Sunday, 27 March 2011

Officially entered 2011 Ironman World Championship, Hawaii + Final Scorcher

Ironman Hawaii - the gift that keeps giving.

Although I paid the money at Taupo I still had to register for the event, during a 10 day window, otherwise I'd miss my slot. Thankfully I remembered and just went through rego, so that's it I'm officially entered for the World Champs in October.

Now I just need to work out how to get the there. I think there may have to be a couple of flight fund raising sausage sizzles!!

I also raced the last Scorching (olympic) tri of the year today.  Pretty uneventful and certainly I was a little lacking in sparkle.  A super long swim (it was around 2k after the buouy drifted during the race) left me way back. Although I had a reasonable bike leg it should have been a couple of mins quicker.  Onto the run and I didn't feel bad, just a bit flat.  Probably the result of a lot of slow (Oxfam training) running over the last two weeks, including 2.5hrs yesterday and only 3 rides since Ironman.  5th place and 2:17 with a 30minute swim is what I expected.

It'll be great to get Oxfam 100k done in two weeks, have a little rest and get back into a routine.  I'm pretty excited about the shape I could have next year after a decent winter of work.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Oxfam Trailwalker 100k Run

As most of you know I like to do the odd endurance challenge for my own personal satisfaction.  Well for the first time in 8 years I'm doing something for others and asking for your support in the form of a few dollars sponsorship for my latest escapade.
A few months back one of my Ironman training buddies mentioned that she was a man short for her Oxfam 100 team.  I'd heard of the event but not given it much attention, when Deb told me the deal I couldn't say no.  The walk / run must be completed by all members of a four man team and it covers 100k weaving cross-country around Lake Taupo, central North Island, NZ.
So it is that in 3 weeks we'll be toeing the line for a 62 mile run.  Thankfully I've managed my aspirations (thanks team for getting me in check) and we'll not be going for any records, however we do hope to run as much as possible.  This is not an insignificant challenge, it's 2.5 marathons, off road, without a break.  Undoubtedly there will be tears, twisting, chaffing, swelling and all other unmentionable ailments you can and can't imagine.  True this is the stuff I do for fun, but I hope you'll agree it's worth a few of your dollars to know I am doing this for Oxfam and all the fantastic work they do around the world.  Every penny of your donation will go to helping those that need it the most.
I appreciate the timing of this isn't the best, there a lot of terrible things happening in the world at the moment and we are all torn on where to send our bit of help, but if you can spare a few dollars/pounds please do make a donation at our team page here; ) - note to the Poms: NZ$20 is about 10 quid.
Thank you in advance

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Finisher Pic

A classic shot.  One for the grand-kids...

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Ironan New Zealand 2011: HAWAII QUALIFICATION

Ironman New Zealand 2011

First time I’ve managed to get online properly for the weekend and even now I’m on a dongle in the car, so just a quick update.

Hopefully the tweets kept everyone posted on how yesterday went, but here’s a quick overview from my point of view.  

After the run collapse demons of last year I needed to go out and have a clean, level race and that’s exactly how it went.  The swim was good, a solid 56mins with no drama.  Quickest T1 of my AG and out onto the bike.  I felt fantastic on the bike and was able to ride within myself and still cruise through the field.  I got into a pace line of about 8 guys and we rolled through the first lap, picking up a few as we went.  When I checked the watch after the first lap I was on 2:25 for 90k.  Terrified I’d gone to hard (I rode 5:18 last year, so 4:50 seemed a bit eager!) I dropped off and rode almost the whole second lap on my own.  I eased my HR down under 140 and rolled through the rain.  I couldn’t stop smiling, it was just like I’d run through so many times in my head.  I kept thinking how the rain was upsetting everyone else and I was loving it -21 degrees and a bit of rain is a great days riding in the UK!!

I’d hope to hit T2 in 6hrs but wasn’t disappointed to have slipped back to just 6:04 but I needed the confidence that easy lap on the bike gave me.  Another quick transition and out onto run.  Now I was danger zone with no idea if I’d collapse. I kept reminding myself the race doesn’t start until 10miles into the run so I took it super easy.  I let half a dozen guys (and Jo Lawn) run through me and I settled into 4:30 pace for a 3:10 ish marathon.  I hit the 10.5k turnaround and started to feel really good.  Running back into town with a bit of headwind I was in an incredible state, it just felt easy.  I was holding myself back at 20k – what a difference a year makes.  

