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KP's Ironman Austria race report
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Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 257
Location: London

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:12 pm    Post subject: KP's Ironman Austria race report Reply with quote

Ironman Austria 2010 - Race Report

Apologies for the slightly late posting... it's taken me a while to recover!

I had been looking forward to this race for a long time - since Andrew raced in 2006, since we both completed the Austria 70.3 in 2009 to be sure of a place at the full distance, and since my debut IM in South Africa in April which set a good target for me to aim at on a quicker course. Preparation had gone well, a good result at the Swashbuckler Middle convinced me that the speed was there and I was hugely excited about getting on to the start line.

The build-up

It was good to see some familiar faces before the race, our hotel was full of them and it was nice to meet Will and the LizTriís before the race, plus FIM, Brad, and a few others at the Friday swim. A trip to the lake confirmed that the water was as beautiful as I remembered, my only concern being the toasty water temperature and news from Germany of a non-wetsuit swim. Any worries about this evaporated at the pasta party when we were told that wetsuits would be allowed as the temperature was in fact below 25įC ďin the middle of the lakeĒÖ Very Happy

The pasta party on Friday night was the usual nerve-inducing collection of 2,500 people in a rather warm tent, it was very cool to see Marino Vanhoenacker there going for a fifth consecutive win. He seemed to be followed around by spontaneous applause everywhere he went! We went into the town centre for the first time on Saturday night to find the main square (and run turnaround point) full of slightly mental Germans cheering the team on against Argentina, a nice distraction.

Race day - Swim

I had decided this race it was time to toughen up. Hanging around the back at the start being scared of biff was not going to cut it this time. I decided a good solution would be to aim for the far left of the start pens to give myself some breathing space, assuming the field would have thinned out by the time we reached the first turn buoy 1.4km out. We were finally allowed into the water for the ďdeep water start,Ē seconds later the cannon goes off when Iím about knee deep and it was time for the fun to start.

I started the swim feeling pretty good. Conditions were great; the volume of swimmers heading towards the first two buoys meant you felt like you were being pulled along even when you werenít directly behind someone. Managed to avoid the worst of the biff although received a couple of kicks to the face which led to the goggles being full of water for most of the out leg. Couldnít see the canal entrance in the rising sun so relied on the general herd instinct which worked well and I seemed to have a pretty good line. The last 800m up the canal were pretty crazy with swimmers everywhere, despite knowing the finish was ďsome distanceĒ after the bridge it seemed to take an age to reach it and I spent the last couple of minutes telling myself that I must have been in the water for ages and that I mustnít worry if my time was slower than planned. For some reason I became convinced the time was going to be 1.17, no idea why. Up the ramp and I see the clock, 1.11.50, YES!! May not be super fast in the grand scheme of things but this is a result for me and well ahead of target.

Target time: 1.15
Actual time: 1.12


Hopping with excitement after my swim I ran through transition thinking quick quick quick. Usual problem getting my wetsuit off (Iíd trim the legs if I was planning to wear it again!) Took a second to slap some suncream on, managed to remember the arm coolers and I was on my way.

Target time: 5 mins
Actual time: 6 mins


A few nerves aside, I had been waiting for this moment all week. The course is stunning, a good combination of fast sections interspersed with rolling hills and two major hills at around 30k and 60k with some fast sweeping descents where you could make up good time.

The first section is super fast until you reach the hill at 30k. I seemed to be continuously passing people and felt like I was moving well and knocking off the miles without too much effort. Passed FIM along this stretch who had obviously had a good swim, and Brad shortly after. In terms of effort / heart rate Iíd decided post-Swashbuckler (where Iíd really pushed the effort level) that I could manage Z3 for the entire bike - allowing for some recovery time on the descents - so I focused on keeping my HR above 157 and making sure I stuck to the nutrition schedule. Through 40k in 1.10 and Iím feeling pretty good with the hilly section still to come.

First incident of the day happened at the top of Egg hill. When reaching for a water bottle at the aid station, the guy in front of me drops his which bounces straight into my front wheel. In the time it took me to hit the ground I remember thinking that this was probably going to hurt and was pretty irritating when things were going well! So I hit the ground, quick assessment, left knee and elbow bleeding, arm coolers ripped, right knee pretty bruised, must have hit the bike. Didnít hit my head which is one positive. Managed to get out from under the bike, put my chain back on, collect some new bottles and a couple of minutes later I was back on my way.

