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KNOCKING ON THE DOOR
SWIM 55:49 – BIKE 5:08:13 – RUN 3:24:05 – TOTAL 9:32:31
T1 – 3:14 T2 – 1:10
30th Overall (including pros) – 19th Age Grouper – 6th in 35-39 Category.
After a great year in 2017, substantially ticking my sub 10hr goal in both Port Mac (9:41:00) and Cairns (9:40:20), I sat down with my Coach Richard and looked to what the plan would be for 2018….. his words…. “I’m going to turn you into a machine on the bike”….. Okkkkkayyy.
Many hill reps of Mt Mee proceeded, on the TT bars, along with a lot of low cadence / high power strength work, and it paid dividends come race day. Whilst maintaining a strong swim program, the bike became even more of a focus as I battled through a calf tear post Cairns last year, and also a hip flexor issue that troubled my running for months. It could however have been a blessing in disguise, as it definitely slowed me down from peaking too early. Rich is amazing at working through these situations, making adjustments to the program to build the strength back up, and reintroduce me to where I need to be.
This build was different to the last, different sessions on the bike, and a lot of run / walking sessions to manage the above said injuries. This continued right through the build, and we introduced the run walk into my racing at the Tweed Coast Enduro. I did a walk run there…. And albeit that I wasn’t overly fit at that point…. I proceeded to record my fastest half marathon off the bike. There’s definitely merit to it, and if it’s good enough for Jan Frodeno, I’m all in.
Training continued to build, as did my confidence and strength that I can go faster than last year. A thought never crossed my mind that this wasn’t possible. 90% of my training was solo again this season, with my training buddies training for other crazy adventures. But this didn’t bother me as I’m still very motivated to chase goals, and I genuinely think this is where my physical and mental strength comes from. There’s no one to hide behind on race day!
My body came good in the lead up to taper, with the niggles subsiding. My pre-race cold came the week before race week this year, which was better than last year when it hit me on the drive down to Port… so I was in a real good place health wise which had me excited!
It’s a busy time in the lead up to race day once you are down there, and it’s a battle to stay off your feet. After completing 7 IM’s now though, the process almost becomes a bit easy, which keeps any potential nerves at ease. I’m never nervous for the race, or if I have done enough work, I’m only ever nervous about what the day will bring me, and how hard I can push myself to get the best result possible. Just get me in the water!
I was super excited that my coach was going to be sideline for this race to give me a razzle when I needed it, but due to unforeseen circumstances he had to make what is a pretty easy decision to not make the trip to Port. There was no question to this decision, and it didn’t weigh my confidence in getting the job done, as I knew that he would be pumping info through Mandi to me.
There was a lot of talk of Kona spots in the lead up, and that I deserve it etc…etc, but this was 100% not my focus leading into this race. My time will come. I genuinely just wanted to hit my race plan perfectly, and get to the finish line as fast as possible. If the result was good enough, and I deserved to head to the big island, I would grab it with open arms (probably cry like a little girl) and chase that finish line down!
This is how my day unfolded……..
I got into the stalls early and was about the sixth row from the front. I like being there… I feel I can belong with these fast feet even if some of them disappear very quickly from my sights. I felt I had a better swim than previous years, but the result was all but the same as last year (a whole seven seconds quicker J) I held some good feet, navigated the course really well to hit the 3800m perfectly on my gps, and entered T1 really comfortable. The swim plan played over in my head while I was in the water, and I stuck to the prescribed effort levels. No idea of the time as I left the water, but was confident it was in the ball park.
I got through here very smoothly, pretty much spot on to last year time wise, but I put my cycling shoes on prior to heading to the bike this time round as I was using cycling shoes rather than my tri shoes. My transitions are very simple really. Quick wipe of the feet, socks on, shoes on and put the helmet on as I head to the bike.
I hit the bike full of confidence and ready to fire. The plan. 230W for the first 60k, 240W for the next 60, and 250 – 260 for the last 60. The hills heading out of town punch the power up pretty quickly, but that wasn’t a surprise, and I felt really good. I rode solo out to the other end of the course, not passing, or being passed, and ended up with 250W for the first 60k, but was feeling very comfortable about that. That was where I ran into Scotty Farrell, one of our gun TZero Head coaches. This was a very big surprise to me, but I settled in with what would be my first real pace line all the way back to town. I pulled turns up front, and got passed when I needed to, dropping off the pace on occasion. But I seem to pull them back real quick when we hit the hills. We had one of the women’s pros tagging along as well, and everyone was holding their gaps which was great to see. We ended back in town together, I punched up Matthew Flinders no problems with my brother running alongside me like a mad man at the tour, he was just missing the pitch fork and devil ears! Haha.
