In large, Fiona and I have been self-coached IRONMAN athletes since 2012 when I competed in my first ever Ironman, in Cains, Australia. Upon taking second at Ironman Arizona and qualifying for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, last year, Fiona requested to defer Ironman Ireland to 2020 and transfer Ironman Australia to Cairns since the Asia Pacific Championship race would offer 80 spots to Kona. 2019 started off with me seeking out a 50KM and my first ever 50mile Ultra marathon to build strength for the season. We then continued on with 800meter repeats, 10min intervals at above race pace and rides up to 5hours and runs up to 20miles. During this time Fiona studied many late nights while finishing several uni courses to be certified as a Physical Therpaist in the USA. She also tried to balance working nearly 30hrs per week with a long commute. This season the key change was no lower body lifting to have better bike-run sessions. Core and flexibility were also very sparse to non-existent. We also ran almost exclusively in the Tucson heat vs treadmill runs of the past. All of this stress culminated in failed runs and excruciating pain for Fiona. From seeing what she could do, backing it off, accupuncture, chiro, and then Physio, Fi saw the same Doctor and Physio as Pros Lionel Sanders and Ben Hoffman resulting in an MRI of the same injury; Sacrum Stress Fracture deep inside the hips. 9 weeks off of running, Fi was out of Cairns and the opportunity to compete together at Ironmans biggest stage will have to wait to another year.
Fi and I would still venture to Cairns since our very close friends who are basically family, Chelsea would be competing in her 3rd IM as a single mother of 2 working part time. And Duncan would compete in his 6th IM while being the worlds best big brother to Chelsea, entrepreneur, and tradie.
Our other close friend who did Kona with Fi and I in 2016 would do the half taking 2nd in her division and share the day with her daughter Izzy in her 1st 70.3 while raising funds for a great cause. And Fis sister Jennifer would win the 3rd team event as the swimmer/cyclist.
We also had a friend Jeremy who would become an Ironman for the first time, we would be cheering on Mate and Pro Blake Kappler to his PB and 5th place finish, and see Fis former coach Sean Foster from MTC.
Of course there was Mom and Dad. Dad coming on only his 3rd ever plane trip.
Up at 3:45am. 2 pieces of toast, banana, medium redbull. Walk with Fi 15min to Shuttle to Palm Cove. Get to bike early at 5:00am. Garmin on, cleates clipped in with rubber band, 3 packs of clif shotbloks in bentobox, 2 bottles of powerade on bike. Air to 120psi. We found husband to Karen, Jock and Izzys bf and friends, then hung out at a coffee place watching the sun pierce through the palms of the ancient rainforest. Loo breaks and passed David Dellow wishing him luck into his 3rd place finish, Tim Van Berkel in to his 2nd place finish as well. We headed to the water, ate 1 pack of clif shot bloks 30min before and had some water lining up in the sub 1hr corral.
I saw FiFi right before heading in. And again, thankyou for your support sweetie! I know how much it must have sucked for you to watch us. Thanks to Mom and Dad for watching us all day long as well and Dad seeing my 1st IM, moms got a leg up on you with 12!
Prayers, stretches, and go.
Swim 3.8km 2.4miles 1:04:38, 32nd AG
I was excited for the swim but my last serious open water ocean swim was Cairns in 2017 when I went 1:02:49. The current was fair and the waves were normal. But remaining focused is tough without the blue line below your face for 25yards or 50meters. It was rough at the turn around heading fuether out and when i looked at my watch i saw “paused”. Shit. I pressed start assuming I lost 2min on the clock and knew sub 1hr wasnt going to happen. I did go faster due to the currents going 17:11, 16:49, 15:21 for the quarters and maintaining pace in the last quarter. Out of the water and not the High of sub 1 hour in AZ but I enjoyed the swim!! 2nd AG in Arizona to 32nd here just shows you the level of swimming down under. Americans generally have nothing on the Aussies in terms of swimming abilities!
I had a nice route through T1 and had good focus throughout and good aid support. I mounted bike and came quite close to the fence which drew some Whoas from the crowd.
