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Carlito's Race Report Ironman France - oops a bit long

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Joined: 28 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:18 pm    Post subject: Carlito's Race Report Ironman France - oops a bit long Reply with quote

Well we got to Nice on the Thursday evening after everything went smoothly with our flight. Our apartment was 10-15 min walk from start finish which was fine for race day.

Friday and Saturday was spent doing the usual pre race prep - registration, buying CO2s at a ridiculous price, and racking. Even though the queue seemed huge to rack the bikes it did progress rather quickly. Sadly we were on our feet more than planned on the Saturday.

We got to bed around 10pm on the Sat but I can't say that I slept much. Fiona and I both set our alarms for 3:30am so that I could have my breakfast early enough.
Our alarms went off at the right time but to our surprise GeordieM and his other half were already up. Our alarms went off at 3:30am UK time. Shocked

Well I had breakfast a bit quicker than planned and we set off down to transition a bit after 5am. Had the usual faff there and then off to the swim start.

It has to be said that on the Saturday afternoon the weather was mixed with some splatters of rain. And my thoughts were: That would be ideal for race day.

The day dawned with a cloudless sky and no wind. It looked like it was going to be very hot.
I joined the swim start pen for the sub 70min group and the masses standing there were just awesome but it was also clear that the swim would be mayhem with 2500 competitors.


After the early bashing I got a good rythmn and headed for the first buoy which was around 1000m out to sea. No issues turning round the outer three buoys. Even though I never really saw the buoys until I got quite close I never appeared to be much off target either. We returned back to shore after 2400m to then head out for another shorter loop of 1400 m. I glanced at my watch and noticed it had stopped. Ah well, we will have to wait until the swim finish to see how we did.

I felt good all the way through the swim and finished in just over 79 min.
When I looked round T1 there seemed to be a lot of bikes still left which made me feel good about my swim too. There was a bit of disappointment too as I was targeting sub 70min but it wasn't an easy swim and looking at some comparative results post race made me feel that that was a good time.

Nothing major to report here except that it just takes long to get through.


Proceeding along the Promenade des Anglais I was overtaking lots of people who still seemed to be in warmup mode. I just wanted to get on with it at that point. Even though I hadn't drunk much by the first feed I got rid of my bottle and picked up a new one.
In the first 1.5 hours I was moving well through the field and stuck to my nutrition strategy. There was a short descent after around 40km before the long 20km climb started. Before the race I thought I would hardly used my 27 but I hardly got out of it all the way up the long ascent.

Since the start of the bike my stomach didn't really feel too happy but initially I stuck too my food strategy. Gradually I let it slip though and slowly moved to liquid nutrition only - Infinit and water. Even though lots of riders appeared to be overtaking me on the long climb I just stuck with a consistent pace and did my own thing. Once over the top and 70km completed I was expecting to get into cruising mode. Instead I went into take it easy mode and recover from the long climb. It was only when we started descending proper that I regained some enjoyment. My progress over the next 50 odd km didn't seem great.
I was also very aware that my nutrition intake was by no means helping towards a decent marathon. By the end of the bike I had only had half the gels and 2 out of the five half-bars that I had planned to have. The dodgy stomach wasn't getting any better.

Nonetheless the final descent was awesome and my time growing up in the Austrian Alps came back to me: I just let it fly passing lots of riders on the way down. Sadly I did pass one accident and really hope that not too much happened. Over the last 20km I tried to stay in front of a group of riders who were clearly drafting and I had no interest in having to drop all the way behind them. A race ref did come by them at one point and gave them a telling off.

I did find that the were too few referees out (which is one of the few points I do have to criticise of this race even though it isn't much of a drafting race compared to the likes of Germany and Austria), and some of the bunching up was inevitable.

With 10k to go that group had split up somewhat and I was taking it easy over the last few km. I was hot, I was exhausted and thinking of ways to pull out of the race, and somehow I just didn't feel right.

Nonetheless looking back at the bike leg I reckon I did better than I feel I did. I overtook nearly 500 riders and at around 6:14 bike time on that course I have to be happy with that.



When I got into T2 I tried to go to the toilet first and then I took several minutes to recompose myself drinking cups of water and taking things easy.



Knowing the state I was in I headed out onto the run very conservatively what seemed like a slow jog. I ran through the showers fully aware of the blister risk (nothing happened). The water evaprated within minutes and I was bone dry again. I walked through the feed stations from the start and used water and coke (where I could stomach it). I had a fuel belt strapped round me but decided half way into the first lap that it would only be excess weight.

