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The Fully Ferrous IM Austria Adventure...
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Fully Ferrous




Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 706
Location: Mining for Medals in Iron Mines

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:06 pm    Post subject: The Fully Ferrous IM Austria Adventure... Reply with quote

The Background

Last year's first ever Ironman gave rise to a second year in triathlon and a steely determination to get down from 12 hours 10 mins to (if possible) below eleven hours. I'd trained hard from January under the watchful eye of my coach Mark Kleanthous and felt as prepared as I'd ever be to go the distance. My swimming had certainly not declined, my cycling had improved and I'd been able to run more freely due to a lack of injury in the preceding months.


Klagenfurt

Was its usual beautiful self, mountains towering over Lake Worthersee, the occasional cotton wool cloud drifting past to break up the blue skies. And, of course, thousands on thousands of hollow cheeked, body fat-less athletes, wheeling around carbon flying machines that masqueraded as bicycles.


Before the Race

I'd invited along Mrs FF (alright, let's call her Fiona this once) and the Iron Filings (Erin, 13 and Alice, 11) for their first taste of triathlon. Add to the equation that I've recently joined Team Milton Keynes who had over twenty athletes in the race - many of them staying with their families in the same hotel - and the whole experience was much more sociable than last year. My father, mother, brother and other brother and his family were also out as it would be my father's 70th birthday the day after the race.

Friday saw our Tri Talk swim, where it was great to meet some of the TT'rs taking part. I hadn't met The Slackos despite them being members of the same club. Rich O was there with family, Robert Quantrell and girlfriend, Big Bird and partner, Man vs Tarmac, the Good4Ages and my old mate Gabriel (Runtilyoudrop). We got acquainted and swam around to see the entrance to the fabled canal which resembled more a darkened gates of hell.

On Saturday Alice raced her first triathlon, taking part in the Ironkids event and coming a creditable 9th. By Saturday night I was 'fully locked and loaded', my game plan rehearsed and I was feeling relaxed and ready for action.


The Race

A 0400 alarm followed by a hearty breakfast and we were on the speedboat from the hotel across the lake to the start line. I'd arranged to meet with Gabriel and Declan to start the swim together and we chose a spot on the beach that offered us a decent line to the first buoy.


The Swim

Aiming for: 65'
Achieved: 63'01"

Is there anyone out there who actually enjoys these mass starts? For me, this year was the roughest swim I've ever had in any triathlon. I soon lost sight of Gabriel and Declan and, for a moment, found some clear water after only 300 metres of swimming. I figured it couldn't last and I figured right. Gunther, Wolfgang and friends (I'd see their enormous arses fly past me on the bike later) sprinted over the top of me like it was a 400 metre pool time trial. Wallop, crash, elbow... the usual - I was swallowing water and all my rhythm had gone and, once again, I was thankful that I'd worn two hats, my goggle strap sandwiched between them. I'm not proud but I've got to tell you that I took such a crack to the face from one bloke that felt and looked deliberate that I let him go through and then grabbed his foot and pulled him under. I know... we shouldn't do it and I've never done it before. But you weren't there. He tried it on and thought he could laugh in my face. 'Revenge is a dish best served cold' I thought, as I slipped past his struggling, bullying body.
But let's move on to happier things. Of course, I had to get back through all the swimmers that had come over the top of me because they were now in oxygen debt and had 3km to swim. That kind of manoeuvring takes a while though and is fraught with danger. Loose feet, weaving swimmers... it's a jungle out there - but where there's a will, there's a way and after 3km of bodily negotiations I'd reached the canal where - this year - I had relatively clear water until being hauled out towards T1.
My time hadn't improved by much, just a few seconds or so, but I'd taken far, far fewer strokes and was much better prepared for the rest of the race.


T1

Aiming for: 5'
Achieved: 4'42"

Last year's transitions were much improved. Fast and slick. I'll never laugh at anyone who tells me they practice transitions ever again. I did and it works.