Bike 180KM 5:08:04 21st AG 237NP 70%IF 247TSS
With tail wind up to Port Douglas I got there averaging 24.7MPH and the same segment was 58min up 1:05 back, 1:02 up, 1:13 back. The legs were already failing me. Initial thoughts are that my cadence was through the roof of 95 to 100 when it sits at 85 to 87 on Zwift. Ultimately, with wind all over and humidity that must have been 90%+ due to droplets at times, it just wasnt my day. I am not entirely sure what happened but believe it could have been eating too much shit while travelling, too much walking in the days before the race. Tuesday was 13K steps of 6.5 miles including a 4mile run, Wednesday 16K steps of 9.4 miles incl 4.1mile run, Thursday 21K steps of 10.5miles, Friday 16K steps of 9.4 miles incl 3.7mile run, Saturday 9K steps of 4.4miles . Even with 2 days of full carboloading, i felt tired and that I didnt have energy cooking in the oven. (Usually when I carboload I can feel the glycogen pumped in my muscles). So my bike was pretty awful for me. At 1hr 20min there were points of no one in front or back and I would pick off someone every couple of min but by 3hrs with power dropping terribly i started getting past which rarely happens to me in an IM, and I DON’T LIKE IT. I kept up nutrition with 2 bottles of 4 cans of coke from special needs, 4 pieces of banana, 2 gels, 1 cliff bar, half another bar, and the bloks of maybe 2,000 calories but with the legs having no power I had the lowest effort in 6 years of 233NP. So, I was 15% below what I should have held based off of my training. The low point of the bike was when I passed a Pro Jessica Mitchell who I said Good Job to. 10min later she came past sitting on a guys wheel and then stayed there for 5min within a foot at times, and when he broke away she got right there looking back 5X within 2 min to make sure she wasnt caught for being the cheater she is. At the awards banquet she was the only female pro who wasnt there. That was so incredibly weak and it pissed me off with the 10man long train in front kept going that i dropped all 10, 5 min later with one push but couldnt keep it up with my shot legs. The key takeaway and positive could also be considered a negative. In the humid tropics my HR was solid at 132 avg and sitting at Tempo and threshold for long segments. It was clear that my body was quite stressed, tired, and I would be surprised if it wasnt fighting off some sickness.
When I came off the bike my left upper glute was quite tight and I was certainly imbalanced from being so tight on the bike. My Latissimus injury was OK but will bring yoga and all round strength to the Kona season. It was yuck at first but got inside, put my wattie singlet on and Drymax Socks and Altras on. I put 4 GU gels and an M&M tube with salt tablets in my tri shorts and took off. I was running OK around 7:40-8min miles and felt good. I knew I was well in back of my age group and enjoyed the day by not letting myself analyze any of what was going on, smiling the whole time running through the crowds, and knowing that I was going to be an Ironman today. I saw my family and friends and best friend FiFi. I felt good. It wasnt hot but humid and light drizzles at times and a few rainbows were out over the hundred million dollar yacht. On the first loop I had heard Sara True from the USA was running next to Sara Crowley. Then I came upon her sprawled out on the ground, out for the count. The 2nd way back she was sitting up and the paramedics were there. Then she was off to hospital, sad news.
I had a full can of redbull on loop 2, loop 3, and loop 4, ate gels every 3miles and had my earliest fart at 8 miles maybe.
By mile 21 i had to hit the loo just as I was cramping in my core really badly. 1min30sec lost and cramping solid for 3 miles. I know my digestive issues are now due to hydration levels. Which is why i had to go 4X in Kona. I drank lots of coke and electrolyte but it was a consistent bitch in my core and sucked. Finally it went away and I was able to run down the esplanade to hear Pete Murray and Tammi Barker call me an Ironman again representing USA and no stranger to the Ironman circuit.
I left quickly heading out to cheer in Duncan who I was able to run with for a few min during the marathon and Chelsea who had a tough going and still got it done with a legendary finish.
Next up is Kona. A couple weeks totally off and back to the gym. I would like to improve on my time in Kona. Its the World Championship, the best of the best; i would be proud to be my best. Stay tuned!