Joined: 23 Feb 2011
|Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:32 pm Post subject:
|This is quite long and a little bit boring but is meant as a thank you to all the posters that I have taken lots of essential advice from.........
...Ironman Austria report or more like the story that got me to austria
Im not one normally to write reports or tell people my feeling but since being a member of this forum the help advice and knowledge Ive gained from members and reading race reports I feel it is only right to tell my story in an attempt to possibly help others.
I am 47 year old northerner living on the south coast. As a kid I played all team sports and excelled at most of them and also competed at a high level in martial arts however I was strangely very poor at cross country running at school , I remember thinking at the time that this was strange as I was always the boy charging around the football pitch for the whole 90 minutes and on all circuit training I was always one of the quickest if not the quickest, I put this out of my mind because obviously long distance running was for losers and had no intention of ever doing it by choice!!!!
For reasons too complicated to go into I ended joining the army at 23yrs old and yet again my poor ability at running came to light again however this time being one of the backmarkers was not good for my street cred so I set about trying to alter that so I quite simply ran more and trained harder than others. It was still quite disheartening to see people that I knew didnt do any extra training quite happily jog past me without breaking sweat!! (bustards) however during this time I found out that actually I was quite strong minded and the longer I went the more I passed the racing snakes and I then got a taste for doing endurance events and expeditions.
To cut a long story short after 12 years in the forces I left and embarked on the next stage of my life which meant building a business and new home for my self and my young family, it was a bit of a relief not to have to train all the time and to be frank I quite enjoyed not having to do any fitness and I slid into the work dinner television bed routine for the next 12 years or so.
Although I was not doing any exercise I always was sort of careful what I ate so wasnt particularly overweight I also had bought a smiths weight machine for the garage so was in reasonable shape but had started to get a bit of a tummy so I decided to go to the Gym, after a couple of months of lifting weights I decided to do a bit of a warm up on the rower
I could not believe how unfit I was, I was panting like an old sheepdog after a couple of minutes
.AND SO IT BEGINS
I decided that I need to start running to keep fit but also to set myself a challenge to do as it would give me the extra motivation to keep it up, the only thing was what should I do?
I wasn't really interested in doing anything that I had done before as I had done that and wanted something new and different as well as most of the things I did in the forces were either logistically impossible or far too expensive.
OK THEN.. I couldn't swim (something that I had hidden very well over the years) I hadnt ever done any cycling although I did have a chopper bike and a Raleigh Arena as a kid! And I wasnt particularly good at running
decision made I would try my hand at triathlons!
I then started the quest for knowledge on swimming! Right then U TUBE!!! ok that looks easy Im off to the pool to start swimming and my triathlon training started! I scoured the internet for training plans and information and came across this site as well as others and soaked up as much info as possible.
The first few times in the pool was a little humbling as I literally could not swim with my head in the water at all, but could breaststroke (badly) for a width and thats it. I wasnt scared of the water at all and had played with friends as a kid as we all did and passed my swimming test in the army because nobody would of believed that I couldnt swim as I was one of the main boys haha fooled you all!!
When I had got to the stage of being able to swim frontcrawl face in the water a few lengths I took a couple of lessons practiced more, took another lesson, practiced more etc etc .Although I still found swimming difficult I entered a local try a tri event which meant a 400mtr swim 12 mile bike and 3 mile run, the only distance I had ever done before the event was the run distance but I went out on my new bike and did a bit of running, however my main concern was the swimming so I got to the pool about 4 times a week !
I soon learned that not only was I not a naturally talented runner but I was #@?# at cycling and like a brick in the pool (sinky legs) but that wasnt going to stop me!. My first 400 meter swim was timed at 14 minutes
The day of the tri came around very quickly and I stood on the edge of the pool quite calm but aware that it wasnt going to be my finest moment!! The event went without incident apart from jumping on my bike at transition to find that my chain wasnt on (note to self check bike properly next time) I just laughed this off because I was enjoying myself. So my first race was done and I absolutely loved it I finished somewhere about two thirds down the field mainly due to there being lots of first timers otherwise I would have been competing for last place as I was no budding brownlee! But I had been bitten by the triathlon bug!