When I passed Fiona for the first time I left the fuel belt with her. She could tell I wasn't in a good state. My walking through the aid stations worked so far but I was slow and I wasn't giving my body enough energy to run faster. I even struggled to drink the water or coke, I just had little sips of them and gradually finished the cup.
Runners seemed to pass me all over the place.

I was hoping to race GeordieM and after both swim and bike there were only around 15min between us. After the first lap of the run that race was off.

A number of times I just wanted to step off but I would only have done that at the far end of the course. At the same time I didn't want to end up like many of those that appeared to be lying on the grass trying to regain some strength or other who were being treated in the medical tents.
I at least wanted to finish, and if I would walk.

Into lap to and I was still running/shuffling and walking through the aid stations. Even though we were running the same endless stretch of road eight times it seemed to help that I could tick the race off in chunks of 5km. But the were long 5kms. My condition hadn't improved and my legs were starting to feel it. Sadly by giving Fiona my fuel belt I had also given her my Ibuprofen. I wished I had them now. And the end of the 2nd lap I picked up my 2nd chouchou and thought: 2 laps to go, you will finish!
3km later I was walking ... I walked to the next feed station picked up a water and a coke, slowly sipped them while I walked on, recomposed myself and started running again.
And suddenly my stomach seemed to have settled. I finally RAN for the first time in this race. I ran back to start finished looking a lot happier, I picked up my last chouchou and headed back to the turnpoint overtaking lots of runners suddenly. Things started to look a whole lot rosier until about 5.5km to the finish. My legs hurt too much ... I started walking again. Evil or Very Mad I guess I walked for something just under 1km and during the walk decided to have a gel I still had on me.
I gave that a couple of minutes to hit the right spots and then "sprinted" for home ignoring the last 2 feed stations. My last 4.5km were a run for the finish. I wanted to finish with style even if I was over two hours away from the target I had set myself.
I overtook a fair number of people in those last few km and urged some on to run their last couple of km too. The moment I saw the 2km to the finish line I started another surge. Ah guy I was just overtaking at that point obviously had also spotted the sign and was planning to finish in style too.

I didn't let go, those last two km were mine. I never wanted to see that finish line more than in this race.

Run: 4:48:44

Overall: 12:39:25 and ranked 1403.

I was nearly defeated by the heat and the conditions on a brutal day. I am happy to have crossed that finish line. Twisted Evil What a beast of a race.

I hadn't given this race the respect it deserved prior to the race and learnt my lesson. One day I might race well in the heat.

So far at Germany, Austria, Monaco and here the heat NEARLY got the better of me on the run.

Well done to everyone else who had braved the conditions.

We then had a nice relaxing time in and around Nice for the following week which we topped off by going to watch Le Grand Depart in Monaco and we then saw Tour come past Nice airport (which was shut for 1 hour due to the race) before we flew home. Very Happy

Carlito Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done on getting round buddy, I wasn't expecting you to finish with the lead up to the race to be honest, so great result in the circumstances Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eeehhhh, carleeeeeeto Exclamation Cool
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice one Carlito! You staying in the UK for an IM next year then Wink copenhagen, perhaps???
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Carlito. It sounds as though you had to dig deep to keep going. It was a shame I didn't get to meet you, maybe the next race!?

Still, you have to cross the line to get a time, and you did it. Tu est un Ironman.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounded like a tough day Karl. I must admit when I first saw your time I knew you must have had problems. Sad

You mentioned you didn't give the race the respect it deserved ... does this mean you'll be going back to hit it again when fully prepared?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Carlito, well done for toughing it out.

As a fellow sufferer in hot conditions, I can recommend some cooler events Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something was def amiss there. Fine for the swim and bike but with your running background (lead-up over last 12-18months) you should have flown through the run without the 'issues'.
Oh well - you've got a lot more to come!
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done for toughing it out. Your day sounds remarkably similar to mine. I think I saw you a couple of times on the run course (I recognised the yellow IMA top). I was probably on the same train to Monaco with you too and we also watched the peleton whizz past Nice airport while we waited for our plane. Hopefully next time we're at the same race I'll get to talk to you Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations! Cool

Job done as they say.

IM France is definitely on my list of those to do.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats for toughin it out Cool
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Carlito, sounds like you toughed it out. Respect for beating a tough course Exclamation
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another excellent IM France report! Sounds like its pretty brutal on that run!!
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done mate
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