Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Ah Feck

IMDE Race Report

Times (AG position)

Overall 10:16:40 (57)

Swim 1.07:15 (83)

T1 4:25

Bike 5.07:01 (36)

T2 1:49

Run 3.56:09 (117)

As I posted coming into this race I felt I was in good nick, cycling was the strongest I had been and i thought my running was somewhere near the mark and swimming was normal for me!

Stayed in Ibis hotel which was clean and dull. Perhaps walked too much on the thursday and friday as the various places e.g. expo, swimming venue were all spaced apart and I chose to walk mostly but don think this had much bearing. Also used public transport with my Ironman ticket pass which was good.

Saturday was real hot reaching over 40 in the sun and the peak recorded temp was 36 degress. Luckily some cloud appeared for Sunday morning but it was still warm(28-30C) and humid with soem commenting that it was like Kona weather!

Swim was a non wetsuit which was odd but also kinda fun because I dont really like wetuits, well I like the fact they make me a whole lot faster, but i dont like all that black rubber and constrictions it puts around you. The start was not as bad as I had last year at Lanza which was pretty bumpy and I had no out of body experience like IM Swiss, I managed to draft a lot and just settled for following the more distinctive swimmers around me, which was much easier since they were not all wearing black suits!

Came out in 1.07 which was OK and about par for what my training was telling me!

Out onto the bike and I soon felt great, I was flying past all and sundry even though there was a slight head wind as we raced up a closed section from the out of town lake to the centre of Frankfurt. I felt about right and was happy to swap positions along the way with a few other bikes. There is a short section through the centre of Frankfurt before we headed out into the countryside. There are a few hills and a notbale cobbled section but non of it was demanding and i stayed in my saddle throughout. After a while i found nyself in a well tempered pace line including Mladin, Luis and Christoph. By well tempered I mean we all kept our distance, dropped back a bit when overtaken and generally obeyed the bike laws. The presence of multiple draft busters meant I saw very little drafting. This legal paceline proceeded at a steady 22.5 mph average for the next lap or so of the course. If anything I felt I could go faster than most and spent more periods off the front. In the whole of the next 100km only 2 bikes came past, and I felt strong throughout.

On the second lap at about 130 km I started to feel sick. I have had this before on an IM bike leg and it is usually where I have eaten too much. I stopped eating and drank only fluids for the next 10 km and then had to back off from the paceline when this did not work. By the time I got to Bad Vibel (about 20 km from the finish with a small diversion this year) I was feeling a bit better. I had however dropped about 20 bike positions in this time but was managing to track a large bunch as we approached heartbreak Hill for the second time. This bit I enjoyed as I powered up the hill and passed lots of my fellow racers. There then follows a slighlty teduious decent into the town centre and T2.

Final split was 5.07.01 which was for a distance of 185km ( which means if it had been 180 km I would have nailed my sub 5 bike split!) and I was happy with that. I was slightly concerned that i had not eaten enough but I was probably only a gel or two short of what I had expected to get through (12 gels and 2 energy bars if you ask).

Out on the run it took about 3 km to sort my back out (again a normal thing for me) and I was running 5min/km which was target pace. Settled down running with a couple of younger brits and chatted for a bit. Thought the run course dull but there is a nice section in the trees from about 7-9km which relieves the boredom. It is a 4 lap course and I finished the first lap in 56 minutes and felt OK. Somewhere in the second lap everything fell apart. This is unusual for me. I expect to struggle in the thrid quarter but in my last two good IM runs I have found myself running in the zone in the second - but not this time. It then just became an IM slog. The sun got hotter and I just could not find any running strength in my legs. The little man came back and sat on my shoulder telling me to quite and have an ice cream. The last lap was about completion until I got to the last checkpoint when they gave you the fourth (purple) wrist band, about 4 km from home. At this point I decided that you can suffer running slowly or suffer running fast and that if this was the case faster seemed a better option since it would not last as long.

I set off, picking up Will from Bad tri club who I had been chatting with on and off during the run as we crossed paths. The next 3 or so Km were almost certainly the fastest I have ever run in an IM (sadly my garmin had packed up). I reckon we overtook a good 14 athletes with there purple wrist bands and kept the pace all the way into the finish stand. The pain had gone and was replaced by a sense of unease that if I could do this now then why not before...