I really didn’t want to lose these guys knowing that I had to stop at special needs for my other two bottles of nutrition…. So I put the pedal down a little and went off the front heading back out of town. My mate at the special needs was a gun and had my bottles out of the bag ready for me, so I barely paused. This was a bit detrimental, as I took off solo and the others were nowhere to be seen behind me. Oh well…. Back to the power plan.
I continued to feel very strong, and I really had no black spots on the bike all day, definitely my best day on the bike to date. The weather was the best it’s ever been in Port, top of 22 with a slight tail wind on the way home, which wasn’t really noticeable on the way out. I kept telling myself on the bike, that “Today was the day, let’s go for it”. I punched out to the other end of the course solo, and was picking up some of the heroes that had gone out too hard on the first lap. One stayed with me, and the third place pro female had reconnected. These two sat on me the whole way back to town… I wasn’t concerned however, we had a tail wind on the way home, and they were holding their gaps on me. So I was happy to ride to my numbers.
I ended up with a 260W avg for the first 60k and 250 for the last 120k. A little over the plan, but at no time did I feel out of my depth.
T2: A very smooth T2, shoes on, running belt on, and took hat, sunnies, nutrition with me to get sorted as I ran. Feeling good.
Like always, I have to continually pull myself back as I head out onto the run, as the legs just want to go. I know it’s a long day, that can be made a whole lot longer if you go too hard too early! I hit Mandi up for my swim and bike splits as I came out of transition so I knew where I was at… I actually thought I was faster on the bike than what she told me, but was still really happy knowing that I was 8 minutes ahead of last year. Time to focus on nailing this marathon.
As we had trained in the lead up to the race, Rich informed me the week prior that we would do a run / walk today, and I was totally cool with it! This was the plan:
Lap 1 – 4:45 pace – walking 30 seconds at every second aid station.
Lap 2 – 4:40 pace – walking 15 – 20 seconds at every second aid station.
Lap 3 – 4:35 pace – walking 10 – 15 seconds at every aid station.
Lap 4 – Open the gate and take it under 4:30 pace…… and only walk if I need to for 5 – 10 seconds.
Well I hit lap one comfortably, running 4:40 - 4:44 pace between stations, and the pace stayed here for lap 2 also, so well on track in hitting the plan at this point, and feeling good. Lap three is always where the battle starts, and the cramp monster was introduced to the game, and I was battling a bit to push the faster pace. My quads were locking up, and where my Achilles meets my calf would grab if I extended too hard. I’ve been here before. This came into play at about 25k, but was manageable. I was now into the short walks at each aid station, and was still able to make deals with the devil to continue to run at 4:40 – 4:45 pace to get to the next aid station, but not 4:35 unfortunately.
Last lap had finally arrived, and it was time to hit it, but I couldn’t find the next gear unfortunately. I was getting messages from Mandi, my brother, and Andrew Perry at different points of the course that the others ahead of me were slowing significantly, and that it was time to go! Believe me, my mind wanted to….. but my legs had other ideas, I was even cramping in my forearms for christ’s sake! The cramps pulled me up on the spot two or three times, having to massage and stretch them out. I threw in a couple of the hideous tasting cramp fix sachets in the final 10 – 15 ks which seemed to help. The fourth time up the hill was the first time I’ve ever walked up that hill…. Both my quads locked up as I turned left at the bottom of the hill and I had to stop. I walked to half way, and got running again.
I seemed to be able to pick the pace up again, collected my fourth band, and had about 8k to go. I ended up catching up with a young fella named “Scotty” on the brake wall who was getting a massive amount of support from guys on bikes, particularly out the back end of the course, so I worked hard to sit on his shoulder and feed off the enthusiasm he was receiving from his team mates, I’m sure one of them was Tommy Raudonikus. I also had Jason and Mandi running all over the place to give me messages, mainly that 5th place was only 40 seconds ahead of me. I did everything I could to go quicker, but I was just holding pace.
