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My First Ironman (Austria) By Recipher Aged 37 1/4
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recipher




Joined: 10 Oct 2006
Posts: 1705
Location: Cardrona

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:19 pm    Post subject: My First Ironman (Austria) By Recipher Aged 37 1/4 Reply with quote

This is long and rambling, caveat emptor.

We're just back from our Austrian odyssey after a long and tiring trip home. I've spent some time catching up with race reports and related threads, and I thought I'd add my own recollections.

How Did I Get Here?

My original plan was to do an Ironman last year. I only took up running a couple of years ago after years of non-serious cycling and hillwalking. I ran a couple of marathons (Loch Ness and Snowdonia) and decided that triathlon seemed like a bit of a lark, and, being old and slow, the longer distances would suit me better.

My only issue (like many people on here) was my lack of any sort of swimming ability - breast stroke only - so I needed to sort that out first. So, October 2006, I entered Ironman UK 2007. It wasn't really my first choice but it was all that was available apart from France and Lanzarote and there was little chance of being able to swim 3.8k by June 2007, I thought.

One month later, we discovered we were pregnant again, and due in August 2007. Another month later, I cancelled, as the truth dawned that IMUK was a no-goer. Fast forward to summer 2007, I entered Austria 2008.

Am I in Any Sort of Shape for this Lark?

I did 4 triathlons last year - IMUK 70.3, Gullane, Helvellyn and Ben Nevis (the Big Tri) and I was kind of getting the hang of it (apart from the swimming) so I upped the ante on the training front over the winter and by the end of January, I was knocking out 15 hours a week - my long cycle was up to 70+ miles and I was running about 35 a week. This was only possible because I was self-employed and could spend way too much time cycling and running (and hardly any swimming!). Beginning of February and it all changed - I rejoined the ranks of the employed and training sank to zero hours a week (not helped by a small op at the end of Jan).

I did more or less nothing until the middle of April, not helped by 2 trips abroad and the death of my dad after years of illness. So, with about 10 training weeks to go, I was more or less starting from scratch again.

I got my finger out and by the middle of May, I was able to do the Keswick Tri and the Etape du Dales on successive days, even if I was rather slow. By early June, I was able to post a decent time at Bala and felt I was ready.

I had been planning to go for a solid time at IMA (sub 11! for a first IM!) but I doubted that was feasible but I lived in hope. The last few weeks of training after Bala were a little haphazard and I was still doing practically no swimming (and certainly none in a pool) but I was happy I could finish.

Now I'm On the Start Line

I'll skip the pre-race details, suffice it to say, travelling from Edinburgh to Klagenfurt with 2 small children (almost 1 and almost 2) is not easy.

7am, Sunday 13 July 2008. I'm on the beach waiting to go. Despite never having swam longer than 2.4k ever (seriously) I wasn't in the slightest bit nervous. I've no idea how this came to be. I was just ready to go. The gun goes, I get in the water and start to swim. I knew that we wouldn't stop (despite it being an in-water start in theory) so I kept going. By the turn buoy at 1500m, I was on about 30 minutes, which is remarkably quick for me - I'd being managing to keep my stroke and sight ok (on the hill). I turned and sighted on the big white castle thing and kept my pace. Then the turn towards the canal, and it all went a bit wrong. I drifted left with nothing to sight on and spent way too much time trying to get back on line. By the time I hit the canal, I had lost a lot of time and places and the canal was much quieter for me than for others.

Anyway, I kept my HR low throughout the swim and did the best I can within my meagre abilities. I really do need to sort it out though!

Swim 1:27:25
Ranked 2145th at this point!

A nice quick transition - smooth is fast - completely lacking in any sort of issue. I tried not to look at the number of bikes still in their racks (not many!) since I knew it would be bad!

T1 4:15

I knew I could ride at an average of around 20mph with some degree of comfort but I have quite an aggressive, low position (81 degrees!) which suits my frame (stupid tall) and it puts some pressure on my bits and my shoulders and neck. Could I hold position for 5-6 hours?