The rest of the lap was fairly uneventful, passed Marino going the other way on the out and back, didnít see any other pros so he clearly had a big gap. Enjoyed the support over the Rupertiberg (ďitís an Iron Lady!!Ē was all I heard all day long from the commentators); I went through 80k in 2.20 and hit the turnaround at 2.33. For those interested my average power for lap 1 was 197 (have recently invested in a power meter so didnít use it for pacing on the day but useful to have the stats afterwards. No idea how to get normalised power but presumably itíll be somewhere above 200Ö)

Major incident of the day came just after the turnaround when I hit a bump in the road and heard/felt my entire puncture repair kit fly off and disappear into the distance behind me. A quick look around, canít see it and Iím already 100 yards away. Stop? Donít stop? I never stop. If I could see it I probably would have gone back, but I could easily have lost a few minutes looking and decided to take the risk. I picked up my spare tube/CO2 at the special needs and hoped that if I did have a disaster Iíd be able to get levers and a CO2 pump from a friendly competitor. I was pretty resigned at this point to pulling out if I had a puncture, and did everything I could for the next 90k to avoid anything approaching a bump in the road.

The next 60k was a constant loop of thinking: what is my HR? Keep pushing to hold it above 157. How am I feeling? Is it time for another gel yet? Keep drinking, at least every 10mins: iso, water, iso, water. Please let me not get a puncture, please let me not get a puncture. I was trying to continue my pace of 1.10 per 40k but I found during the second lap I just couldnít make my brain work out what time I should be aiming for. I knew to go under 5.30 Iíd need to hit the top of the Rupertiberg by 4.45 so concentrated on aiming for that. Hadnít really noticed the weather all day but realised suddenly at about 145k that the sky was black and the rain was coming. Massive thunderstorm hit while I was halfway up the Rupertiberg, this was probably the only truly miserable part of the day when my hands and bike were so wet I could hardly stand and I donít really have enough gears to be spinning up! Over the top at 4.46 and this was going to be tight, descending in the pouring rain and lightning was no fun, and a decent cross wind had got up so I was being blown all over the road. I was very conscious of coming off or puncturing so decided the only sensible thing to do was take the pace right down. The last 30k was my slowest of the day which considering it is the fastest part of the course and mostly downhill is a reflection of how much I slowed down. The benefit of this was that the nagging feeling in my stomach that I was pushing too hard gradually went away and this probably left me in better shape for the marathon. Ave power for lap 2 was around 180.

Approaching transition I realise Iím close to 5.30; having started my watch in transition I donít know I have a few minutes in hand. The last stretch seems to take ages but finally I turn into the park and hit T2 in a race time of 6.43. Feeling in much better shape than at the same stage in SA I feel pretty confident I will go under 11 hours and start thinking about my ďrealĒ target of a 3.45 marathon.

Target time: 5.30
Actual time: 5.25


Canít remember anything of interest from T2, didnít last long and it was time to get running.

Target time: 3 mins
Actual time: 4 mins


I had planned my day around a 3.45 marathon, so straight away I was aiming for 8m30 pace per mile. I actually had to take the pace down a couple of times in the first mile, this didnít last long! The first mile takes you around transition and quite close to the finish, I could hear the finish line commentary that Marino was on his second lap and was looking likely to beat 8 hours. The run course is a loop with two out and back sections (one along the lake, one into town) that you do twice. So basically it is 4 10kís, just take it one 10k at a time. The rain has stopped by this stage and the sun is coming out, in general though Iím not feeling too hot and the weather (thunderstorm aside) has been better than expected. I pass Brad near the end of this lap who looks in a bad way but gives me a shout. Into town and Iím starting to feel the pace, HR is in low-mid 150ís which is on the low side but I know I canít push any harder. I take a brief walk at each aid station, just enough to take on water and coke and a gel every half hour, feeling happy I am taking on the gels ok which I didnít manage in SA.

I jump to ring the bell at the turnaround, oww, cramp in both calves; Iím not doing that on the next lap. The next 10 miles or so are a bit of a blur: at the start of each out and back section I would tell myself it is only 3 miles until the next turnaround, only 3 miles until we pass transition again, only 3 miles into town, and so on. Iím looking out for Andrew constantly but after I havenít seen him by 30k I think he has probably pulled out and hope he is ok and not out on the course somewhere.

In the later stages of the run I keep getting to aid stations unable to remember what I have had at the previous one, but I know I have to take a gel on the hour and half hour so keep doing this, and the last few miles I take one every aid station. I finally reach the turnaround for the last time, round the dragon in the main square and I have about 3 miles to go. The last 4km are marked on the road by the canal, I see the 39k mark at 3.30 and realise I have to push the pace if I want to hit 3.45. I pass 40k, 3.35, then 41k, 3.40, keep pushing, I remind myself that in less than 10 minutes I will be finished and how disappointed I will feel afterwards if I donít push harder now and donít achieve my goals. I have absolutely no idea of my place in my AG although before the race I was hoping to make the top 10 and think I may be not far off that level - the ďitís an Iron Lady!!Ē comments continued throughout the run which made me think they hadnít seen too many ladies before I got there.

Iím close to transition when I hit 41k, the last section takes you briefly away from the finish but I know Iím getting close now. Iím constantly looking for a yellow sign which I saw on the first lap which says lap 1 go right, lap 2 go left to the finish. When I finally get there they try to direct me the wrong way, I donít think so, I take the left turn and aim for the finish chute. I canít see the clock yet and have no idea of my time, Iíve vaguely calculated that 3.45 gets me 10.40 and 3.50 gets me 10.45 and I desperately want to go under 10.40.

