Archive for the 'Race Report' Category

Orientering – London

Not content with racing a Sprint and Olympic distance tri’s on the previous weekend, Barbara decided to make the most of London and enter the London Ultra Sprint and London City Races on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Please to report that in both races she won her category and being a good 3min margin in the London City Race. That is 4 good race performances in 9 days, I think it must be time for a short rest. Along with Barbara’s great results the family participated too and all achieved very good placings in their respective races.

Blackmores Running Festival 2013

Sydney put on its absolute best day yesterday for the Blackmores Running Festival conditions relished by all the runners who also gave it their best.

Over the last number of weeks a number of keen runners from Qantas have been attending early training sessions prior to work to prepare for this event. As part of their commitment to the training they have also been raising funds for Act for Kids a charity who works tirelessly to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect.

It was evident that all runners were fully prepared and fit for their event with a display of strong running all the way to the finish. Well done team it has been great to train with you as you prepared for your race.

Bridgerun13

Parys and Em Vegas 70.3 World Champs

Being a world champ event this was clearly the race that both Parys and Em wanted to be in peak racing form for. Both had taken slightly different paths through the season and racing, Em had always listed this as the main race and was keen after missing out on the European tri champs earlier in the year due to illness. Parys had initially set the year as a focus on standard distance (Olympic distance) and after being crowned the European age group champ earlier in the year thought it was a good year to also target the world champs for the same distance. Due to work commitments she would be unable to attend the race and hence altered the plan and set about qualifying for Vegas.

As a coach it can be hard knowing you have 2 athletes up against each other in the same age group, you can’t have a favourite, you want them both to do as well as they possibly can.

Here is an extract of the Ful-on tri report regarding the race.

The Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas is a truly brutal race, with a hilly bike course and over 9kms of climbing on the run. On a sizzling hot day which caused many of the worlds finest athletes to melt in the heat, Parys and Em braved the brutal conditions to deliver some inspirational performances. Congratulations to Em who mixed it with best with a 15th in age group.

However, there’s no doubt that the superstar of the day was Parys Edwards. She had a great swim, then absolutely nailed the tough hilly bike leg to lead her age group into T2. Once on the run course she just ran away from the competition to win her age group, whilst beating half of the world class Pro field, finishing 18th female overall and becoming the new age group World Champion!!!

Parys has said she’s utterly delighted with her result, “I had a firm race plan in mind and I stuck to it though at times I wondered if I was pushing it too hard and might not finish”, “I had no idea how I had done until I got to my phone and oh what a great moment that was! The support from home has been amazing and I thank God for giving me this ability and for placing me at such a great club (Ful-on Tri)!”

 

I think the results speak for themselves but great effort to qualify, well done on an impressive season of results for both Parys and Em and a superb race results to top it off.

 

Racing Update Qtr 3 2012

True to form I have been slow in updating some great results over the last month.
Blackmores Running Festival Sydney, held in September with a brilliant spring day, I was on the start line with 15 half marathoners from CanToo Mac Uni Pod, we had be training together for over 14 weeks, for some this was their first half marathon and others were returning. A really great performance by everyone with 5 of the group going sub 2hrs and a couple of others getting very close, everyone had great races. For those that know this race this was a massive running day with distances from 4k, 9k, half marathon and marathon. undoubtedly the best running event in Sydney (in my opinion). It was also great to see many CanTooers out on the course who had been training in various groups over Sydney.

Emma, has been putting in solid race performances leading into Ironman 70.3 world champs (this race deserves a separate post). Results include

  • Ironman 70.3 Norway 2nd in age (4:54)
  • Bedford Classic Olympic 6th in age (2:23)
  • Monster Middle Distance 1st in age and 2nd female overall (14th position overall too) (4:36)

Excellent results particularly coming back from illness early in the season.

Parys, has continued her awesome form as she too prepared for Ironman 70.3 worldchamps. She is simply impressive the way that she always pulls out a superb performance every race.