The Bike

Aiming for: 5 hrs 45'
Achieved: 5 hrs 34'02"

I knew I was a much better cyclist than last year. Firstly I'd doubled my entire cycling experience from one year to two. Secondly I'd invested in a new bike (a Cervelo P2C - don't ask, just buy one). And thirdly, I'd been following a plan of making myself train with much better cyclists along with the usual lonely solo work.
So, I shot out of transition with hope in my heart. The morning was cold and I wish I'd had arm warmers with me. But I remembered Towel's advice simply to HTFU and cycled off into what was now reasonably heavy rain. The first lap of 56 miles was quite tricky, with me nearly coming off at the Velden roundabout but somehow managing to keep a handle on the steering and survive. I forced myself to keep to my nutrition plan and religiously took a gel and a bar every hour along with around 250 ml of strong carbo drink. Along the way I picked up bananas and extra water from the aid stations.
I was, of course, passed by the aformentioned Germanic types hammering away in their small packs. But I had a plan and I was going to stick to it. It didn't involve chasing people down. I got around the first lap in around 2 hours 42, by which time it had dried up and I felt I was looking good for a decent time allowing for the fact that I knew I would slow slightly on Lap 2.
The support on the bike was fantastic as usual, both from the locals out in the villages and from the larger crowds in Klagenfut itself. I'd seen my family on the way out of the bike and saw them again at the turn, along with my good mates Tom and Helen who were out there recovering after their stirling Ironman Germany adventure.
A note here to thank you all - family and friends - for your support. Simply put; it made the world of difference.
On Lap two I was awaiting the arrival of the Rupertiberg mountain to assess my level of fitness. I remember (I'll never forget) last year, climbing it for the second time, nearly exploding with the effort of it all and leaving much of my mojo behind on that awful place. This time, however was a world apart. Sure it's tough, there's no disputing that, but I had a better bike, stronger legs and a fitter, lighter body. I knew when I got to the top that I was in pretty good shape to get back to Klagenfurt some 30km distant, and mount my assault on the marathon.
I could have ramped it up a bit more but I remember telling myself that there would be no prizes for a 5 hour 30 bike split and then blowing up on the run. So I kept it controlled and sailed towards the bike finish trying to keep my legs as fresh as possible and my heart rate at the 70 - 75% level.
As I flew through the park towards T2 I saw Erin and blew her a kiss. I was, frankly, feeling pretty damned good.


T2

Aiming for: 5'
Achieved: 4'14"

The moment I entered the transition tent the heavens opened with the most almighty storm. Thunder, lightning and a deluge of biblical proportions. I decided to take out a pair of spare socks in case my running socks got wet and gave me blisters. Needless to say, I wasn't quite as compus mentus as I might have thought as that moment as any fool could have told you that a pair of spare socks in the back of a tri suit pocket would get wetter than those on a pair of feet encased in running shoes. Whatever. I changed Garmins (thanks to TT'r Mile 141 for the lon of his) and headed out onto the run course.


The Run

Aiming for: 3 hrs 59'59"
Achieved: 3 hrs 56'37"

If I'm honest, I've had this thing in my head of wanting to run a sub 4 IM marathon since I started. My chapeau is removed to anyone who does it and, for me, it ranks up there as one of the landmark points in assessing your levels in this demanding sport of ours. I felt I had one in me and I was hoping I could make it happen out here in Klagenfurt.
The support as I ran out was deafening. My family, friends, all the Team MK support plus all the other crews from the UK (a special mention to the fantastic support from East Essex Tri who were sharing our hotel) really started me off in good shape.
But I felt good... really good. I was soon running sub 8 minute miles and I knew that was too fast. I pictured my coach back home looking at the time splits and cursing me, knowing that all that hard training was about to come undone in a few moments of indiscipline. So I slowed down.
I know you're thinking this doesn't sound too difficult to do but it is. Everything was telling me to get the miles in the bag but deep down I knew I'd be overdrawn come the half marathon. Let's not forget how far 26 miles by foot power is.
The first 13 miles were comfortably paced and I took on a gel and water at each aid station, stopping briefly to consume them and then moving on as quickly as possible - never longer than 20 seconds. Again - I'd practiced this to the point where intermittent walking no longer registered as having stopped running, merely a different part of the running process.
Feeling good in an IM marathon can't last, though and by mile 14 I'd been forced to open up the hurt box, climb in and nail down the lid. It was one step at a time and internal conversations only, even when I was joined by a fellow TT'r Robert Quantrell.
Despite a noticeable lack of jaunty conversation, Robert and I ran around the remainder of the course together, silently giving each other the support that we felt the other needed. I kept him in rhythm and helped with getting him going quickly again after feed stations and he slowed his pace when he felt I might be in danger of dropping off the pace.
With 10 km to go I knew that my time goal for the IM was looking good but the last 10km would require a strong, steady finish. I dug in (how can you not with the words 'Go on, Daddy, you can do it' ringing in your ears) and pushed on through and around Klagenfurt, not daring to ring the bell for fear of injury as my cartilage-less right knee (a relic of three operations and a lifetime's rugby) was now completely seized up and dispensing not a little pain.
Robert headed off towards the finish with 4k to go (not that he needed my blessing, but he had it, of course) and I rounded the corner into the finish chute with the clock making me a very happy man.
My family had missed my finish by a minute as my last minute spurt had caught them by surprise but, frankly, I was a little confused by that stage and staggered over the line ready for some serious rest.