Around the corner and Iím finally there, I see the finish arch with the clock which says 10.33 something. For the first time since I started this mad sport, and possibly for the first time ever in my sporting career, I feel completely overwhelmed and canít quite believe I have done it. I have a tendency to go straight from one event to the next without ever taking time to appreciate what I have achieved, and am very quick to think I should / could have done better in every race, but I was going to enjoy this one. My absolute stretch target was to go under 10.40, I knew it would be hard, very hard and I was on the edge all day of making it. I cross the line and canít quite believe I have finished, Andrew appears as if by magic and is almost immediately laughing that I have done a 10.33 having fallen off my bike.

Target time: 3.45
Actual time: 3.45

Overall race time: 10.33.53

3rd in W25-29, 14th female and 480th overall.

After being patched up in the medical tent and generally getting myself together Andrew asks whether I think I am in with a shot of a Hawaii slot, naturally I laugh and say I very much doubt it and in any case I am never doing another Ironman anyway as that was just unbelievably hard and I couldnít possibly have as good a race as that again.

Much later that evening having struggled back to the hotel I was fairly astounded to hear I was 3rd in my AG and 14th in the womenís race. Although not half as amazed I was the following day when the one Hawaii slot in my age group came to me and I found myself wrestling with the realisation that I can now actually think of myself in that company and that things were going to be slightly different from now on. And that I have to do another Ironman! And swim 3.8k without a wetsuit!!!

But these are all things to think about later on, and for now I am content that I did it, and also happy that Andrew managed to come away with some good stories from the day when we had both had a tough few months before the race thinking he was going to have such a horrible day and wondering how we could possibly make the day work for both of us. I look forward enormously to the day I can be at the finish when he crosses the line in Austria having had a race like mine Ė it isnít far away.

Support as always much appreciated, I had some great support on the day and was thinking of the people at home over every timing mat, and it really does keep you going in the dark moments.

Well done also to my fellow finishers, FIM and JP who had good days I think although with some difficult moments, Will who even on a bad day is super fast, Brad who will go much faster next time and dallas for a great effort and for toughing it out on a long day. And to Andrew and the LizTris who did their best on a really tough day and took the sensible decision to stop at the right time.

See you in Hawaii!!
IM Cozumel - 10.20

IM South Africa - 11.31
IM Austria - 10.33
IM Hawaii - 11.14
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great result
espec with bike issues,poor you falling off n not your fault, guess adrenalin kicked in
great mara time
and all predictions very good
well done
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome race & well deserved result, enjoy Kona!
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report, and thanks for the power numbers, would love to see that actual SRM data!

And enjoy Hawaii. If it's your last, will you be following the pretty common route of after triathlon going to just cycling? (ie it's all the same training, but you don't have to swim or run Smile )
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Joined: 25 Jul 2006
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Location: Nottingham / Derbyshire

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


TriTalkeron the podium of a major IM..... incredible first year in Ironman. Wish you all the best in Kona......

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome Cool Cool
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good effort, great race report.

All the best at Kona!
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great effort, and report. looking forward to this as my first IM next year!
Sports Physiotherapist / Certified Advanced RetŁl Bike Fitter / Coach

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Mrs Mash

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amazing how you hit or exceeded all of your target times (except transitions) and all that with having a tumble on your bike. Seriously impressive stuff Laura and you deserve to qualify for Kona.

I wish I had just a smidgens worth of your talent as you are one amazing woman!

I will of course be aiming to smash your Austria time when I am there next year. Remberring though I am a few hundred years older than you (and Mr Mash reminds me I will be racing in the next AG next year, 40-45 ) so I am allowed to be a little slower, like a few hours slower! Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliantly well done. That would be my ultimate triathlon goal - Kona. Really impressed how you got your pace predictions so spot on as well. That takes an amazing amount of skill and judgement both beforehand in training and then on race day.

Enjoy the non-wetsuit swim - it will make T1 faster!
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die trying

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome stuff. Cannot wait to read the Kona report. Mega congrats Smile
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Mrs Slacko

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You were such a treat on the day.....didn't realise you were as good as you are so when we saw you doing what you were doing, we were in awe! Welldone. That is a fabulous time and getting to Kona t'boot - stuff dreams are made of (in my case bad dreams, not wesuit Shocked - not that it's likely to happen until I'm 55-60 Laughing ). Well deserved. Amazing run too - what a time!!!! Very impressive.
I smile a lot!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow, what a great report and really well done. I look forward to hearing about kona.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic race and great report too Smile Smile Even better, considering you had a spill on the bike too Shocked

We were having a little chat on the bike and I was telling you to go for a podium spot when you said top 5 would be good - see, you did it Very Happy Very Happy

Have a great race in Hawaii and the best of luck Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic race and fantastic report! It brings back a lot of memories from 2006.
2019: Just riding my bike....
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