  • Tri Challenge Team Relay (Dorney), mixed team winners
  • Milton Keynes Triathlon (English Champs) 1st in age, which means English age group champion to add to her impressive list (2:10)
  • Beford Classic 3rd in age (2:20)

The girl is just unstoppable!

Half Challenge Henley, to round out the list both Iain and Claire returned to training racing after Ironman France earlier in the season, great results to return to racing with 4th in age 4:37 and 8th in age 5:46 respectively.

It has been a busy a productive quarter with great performances, apologies if I missed any results.

Parys on the podium as England Olympic distance champ F35-39

Em, happy with her prizes I am not sure which lasted the longest!

Ironman UK – Bolton 2012

Recently Chris completed her innagural Ironman finishing with an impressive (modest) 6th in age, here is her race report.

Sunday July 22nd 2012, a day that seemed so far away when I signed up to race Ironman UK last October. I must have been in some sort of frenzy at the time, because I also committed to do the London Marathon in April, the Hampshire Hilly 100 mile Cycle Sportif in May and Ironman UK 70.3 in June.

 After relocating the entire family to the UK last August, I really wasn’t sure how I was going to achieve any of these goals. I had left my training buddies behind and a training routine that was well oiled. Where was I going to do my training? Open Water Swimming in the UK – Brrrrr, cycling on the narrow roads – Ahhhhh . Running, well that seemed OK, a road is a road until 3 days after I turned 40 and my knees decided to give me endless grief.

Help came in the form of Tongy aka Andrew Tong. Tongy is a long time friend and triathlon coach. Thankfully, he agreed to coach me remotely from Oz. I looked forward to receiving my weekly schedules and eagerly awaited our regular Skype sessions. Tongy was a gem through the whole process. He believed in me from the start and I trusted his approach. Despite injury he coached me to finish the London Marathon running to pace. Whilst not achieving a PB I still cracked a sub 4 hour result. Despite chuckling when I mentioned the 100 mile sportif, Tongy’s  cycle sessions both on the road and on the turbo meant I had no troubles on the ride coming a respectable 5th in my age group. His controlled brick sessions and firm stance re rest days ensured my Ironman UK 70.3 attempt was a success. Noted as the toughest 70.3 in the world, I managed to finish 8th in my age group in 6.46.58.

Still despite all of the above, the thought of doing a full ironman scared the hell out of me. Soon enough July arrived and before I knew it, we were on our way to Bolton. We arrived on Friday afternoon and went to register at the Reebok Sports Stadium. I picked up my race pack and had a good look around the expo. I really wanted to buy a few logo items but wasn’t feeling worthy just yet and did want to jinx myself. We then headed back into Bolton to register the kids for their ironkids event. They were really excited and it was great to see all the preparations taking place in the Main Square of Bolton. I stood for a few moments and tried to imagine what it might be like to run through the finish shute and under the ironman arch!!! Room service Pasta for dinner and tried to get an early night.

Kids race started at 8am on the Saturday morning. It was so much fun. James was first up and using his blade hand running style came 4th in the 13-15 age group. Grace stormed off to a flying start in her race and kept a smashing pace taking first female in her age group to cross the finish line. Libby produced a solid effort in her race smiling most of the way and coming middle of the pack. I am so proud of all three of them and it was a great motivation for me during my race.

After the kids race, we then had to drive all over Lancashire to drop of transition bags and the bike. I can’t imagine how you could possibly do this race on your own without any support. The bike and the blue bag had to be dropped at Pennington Flash about a 30 min drive from Bolton. Then we headed to Rivington, to a high school to drop the Red Bag. I didn’t enjoy this drive as we got lost and I had a sneak preview at the mountain I was going to have to climb 3 times. Another 20 mins in the car and then back to Bolton. I dropped off Dave and kids then headed to the race Briefing back at the Reebok stadium. Phew!! A lot of driving and a pretty unrelaxed way to spend the day before the race.  The briefing said all the usual stuff, but I love how triathlete’s pretend to listen, when indeed they are checking each other out!!!