Things become so much easier as you get to start counting down from about 8k, and you start thinking about what you are about to achieve in running down that finish chute. It’s a surreal feeling that you can’t really put into words. I was chatting with my new mate Scotty as we both battled to get to the finish line as quick as possible, offering each other encouragement, to push him to the finish line, so he could drag me along! I ran strong to the finish, with my last 8k splits between 4:40 – 4:50.
I ended with a 4:51 average… exactly the same as last year when I ran the complete marathon straight (I will say that it was a 15 second marathon PB though… haha). Very interesting. If I hit the plan 100%, today would have seen me sub 3:20, but not to be unfortunately. I still look at this as an awesome result, especially working through the injuries I had in the build.
I’m 100% confident I did everything I could to get to the line as fast as possible on the day, and have no regrets. The tank was below empty at the finish line. I took my first trip ever to the medical tent, as I instantly started to throw up as I walked away from the finish arch, and was dizzy. All good though, they took all my vitals and gave me some magic little nausea pill, and I was like brand new. I was still cramping like a mofo, so I got a massage and made my way back into the recovery tent.
It’s six days post-race now, and I’ve gently trained every day except Friday, and I feel really good. I’m in a real good place, and will now shift my focus to Cairns IM in just a little over four weeks.
It would be remiss of me to not mention roll down on the Monday. For those that don’t know, this is where they award the places for the World Championships in Kona. Finishing 6th was my best age group result to date, and I knew that there would only be four spots in my age group. I barely slept on Sunday night, but that was probably more to do with the copious amounts of caffeine that I had taken in throughout the day. Long story short, it seemed that every age group in the lead up to mine was rolling down. (rolling down means that if someone doesn’t take the spot, it rolls down to the next person). However, the four spots in the 35-39 age group were graciously taken by the guys that beat me on the day. Good on them.
I’m in a good place, and am training well already. Four more weeks of focus through to Cairns, and I’ll throw it all on the line there again!
Can I go faster?
Sure I can!
Thanks must go to my amazing Coach Richard Thompson, you are a seriously amazing coach, and a good mate! Love ya like a brother!
Mandi, WOW! Your support continues to amaze me, and everyone around us, you are a truly amazing lady and I love you with every bit of my heart! My little support crew, CJ, Ryno & Natty… It always brings so much calm and joy to me every lap, knowing that I’m going to see your smiling faces! I only hope that you see this as me being a good role model as we continue this journey together, and all the sacrifices that are made are a benefit in the future.
Thanks to all the support on Course, Jase in particular who was chasing me all over the place on the bike, he was everywhere. And all the RTC and T:Zero support crew, thanks for making the trip down, Especially you Danno. It was great to have you there. And all the athletes on course, so good! Apologies if I didn’t respond on occasion.
That’s a wrap! Hope you enjoyed my report!
It’s taper time, time to start getting fresh and prepping yourself for the big day ahead in a couple of weeks. It’s a time to reflect upon the work you have done, the sacrifices you and your loved ones have made for you to be where you are and to remember how lucky you are to be in a position to be doing an Ironman in the first place.
In a perfect world, we remain completely zen about it all, cruise into the race with linear, cool as you like emotions intact and crush race day like it’s a walk in the park.
However, this is so far-fetched from what normally goes on. For most of us, we go into self-sabotage mode. We reflect on our training, but rather than focus on how much we have done, it’s about what we missed. We begin to doubt our strength and fitness and enter into a somewhat negative mindset which from where I sit, isn’t going to help things in both the lead up and on race day.
Whilst hindsight is a beautiful thing, let’s instead bring our focus to what lies ahead, what we can control and how we can set ourselves up for a kick arse taper.
Control the controllables: we say it time and time again. There are a few things you have control over. Such as the few listed below:
Embrace the butterflies:
You’re going to feel nervous leading into an Ironman, particularly if this is your first one. But rather than trying to suppress these feelings and be super positive all the time, embrace the nerves and butterflies – it means you care and it really is a part of why we do this amazing sport. If we didn’t get the butterflies, it wouldn’t scare us and then what’s the point right!?
So embrace all of the feelings that come your way and whilst it’s important to keep things positive and focus on what’s to come, remember that they’re all a big part of the journey to that finish line. It’s a rollercoaster is this Ironman thing, with big waves of emotions - the better you can navigate your way through it all and stay mostly positive, the better your experience will be.
