Setting my sights Tri

Countdown to IMNZ 09

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Ally Bally Bee    pirate
09/03/2009 at 02:17

My swim was a shocker. My goggles fogged up and I had trouble sighting the first stretch. I swam too far left and almost went straight into the golf hole in one pontoon instead of being at least 20m clear on its right. Then I tried to join a group but somehow ended up swimming diagonally through them and ended up at the buoys on the return leg of the swim! Finally found my bearings and reached the turning buoy. At this stage though I had a repeat of last year when I lost my cap, so I ended up swimming just over half of the swim with no cap. Sighting was better as I got a bit of water in my goggles (thanks to an elbow to the eye) and my fringe didn’t get in the way this year (got it cut just in case).

I got cramp in my left calf as I neared the final buoy, which sucked but I managed to get it straightened out before I reached the shore. I was gutted to see my swim time as 1:40 and that put me in a bad place before I’d even reached transition. I knew my time goals had already gone out of the window.

T1 was okay and then it was out to the bike. As I came through the T1 exit the clock said 1:36, then I realised they hadn’t reset the clock for age groupers at the swim exit. I was in a better place by then.

Ally Bally Bee    pirate
09/03/2009 at 02:18

The bike was as I expected – a long slog up the Napier turnoff and spinning in a low gear until I got out of town. I can’t remember much about the ride other than there were several times I wanted to throw in the towel and then there were moments where I was cruising and feeling quite good.

I don’t think I drank enough and I definitely didn’t eat as much as I should have and I would rue that decision on the run.

The last 45kms were hell, the wind kept changing. One minute I would be speeding along, then I would be fighting the wind. I contemplated walking the last hills but I knew deep down I could ride them, and I did. The wind had definitely picked up by the time I reached the downhill section on the way back to town. I was only going 36kmh downhill and pedalling, the previous time I had raced down at 49kmh.

I made it back to town just as Gina Ferguson crossed the line and started the run/walk.

Ally Bally Bee    pirate
09/03/2009 at 02:20

I almost burst into tears several times at the start of the run, I guess I was just so happy to have made it that far. I had a plan to count 100 running steps then 100 walking steps but the cheering crowds made me lose my place in my head! I managed to run a lot sooner than last year and settled into a rhythm. I decided to run all the downhills and some of the flats and walk the uphills. The weather was calm but about 6km in there was an almighty storm overhead which dumped bucket loads of water on us. There were rivers flowing down the road and my feet got soaked.

I knew Aanders was ahead of me and that Jaggy and Trogs were behind as I’d seen them on the bike course. Jaggy caught up with me just over half way through the run and we shuffled along together before going our separate ways. He was looking pretty good for someone who was almost pulled out of the swim. I was suffering in a space cadet kind of way, my head was spinning for the first half and I just wanted to crawl into a corner and go to sleep, but I knew I had to carry on – coke for 28kms of the run sorted me out).

The pirate kit drew lots of cheers and one guy said something about it not being crochet, so I corrected him there!

The run goes out of town and can get lonely but there were small pockets of supporters, some of them in fancy dress, some of them very drunk, but they all helped to keep your spirits high. I still managed to shuffle with 10km to go but by then I was restricted to running for just 60 steps as my knees were giving up on me.

Ally Bally Bee    pirate
09/03/2009 at 02:21

I power walked the last 5km but still managed to break into a little run every so often. Rounding the last corner was awesome. I have no idea what music they were playing and I don’t know what Mike Reilly said as I crossed the line but I have never been so pleased to finish.

My feet are very sore, particularly at the top of my instep, I have a couple of blisters, a bit of sunburn and chafing and I can barely walk but I have a smile so wide you could probably see it from space.

I won’t be coming back to Ironman though, at least not for a couple of years. Next year I’m going to do two half ironmen races (Rotorua in December and Wanaka in January) which are both hilly and in spectacular settings. I’ll be back to support though.

Thanks for all your words of encouragement on here, and thanks to the pirates who competed, it was good to see the yellow and black.

09/03/2009 at 02:49

Ally, your tale, like Jaggy's before you is incredible.

How you guys dig that deep when the going is so tough, and push on after such an endurance, I can't imagine, the title "Ironman" (and woman, of course) is well deserved.

We watched the progress of "The Pirates" on the video link, when the transmission, poor camera work and pretty poor interviewing would allow, and it was an amazing spectacle, a very emotional journey to observe, let alone attempt! You guys are an inspiration.

All credit to you, a fantastic achievement.

Thank you for sharing.

D74
09/03/2009 at 06:33

Well done Ally. 

I'm impressed you did back to back IM, it's way too hard mentally for me, hence taking a year or so out between them.  So next years plan sounds great, lets you work on some speed and qualify for  the worlds if you want.  Really, once you get past sub10 hour finishes then it's all about the journey and not the time.  So glad you enjoyed it (well afterwards at least!), and make sure you enjoy a decent bit of down time before you start training for next year.  You'll be all the better for a months total break. 

Trogs    pirate
09/03/2009 at 11:02

Evening/morning all.