Couldn’t sleep much at all, and before I knew it the alarm was sounding. Kids and Dave had agreed to be with me at the start and they were all amazing getting up and ready with minimal fuss. We got to the start at around 4.30am’ ish and made our way up to the transition so I could check my bike and get nutrition sorted. TICK. The we waited around taking photo’s and watching nerves build. I got into my wetsuit around 5.15am and then made our way down to the water. It was a mass start in the water. I thought I was standing in the middle nearer the back of the queue. I was wrong after getting into the lake and looking back some 200m from the start buoy, there were still hundreds of people filing in. I wondered whether I had gotten in too early but soon enough the gun sounded and we were off. There was quite a bit of pushing and pulling  and “biff and bash” swimming out to the first buoy but things soon settled for me as I got into a rhythm and there is plenty of clear water once you get underway and pacing sorts every one out. There was a good few hundred meters where I felt like I was inhaling diesel fumes, apparently to do with a marina you swim past. There was a small run section in between the first and second lap. As I approached the edge I was helped out and I scooted along waving at the family and feeling good, ready for lap 2. A much easier swim second time around, and I felt good running into T1.

As I struggled to get my wetsuit off in T1, it suddenly dawned on me that I had just finished the first part of Ironman. I needed to stay composed but felt very excited. I headed out to my bike and made my way to the exit. The first bit of road is the car park and narrow road out of the country park.  I said a quick goodbye to the murky waters of the Pennington Flash, as we didn’t come back here due to the split transitions.  As I rode out there were quite a few speed humps, and I slowed up a bit as I heard something drop. By the time I had realised that it was part of my nutrition (2 x Mule Bars) falling out  from my bento box , I decided I wasn’t turning around and knew I would just have to take on some extra nutrition at each aid station. I smiled as I thought this was one of those “curve balls” Tongy had warned me about that lurked around every corner in IM. The course then heads onto a flat and fast section in Wigan, heading through Bolton to the Lancashire hills and the start of the three laps. The course is undulating and there is one major climb which we rode three times at the start of each lap. There is 5249 ft of climbing on the course, but it wasn’t until the 3rd lap that I actually started to feel the burn. I hadn’t actually rode a full 180kms before and I began to get a little concerned that I may have gone to hard on the previous 2 laps. My legs started to slow and it felt like my back bike tyre was flat but after constant checking I knew it wasn’t. I continued to push on but it felt like every other female competing that day was overtaking me. I just couldn’t seem to go any faster. My Garmin started to beep non-stop around the 165km mark and I could not work out how to stop it, but this was a welcomed distraction from what was happening to my legs and my declining speed on the bike. Finally, after being told by each person that passed me on the bike that I was beeping, I made way into T2. My legs were jelly and as one of the volunteers grabbed my bike to rack it, he couldn’t push it. The rear wheel was seizing. I was so relieved to be off I put it out of my mind, again managed a quick smile as I muttered to myself, that’s Part 2 done. I did however find out, when I collected my bike the next day, that in fact my spoke had broken. The wheel was warped and rubbing against the brake. Can’t believe it, but again that’s ironman, race day and just another curve ball!

I grabbed my Run Bag from a sea of red bags and found a bench. I took my Gilet off as it was really hot and put fresh socks and runners on.  I re-glided my arms etc to avoid chaffing, my worst enemy, and grabbed my gels and headed out to pound the scorching pavement.

The run was downhill for the first 1km or so, which was great and allowed me to settle into my pace. It was incredibly hot and despite Dave warning me that morning about sunscreen, I didn’t apply it. I was feeling a little scorched but knew I needed to focus on staying hydrated and in control.

