Monday, 3 June 2013

Hawaii 70.3

It's been a great week here on the big island of Hawaii for Kim and I. It's such a nice place to chill out. Waikiki is like the Goldcoast - if you like that type of thing. . 

Today was race day in the Hawaii 70.3 or half ironman to the uninitiated. And probably like everyday here it turned out to be Hot, Humid and Windy. Nice if you are chilling but for an endurance athletes that grew up in Melbourne - a real challenge. 

So results. 17th in age group and 97 overall (2000 ish raced) so a great result. Probably enough to get to the world champs for 70.3 this year but with the big dance in Kona in October and the travel budget well and truly spent , I will wait for next year. 

The swim was surprising flat for such windy conditions so that went ok. 

The bike course had 40mph hour winds and total climbing of 900m ( that's like doing basin to sassafras 2.5 times). All that made or slow times - but competitive. Lesson for October is to do more training on Tri bike with cross winds. Scary stuff. 

The run sounds nice as it weaves its way around a golf course. Don't be fooled. Lots of inclines and some very steep. All well sheltered and well watered made it a steam bath. Hotter than I can handle and run fast. It turned into a bitumen road for 5kms and that was such a relief. Less humid and a breeze. Day probably hit 88degF or 32 for us normal folk. Its amazing where you can put ice. Under hat is great. Still I did manage to run some  guysdown . So the run was the slowest I have done a half marathon in - but for the day very competitive. 

So while it was the slowest I have done a 70.3 in, the result made up for it as the conditions on the day made for a slow day. 

Go Aussies. Crowie took out the men's race and Belinda took out the woman's for an Aussie double. 

Two days to chill out and shop some more before we head home. 

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Ironman Melbourne 2012

The inaugural Ironman Melbourne was a sensational race. Great course and fast times.
Yes it was not perfect organisation but I am sure next year will be better. A few teething problems will get sorted out.

Going into the race I was pumped. After racing Busso in December I had a few months of recovery and then get back into training. I love to train so the mental side of getting back to training is not a problem. The physical side was also good and I had no injuries. I seem to recovery fairly quickly. So overall I was in a good position. I hadn’t done lots of long rides or run but lots of moderate distance. OK moderate distance is say up to 100km on the bike and 20km runs.

I arrived in Melbourne on the Friday morning. I left Brisbane where it was a nice 21 degrees. Melbourne was a cold and windy 12 degrees. Horrible day but at least it wasn’t raining.
The Expo at St Kilda was sensational. One of the best I around. The welcome party was at the Palais Theatre and was a great evening.
My plan was a 10:45hr event. This was the first Ironman that I had a clear plan on times to hit.
  • 1:05hrs swim
  • 1:20hrs per 45km on the ride (5:20hr ride)
  • 4:00hr marathon
Race day the weather was nice and calm. Minimal wind and cool. OK cold and overcast at 12 degrees in the morning.
I drove to the St Kilda and caught the bus down to Frankston. The transition compound was well lit which made setting up nice and easy. This being my fourth Iron distance event I was feeling quite calm at the start line. Sat down and chatted to Belinda Grangers parents. (If you don’t know who Belinda is - she is a top ten pro rated triathlete)

The race started at 7:15 where as sunrise was 7:30. Yep it was dark and I only had tinted goggles - bad move. I couldn’t see a thing and there only a few buoys to sight off. I reckon I swam a lot further than I needed. Still it was an easy swim. Low heart rate, little contact with people, just a lazy cruse like any other training session.

I came out of the swim in 1:06hrs which is a bit slow for me by a few minutes. Transition was busy by this time and the area was quite small. Still it worked OK.

The bike course is along Eastlink Motorway which has the slickest road surface going. Sweet ride surface all of the way. Its not a flat ride but the rollers just make it interesting. Most of them are not steep enough to get out of the Aero position other than to stretch. The highlight is screaming down into the tunnel.
I love the sound of carbon wheels screaming through the tunnel at 65+km/hr. The tunnel is about 3-4 kms long so the climb out is not hard or too long.