I AM AN IRONMAN

Safely back in Auckland now and have just read back through the thread. 

Thanks for all your support.  The thought of you all 'watching' plus the support from Aanders, Ally, Jaggy, Jellybabe and Dave and almost the entire population of Taupo on the course certainly helped keep me going when it got tough.  Not forgetting my own personal support team who went above and beyond normal sherpa duties.

It was an amazing if long day. 

I'll post a full report tomorrow but for now suffice to say I enjoyed the swim, the run and 5/8 of the bike.

Wine's run out; time for bed

PSC    pirate
09/03/2009 at 11:12
Well done everyone - particulary you Trog (as I actually know you in the real world)!!!  A fantastic achievement - lifelong bragging rights hey?    I look forward to your report, and will now read back to catch up on those already posted. 
IronMelissa    pirate
09/03/2009 at 11:31

Great reports Jaggy and Ally - you really brought it all back for me. I do believe I'd like to do New Zealand one day...

Looking forward to your report too Trog.

Bionic Ironwolf    pirate
09/03/2009 at 11:42

great reports guys - hi Ally, good to see you're still going strong.

well done all of you - and lol again at your knitting comment to the doc, Jaggy! It's my mantra when I'm out training and things are getting tough.

YOU ARE ALL IRONMEN/WOMEN!

 

Trogs    pirate
10/03/2009 at 07:32
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So here’s the promised report.  I’ll apologise and warn you in advance, it’s a bit rambling and far too long.  Writing has never been a strong point and this is more of a self-indulgent reflection on the whole experience than a straight report, so you may want to get the kettle on or open a bottle of wine/beer before settling down to read on or just skip straight to part 4 for the actual race bit. 

First a little preamble.  I’d toyed with the idea of attempting an Ironman off and on for a couple of years, mostly fired up by the annual Pirate outing and subsequent reports, but had always wimped out not believing I had the discipline to actually do the required training.  However, personal matters in late 2007/08 gave me the need of a challenge to provide purpose and focus and, if I’m honest, distraction from other issues.

The choice of IMNZ was a relatively easy one.  Both of my oldest friends and their families now live in NZ so a good excuse to visit them but also, with just one try-a-tri event to my name, I could spend the 08 tri season building up to a middle distance to assess the likelihood of success at the full distance before committing.  Not the true Pirate way maybe but better for me.  As it happens, I got overtaken by enthusiasm fairly early in the year and actually entered and made my travel arrangements in about June so there could be no going back.

Edited: 10/03/2009 at 07:33
Trogs    pirate
10/03/2009 at 07:35
Oh pooh.  Looks like I've got the same problem Jaggy had with his cut and paste.
Trogs    pirate
10/03/2009 at 07:36
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I arrived in NZ knowing that the bike was going to be the most challenging part of the day for me.  My longest ride had only been about 70 miles and 6.5hrs.  However, a couple of rides in the warm NZ sunshine boosted my confidence – it’s so much easier to ride without needing multiple layers to keep you warm.

We went down to Taupo on the Tuesday and since the course profile suggested the worst of the hills were on the loop around the town, I took the time to ride that on arrival and found them quite tame by comparison to some of the Surrey Hills – a further boost to confidence.  I also had a little swim in the lake which is crystal clear and warmer than any OW swim I’ve done at home.

It was great to meet up with Jaggy on the Wednesday evening for a meal and Aanders and Ally and their sherpas at the carbo party on Thursday.  I’ve already reported on how long it took me to decide my bags were ready to hand in on Friday so no need to repeat that detail.  After check in I made a late decision to drive the rural out and back bit of  the bike course and I’m very glad I did.  It’s about 35k to the turnaround at Reperoa; mostly long straight stretches with some gentle undulations, so nothing really demanding.  When I drove past a large sign saying “Welcome to Reperoa” I thought, ‘that’s not to too bad then’.  However, it wasn’t till I’d traveled several miles further on and came across another sign “Reperora Dairy 5k” (dairy being kiwi for a small general store) that I realized that the first one must have been for the district.  I think I would’ve found that quite demoralizing on the day had I been unaware
Trogs    pirate
10/03/2009 at 07:40
The weather forecast for Saturday suggested a damp start, brightening later.  I slept better than expected and woke at about 03.45.  A bit early but I was definitely awake so thought I might as well get up.  Was surprised to find a little black Siamese type cat had found it’s way into the house overnight which I took as a good omen.  Outside to check the weather – dry, warm, slight breeze and 5/8 cloud cover, so looking good.  Forced down breakfast, (not easy at that time in the morning!) then faffed about making up energy drinks bottles before waking my driver to take me down to the start.  Did all the normal stuff like checking the bike, loading drinks bottles etc and still had loads of time to spare.  Wandered around a bit, bumped into Jaggy and Aanders then decided I might as well join the portaloo queue more to pass the time than actual need.  There were only 6-8 people in front of me but I don’t know what they were all doing, it took about 20 minutes before it was my turn!  By this time it was 0620 so, business done I donned the wettie and headed for the start.   Got to the beach just as the elite field set off and almost immediately met Ally and Aanders.  Last minute good wishes then into the water to await the off.  I was actually feeling strangely calm – I think my brain may have gone into survival mode and just shutdown all unnecessary functions including emotion
Edited: 10/03/2009 at 07:41
Trogs    pirate
10/03/2009 at 07:44
The swim – predicted time 1:30

This bit I was confident about.  Plan was to start at the back to keep away from the rough stuff, tuck in behind a group or individual and follow them keeping to a steady pace.  And it all went pretty much according to plan.  Passed a few even slower starters early on and quickly settled into a steady rhythm. 