As we headed toward Bolton the course was a mix of a few hills and some off road. We ran along a cycle path which is the most isolated part of the course, but it was here I seemed to find my pace. I was overtaking people continually. As we ran toward the main street of Bolton where we would start the 3 laps and we had to climb some steepish hills to get up onto the road. I HATE hills, but so many people stopped and walked, I decided to just keep shuffling.  I had no idea how far to go except that I had three laps to do and it would be mental game working toward each coloured arm band. I had accidently stopped my Garmin 910 as I took off my Gilet, so I decided not to worry about time or distance but just about pace. I stuck to my pace religiously, as I knew from the London marathon , what I could cope with. The knees held out til about the last lap, but by this time, I knew I could do it. I had the yellow arm band and the pink, I just needed the green. When I put my arm out for the volunteer to put it on, I wanted to kiss him. I was so happy. The run leg of an ironman is incredible. So many competitors, stop and walk (ed note, Chris did not stop to walk), there is an amazing sense of comradeship between everybody, urging each other on. The spectators go wild, and whilst I only knew Dave and the kids, and they were amazing on the run course with their support, so many people called out my name or shouted “GO GIRL”.

As I ran down toward the finish shute, am overwhelming sense of emotion overcame me. I still had 100m to go, but the tears were already there. Dave and the kids held out the Aussie flag and after high fiving them I took it and ran towards the IM Arch and I heard the announcer say, Christine Kells, You are an Ironman. I did it, I couldn’t believe it. That was me he just announced.  It was the hardest race I have ever done, full of huge physical and mental challenges. The journey to get even to the start line, let alone the finish, is all consuming, BUT I loved it, every single bit of it. A huge, enormous THANKYOU to my wonderful, amazing supportive, Husband, David. Without him I couldn’t do or even think about doing something like an Ironman. He is everything to me, and has travelled every part of this journey. To my wonderful and patient kids I love you, and you inspire me everyday to achieve more. To Tongy, well what can I say, I hope I did you proud and Thank you for your belief and support. To Caterina, my UK training buddy, thanks for all the miles and the smiles. To Bel, thanks for the constant inspiration. To my family and friends, who have listened to me rave on, about training, racing, nutrition, being tired, etc etc I cannot thank you enough.

Now I guess from Ironman I go back to “ironing woman”…… stay tuned……

Gold Coast Marathon, Pace Control

Recently Lisa completed the Gold Coast marathon, here is my overview of her training and race and my thoughts on pacing a race.

Lisa had targeted the Gold Coast marathon well over 6 months ago with a target of beating her previous marathon time and a stretch goal of a sub 4hr marathon. After initial discussions I set about planning the training and Lisa set about completing the training. Throughout the training I continuously nagged about negative splits and pace control and I would biasedly say it was only in the last few weeks of training that I finally convinced Lisa that our race strategy would be to hold the same pace for the entire marathon (ie run even splits and not start out fast). I think the response was something like, “ok I’ll do it but you better be right!” I am obviously happy as Lisa achieved her sub 4 hours and stuck to the race plan perfectly. I love it when we achieve our goals by training hard and racing smart. I am a firm believer that on race day most people who don’t achieve their goals it is not from a lack of training (however this does apply to some) but more from incorrect pacing (and nutrition) on race day.

On looking at the results I noticed something very startling about pace control in the first 5k’s Lisa’s split was just over 53% in terms of ranking meaning that the majority of the field were running faster than her (and over the next 15k the majority of participants were running much faster than her), however in the last split she was at 20% in terms of ranking (meaning that her current pacing had moved up 33% in the rankings). What this tells me is the majority of runners got their pacing wrong and did not reach the potential that they had trained for. There is absolutely no benefit in running faster than your goal time and being “ahead” of time as by the end of the race you will have slowed that much that any gains will be lost with interest added! (my rule of thumb is if you are up 5minutes by half way, you will be behind by 10min at the finish.)

Whilst I will not go down the path of setting a time goal, but to say when you set a goal time it must be realistic and supported by training both in terms of endurance and interval (speed) work, there are many calculations out there to predict race times and most will give you a good indication, however pointless if the right training has not been put in place (I set goal race times by running time trials regularly throughout a training plan).

Back onto pace control, below is a graph of 4 runners in the marathon (3 random) and whilst I cannot comment on all of their training it can be seen that all 3 of these runners did not pace their races correctly with 2 of them blowing up drastically starting from 15k and the other one only marginally going too fast but still paid the price. Also 2 of the runners had been ahead of Lisa up until the 35k point and neither finished sub 4, but I am prepared to predict that both could have achieved this time with better pacing from the start. Hopefully you are still reading, my point is don’t put all your hard training to waste by not performing on race day, get your pacing right, train to it and race to it.