I then decided to join the local tri club and started to keep up to date on happenings on their website. I didnt have the necessary speeds to join their training sessions but I had made my mind up to get to that level as soon as possible and then I saw a post advertising Ironman mallorca 70.3
So I had just done my first 400m swim event in 10.40 had run no more than 3 miles in 12 years had never cycled more than 20 miles in my life but this sounded right up my street('') I put my name down on the list, aIthough I had never even met anyone from the club. I was soon to put this right as I had managed to pluck up the courage to have my swimming dissected in their Monday swim sessions, I should not have worried because there was a few others equally as #@?# as swimming as me!!! Well nearly!.
So I had 5 months to get into shape for my first real triathlon Ironman Mallorca 70.3.
So as not to bore you even more , I trained as much as I could fit into my already busy life, no thats a lie, I trained the minimum that I could get away with but I enjoyed the training and found an unlikely training partner
The next few months we started to get ourselves out on the bike and a few runs a week but I put more effort into the swim training! and more importantly got to meet a whole new set of friends and social circle at the tri club.
I finished the event in 7hours 20ish after spending 40 minutes in transition due to toilet problems, ( I couldnt get off it due to the on course energy drinks) another lesson learned!!('') however I took it really easy soaking up the atmosphere and crowds, I had no problems at all and thoroughly enjoyed it as well as having a brilliant weeks holiday. This triathlon malarcky was just great!!
So next comes the Saturday evening a few weeks later , myself and my wife were up late for us about 11 oclock having a glass or two of wine and I went onto facebook to check a message ( which I rarely do) when one of the guys from the club messaged me saying he was online booking IM Austria. Now
... the next 5 minutes happenings I put squarely at the door of Big Ted he of considerable Deca fame, after reading every post and race report that he as ever penned and like every person that reads his race reports was sometimes affected by dusty room syndrome, I thought, well if Ted can do what he did I can easily do a single!
I looked at my wife and she said do it so I did and 10 minutes later I was booked in for Ironman Austria
Triathlon for me is a hobby that provides interest in my life, it isnt the most important thing in my life I dont strive to be better than the next person and I get as much enjoyment from other people achieving their goals.
I have found that it is something that myself and my wife can do together as she has now found a new love in her life(cycling!) but I do enough training so as not to suffer or cause myself embarrassment rather than breaking personal records so up until xmas I just trained lightly enjoying turbo sessions as best you can and improving my swimming by attending club sessions and swimsmooth training days.
From xams I started a set programme averaging at the beginning about 8 hours a week with peak hours of 12 per week and to be honest I was absolutely ready for taper time, I just dont enjoy 100 mile bike rides and 2.5 hour runs ,I find long slow miles very boring, and the soreness from the bike is not enjoyable! ( this will be something Im going to change in future training plans)
I was happy with my training for the event apart from my biking, I had expected to be a lot stronger ( and quicker) then I was, I was both annoyed and frustrated by this because I had put in a lot of work and sweat throughout training and didnt feel I had made the progress that I should have! But no point worrying about it I was at where I was! (this year is now going to be the year of the bike!!)
Im not going to spend a lot of time on this because there are lots of reports on Austria but I will give my opinion on certain things which people seem to have an opinion on that may need re-evaluating,
The lake is a nice place to swim, we were all worried about a non wetsuit swim and approx 10 days before the event the organisers made this worse by putting a video on facebook stating that the water temp was already at 24 degrees and if it was 24.5 on the day of the race it would be non wetsuit, however when I got there on the Thursday prior to the Sunday event( after some cloudy miserable days) there was no way the water was anywhere near 24 degrees and on the race brief the water was declared to be 19 degrees and wetsuits would be worn.