The clarity of the water is such that you could easily see the bottom and after a few hundred metres I started noticing what looked like white marbles scattered on the lake floor. I couldn’t work out what they might be and, at the time, thought they must be eggs of some sort.  It wasn’t until mentioning them at Pirate breakfast on Sunday I realized they were actually golf balls from the ‘hole in one’range.  It hadn’t occurred to me that the apparent small size was actually due to the depth of the water; it was so clear it felt like it was only a few feet deep. Anyway, wondering about them occupied my mind for sufficiently long for me to have vered towards the shoreline so got mind back on the job and headed back towards the nearest group on the proper line and stuck with them. 

Edited: 10/03/2009 at 07:45
Trogs    pirate
10/03/2009 at 07:48
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Next distraction was shortly after the first turn where there were a pair of divers floating on the bottom watching race progress from below.  Still feeling good, the return leg was steady and uneventful.  A third diver appeared below me and waved so I waved back and grinned which was a mistake cos it broke the seal on my goggles so I had to pause briefly to empty them out.  When the ‘eggs’ started to reappear I knew there wasn’t far to go.  Round the final buoy and 200m to the shore feeling really good.  I didn’t notice the clock at the exit cos I was distracted by my friends yelling at me – I was dead impressed they’d recognized me before I’d even got the hat and goggles off. ‘Dead on time’one of them shouted which was good to hear.  Gentle jog to the steps (very antisocial) and into T1.  Pleased to see quite a few bikes still in place as I headed for the changing tent. 

My priority was to make sure I was completely comfortable before setting out on the bike so took time for a complete change into dry kit with the help of the excellent support crew.  They decided I wouldn’t need the waterproof jacket I’d put in the bag just in case so the only decision I had to make was whether to wear the gilet.  Decided cycle top and armies would be quite sufficient and I was ready to go.

Actual swim time -1:29:33   T1 – 13:35

Edited: 10/03/2009 at 07:50
seren nos yn canu    pirate
10/03/2009 at 07:52
great reading so far.................got to go our for my run.............will eagerely await the next instalment for when I return.
Trogs    pirate
10/03/2009 at 07:55
The bike – predicted time 8:00
The bike started well.  Nice 3k along the main drag to the bottom of first climb.  Saw some of my team plus Mrs and Minisnog half way up, comfortably to the top and onto the long first out leg.  Was quite pleased to find slight headwind as it meant a following wind home, I just hoped that it wouldn’t shift or strengthen.  Not a lot remarkable about the first lap; my supporters kept driving by then stopping – until they got turned around at the ‘residents only’ block.  My glutes were complaining intermittently which they’ve never done before but it was easy enough to stretch them out and after a while they seemed to settle down.  The leaders flashed by coming the other way, followed at various intervals by Aanders and Ally both looking good.  Was surprised not to see Jaggy and thought I must’ve missed him.  Even more surprised when he hailed me from behind before cruising by explaining about his ’mare of a swim.  The odd shower kept temperatures down saw the others again as I headed back towards town; also got passed by the race leaders on their way to T2.  The last 5 miles or so of the lap was the best bit – long swooping downhills most of the way, sweeping you into town and back along the main drag again.  At the half way point I reckon I was pretty much dead on schedule, possibly even slightly ahead, so back out of town feeling good.

Slightly different route out onto road to Reperoa included an extra little hill.  The sun came out so when I got back on the flat I tried to take my armies off without first removing my gloves.  Not a good idea!  I only narrowly avoided ending up in the ditch.  Got that sorted and on I went.  I was carrying a concentrated gloop of High 5 drink to add to aerobottle with water as I went.  Somehow I managed to put in about twice as much gloop as needed so couldn’t dilute it enough to make it drinkable and had to resort to a sip from the profile bottle, washed down with water from frame bottle which broke my rhythm somewhat.  I was so focused on the plan to take only water from the feed stations that it didn’t occur to me to just switch to the on course energy drink which I’d tried earlier in the week and found quite palatable.
Edited: 10/03/2009 at 07:59
Trogs    pirate
10/03/2009 at 07:58
Ah, problem solved.  Report saved as text document and copied from that instead
D74
10/03/2009 at 08:01
Ah yes, the 'false' district sign - caught me out on lap two  Also hated beyond  belief that extra loop thing, really demoralising being with a few top agegroupers on teh way to the finish of the bike only to have to peel off and climb up the hill I'd just cycled down.
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