The first graph shows the cumulative avg splits as minutes per k, the second graph shows the actual split for each 5k, you will note in all 3 examples fatigue was creeping in between 15 – 20k, so not even at half way!

   

Ironman Cozumel, Mexico 2011

My apologies to Iain who submitted me with this great race report and it has taken me far too long to post.

I am an I r o n m a n !
Before I start, I have to make sure I thank the person who made it possible. From the moment I came home saying I’ve made a silly bet, to kissing the sweaty mess I was at the finish line. Yvonne: the wife of steel behind this Ironman.
What a day! An amazing experience with an atmosphere and support from the Cozumel Islanders way above anything I expected.
The day started with an Ironman breakfast of coco pops, bananas and coffee, with the morning ablutions out of the way it was onto the coach and off to the start. After checking the bike, loading it up with drinks and gels, and pumping the tyres up to the required pressure it was off to the start.
The Swim

The swim start was as expected with 2300 people in the water all starting from the same place, hectic to say the least. I’d positioned myself a little to the side of the main pack as didn’t want to get bashed about too much in the usual human soup that is the start.


Even after the first 1km it was difficult to find space in the water to get into a rhythm, and navigating was difficult so it did rather come down to following the person in front as they had to be going roughly in the right direction. This worked ok with only a slight detour on the back straight.
The water was crystal clear, made famous by Jacque Cousteau diving the reefs around the island; it was quite a sight seeing the safety divers waving up at you from the bottom. I was glad that the sea current hadn’t changed from the day before so the long back straight was made slightly easier as we were being pulled along nicely. Of course as soon as we rounded the bottom set of buoys it was back into the current which made the home straight seem like the
longest part of the course. Especially, as for the last 500m we were swimming along the coast so were aware of the supporter’s cheers.
I’d completed the 3.8km swim in 1 hour and 15 minutes, which was better than expected so it was definitely a good start to the race with only a few minor stings from the small jelly fish that seem to have collected by the exit point !

Swim to Bike Transition
Out of the water and running to the changing tents I managed to see Yvonne on the way through. I guess she could tell by my big grin I was pleased with the swim time. Transition is so much easier when you don’t have to fight out of a wetsuit! I’d also remembered to take the all-important Imodium+ at this point ! I’d walked through tranistion a number of times so knew exactly where my bike was. As you can see it would be easy to miss it !
6 minutes and 10 seconds to get my bike gear together and head out onto the road.
The Bike
Heading out onto the bike I was feeling good. Having ridden the roads when we’d arrived on the island I was looking forward to a fast flat ride.
The course was 3 laps around the Island, on the first lap I realised it wasn’t going to be an easy ride, as 2/3 of each lap was affected by the strong winds that were blowing across the Island. The scenery was stunning on the wild undeveloped cost line, but I could feel I was burning my legs up to keep my desired pace. I talked with Tongy, my coach; about the fact that the flat course presented a slightly different challenge to the hilly terrain I’d been training on. I’d thought that with the extra strength I’d have in my legs from the hills I wouldn’t have a problem holding the race pace. Of course I hadn’t account for the wind. When training in the hills your legs get a rest when coming down hill. On the flat you have no such luxury.
Yvonne had positioned herself outside the hotel we were staying in, which was right next to the course. It was pretty cool giving her a high five each time I came around. Seems she’s worked out how long it took to get from the cocktail bar to the road side perfectly as she was there each time I passed.
By lap 3 I was cramping badly in my thighs, so had to drop the pace as I was concious I still had to run a marathon !
Coming towards the end of the bike course the crowds were up to full steam with the streets completely lined with people offering their support.
I was off the bike in 6 hours and 6 minutes so a little over my target time, but I’d kept to my nutrition and hyrdation plans. I’d seemed to have got the cramping under control and I wasn’t being too badley effected by the heat and humidity.