The race started with a mass start and the usual expected bif occurred , I stated midway and managed to find clear water after a while, I decided to just swim smoothly on my own rather than finding feet and this seemed to work fine although myself and lots of others swam too wide around the 2nd buoy and found sighting the canal entrance very difficult so I wasted a lot of time (approx 5 mins) , anyhow the canal was a very different experience! It was just manic just like salmon swimming upstream, bodies everywhere and lots of people around me found this a bit scary as there was lots of pulling legs and people bashing into people much worse than at the start ,this was partly because I was with the masses on an average swim time of 1hr20, to be honest this biff didnt bother me too much as I found it quite funny! I got out of the water on 1hr20
The run to transition is quite long you have to run through a hotel underground car park across a main road and into transition, I found my stuff ok, put on and extra pair of cycling shorts over my tri suit and was off, total time 7.20ish mins
I have heard lots of stuff about Austria being fast, being easy, and being short? Well it may well be a faster course than others but is it is not easy and now that they have added a loop at the beginning it is no longer short. The main advantage with the course is that you can do a lot of the course in the aero position because the descents are not technical at all. The beginning of the course is quite fast and the end of the course no question is fast/easy but in between it most certainly is not easy.
I had already decided that this would be an enjoyable day rather than leave everything on the course day because as I said earlier my bike was just not good enough really
Everything went fine on the bike my nutrition was fine my strategy for drinks was to make up my own concentrate and just take water from the aid stations and this worked to a tee, along with a banana at every station and my own flapjacks I didnt have a single concern on the bike, The hills ? yes they are steep but are over quite quickly!
finish time 7hrs 5min. I would have been disappointed with this prior to the race but I decided to take it easy to save energy for the run. Still slow though
Transition 2 again was quite lengthy and wasnt helped by a helper telling me that I was putting my bike in the wrong place and then spending what seemed ages finding where to put it well about 1.30 before deciding I was right grrrr. Off with the cycle shorts plenty of sun cream, hat on and away, total time 8ish mins
If I was disappointed by anything on the day this would be it, I found it really difficult to run for any length of time, even though I wasnt particularly tired I just didnt have the muscular endurance to keep on running, I had a prior plan to do a 9 min/1 min run walk but this went out of the window and I did what I could by running a few minutes then walking a minute. This went on until about the 18 mile point at which time I found that my legs came back to me and I could keep up a steady jog to the finish which was much better than the shuffle I was doing before. It was hot on the day but that was no excuse for a rather pure time of 4.55 but all through the day I had a smile for everyone on the course and a thank you for everyone supporting as I found the enthusiasm and the joy of the crowds to be superb.
Total Time 13 hrs 40
It was a brilliant event, brilliantly supported, superbly organised in wonderful surroundings. I said earlier that I went out with the intention of enjoying the day and thats exactly what I did. I had no dark moments, no bad times and at no time did I wish I was anywhere else!! In hindsight perhaps I did take it a little easy but I will remedy this next time!
I have done this report for others like myself looking for a little inspiration from like minded people and I hope it says what I mean it to, that if you want to do something you can as long as you have a strong mind. The plan for me is now to get some speed and get some decent times but that wont ever overshadow the important things in my life such as my wife and kids!
I do want to say thank you to my brilliant and supportive wife who has also found a love for cycling and who accompanied me on her bike while I was doing my long runs so that she could pass me a gel or some water it made those hours so much more bearable, and also the collective loonies on the enduro threads esp. the usual suspects Big Ted, Dave Miles, TC and the like and frequent posters such as Hammerer, jibberjim and steve.I and many many more that take time to post their advice, thoughts and experiences, the forum pages although sometimes silly and petty have also been a never ending source of information and motivation
So I have just gone from not being able to swim a length or even own a bike, and with no talent for any of the disciplines to completing Ironman Austria in within 18 months
.. whats next? I rather fancy the double at AT?