Enjoy the experience:
As mentioned earlier, it’s a time to reflect and be grateful for everyone and everything in your life that has lead you to being able to be where you are today. It’s a privilege to do this sport, so get out there and enjoy the experience, soak up the atmosphere, the highs and the lows, embrace it all! You deserve to be there, but you are also very lucky to be who you are – adopt an attitude of gratitude!
Go forth and race well. Find your flow, race with grit and above all, embrace everything that comes your way both in taper and race day. It’s one hell of a journey you’ve been on to get there and such a very cool moment in time it will be when you’re smashing down that red carpet like a young Jane Fonda!
“Things work out best for those people who make the most of how things turn out” Coach John Wooden
Coach Scotty Farrell
Click here to find out more about Head Coach Scotty Farrell
ULTRA TRAIL 100 RACE REPORT
I don’t even know where to begin, it was huge, it was amazing, I have been on a high for days! I can’t believe that I felt on top of the world all day? Thanks to my brilliant coach Richard, my wonderful husband Viv and our gorgeous kids, I ran 100 km and can truly say I enjoyed every minute. I wasn’t racing, I didn’t look at my garmin for pace or heart rate, I enjoyed stopping and having something to eat at the check points (CP’s), I appreciated the views and stunning scenery. I ran when I wanted to and walked when I wanted to, it didn’t matter. I felt oddly relaxed from the moment I crossed the start line. I didn’t know how to run 100km, but I believed that I could so I just ran by feel?
Start to Narrowneck CP1 (11.4km)
I hadn’t slept well during the night, I was nervously excited and couldn’t wait to get out there. We haven’t been to the Blue Mountains before and had done only a few short walks to Echo point, Three Sisters and explored the Scenic World boardwalk and rides the previous days. The views and weather had been picture perfect.
I made myself eat a bowl of porridge as I dressed in warm layers. My eldest daughter had already braided my hair back the night before ready for the head lamp I would wear later today. My running pack was ready with the mandatory gear and I had premade my litre of lolly water that I had decided to carry. That had been a light bulb moment of realisation that I only needed the capacity to carry 2 litres of fluid.
Our accommodation was in a great position close to a UTA bus stop and the travel to the start line was hassle free. The wait to my start group time in zone 3 seemed to take an eternity! I ate a banana, had numerous toilet visits and at the last moment stripped down to my shorts & T, armwarmers and gloves.
I have been so excited about doing the UTA 100 since Richard and I stalked the internet in February and managed to get a start position in the sold out event. Since then it has been a huge trail running learning curve for me.
Heal to toe shoe drop, what’s that? Is it important? Trail shoes/road shoes…….difference?
Poles, are they useful? How do you use them? Is there a pole etiquette?
Running back pack/vest….fit, size, volume?
Running in the dark……Head torch? How many lumens?
I have run through countless spider webs, been covered in leeches, seen snakes, wild pigs and cassowary’s in training, had some spectacular falls, become entangled in metres of “wait-a-while” and gotten myself slightly lost on numerous occasions.
Finally my wave at the UTA 100 started at 6.56am.
People set off very fast but I had already decided to jog out as it went straight into uphill anyway. I made my way around the first 5-6km without accidently ending up on the 50km route, gave Viv a big happy smooch and headed down into the trails.
It went down, down, down and was particularly rough through the land slide section. I remember hoping we didn’t have to navigate anything like this at night as I clambered over rocks and logs, wishing my legs were a bit longer. The trail was narrow and I happily trotted along in the queue of people not fussing about pace. The Golden Stairs didn’t trouble me at all. My legs were fresh and the day still felt relatively cool to me having trained in Cairns. I was surprised to find myself already at CP1.
My plan was to stop at every CP and have a good drink of water and something to eat.
Narrowneck CP1 to Dunphy’s Camp CP2 (31.6km)
By this section I had realised there was no chance I was going to get lost today! There was pink flagging tape everywhere and prominent crosses on incorrect routes at each junction.
I took in the gorgeous views and chatted to people around me. Before long we came to the Tarros ladders. There was no queue because they were directing everyone via Duncan’s Pass. There was a lady stuck on the ladder and the volunteers weren’t sure how long it would take to get her down? Duncan’s Pass is a very interesting detour! I was very happy that I still had my gloves on as I used the thick knotted ropes to help me almost abseil down the trail. It is supposed to be only 300m longer than going down the ladders but I’m guessing it takes a lot longer as coming into CP2 I overtook a lot of the same people I had been in front of before the ladders?