Out onto the last 21k lap I took a body check and everything seemed ok.  The legs were tired but didn’t yet feel really damaged, I was still getting the fuel down me and I just needed to keep moving.  I think I negative split the 2nd and 3rd 10.5k’s.  I’d told myself I just had to get to the 31.5k turnaround and then it was so close to over it didn’t matter.  In the end it pretty much worked, k’s 30-35 were tough but I treated myself to loo stop at 32k just before the largest hill, a drag up to the airport, and new I”d feel great after that.  I lost 70secs but it made all the difference as I had a spring in my step as I hit the hill.  From there it was just holding on until 36k when I let myself go and gave everything I had left.  The last couple of k’s I got down to about 4:30 and I was killing it. That’s what 226k does to your legs I guess.

At no point did I have any idea where I was in my Age Group.  I was counting people at the turnarounds and I knew I was in about 50th place after 10k of the run, but I wasn’t able to spot who I was overtaking as everyones body marking had washed off in the rain.  I had it in my mind that 9:29 was good enough for a slot last year so I was pushing for sub 9:20 and just doing everything I could. Turns out I caught 6 guys on the run and just missed the 7th who finished 5th 8 seconds ahead – perhals I shouldn’t have been showboating on the finish line.

It was an anxious night last night as we didn’t know for sure how many Hawaii slots would be allocated in my age group.  In the end the pro-rata distribution ended up giving 6 slots to 30-34 age group and when we went to check the results this morning my name was in highlights! 

After nearly 4 years chasing this slot it was a pretty emotional moment and it’s still not really sunk in.  But I’ve paid my money, and got my certificate.  Funny, suddenly it seems so easy…

I’ll write again soon and will try to get some decent pictures online.

All that remains now is to work out how the hell I pay for this and how hard I want to train this NZ winter.

Thank you all so much for your on-going support I would not have achieved this without the friendship  and love of so many people. 

Thank you Laurence x

Friday, 4 March 2011

Rhythm and Flow

For me the highlight of last nights pasta party and race briefing was the local Maori Kapa Haka group - this year they had time for a decent performance and the group leader finished with a blessing for all athletes.  As well as wishing that our paths were as smooth as greenstone (love that) he also hoped that we would find our own rhythm and flow to take us through our journey.

For me these two words have a lot of harmony with the on-going advice from Dave Parry and the mental preparation I try to adopt coming into an Ironman.  Don’t fight it, find your own race, accept there will be some suffering, but that it will be temporary.  

As much as I would love to be blasé about the event, unfortunately it’s not in my nature and I find the week prior takes a great deal of emotional energy.   As with my last 2 or 3 Ironman races I have done what I can to simplify life leading to the race day and prepare as much in advance so I’m not wasting anxious energy this week.  After a busy few days I was able to get out of work on Tuesday night and we got up to Taupo in good time Wednesday lunchtime.  Mel and I have rented a house from some friends about 3miles south of town, its quiet and away from the Ironman circus.  

Apart from requisite registration and briefing, etc. and a quick emergency tubular purchase (after all the rear wheel drama last week my front popped on Weds) we’ve been holed up out of town. 
I rode the bike into town earlier today to drop it off and it feels incredible.  The new 1080, two new tyres, new bar tape and a service at Capital (thanks Paul, Mike and the team) and she feels better than new.  I don’t think I’ve been this comfortable on my race bike before, it’ll be another story after 5hrs aero tomorrow, but having confidence in the bike is half of the battle.

The forecast for tomorrow isn’t ideal.  Looks like northerlies and heavy rain.  That should mean a flat swim, a tailwind back to town each of the two laps of the bike and a headwind back to town each of the two laps on the run.   Apart from the heightened chance of a flat in the rain it makes little difference, it’s always (very) windy in Wellington so I’m used to a bit of wind and as a Pom I must be happier in the rain than most of these fair weather antipodeans!!

As always I received some sage advice from Mr Parry this morning; play the long game, remember the race doesn’t start until 10miles in the marathon and that then it’s going to hurt.  Unlike last year, I’m going in with suitable respect for the distance and I’m prepared to suffer to realise my goal.  I must remember to separate the emotional response from my physical condition and not fight the pain as it’ll be over shortly (the quicker I go the sooner it will be over!).

All to do now is try to get some rest and get out there. I can’t wait.

Mel is going to try and get some tweets onto the feed (on the right) and as always you can track on the athlete tracker at (I’m number 406).  Thank you all for your support over the last few months (years) and the messages this week.  I’ll update as soon as I can with results…