I learnt from Ironman WA that even if I felt bad, keep going and work through it as I will feel better. Around the 80km mark I felt flat. Legs were heavy and my energy felt low. I refuelled took on some water and just kept moving. Yep about 30kms later I was back and pushing.
It was a cool day but I kept my self hydrated. It would seem to be very easy not to drink and end up dehydrated by the run. That’s not going to be good. So every 20minutes I reassess and ask myself
-             Do I need to drink?
-             Do I need to eat?
-             How are the muscles? Push harder or go easier?

And it seemed to work.

There was lots of drafting on the bike leg. Those that go around in a bunch – you are only cheating yourself – I am not racing you. Maybe there were too many competitors or not enough officials. I raced clean.

I completed the bike leg in just over 5 hours. Sweet – ahead of my plan by 20minutes and I felt good. I hadn’t seemed to go too fast as I felt OK.

The run is a point to point from Frankston to Melbourne following the old Melbourne marathon course. I had thought that I wouldn’t like this style of course but as I knew the course so well, it was actually very interesting. The crowds along the way were not huge but still OK. And the crowds are appreciated as they are a good distraction and motivation.

Aid stations every 2kms was also really good. Great organisation.

The run was amazing. I felt really OK. I just told myself to take it easy. Yep its hard when lots of people run past me but I know the pace I can do. I started off at low 5min/km pace with the plan to do 6min/km overall.

Lots of people run past. 200+ or so. I probably pass only 20 and of the people who finished before me less than 10 had slower marathon times.

The start of the run heads away from Melbourne – not a good feeling but probably better than going past the finish line at the end. This was a last minute change to the course route.

The first 21km was really good. I felt OK, ran through aid stations and I was on plan at 2hrs.

The second half of the marathon was always going to be hard. Hilly and I would be fatigued. And it was. I walked up the steep hills and started to walk the aid stations.
I kept it together to the 30km. Then it got mentally hard. That’s were the Ironman really starts for me. It felt like the wheels had come off my run. Lots of thoughts of “just walk” jumped into my head. The legs felt quite good but energy levels were low. I pushed to keep going. Kept asking myself – water, fuel?

The finish line was magic. Lots of people in a small area made it such a good feeling. It was great to see my family along the end section and after the finish line. Lots of other good supporters along the way cheering make it much easier for me. I did the last half of the marathon in 2:09 so given the hills almost an even split.

I crossed the line in 10:26 which is almost a 30min PB. Over the moon with the result.

Lessons for next time
  • When the going gets tough, keep moving and refuel. It will get easier!
  • Tinted goggles – not for dark starts
  • Use a run pacing watch
  • Keep pushing the last 10kms of the run.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Falls Creek Long Course Triathlon

What a great event Supersprint put on. A magic day was had on the mountain by all.

Falls creek is the touted as being the hardest long course Triathlon (2km swim, 80km bike and 20km run) in Australia. And now I have raced it I totally agree. A few points why Falls is hard

1.       Altitude. At 1600m its one of the best high altitude training venues in Australia. (Ok its not Everest but (due there is 83% Oxygen available as at sea level)
2.       Cold water – 16Degrees C.
- .       Cold Air temp – 7-12 Degrees C.
3.       Slow road surface
4.       Hilly bike course. I didn’t know my Tri bike had a small chain ring.
5.       Steep climbs on the run.
The event is still magic. The race is held on the Saturday and the weather gods smiled upon us. Cold but no rain and the roads were dry. Wet roads would have made it a very hard and dangerous course.

The swim is held in the dam near the village and the water is cold but very clean. They say not to warm up in the water before the race, but I think this is a mistake. I struggled about 400m into the swim after the shock of the cold water hit me. I got over it and had an alright swim (32min).

A note – take foot wear for between the transition and the water as my feet froze.

T1 was different from other events. Due to the cold I have never had to stop and put on full fingered gloves, arm warmers and a wind vest. With cold fingers this is not easy. Still my 3min T1 felt like it was the longest transition ever but was OK in the whole scheme of the race.

The bike course is a three lap testing course that has zero flat sections. The road surface is good but dead. The day put on spectacular views across the valley with clouds below. We were literally racing above the clouds.  The altitude made the hills even harder. What I lacked was time on the tri bike going up and down hills. The down hills made me nervous and slow while I didn’t feel comfortable out of the saddle going up them. Good learning for next time – practice in the hills on Tri bike. I should also have ridden the course as I was never really sure what was around the corner on the first lap.

