Tuesday, July 12, 2016

IM Austria 2016 - A Curates Egg

I swam, that was ok.  I rode and a bit of that was great and a bit sucked.  The sucky part of the ride meant there was little running but I found myself at the finish eventually so it all sort of worked out and I was actually pretty happy in the end.  There, thats my 'regular' race report.

With the regular narrative bit done, heres a more meaningful report  - for me at least.

The run up. 
 
After 8 months of sort of self training I realized I wasnt ready for an Ironman and wasnt going to be ready unless I changed something.  So I changed something, I spoke with Craig Percival, told him exactly where I was at, asked him to take me on but gave him the option to take a pass.  Thankfully Craig said yes and so I launched on 10 weeks of intense effort to get ready for a race I had been thinking of, but not taking seriously enough, for 12 months.

I say ten weeks but lets be realistic.  There was a week when we got settled in.  There were two weeks of taper at the back end.  Of the seven weeks left two were lightish recovery weeks.  So in other words, after 8 months of some pretty unfocussed training I was proposing to turn it all around with 5 long rides and runs. 10 hard swimming sessions.  10 intense mid week runs.  Its pretty frightening when you think of it like that isnt it?   But that the reality, and on the back of that I developed a race plan.

The Plan.

1.  I was actually feeling pretty good about the swim and looking back at previous races I reckoned I'd bludged a bit on this leg before.  So the plan was to push it a bit and set up the rest of my race with the chance of getting a PB.

2.  I had no idea where my ride was at so the plan here was to be conservative.  Spin up the hills, recover where necessary, make up time on the descents if I can.

3.  With Craig I'd been achieving great results with planned run/walk in training.  I was confident in the plan and frankly pretty certain that with this strategy would get me a PB for the run leg.

Put all that together and I was tentatively thinking I could go as quick as 12 hours if it went great, maybe out to 14.5 if it went really wrong.

The Result.

1.  The swim was a dream.  Just concentrated hard on form and while I never pressed hard I just focussed on keeping good cadence and maintaining feel.  A 1:08, a 2 minute PB in fresh water.  Loved it.

2.  The bike was ok in parts.  Started great, got a hit from another rider that screwed up my indexing and cost me my granny gears.  From around 60 to 120 km I had to grind up a couple of pretty nasty climbs, this cost me.  So a decent first lap, a dodgy second lap and 14 minutes stationary in bike service.

3.  Run, what run?  I actually felt pretty good in the beginning, I waved to Libby convinced I was going to nail it.  I was very, very wrong.  3 km in my left hammy cramped, then my right, then my quads.  So it was 39 km of improvising to squeeze what I could out of the race but really it was so frustrating that I didnt really get to show what I felt I was capable of.

The Lessons.

1.  There is more time for me in the swim.  A longer more serious training effort and some more optimistic placement at the start (so less time swimming over others) and sub 60 is possible.

2.  The attention grabbing bit of the ride was clearly the hit but the real lessons are in the strava data.  The plan was to keep my heart rate down, keep it sustainable, dont crawl but deliver my body to the marathon ready to run.  What actually happened was I spent 20% of the bike, 1 hour 17 minutes at threshold or above.  Yeah, the accident hurt me but I must be honest if I'm going to improve.  I wasnt strong enough and it cost me any chance of running well.

Whats next.

IM New Zealand is next.  This time I have 30 weeks, I have a coach and I'm going to lay it on the line and say publicly I have a goal.  

I reckon I can do the swim in 60 minutes.  I reckon I should do the bike in 5:30.  I plan to finish the marathon in 4:30.  Throw in transitions and some change and my target is 11:30.  Of course conditions on the day can plan havoc with this but thats my plan now.  Its 2.5 hours faster than I did Austria, 30 minutes faster than my PB at Busso but if I do the work I can do it.