CP2: Bakery bun and banana
Dunphy’s Camp CP2 to Six Foot Track CP3 (46km)
I enjoyed the climb up Ironpot mountain, it was very similar to a lot of the trails I had done at home and Ironpot ridge was worth the climb. On pre-reading the somewhat complicated written directions I had wondered why they sent you on this narrow, exposed out and back section? It’s simple, the experience is magical. I rock hopped over granite ledges feeling like I was on top of the world with the most spectacular backdrop and aboriginal music beats. It wasn’t the first time that I wished I ‘d brought my son’s go-pro to capture the moving moments and I locked the experience away in my memory.
Then it was time to go down again, I randomly thought as I precariously slipped and slid down the mountain that I wouldn’t be to bad at this trail running if only I could run downhill!
The last part of this section had a lot of runnable terrain and I jogged along easily, mentally registering the distance sign meant that I had run a marathon so CP3 must be getting closer.
A few hundred metres out of CP3 we were stopped for our mandatory gear check. The phone was easy but my thermals were stuffed deep in the back pocket so I had to take my pack off and ran into CP3 with it only half on.
This was the first checkpoint where crew was allowed and it was so nice to see the kids and my hubby. The kids had been acting as spotters and had seen me up at the gear check then ran down with me. There were lots of people and music playing. Here I refilled my lolly water and collected my poles.
As I didn’t know the course at all and it was too long to remember, I had asked Viv to bring the elevation map to the CP’s so I could see what was coming up. I had decided to run the course CP to CP so it didn’t become too overwhelming.
CP3: It was around midday so I had lunch.
Vegemite sandwich and mandarin
Six foot track to Katoomba Aquatic Centre CP4 (57.3km)
This section is mostly uphill so I had my poles out from the start. I ran and hiked, ran and hiked up Nellies Glen which then became the Six Foot track stairs. More Stairs! I like going uphill and I love using my poles. I don’t think I always run as fast with them but they conserve my leg energy. It didn’t actually take long to get to CP4. My right ITB was tightening slightly but it had just climbed up a lot of elevation and odd stairs.
I had planned to put on warmer clothes and even completely change at CP4 but it was only 2pm so we decided to reassess at CP5.
CP4: Dark chocolate sesame snaps
Katoomba Aquatic Centre to Water point (69.4km) to Queen Victoria Hospital CP5 (78.4km)
I enjoyed this part of the run as it passed through several of the places we had visited in the previous days. It was only mid-afternoon so lots of people were out on the tracks but everyone yelled out “runner coming” to alert people and it was very easy to pass through. Leura forest was a beautiful section, I thought I might use my poles again up Leura Cascades but managed the stairs fine without them. Up and down, Up and down. I loved hearing the bells from the volunteers as we reached the top of a climb. I had a drink of water at Fairmont Resort and started munching on little pieces of my Clif bar as I set off towards Wentworth falls. Here I enjoyed the stepping stones across the falls and watched the sun start to slowly descend in the sky. It was 5pm and I was hoping to get to CP5 before I needed a head torch.
As soon as I hit the bitumen I picked up my pace, cars were tooting and people cheering as they drove to and from CP5. I arrived just as darkness engulfed the CP and my hands started to get cold.
At CP5 we refilled my lolly water for the last time. On went the fleece, gloves, hand warmers, head buff, head lamp and high visibility vest. I was starting to get a bit tired but was still feeling great.
Queen Victoria Hospital CP5 to 100KM FINISH LINE
Viv moved me on out of CP5 before I could get too comfortable. I jogged down from the hospital for many kilometres to Jamieson creek before the uphill started again. There wasn’t a lot of people on this section with me but my headlamp gave me a comforting circle of light and the reflective flagging tape was easily visible. I felt strangely at home in the dark. Richard had made me do so many hours of hill repeats in the dark that I’m sure he could hear me cursing him from Cairns but apparently there was method to the madness 😊
I had a drink at the 90km Aid Station and knew I was now on the last climb. What I wasn’t prepared for was the amount of people vomiting on the way up. I stopped several times to see if I could help but soon learnt to leave them be.