The run course is mostly along the aqueduct trail which is a flat trail with a great surface. The exceptions is the loop that goes straight up and back in the middle. The footing of the hill loop was not great so slow up and slow down. Two laps of the course then up and over another hill to the finish line.

I conquered the course in just under 5hrs. Probably lost more time on the bike leg than I really wanted to – but still a great day of racing.

So if you are looking for a challenging race – give it a go – you will love it.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Ironman WA - 2011

Busso Ironman 2011

This was my third Ironman race after doing Busso and Cairns. Still the exciteme
nt and anticipation before the race was still as strong as the first race. Got to love this sport.

We arrived in Busso on the Wednesday before Sundays race. Time to get setup and makes sure everything is going well. We took the opportunity to do some snorkelling and other great activities. My stomach felt a bit queasy this week but didn’t think much of it.

Race day was going to be a hot one. 31 degrees was expected with a change some time. Race morning was a light breeze and nice flat water. Slight ripples but nothing like it had been a few days before. Got up at 3:30am in the morning to make sure I could eat and get myself set. The bike, running gear, and cycling gear were already in transition so I just need to take my swimming stuff and helmet.

The race started at 5:45am.. Way early but then it gets everyone home earlier.

I felt really good in the 3.8km swim. I just got into my long course rhythm (not that I have a short course one) and cruised the whole way. This kept the heart rate down and got me warmed up. Hit the shore in 1:04 so right on target. Same time as the last two races.

In transition you get a chair and a helper so it’s really good. They help getting your wetsuit off and pack all your stuff into your bag and hang it back up for you. Not like the short course vents where you do it all yourself.

The Busso bike course is flat 180km, 3 lap course. Very flat and some very exposed areas. The wind was starting to pick up on the way out which meant a head wind was building. I smoked along on the first lap feeling fairly good. By the end of the first lap or 60km mark my stomach decided that it really didn’t like something. I couldn’t stay in aero position for long, had trouble eating and drinking and felt very hot. This was the lowest point in the race as heading back into the head the wind, feeling like crap, really got me down. I tried to tell myself it would get better but at this point had 8 hours of racing to go. I really struggled this lap with good times and bad times. I couldn’t take on much food or I would hurl. Heading back into Busso there was lightning and rain. Strange day. At the end of lap two I still felt like crap and thoughts of quitting went through my head. No other Tri had been this hard. I struggled the first quarter of the third lap, recovered the second quarter and then felt back to my normal self by half way through. Tim to put the hammer down and I started to scream home. The same part of the course last lap was going 32km/hr down wind – now I cranked along at 44km/hr. It was great to be back on track after losing so much time. Then with 10kms to go I got a flat. Bugger. First flat ever in a Tri so not bad in 35ish events. It took me 5-6minutes to change tyres until I got back on the road.

At least I felt good enough to finish this baby now. My spirits were very high.

Hit T2 in 5:26hrs which isn’t a great time for me. I would have liked to be at least 10-15 minutes quicker. In T2 they take your bike from you as you run in. Another seat and put on the runners. Now just to cruise the 42.2kms , 4 laps home easy.

The first part to of the run take you up the main street. Half way up got a cramp in the hamstring. GOD could my day get worse – had to walk up through the crowds. The cramp was not bad and I kept walking and rubbing it. Luckily I got over it just after the main street and I could run again.

The day had got cooler which was a real relief. I felt really good and just kept up a nice even pace. I even felt like going faster but decided not to. Didn’t really want to cramp again. My the end of lap 1 the sun was coming out and it was starting to warm up again. Just now it was humid. By the end of lap 2 or the 22.1km mark it was hot and humid. 32Degrees and sweaty. Lots of ice under the cap helped. My lack of food on the bike didn’t seem to be taking a toll. Lap 3 ended and still felt good. Legs nicely turning over. Half way through the last lap my stomach decided again I should hurl. Walked it out

for a km or 2 and cruised home for a 4:22hr marathon. This was just faster than my best Ironman marathon.

Going down the finish chute makes it all worthwhile. High fives and cheering is amazing. I made it under the 11hr mark (10:59:33 – 277 place or 19% of field) to beat last years

Busso by 15minutes. 8 minutes down on Cairns but then its hard to compare courses let alone the days. After such a hard and hot day I was really happy to have such a good time. What makes it even better is to think I was going to pull out half way through the bike. After how bad I felt on the bike I am amazed at such a good time.