I settled into my ride and started going past people and being passed myself (which is unusual since I'm usually down with the BOP after the swim). It started to rain after about 30 minutes but it was pretty warm and it didn't bother me - I'm used to it, living in Scotland. I almost came down after my front wheel washed going round a roundabout but I kept it together.

I had a solid nutrition plan - liquid only as far as possible. I had 2 multi-hour bottles of Hammer energy drink and I was only taking on water at aid stations, which made life easy. I probably drank a little too much water (I lost track a bit - it should have been 1 bottle a hour) and was sipping my energy a bit too quick and had to leave a gap towards the end to make it last.

I kept my pace and cadence high as much as possible and at any sort of hill, I put it in my lowest gear, spun up and saved my legs. I saw no-one I recognized during my ride (except Sam/Rooney, near the end) which was a shame. The hills weren't too bad but I knew they'd be harder second time around. I kept position well and my crotch was fine (lovely smooth road surface). My ears were very sore though! My helmet pinches - I really should get a different one.

Lap 1 felt easy and I hit the turnaround in 2:42, which was quicker than I was aiming for - my odometer wasn't calibrated correctly. I was definitely enjoying myself though, when I could forget about my ear pain!

Lap 2 was much the same. I saw a couple of massive groups (30+ riders) going the opposite way to me on the section near Rosegg. Taking the p!ss really. I didn't see too much drafting near me though - too far down?

I caught Sam/Rooney a bit before the big climb and after a bit of chat, we started the ascent. All of a sudden, I felt bad and dragged myself to the top. I had a bar and a gel on me, so I eat those and grabbed a banana. 10 minutes of feeling rough and I was back feeling decent. It then started to tip it down and the lightning started. I only had about 45 minutes to get back to transition, so I put my head down and got the job done. Rooney had disappeared up the climb and I never caught him back up again.

My bike split was bang on the money (20mph) but did I overcook it? I'd been 10 minutes slower on the second lap - sitting up because of a stiff back and 10 minutes of feeling poor going up the big climb.

Bike 5:35:28

Rank 1387, meaning I'd passed 758 riders. Lord knows where though, I never saw that many!

So, it's still tipping it down when I hit transition. I lapped it up though - rain suited me just fine. I knew it'd stop too. I passed Sam here, as he was having a picnic (only explanation Wink ).

T2 4:44

I felt good starting the run, which was unusual for me. I usually overcook the cycling and I don't do many training bricks (pointless for IM, I think). I felt nice and skippy but I knew it wouldn't last. I got a bit confused coming through the point where you were handed your chou-chou lap counter (a spurious finish sign) and doubled back for a bit and had to ask the way! At that point, Bella came running in the other direction. I'm an idiot.

The rain soon stopped and at the turn point, I saw Sam coming the other way, looking confused as to how I got in front of him. He soon caught me up and we started to run together at a nice comfortable, strong pace. I went through 10k in about 53 minutes, maybe a bit fast, so I tried to slow it down a bit. My HR was steady at about 155, well below threshold.

The sun came out but it wasn't too strong. Sam and I stuck together nicely and it was good to have someone to talk to and pace with. I kept thinking that I'd slow down at some point but through to the turnaround of the second loop and everything was going well. The ball of my right foot started getting hot and I knew it was blistering with my wet socks. I just ignored it though. I managed to ding the bell in Klagenfurt, which got a nice loud cheer.

I went through halfway in about 1:54, which was cruising. If I kept that up, I'd go sub 11. I knew I'd slow though, everyone does. But by how much? Would I start to walk. At about 25km, my quads started to get sore, which was worrying. I'd had quad issues at the Lochaber marathon which forced me to a shuffle, so I was wary. I took 2 ibuprofen and hoped for the best.

My nutrition for the run was my own gels and water and (later) coke from the aid stations.

I kept running strongly and felt that if I could get through the 3rd loop ok, I could tough out the last loop. I wasn't walking under any circumstances, not even through the aid stations.