At the finish my legs went wobbly and I took up the "catchers" offer of a mobile bed to lie down and have a bit of a rest. After a bit of resuscitation I gathered my bit up and went back to the hotel.

Why could I not run to my capacity. PossiblyI went too hard on the bike, but I don't think this was a significant jump compared to last years efforts- an improvement yes but nothing to dramatic and I was certainly in better condition. Was it a nutrition problem? Maybe but again I would have expected that to hit me later. this leaves two things.

1. lack of running condition. This year I have been more conservative in my approach to running: which has kept my Achilles at bay but maybe left me lacking the correct muscular endurance.

2. I did not like the heat and humidity.

Only one way to find out......

.. see you racing again soon.


Jevon said...

Whatever you are thinking mate... 10:16 in that heat is still a great performance.
Well done.

lord_lordy said...

well done Gabriel.
Still consider you did the bike too hard. I reckon you need to have a little doubt in your mind at the end of the bike that you went hard enough - not certain just a doubt - then you got it right. Alternatively - when you run to your capabilities you biked at the right level.
For what you want that is the bike split u need. To achieve that and still run well you need to get that split whilst biking easier. The answer to that is not more running - it's more biking. Get even more bike fit.
Just something to add to your post race musings.
I think this has shown you can qualify. I just have to make sure I qualify the same year so we can hang out in Kona !

Tom said...

Great performance mate... If you don't mind me chucking in my ten pence worth, I would point towards two things based largely on my own experience this year where I went into Lanza super fit yet didn't quite step up to the plate...

1) I'm sure the heat played a major part - hitting race pace in the middle of a very very hot day near the beginning of the season? Some people deal with it superbly well i.e. Louise Collins but I really do think it got to me. I've raced better in hotter conditions but always after quite a lot of hot weather training in the build-up.

2) 'Match Fitness' - You just can't beat the training effect of race efforts. For me going into Lanza I only had a couple of races in the bank whereas between then and the Outlaw I'll have four more triathlons, nearly ten time trials and a couple of running races. Particularly with regards the run it's more about heat tolerance and energy metabolism, as opposed to a stand alone marathon where I feel the biggest factors are muscular endurance and CV fitness. Again, racing in the summer trains those systems.

If I was going to have another crack at Kona (which I'm not) I think I'd look to doing Lanza as an early season 'training race' off a large block of base work and then hit plenty of intense stuff into a late summer attempt at qualification (even maybe somewhere like Wisconsin to qualify for the following year?). Which is pretty much what I'm doing this year into the Outlaw.

You absolutely have the strength and fitness to qualify but as someone with a full-time job etc it is extremely difficult to be fully match fit relatively early in the year. I ran something like 1.28/1.27 at the London Marathon so easily it was rediculous but come Lanzarote was struggling to get within 90 seconds per mile of that.

Anyway, just my thoughts, well done again on putting it out there.


Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom said...

p.s. I rode the bike super easy... definitely the easiest of my six Ironman efforts including CH last year where my two laps were 2.31/2.31 followed by a great run. Yes I blew big style on the bike at mile 90 but again I think that was most likely the heat. Compared to 2009 I was SO much more comfortable up to that point but...

Ten days in Miami
Two ten-day training camps in Lanzarote
Race day in the mid 20s

No foreign holiday
No training camps
Super cold UK winter
Race day touching 30

Russ said...

Sorry to come to this so late and sorry to see you missed out on breaking the 10 hour mark. The heat looked harsh in Germany so you should be rightly pleased still.

I'm with Steven though that the signs would say to me the bike was too hard. It may be that it was too hard for the conditions - i.e. the heat you were under on the day. So whilst it might not seem like a huge leap in performance over the previous year, perhaps the effort was greater under the heat.

Possibly the stomach issues on the bike were a sign you were having trouble absorbing nutrition in the circumstances. Again often a sign that the intensity is a bit high.

Either way great effort toughing it out and good to see you're getting straight back on the horse. Hopefully I'll see you out in Kona with Steven some time soon.