Thanks go to Kim, Lauren, Mary and Mikkey for coming along for support. Yep it really only takes one Ironman to change a light bulb. The world does revolve around us. See Ya Next Year.

Lessons learnt

1. Need a aero helmet with more vents.

2. Be careful with stomach issues.

3. Train more in the heat.

4. When it starts to go wrong, regroup and continue


16 Weeks to Melbourne.........

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Busselton Ironman

This is the most nervous before any race that I have ever been. The Geelong 70.3 (or half Ironman) I was concerned about getting my liquids and food right, but for the Ironman I was really nervous that I wouldn’t make it. Yep a real fear of not going the distance.


The day was perfect for us Victorians, low temperatures, some light rain on the bike and flat water.


The swim started at 5:45am and the water was flat. When you look at the Busso jetty it goes on for ever. When you are swimming along it, it doesn’t feel any shorter. Then you get to turn around and come back. Still after the first few hundred meters of washing machine swimming, I got settled in and had a good swim on my goal pace and hit the exit just over the hour.


The 180kms on the bike are flat at Busso. To start with there was very little wind but this picked up as the day went on. One stretch at the back of the Busso township was particularly wind swept. Three laps of 60kms I tried to just to hit my goal pace of around 34km/hr. Yep first lap was faster, 2-3 fairly even. Felt like I was going strongly and not flat out. Heart rate wasn’t high that’s for sure. Legs did feel the distance. Took on lots of drink, 10 Gels and bananas.


Hitting transition was a real shock. The great volunteers grabbed the bike and I was free to run to get changed. Legs felt like jelly. Grabbed my bag, change bike shoes for running shoes, took of the helmet and I was out of there.


On the run it really started to get hard. First few kms the knees hurt, the quads hurt the heart rate went up, it felt like 30km mark of a marathon not km one. Why am I doing this and how can I finish really went through my head.  Luckily the knee pain went away fairly quickly and heart rate went down. Took it slow and spent time walking through aid stations to make sure I had enough food and drink on board. The quads started to feel like they would cramp from time to time so I had to walk to stretch them every now and then. End of the first lap my spirits went up. Only three more to go. The crowd was great and lots of encouragement. Still lots of people ran past me. I mean lots of people.


The third lap was the hardest by a long shot my I got through it, yep slowly but I made it. Lap four I started to feel like I was getting some momentum with the run and spent much less time walking. Being on the home stretch really helped.


The run (yep a run) up the finishing chute with everyone yelling and high fives was sensational. To hit the line and be announce as an Ironman was a great feeling. After 11:17 hours I finally made the goal I had set myself 34weeks before hand.


Swim: 1:03

Ride:   5:20

Run :   4:45


So lessons I learnt:

1. Need to more brick sessions.

2. I don’t feel like I went too fast on the bike. Maybe more longer rides. Strengthen the quads for more endurance.

3. Self motivation on the run was low.

4. For the temperature, got the water and food about right.


So I will be back to do another. Busso 2011 here I come.




Monday, 20 September 2010

Sydney Marathon

The first race of the season is the Sydney Marathon. While it’s the first is was still important for me to make sure that I can race a Marathon will good form. The last marathon I raced two years ago didn’t go well. I went out too fast and really struggled all the way home. My goal for this race is to keep a steady pace from start to finish. 5:00min/km was my goal.


The day was nice and cool so great for racing. We stayed the night at the Marriott at Circular Quay so it was a quick train trip to the start line. A 40min wait in the park and then we were off. The first part of the run is my favorite as we go over the Sydney Harbor bridge.


My goal was to keep a steady pace. I kept it at about 4:40 pace even with people running past me. Yep very hard to do let someone run past. Not good for my ego or type A personality. I kept telling myself I would catch them latter. Some I did and others I didn’t. The runners that are really puffing before the 20km mark are going to suffer. You cant go flat out and hope to survive. I tried that last time and let me say – its doesn’t work.


I felt like I was running well. Stumbled about 18km  mark and right ankle felt sore but nothing major. Interestingly I can really feel the ankle two days after the race as being very stiff.


