Ironman New Zealand 18 hours to go

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It’s been a great week. After our phenomenal meal at the Aero Restaurant at the Park Royal Hotel outside the Melbourne Intl Airport, we boarded our 10:50PM flight and barely slept at all on the 3 hour flight to Auckland. We were upgraded to a BMW X3 and drove down to Taupo. Since it was early we drove the bike course to Reporoa at the turn around and then hit up the foodstore. We finally arrived at Reef Resort Hotel, a luxurious hotel with a partial balcony view of Lake Taupo. The 1 bdrm studio was a great size with a spa-tub in the bathroom.

After spending more than 2 hours putting Fiona’s new Giant AVOW Pro back together we did our 4th and final Brick. A 1hr40min ride with 1hr15min at race pace the power was 267NP for the whole piece on course. This was my best bike ride since Peak 2, Brick 2 leading into Kona, 5 months ago. I followed it up with a 30min run at race intensity on 7:07/mile or 4:25/km running from our hotel, along the course, and to Transition. It was the fastest non-treadmill run since Brick 4 leading into Ironman Cairns.

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On Monday, a complete rest day, we picked up teammate Duncan Rogers and drove 2 hours to Waitomo and went Black River Cave Rafting. These tunnels, made out of limestone over the last 30 million years were discovered only 100 years ago. We climbed up internal waterfalls in a wetsuit with helmet and booties on and jumped off waterfalls into moving rivers. Looking up in the complete darkness were thousands of blue-glow worms. Then, we went on the glowworm tour and were pulled along in a big boat, again looking up at the colors of these interesting creatures.

On Tuesday with 4 days go to, we grabbed teammate Mark Russell. All 4 of us are registered under Alice Springs Triathlon Club and will be representing the club with Fi and I wearing Australian Tri-suits. We’ll see if we get a team award for our performance like we did at Ironman Australia and Ironman Western Australia. I coached our team into our swim/bike/run on the day using Joe Friel’s book Your Best Triathlon and swim Coach Robbo: 27min swim/1200meters, 55min bike on course with 90second efforts, and a 30min Brick. We grabbed Duncan as this was his first time out of Australia and had a Sushi picnic along the banks of Lake Rotorua.

Wednesday another swim/bike/run: 16min swim, 39min bike, 20min run.  Then we went to New Zealand River Jet Boat and felt the rush of a boat with 2 Chevy V8 engines producing 700 horsepower along 3 inches of water. 360 turns and passing by trees and rocks at 60KPH was awesome. We also did a combo-deal and enjoyed an hour walking around impressive Geo-Thermals off the beaten track with boiling mud pools, geysers, sulfur stench, silica deposits, and rivers of boiling water formed 20,000 years ago. We joined Mark’s wife Carrie for an incredible Thai dinner and really united as a team.

We joined our friend Barney who is Maori and had lived in Alice Springs on another day of full rest. He introduced us to some of his Maori teammates at a well known café. We went to the AWA check-in, and at the briefing I had the pleasure of running into Ted, a fellow Ironman athlete and blogger that I have been following for some time now. We also ran into our friends Jo and Pete Coombe who had come to our wedding and then cheered us on in Kona in October. (They are founders of http://wheelscience-int.com/).  We organized our gear bags and then enjoyed a culture show at the Welcome Function seeing Cameron Brown, Meredith Kessler, and Mike Rielley. We then enjoyed some icecream over the sunset and on the day I consumed between 4,000-5,000 calories in our carbo-loading adventures: 8 LCMs, 1 Powerade, 2 Eggs, 1 Serv French Toast, 1 package of Starburst Snakes, 1 package of Starburst mixed berries, 4 pieces of toast, 2 Weight Watchers lime, coriander, and fish plates (Fi didn’t like it), 2 plates at the carbo-load dinner and a 2.25 liter bottle of Sprite.

Check-In Day arrived! Our team met at the swim turn around at 7AM for a 17min swim. Fi and I then did a 31min bike and 15min run. We checked in early and our spots are absolutely amazing. I’m 3 bikes down from the final row and directly across from the #5 Pro. Fiona is opposite me in the same row.

And now I come here continuing on with carbo-loading adventures. Dinner will be New Zealand Salmon and rice, and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

Tomorrow Fiona and I get to compete in the most grueling single day endurance event in the world. A test of what you are really made of. This will be my 10th, Fiona’s 9th, and Mark and Duncan’s 1st. We’ve had a very relaxed and laid-back approach in the week, knowing what is coming tomorrow. And it has been rewarding once again joining a crew like we have had at Cairns, Geelong, Busselton, Kona, and now Taupo. However, that isn’t to say that I’m not focused on my race. The season started out aggressive and it took its toll. But the last month has been fantastic and my confidence is high. Tomorrow I am going to push harder than I ever have before with a higher intensity, pushing that HR and going for it. Tomorrow, I am planning on Acknowledging, Accepting, and Applying myself. And, when I get to that run, I’m going to do what I did at Challenge Wanaka 2012. The reason for the runner tattoo on the back of my calf where I ran just in front of Chris McCormack for 7km (his 2nd lap of course). “I am gunna keep on running. I’m not gunna stop. I’m gunna find a way.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0V4mDijc20  I am going to swim sub 55minutes. I am going to bike sub 5 hours. And I am going to run Personal Best with a sub 3:26 marathon. There are some phenomenal athletes in the male 30-34 age group, with one other that was in Kona last year with me from Team Every Man Jack. There are some first timer Ironman athletes with very fast 70.3’s, and some other quality guys. My goal is top 5 and I hope to get one of the 3 Kona spots through roll-down. But, it’s easy to say this. Now I have to live the belief I have in myself and transform my Passion and Love into power and speed. If I am able to do what I say I am going to do, crossing that finishing line will finally give me all the emotion I have been craving since I began this Ironman Journey 5 years ago. Anything is Possible.

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