As I entered Leura forest I started passing 50km people and seeing 100km people going in the opposite direction. I heard one person say to his friend that they must do a U-turn soon. I didn’t want to tell them it was a 30km U-turn!
I saw a sign that said 3km to go, then 2km to go, then I was at the bottom of Furber steps. Apparently there is 951 of these haphazard long steps, wide steps, short steps, inconsistent steps, laddered steps to get to the finish line. I knew from my Trinity beach stair training that it took me approximately 20 minutes to climb 1000 normal stairs. My garmin said I had been out on the track for around 13 and a half hours. Wow, I could get a silver buckle here but it was going to be close!
Ok, head lets love these stairs and the legs will follow, I’m sure that’s what one of the pro’s said on the panel on Friday night. I didn’t really know where the top was but suddenly I was on the board walk and there was my crazy crew cheering me to break the 14 hour mark. It was so exciting I forgot to turn my head torch off for the finishing photo. We all ran down the final stretch and under the UTA banner. Someone announced my name, I did a final gear check (rain coat & bandage I think?) and I was given my silver buckle.
I was so excited, I couldn’t stop jumping up and down. I had just run 100km! One Hundred kilometres, that is awesome!.
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at the Ultraman Australia welcome breakfast. There would have been a few hundred people in the room – which obviously included the 55 athletes taking part in the event and their support teams.
Race week, for any distance, is a stressful time. There is a lot on the line – a lot has been sacrificed. So hopefully bringing it back to what truly matters helps you when you are next homing in your goal race.
When I look around the room, I see 50 very determined athletes. Words are hard to describe the extraordinary feats you are all about to embark on over the next few days. You have all sacrificed so much to be here, physically, mentally, emotionally and no doubt you all have incredible goals, personal goals, that you are so focused on for this weekend.
Everything has been about the next 3 days. For months, if not the past year. It can be easy to get swept away and lose sight of what is important.
Because when I look closer at this room, I see not only 50 athletes, but I see the representatives of 50 amazing teams.
The crews, the coaches, the spouses, the families, the body maintence teams, the training buddies, the mechanics, the work colleagues, the shrinks. They all aren’t here but they are so crucial to each athlete getting to the start line and through this event.
At any part of today, or the proceeding 3 days you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, upset. Remember your team and be grateful. For everything. This is a massive team event and without each person playing their part, the machine wouldn’t work. So take time to be thankful, to be grateful.
There is an old saying that goes “The best view comes after the hardest climb”. But I have come to realize that true solace is found, not in the view, but in the difficulty of the climb itself. Those final 400m along the beach on Monday afternoon is amazing, but trust me, what you endure over the next 72 hours to get to the finish line is what its all about. Embrace every moment from now to your finish line..
Be grateful, be humble, be phenomenal.
Head Coach Richard Thompson
The rigors of long course endurance racing are such that you can’t just get out there with a bottle of water and hope for the best. There’s a very good reason why there are hundreds of sports supplements out there for you to sample and use.
Let’s dive right into my own race nutrition plan (and a little either side of race day) for Port Mac Ironman in a little over a week away. And while I’m at it, I’ll do my best to throw in a few why’s behind my madness methods (that are by no means mad BTW).
There’s the old school thoughts of carb loading… which I don’t prescribe to. Why? Because smashing down extra starchy carbs like pasta all week is going to lead to a feeling of bloat and heaviness, even some water retention and weight gain. With sensible eating and a big decrease in volume and intensity, there’s no real need to be overloading, your muscles will be well and truly ready.
My advice here: keep things simple. Go for quality (real food), stick to your normal routine and if anything you may even need to eat slightly less than normal due to your decreased training and subsequent appetite. Above all, get organised early in the week and sketch out a rough plan for the week. Race week is hectic enough without worrying about what you’re going to eat on a whim.
For me, and this starts at about 6 weeks out, I get a little stricter with my eating. Wholefoods become the sole focus of my eating (not that aren’t normally) and treats...not so much if any at all. Think of your body like a race car… the better and more nutrient dense the fuel… the better the performance.
What does this look like you ask? Here’s a rough example of what my week might look like (ideally).
Breakkie: scrambled eggs with spinach and avo washed down with a banana smoothie (banana, peanut butter, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, ice and milk of choice- for me- coconut milk).