I was glad to hit the 25km mark and head back into the city. It was a good course as it went back through circular quay and out past the rocks before turning around and heading back to the Opera house.


So did I have to walk? My strategy is to walk the drink stations to take on board 2 or 3 drinks. This worked well and I really only needed to walk say half the length. It didn’t seem to cost to much time. I had to walk for about 50m at the 37km mark when there was a short but sharp rise. Bugger. Probably faster to walk anyways.


Very glad to see the 38km mark but also felt good. Left thigh was sore and right calf felt tight but still able to push and pass guys.


Came in on my goal at 3:27hrs or 4:54min/km. Right on target.


My Polar speed/cadence showed that I kept a nice even cadence of 91 the entire race. What changed was my stride length. It got shorter as the race went on. I kept a fairly even pace with the second half only 7mins longer than the fist.


So very happy with the result and now its rest/recover and get ready for the Melbourne Marathon in 3 weeks.


Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sydney Marathon

Loved the Sydney marathon last Sunday. Race went to plan and managed to keep a very similar pace from start to finish. Only 7 minutes slow down over the two halves. Hopefully I can recover in 3 weeks to back it up again for the Melbourne Marathon.



Monday, 9 August 2010

Its getting close - IRONMAN

With 16 weeks to go until my first Ironman the nerves are getting highly strung and the training is getting real. Its hard to believe that I entered this in January.


Recovering from a sore foot (probably Plantar Fasciitis) over he last 4 week, my run training has suffered. Yep its been hard cutting back the run training as its my weakest leg and the one I am most nervous about. I have lined up two marathons to do before the big day to hopefully give myself some confidence that I can go he distance. I have only done the one before and that was a lesson in pain. The Sydney Marathon is September 19th and the Melbourne Marathon on the 10th October. This gives me 6 weeks to recover 100% before BUSSO.


With some cold and wet weather finally hitting Melbourne the run and ride training has started to get miserable. If you go out for a run and forget the gloves you soon loose feeling in the finger. Even so I am getting in some great longer rides (160km through some nice hills) and 3kms swim sets. With my foot almost better also put in a good long run of 31kms on the weekend. Hard work but it felt great to be doing it.


I have come to the conclusion that the time spent training is a form of meditation. Meditation for me is you focus your mind on one single thought. If you clear you mind form all else, while still acknowledging it existence then you can meditate. In the process you can do a 3km swim set or run the 31kms. At the end of the session I find myself much more mentally read and clear headed.


Off to train some more for the Sydney Marathon….



Wednesday, 7 July 2010

20 weeks to go

With only 20 weeks to go until my first Ironman its starting to be crunch time. Gulp. I cant yet taste it but its certainly there.


My training plan moves from maintain to build base. This means increasing distances slowly. Mainly just in one area a week and start to build a better endurance base. Yep great intention.


I have to two big hurdle.

1. How to find the time

2. How not to get injured.


Time: I don’t work well on little sleep but I know I am going to have to burn the candle. I have tried to drag myself out of bed in the mornings with limited success. I now know I am going to have to get more serious. If I can add another swim to the week then it’s the first step.


Injury: Last year I kept myself fairly injury free. So far this year with increasing my base run load I am starting to feel some niggles. Sore calf, sore right foot and now a sore left foot. Hopefully I can work through it and get out the other side with an increase work load.


So that’s it for now.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Plan for Busso

The planning has started for my push for Busso. 32 weeks out and many questions till to answer.


What preparation should I do?

What type of taper do I need?

Can I race a 70.3 3 weeks before hand?

Can I race two Marathons before hand?


So the answer too many of these questions is really self dependant. How well do I recover? How do I need to Taper? And so on. As its my first Ironman the exact answers are not known so can only be taken from previous results. Its all so personal and what works for me might not work for you.


After the 2010 Geelong 70.3 I went and raced and ‘almost’ Olympic Distance Tri the next weekend and slaughtered my course PB. Recover was fairly quick it would seem. The week before the 70.3 I also raced a Sprint distance tri and kept up 10hrs of training a week. This I suppose is the best indication that I SHOULD be able to recover well from the 70.3 to go to Ironman. So you ask why do I want to do the 70.3 when the Ironman is my ‘A’ race. I have found over the last few years that I take some time to get my head back into racing. I can train all I want but without race time, I always feel I leave lots of time on the course. The 70.3 before hand will give me some race time but also let me fine tune my nutrition during an actual race.