The Time

Aiming for: sub 11 hours
Achieved: 10 hrs 42'39"



The Aftermath

Aiming for: Beer, Chocolate, Magnum Ice Creams
Achieved: All of the above

What next? Well, I'm already signed on for IM Germany 2009. I've yet to sit down and work out my goals for that, but I'm already looking forward to taking it on. In triathlon I've found a sport that I truly love with an inclusive group of people who respect achievement but more importantly understand what it takes to go long. Thanks to all the TT massive for sharing the journey over the past year and I look forward to another year in the saddle, on the hoof and encased in rubber.

But enough of my private life Wink
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pip




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, well done. I am truely inspired for next year.
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Cyanide Sabre




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cracking report FF - fantstic effort

Well done
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robertquantrell




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great report Jevon, loving the handbags in the swim!
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Rofster




Joined: 15 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Swim karma man, swim karma Very Happy

Beautiful time and a great read. As said above, inspiring stuff

Where is all this dust coming from this week? Rolling Eyes
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Fully Ferrous




Joined: 07 Sep 2006
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Location: Mining for Medals in Iron Mines

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys and gals... Rofster - good luck on Sunday. Will be marshaling... Very Happy
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pip




Joined: 22 Sep 2004
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Location: Tooting (hopefully not for much longer)

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pip wrote:
Wow, well done. I am truely inspired for next year.


i also love the swim story. I would have done the same thing.
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xml




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You really nailed your goals. I don't think I've read 1 IM report in 10 as successful as that. Congratulations.
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Toyota_Crown




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Location: Lincoln / Scarborough (Algerino-Land) / Fircombe-on-Sea. sandbagging for daveM

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool

nice one mate, good report, well done
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runtilyoudrop




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice report Jev. Well done on a good days work. I will see you at the Vit and we will have to share a beer or 3.

How the legs? Walked up a small mountain with the kids today: that was the easy bit. 400m of descent nearly killed me.

See ya.
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p00key




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice report well done Cool now to buy that p2c....
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wiganer




Joined: 01 Oct 2006
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Location: walking in a Wigan-Wonderland..

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

super report mate, loved reading that and CONGRATULATIONS on a superbly planned and executed race....... and with some biff in there too !!! Very Happy
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Wheezy




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutelt fantastic post FF Very Happy Well done on a great time. The swim sounded very fruity Shocked Very Happy
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snafu




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FF

That's one of the best IM race reports I've read so far (and I followed both Slackos, wiganer, p00key and mountaingirl through their IM adventures last year) and definitely inspiring! Clap

Having had my season unexpectedly curtailed by injury last year and by my job this year, your example just spurs me on to get myself in good shape to do it all properly next year. Many congratulations for such an awesome time! Worship
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Fully Ferrous




Joined: 07 Sep 2006
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Location: Mining for Medals in Iron Mines

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to you all for the kind words. I'm still bordering on a high and looking for reasons to avoid work... your posts here give me one Very Happy

Wiganer - those Uncle Joes Mintballs remind me of my Preston/Blackpool days.... Smile
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