Bike to Run Transition
Off the bike and it felt good to start using some different muscles. I managed to pull the top completely off my talc tube so both feet were well cover as well as a couple of people standing near me. At least my running socks and shoes slipped on easily. With Vaseline applied to the areas of potential chaffing I was out onto the run course in 2 minutes 58 seconds.

The Run
Look I’m smiling!!! Or is that grimacing?
Another 3 lap affair! Coming out of transition I knew I’d worked my legs hard on the bike so it was now a case of managing the run. Having gone off way to quick in the warm up events I’d done I was careful to pace the first few Kms. Heading out onto my second lap the Island was hit by a massive rain storm that ended up flooding the run course in a number of places. On the good side it brought down the heat and humidity down, but meant there was no way of keeping my running shoes dry, so blisters were a real possibility.
Over ½ distance and I was still keeping to roughly the pace I was aiming for, but soon after I started to cramp up badly again so had to reduce the pace considerably. I couldn’t stop and walk as that made the cramping worse so it was a matter of plodding on. It was a bit of a shame as I reached the turn around to head out onto the last lap of the run I saw Yvonne, but couldn’t stop to say hello, it was just a shout of ‘last lap’, just in case I couldn’t get moving again.
The last lap seemed as long as the rest of the day put together. It was a case of running between the aid stations each mile and taking on water, bananas and Pepsi to keep me going.
Cramp was a real issue for the last few miles and this is where it got mentally rough and it was a case of one foot in front of the other. By this point I knew I was going to finish, even if I needed to crawl. It was definitely the point I felt the most emotional and had a large lump in my throat.
The last few hundred metres were amazing, the bands and crowds seem at their loudest. It’s an amazing feeling turning into the finishing straight knowing everyone is cheering for you. I definitely felt an euphoric high or that might just have been the extremely low blood sugar levels by this point.
I’d completed the marathon in 4 hours 58 mins, in the end probably only about 45 mins slower than I realistically hoped to finish it in.

The Finish
Running up to the finishing line to hear those words I will never forget………
Iain Morton …. You ARE an I r o n m a n !
I completed in 12 hours 29 mins ! I have to say I was extremely pleased with the time, all in all as fast as I could have gone on the day. 46 seconds under what I had estimated my finishing time to be in the bar the night (ok early evening) before !
It was only then I saw Yvonne as she’d positioned herself behind the finishing line to make sure she could see me finish. Not sure she appreciated the kiss from the sweaty mess I was at the end, but it felt good to have finished!
The cramp really hit me then and I tried to blag my way into the medical tent for an IV. No chance. The doctor took one look at me and said drink some water, and have a massage you’ll be fine. Looking inside the tent there were a few people in there who looked like they really needed the help.

So………..
What a fantastic experience. I was glad that I had done all the training as I think entering an Ironman without it would only end in a world of hurt!
On crossing the line my first thoughts and words were … ‘I am never ever EVER doing that again!’
Exactly what I said after my first marathon !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

People I need to thank.
Yvonne – for all the cakes and too many other things to mention! Tongy the coach – for all the sound advice and encouragement throughout the 45 weeks of training Rob at Swim4Tri – Even though he did say at our last session my stroke needed to be completely reworked! Hutch – for all his assistance putting the carbon mean machine together Triathlon Tony, Dave and James – for help training and of course support. Big Al Morgan – who’s stupid idea this was in the first place.
Congratulations to fellow Mexico Ironmen, James, Al and Emma. As for Chris a superhuman effort and I’m sure you’ll make it next time.

Oh and the tattoo……………….
Of course thrashing big Al by too many hours to mention (as did his wife !!!), I didn’t need to have the Ironman tattoo, however, a t-shirt and medal didn’t quite seem to be a fitting memento of such an epic journey !

Tongy notes, Well done Iain on a great result I always say you reap what you sow on race day and your commitment and dedication to training showed through on race day. Look forward to hearing about the next Ironman race, great race report.



“If you are comfortable with your training regime then you should be concerned. You can only make the big gains by being out of your comfort zone.”
- Me

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