I have only run one Marathon and that wasn’t pretty. Sydney 2008. It was by far the hardest race I have ever done. I was sick last year and didn’t run the Melbourne Marathon. So mentally I think I need to have at least one if not two marathons under the belt before Ironman. So my current plan is to do the Sydney Marathon 11 weeks out and then the Melbourne marathon 8 weeks out.


As for the training now I am just increasing my base loads with some big weeks in the three disciplines. After a few months of inconsistent swimming I am back to 6kms per week. Long rides are 160km (100miles) through the hills every second week or so. Long runs are 25km.


Normal weeks

Week 1, 6km swim, 50km run, 280km bike                  Bike Week

Week 2, 6km swim, 80km run, 150km bike                  Run Week

Week 3, 5 km swim, 40km run, 120km bike                 Rest week



Sunday, 21 March 2010

St Kilda Gatorade Race 6 - Third series place

It was the last race of the season and the stake for me was to hold onto third position in the series. Yep being consistent across 5 races means I can come in third. I haven’t cracked a top three finish yet but 4th and 5th are the norm.

The day was a cold start so got in the wet suit early. No rain but some gusty winds.

Being in third position in the series I was able to start in the championship wave that went just after the elites. I was looking forward to the clear roads and run paths. I was going to be different starting a swim with most of the guys faster than me. And that’s how it turned out. A much tougher start to the swim than normal as I couldn’t get myself a nice clear swim path until about the 300m mark. With the swim only 750m long not a good start.

I was feeling good before the race but when it started I felt flat. Hit the bike and couldn’t seem to get the heart rate up. Legs were working hard but not the heart rate. Run felt hard but still not real bite. The day was nice a cool for racing but the wind played a part.

Overall times were good – same as last year – so the feeling of flatness didn’t slow me down too much.

Had a good race and came in 5th for the day and an easy 3rd for the series. Yep very happy with that.


Sunday, 28 February 2010

BRW/NISSAN Corporate Triathlon

A cold windy day met the 5500 competitors for the Melbourne corporate triathlon. The good news is that de-hydration wouldn’t be a problem, the bad news is that the swim would be choppy.

This is the biggest event that I enter and we are told it’s the biggest triathlon in the world. 5500 bikes in the compound is impressive. The event is a three person relay where everyone does all three legs.

Going first in the three person relay and off 2 minutes, I was one of the first to leave. The swim in the corporate triathlon is one of the roughest in terms people swimming over each other that any other I go in. Still its only short and I got out near the front to stay out of trouble. Of course this means you just run over the wave in front. The run from the beach to the T1 is quite long and you can make up, or loose time if you are not careful. I took it at a sprint and went past even more guys from the wave before hand.

The bike leg is always my weapon and I love to hammer. Its good going early as the roads are quiet and safe. Tail wind on the way out and head wind on the way back to slog into. As the ride is only 10km long it means that I had to really focus on keeping the effort high. I know I have lost time where my head is not telling me push hard enough. See my Noosa 2009 report. I had a smooth ride. It’s a long run back into T2 from the dismount line and this takes a few minutes making it some of the longest T1&2 times of any triathlon.

I smashed my way though T2 and had no trouble finding my bike even though the compound is HUGE. My legs felt good and heart rate was high. Now it was just a matter of hitting the 4kms as fast and as hard as I could. Being near the front mean that the run course was empty. Only a few people I could see in front of me and I past a few and couldn’t catch others. The run felt really good and I was pleased I could muster some good speed.

I raced into the team transition are is met by the second person who took of at a run.

The event is huge and takes a lot of time investment for competitors. Bikes are put into the Transition the day before and you cant leave until the last person is off onto the run. I left home around 5:00am and got home around 12:30 on race day and all for a 42minute race.

