After a very nice time in Kona I am back home and enjoying a few recovery weeks before the kayak training ramps up. I had a great time in Kona and found it to be a fantastic place to visit with the people being very friendly. This combined with the relaxed atmosphere and lots of fresh fruit and good training I would only be too happy to stay longer.
I had a really good day in the Ironman so here is the report..
Firstly a BIG thanks to the sponsors that helped me get over to Kona and supported me with all the right gear to have a great day. Energy NZ for getting me there, 2XU for the awesome race gear and swim suit, Pinarello for the really cool bike, Reynolds for the fast wheels, Asics for the shoes and Oakley of course for the eyewear.
Also a big thanks to the people that helped me with advice in training. In particular Rick Wells, Ally Boggs, Paul Hamblyn, Dene Coleman(physio) for fixing the inevitable niggles you get when you train for an Ironman in less than an a 8 week buildup. Mark Watson training partner, Wifey – chef and also training partner for those rainy days in the last two weeks when I felt training for Kona was not what I wanted to be doing in my year off, Steve from Kiwivelo for tuning the bike. Also Janette and the team at the Ironman NZ office. There were quite a few and I apologise if I have left anyone out but thank you all. My advice to anyone thinking they may want to do the Ironman.. do it! It is an real eye opening experience in to what you can achieve unless of course you have already swum the channel or rowed the Atlantic. If you do though my only other advice is get the very best advice you can get your hands on. There is no point making something that is incredibly challenging even more difficult and there are no shortage of opportunities to make life harder for yourself!!
Back to the race – I had a very comfortable day, well as comfortable as you can have doing the mother of all Ironmans in Kona Hawaii. Overall I was happy with my split times in all my legs. The swim I got smoked off the start and once the dust was settled got stuck behind a lot of people that I was quicker than, with 1500m to go I decided that I would swim out to the side and get some clean water and spent the next 20mins passing people which was a good move but a little late. The swim was the one leg that I was not so enthusiastic about leading up to Kona but it turned out to be a real highlight for me. Training on the course in the week leading up the water was very clear and pleasant. One of the practice swims we even had the company of a pod of dolphins at the turn around marker which was an amazing experience. One of them had a young calf with it and from my experience with swans with young babys on the lake I decided to keep my distance!! Still a surreal experience.
The bike ride was conservative for me and I am not sure I passed anyone as I was very aware that this was a long a day that was only going to get tougher. It felt like a headwind for 70 percent of the ride although the 15mins in the 53×11 after the turn around was a nice respite before the home tail wind turned head late morning! Most of my day was spent in the 39! unlike Taupo.
The run was comfortable to begin with, doing my best to stay within my self but still went past the six mile marker in 43mins, I walked every drink stop (every mile)and I am glad that I did. The heat was as hot as I have ever had to deal with and never for such a prolonged time. I found I was more concerned about keeping my body temperature down rather than conquering the distance and being concerned too much with pace.
For many the hottest part of the race was Ali’i Drive and in particular the right turn “Hot corner” up Palani where to me it felt 5 degrees warmer than any other part of the course, all I could think about was ice from the next aid station. From there the next thing was the fact you still had 25km to go after already having run 17!
Overall I am stoked I made the decision go to Kona. Once again I feel I have grown as an athlete in the way I did the first time I attempted the Taupo Ironman back in 2000 which led to me lifting my goals and beliefs in what I could do in sport. After 2012 I would like to have another go at Ironman and really put a good year or two into doing a better time but for now at least if I dont get back there I am very satisfied with my experience on the big island.
A few more easy weeks getting familiar with the K1 again and it will be full on again in the kayak for 2010. It looks like the competition is getting stronger and I am excited about competing again at an elite level.