rideable but my watch strap had snapped and was gone for the race. Once I got myself back together, I rode through the technical part of the course through the park. I then attacked partly in anger with myself and I wanted to get myself back into the position I was before the crash. This never works but I mindlessly tried.
After a while I got my head back and went back to race power but the damage was probably done. At around 75-80km my power dropped off. If I didn’t have IMNZ coming up, perhaps I would taken the gamble and forced it up but I chose to stick to my perceived effort and not sabotage the run. On top of this I broke my concentration and spent a little longer than I should of, thinking about how I was going to run without a watch. I don’t think I have raced without a run watch for like 7 years or something. Wasted nervous energy which would not benefit my performance.
I got off the bike knowing my bike time would have been a good 5-10mins slower than it should have been and a bit unsure how to run without my watch. Being an engineer I am very much a numbers man and when I can’t measure I get uncomfortable. Catching Rick Swindale who had also had a rough day, in transition gave me someone to run with. I ran with him for first half of the run, and let the pace ease off. This was around the point where it started to feel uncomfortable and if I didn’t have Taupo in two weeks perhaps I would have buried myself here and gone with him but for me at that moment, I decided there wasn’t enough to gain at that point. I still ended up running a 1.24 which was solid but not at my usual run pace.
Result and after thoughts
So my time ended up at 4hr22min which as I mentioned earlier was probably a bit slower than my standards even in those tougher conditions but given how the day unfolded I am reasonably happy with my performance. The biggest take was that I don’t think it was necessary my fitness that let me down. Things happen on race day and you got to make the most of the situation, I think I did alright but perhaps I could have been even better. The absolute impact of the virus, I am not too sure although since the race it has got a lot worse and I have now had for almost a week.
With Taupo a week away I will race no matter what but might be a little underdone. I am still hoping to at least chase a course PB and even an overall pb but will see how everything plays out. I still have a big calendar ahead of me this year.
Thanks for continuing to follow my progress and I hope to catch up with some of you in Taupo. Bye for now.