Saying this it was still good fun and a good hit out to help with speed. I beat my time from last year by almost 4 minutes in a time of 42minutes. I improved almost 2 minutes in the swim as without the wetsuit last year I suffered, and almost one minute improvement on both the ride and run. Came in around 30-40th place overall. I will have to wait for the official ranking to know exactly.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Port Arlington Gatorade Triathlon Race 5, 2010

An overcast day met the arrival of the 700 or more Gatorade Triathletes at Port Arlington. A cool day that was perfect for racing. Some very light rain was around and the back end of the bike course there was some standing water, but not enough to be of any problems.

Swim 800m
Ride 26km
Run 8kms

As I have said in my previous articles on Port Arlington as a triathlon venue, it’s just superb. A great swim around the pier, a great single lap on the bike and the single lap run along the foreshore with a few ups to keep it interesting make it my favorite.

I was off 20minutes from the elites so had plenty of time to warm up. The further back you are from the elites the busier the roads and the run. Port Arlington is a good course as the roads are fairly wide and there is plenty of room on the run. The single lap on the bike also means that the roads are generally quiet.

My start strategy was to follow one of the guys that swim faster than me. If I could sit on his feat I might stay with him for awhile. Great plan I thought. I lined myself up beside him and we were off. That’s as close as I got, as the wade out before the swim meant we got separated and I never saw him again. Being back in the start (20mins) also means that I had to pass many people in the swim. I try to go around but its not always possible. The water was nice and flat so I hope that every one had a good swim.

After a good swim the run to transition is very short. Transition is bitumen which isn’t great on the feat. When you get on your bike, you first go straight up a sharp rise. This year I had remembered to get the bike in a low gear before I started. Fairly good transition and I hit the ride.

Last year I didn’t wear my wetsuit and had a slower swim but did save 30seconds in T1 compared to this year and also the year before. Overall its better to wear the wetsuit as you save more time that you loose in T1.

The ride is a single loop with a few rolling hills on the way back. Got into the aero position going up the first hill and put the hammer down. Passed lots ands lots of people but only one from my age group I think. There are a few corners but ones you can keep the speed up through. The rolling hills on the way back into town are good and if you power down them, and then use the momentum to power up the hills you can make up some good time. Go anaerobic near the top to keep the speed high seems to work. Short burst makes all the difference.

The hill that we go up at the start of the ride means that it’s a steep descent into T2. I am used to the carbon wheels now and took the hill much faster. Last year this was the second race on carbon wheels and I was very nervous of the descent. Carbon wheels feel different to stop but you get used to them fairly quickly.

The race doesn’t attract as many competitors as the ones closer to Melbourne and the transition is much smaller. I don’t know why its not more popular as it’s a great venue and has been holding triathlons for 24 years now. Port Arlington is one of the oldest triathlon venues in OZ. I flew through T2 in a few seconds over 1 minute.

The run starts out by going up a flight of stairs. To you guys you went past me up the stairs – bad move. Use the first part of the run to get into a rhythm and not pushing. It climbs a bit more at the top of the stairs where I passed the step climbers again and got into my rhythm.

The day was fairly cool so drink stops were not of great importance for me. I has taken on 600ml on the bike so could miss the drinks. It felt good passing lots of people as my 70.3 last weekend where lots of people passed me. Was pleased to see the turn around point and headed back. I was fairly sure I was somewhere in 3-5 position in age group. Only three guys ran passed me and they were not in my age group. Ended off strongly and felt really good. I had a great day.

I completed the course in 1:29hrs which was almost 5min faster than last year. 2minuetes saved on the swim which I can put some of it down to the wetsuit and 3 minutes faster on the bike with a 38.25km/hr average. Run was almost exactly the same.

I am getting close to the podium position means that I stay for the ceremonies unlike previous years. Another race and I didn’t make the podium but with a 5min PB on the course was still stoked. Results show that I was 4th in age group and 60th overall.

That’s the last race of my three races in three weeks and I feel really good for them. Last week I did very little training as recovery from the Geelong 70.3 was more important. My next race is the BRW hit and giggle at the end of Feb.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Geelong 70.3 (Half Ironman)

The Geelong 70.3 or Half Ironman, as its probably better known, was held on Sunday and I raced it. This was my first 70.3. A 70.3 is a half ironman and is known as a 70.3 as its 70.3 miles.