I lost Sam (he had a comfort break) but saw him about 30 seconds behind me at the final turn. 5km to go. There were a couple of small rises to get up, and I decided to hold fire until after those. Once they were past, I picked up the pace a bit. I was passing a lot of walkers by this point but I still felt great.

1km to go and I picked up the pace. I hadn't seen my family all day, which was a shame (it was difficult for my wife though hanging around all afternoon with 2 toddlers a no-one to help). I hit the finishing shoot and started a sprint - I enjoyed the cheers and passed another couple of shufflers towards the very end. Through the finish, and I collected my medal.

Amazingly, I'd ran strongly throughout and went under 4 hours. Isn't that supposed to be reserved for the really strong triathletes?

Run 3:56:28

Final time 11:08:20


Rank 1071 (I passed 317 runners - how did that happen?!)

So, job done. I had a great race. Truly, the best triathlon I've ever put together. I only had 10 minutes of feeling bad and I had the best run in a triathlon I've ever managed. If I can sort out my swimming, I'd be a much more rounded triathlete but I'm not too far off.

I won't be doing an IM in 2009 - it's not fair on my wife to spend that much time training and the event itself is a lot of work and takes up a lot of energy. I'm thinking that I might try for IMC or IMLP in 2011 or 2012, once our girls are older and more controllable!

I really enjoyed my Austrian adventure and met a lot of cool people that I knew beforehand, online and off.

Now, it's just Wensleydale, Aberfeldy, Helvellyn, Ben Nevis and the Snowdonia marathon to go!

Am I a triathlete now?
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veggieboy




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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

recipher wrote

Quote:
Am I a triathlete now?


Reckon so mate

Top bombing!
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T-rex of Tri




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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Jonny, no FNZ record though Razz

See you for some fun and games at Aberfeldy if not before.

Andy
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, you're an Ironman! Very Happy Very Happy
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recipher




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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

T-rex of Tri wrote:
Well done Jonny, no FNZ record though Razz

Cheers. First time of trying though, can't complain. Just thank your lucky stars that I can't swim, otherwise you'd be in danger!

See you at Aberfeldy, definitely. I don't know how much competition I'll be, I'm beginning to think middle distance is too short!
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T-rex of Tri




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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

recipher wrote:
T-rex of Tri wrote:
Well done Jonny, no FNZ record though Razz

Cheers. First time of trying though, can't complain. Just thank your lucky stars that I can't swim, otherwise you'd be in danger!

See you at Aberfeldy, definitely. I don't know how much competition I'll be, I'm beginning to think middle distance is too short!


No you should thank your lucky stars that I can't swim bike or run then the company record would be way faster... I'm working on them all!!!

The swims looked slower than normal at Austria this year (they're usually really really quick), so I'm not reading too much into that.

Must go do some training... are all 4 of the guys doing Aberfeldy for a real FNZ champs?
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recipher




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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure about Michael - he has bad memories of Aberfeldy - I don't know if will or not. I think he was probably holding fire until after IMCH to see how he goes. You are forgetting about Marie as well.

You coming in to the office to say hello?
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T-rex of Tri




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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I'll need to pop into the office, there are tonnes of people there to meet who I've talked to and tonnes to see again after a while, Jo, Kevin, Finlay etc.

And maybe you can give me a quick demo of your project, the guys who made your online demo are talking very highly of it in the Welly office.

And Michael's little accident a few years ago would probably make you quite worried, it's the only time I've seen him and I wasn't sure he'd make it as he looked in a very bad way.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bloody cracking result there Recipher!! Well done!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amazing! And from a youngster too!
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recipher




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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fatirishman wrote:
Amazing! And from a youngster too!

Thanks. I just had a peek at your report and it looks like my title is a little derivative - sorry about that!
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great Report - that's impressive, even more so for a first time IM-er Cool
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had no idea you'd been through so much Worship Brilliant result... great to meet you and yours. Welldone again, I'm gobsmacked!
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

great report mate and a pleasure to run with you for so long, defo helped me keep up a good pace Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well done, Johnny. Nice and strong. And I forgive you for not saying 'hi' on the run Cool
J.
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