I had the most consistent and well planned, daily, weekly, monthly training routine for the 3 months building up to race day. I knew I would go well. I’ve never had a bad race where I didn’t half expect to go poorly for whatever reason. And I’ve always got through without any major problems when I am well prepared. And I was the best prepared I have ever been in my life.
I have been refining/changing my weekly routine for ever, and since Challenge Roth this year I have filled the gaps to address my weakness in the back half of the marathon, and my comfort and strength on the bike. Briefly, my weekly training is this.
Monday- long run
Tuesday- rest & pilates
Wednesday – strength ride -hills on road bike. Swim. Run easy 8km
Thursday – Run intervals. Swim. Run 8km easy.
Friday – ride TT bike. Swim Run 8km easy
Saturday – Run tempo. Rest.
Sunday – Ride TT bike. Swim. Run 8km easy.
So I was in Hawaii in the best shape of my life. I was incredible confident of my running ability as I had done more km’s and better quality than ever before, but also the extra easy runs had given my legs much more resistence to fatigue, loosened my legs between sessions, and given me more adaptaton to the act of running, without tiring me out day to day. My swim was feeling easy, probably better than previous years in Hawaii, and my bike was the best it has ever been.
So the swim went well. I jumped onto Andy Potts feet but let him go after 600m and just relaxed on my own. There was a very big pack swimming very fast and they caught me on the way back in. I started the bike in 2nd or 3rd place and was followed closely by about 30 others.
Now this gets hard to write about. I got a 4minue penalty for not passing within 20 seconds. I wasn’t cheating,/drafting or anything I could help. It was a fast downhill section into a headwind and I’d been constantly overtaking people so I could stay up in the front 6 riders because as soon as I got to the front people would illegally cut in front of me within the draft zone of the bike in front of me. This was not being policed at all and really set me up for failure. Another rider who did get caught pulling into the draft zone behind another rider, and getting the cheating effect of drafting was only given a stop and go penalty. I served the penalty at bout 50km intot he bike with 4 others. I was pissed. I knew I had just lost the chance to get onto the podium.
We got back on our bikes and worked together, which really means a strong cyclist went to the front and we held on. We made up 3:30 by the Hawi turn around about 50km later, and I just started to fade and couldn’t make the last effort to get back onto the group. I’d used all I had for the bike leg and could do nothing to lift myself as other riders went past me. I was crawling back to town on my own. I only kept going because I know that how I feel on the bike does not reflect my run. It is as if there is a separate engine and new tires once I hit the run. So I ran hard, but still was in unknown territory. I was in the best run shape of my life, by far, but this was the first marathon I’d ever attempted to run really fast. There was definitely some slight apprehension at times as to if I was going to be able to keep the pace up, and how fast to run.
I loved the run. It felt so good to unleash all those hours of training to a set pace for a set distance and just see what my body could do. I felt great until coming up the hill from the energy lab and something happened, I got hot. I slowed down. I decided I just needed to walk the aid station at the Queen K intersection, reset myself, and then hammer along the highway for home. And I did, and it worked. I walked the aid station, and another 30m, at this stage I had gone from 32nd off the bike, to 13th, and I really wanted to get top 10 after all the hard work. I went after them, and was in 11th pretty easily. But Chris Lieto was putting in a last effort to hold me off and I didn’t catch him until the hill on the highway as it climbs to meet Palani road, but I was feeling great at that stage and flew past him. I floated down Palani and before I knew it Faris Al Sultan was in my sights too. I said sorry to my Abu Dhabi team mate as I passed him, but a place is a place.
I was so pleased to have had such a great run, and finish the race well after a very tough and emotional bike ride. I shed a few tears on Jaim’s shoulder behind the finish line. That helped me let go of my frustration. I could have been really upset, annoyed, and unhappy, with my race, not getting the result I wanted, but having Jaimie there, as well as my parents and a couple of good friends, they really helped me see the best in a bad situation, and made me feel proud and focus on what I had accomplished, not what I hadn’t.
I had the 3rd fastest ever Hawaii Ironman marathon time. And I was again the youngest in the top ten by about 4 years. I learnt a lot. I built some character. And I did myself and my supporters proud.
I really appreciate all the support I get from around the world. You all give me the courage to keep trying for that World title, the perfect race, and to find the limit of my physical ability, driven by a strong mind.
Thanks so much.
p.s. I’ve written this on the plane. Other thoughts I’ve had I will write now also and publish a few days after this one.