SWIM: 1.9 km

RIDE: 90.1km

RUN: 21.1km (Half Marathon)

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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Commuting etiquette

Commuting etiquette on bike paths is that when you pass someone, whether it is a pedestrian, runner or another cyclist, you warn them that you are going to do so. A simple ding of the bell or call out will do. It’s simple and if you are the one being passed it’s appreciated so you don’t get the fright of your life.


Most days I cycle to work and ding my bell constantly. I sometimes run to work and today was one of them. Out of the 118 cyclists that passed me, 14 gave me a warning. Less than 15% could be bothered. That’s really poor. Just because you use a road bike to commute doesn’t mean you are exempt.


So please lift your game, enjoy the ride and be kind to fellow bike users. You never know when we might help you.


Sunday, 31 January 2010

Elwood Triathlon 2010 - Gatorade

Another great day of racing was enjoyed by all of the 1200 Gatorade and the 800 Brooks competitors on Sunday. The Elwood course is a great one and probably one I have race the most.


This time I woke to my alarm, didn’t have a flat tire on the bike and arrive to the course with plenty of time to spare. Much better than the last race.


The weather was going to be hot today. 37Deg C. Yep that’s hot. When I left home it was already 24DegC. The water temp was a nice 19.7DegC so wet suits were still allowed.


When its that hot in Melbourne it usually comes with strong winds. And Sunday was not exception. The winds picked up just before the race start and turned the dead flat bay swim into a more interesting one. Not really choppy but not flat either. It was the bike course that the wind would play the most part and the run when the heat would hit.


Strategy for hot windy days is to stay hydrated. Drink plenty before the race and on the bike and as much as you need on the run. Drinking on the run does slow you down but you cant really help it. The last Elwood race was so cold I didn’t need much fluid at all.


The start gave me two options. Start down wind and have an easier longer run/wade into the water or upwind and reduce the amount of fight into the wind/current. The elites seemed split on which was the best and I choose the downwind option. Came out of the swim in 7th Position in my age group so maybe it wasn’t the best move.


T1 was smooth for me and then hit the bike leg. Its only 20kms so you don’t really get long to settle down. The first 4kms or so you get into your rhythm and after that I start to drink. From T1 it was straight into a head wind. Side winds also made it interesting and there was a few riders down. Down wind of course was a hoot but not time to take the foot off the gas. Keep putting out the power in both direction is a lesson I have learnt before. I struggled to 32-34km/hr into the wind and 51-55 downwind.


You don’t really notice the heat until you get to the run. Yep hot and the push on the bike meant the heart rate was up. With only a 5km run, and the first half into the wind, it turned into a battle of wills and pain. Limited losses and got through OK.


The wind was strong enough to blow over the time clock, tables and lots more.


Overall it was a good race and I came in 54th overall (from 1200) and 4th in my age group. With almost three minutes to third – I cant see a podium finish just yet. Race time was slight slower than the last Elwood race but position was much better showing that it was a tough day.


Next race is next week and is the half Ironman.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Train smarter not harder

“Train smarter not harder”. I have heard this quote many times and have some thoughts of my own to add to the discussion when you relate it to Triathlons.


1. Yes its always good to be smarter but what does this really mean. We all would like to think we are doing it smarter.


2. Training smarter doesn’t mean you can skimp on endurance. In the end a Triathlon is an endurance event. You can train yourself for speed all you want but if you cant make the distance then its of no use.


3. Training smarter for me means to train to teach the body to recover better and be more use to higher outputs for longer. Do longer runs/rides/swims at an easier pace to build endurance and then to speed work, high output sessions, sprints, intervals etc at other times.


4. Don’t use this as an excuse to make training easier. I have heard this from many people that they “train smart” and don’t need the long runs. I think they miss the point.


5. Get the balance right between endurance, recovery sessions and speed but make sure you don’t forget in the end – ITS AN ENDURANCE EVENT.


6. I split my training into here basic groups


            1. Speed. Build on pure speed. Longer recovery between sets. Can push into the anaerobic region.

            2. Intervals to build recovery. High intensity intervals to build the body’s ability to recovery between sets. Shorter recovery time

            3. Endurance training. Longer sessions at lower intensity.


7. I am off the mixed opinion how much you can mix the three sessions above. Plan the week to maximize the gains that you need for each.


This of course is what works for me so I suggest that you find what works for you. You don’t need to pay for an expensive plan if you train smarter.