Lunch: generally leftovers from the night before. Maybe a basic rice bowl (eg. rice, teriyaki chicken thighs, broccoli, carrots, capsicum)
Dinner: Kitchari- lentils/dhal with roasted veg. (basically it’s an indian/ayurvedic lentil and rice dish). I throw roasted potatoes and any other roast veg on top and squirt some lemon juice over it and voila… sooo good.
Thnacks: go to’s for me. Fruit (apples, mandarins, bananas… the usual), rice cakes with avo + lemon + pepper- so good, a boiled egg, a carrot with peanut butter. Something real food based.
Breakkie: Usually at race venue now so this can vary. But likely avo and eggs on sourdough with lemon. Keeping things simple.
Lunch: again simple Simon: a starchy carb dish perhaps like a potato bake or potato salad (homemade if possible so I know what’s in it).
Dinner: Burger time: a simple Grill’d chicken burger and a handful of sweet potatoe fries.
Thnacks: Bananas, rice cakes w avo or peanut butter.
Saturday (the day before the race):
Today I’m keeping things nice and simple (seems I like simple things). For my own and my competitors well being… I’m staying away from gas producing foods like onions and beans/lentils etc. And sticking to simple, wholefoods like spuds, rice and protein like eggs, and chicken. If you know some foods trigger gas or porr digestion then avoid these today perhaps.
Breakkie: Veggie omelette + small smoothie
Lunch: Rice bowl / fried rice (preferably homemade) or sushi
Dinner: Either a burger or stir fry with simple veg and egg noodles or rice.
Thnacks: banana, apple, rice cakes with avo or peanut butter (pics is my fav FYI)
During all of the above eating I’m also making sure I’m drinking a glass of water with meals and have a bottle of water and/or electrolytes with me at all times to make sure I’m drinking to thirst. It’s common to be out getting bikes sorted, registering, catching up with friends etc and leave yourself short on the hydration side of things. Prep a couple of bottles each morning and take em with you in a bag. Be mindful of not letting yourself get thirsty or short of food. It’s stressful enough without getting hangry.
There’s a couple of options here for a pre race meal. Basically, the closer you are eating to race start the smaller the meal should be. It’s a tough one… ideally you’d have a proper brekkie or meal no closer than 3-4 hours prior to race start so your body has time to move it out of the stomach but it’s still going to be making it’s way through for the usual 6-8 hours of digestion time.
My advice here: have something a bit smaller and then have snacks leading into race start. You don’t want to be hungry but you don’t want to have a belly and digestion system full of food either. The other option is to get up at midnight and have a bigger meal giving it plenty of time to pass through… but that’s not advisible in my opinion.
So, here’s what my brekkie pre race will likely be:
Pre race brekkie (roughly 2-3 hours pre race)
Sourdough toast x 1 with 1-2 eggs and avo- likely pre boiled eggs so I’m not cooking. Or a simple bircher muesli with banana (pre made the night before). Not a massive portion size… just enough. I’m going to keep a banana and energy bar with me to nibble on as I duck in and out of porta-loos and cues for racking bikes etc. Plus I’ll have a bottle of electrolytes to sip on as I’m getting ready.
Race time (finally- we can breathe now):
As I mentioned first up, you can’t get out there and expect your system to go all day and be putting nothing in there. Like any engine… it needs fuel. Now, the amount of energy going in you can get away with depends on a heap of variables which we won’t go into today. But for most of us, we need to be getting in a source of carbs in the vicinity of 40-70 grams per hour on the bike and 30-50 grams per hour on the run. We focus on carbs, as this is predominantly what your body fuels off during an Ironman. And carbs, as you may well know, come in many different forms for racing. From gels, bloks, chews, carb drinks, bars, fruit, sandwiches, spuds etc. The more liquid form the carbohydrate like a high carb drink solution, the easier the processing down below. The more wholefood in nature, the harder your system has to work to break it down. It’s for this reason, I tend to recommend more liquid form for race day. Keep in mind as well, this is something that you really should have been practicing for months leading into your big day.
Anyhoo, check what my race day will likely look like. And I say likely, because in all my races, I’ve had a couple that have gone exactly to plan. Especially once you’re off the bike.
Pre swim start
As I mentioned earlier, I’ll have with me a banana, some sort of snack/energy bar like a clif bar or muesli bar and a bottle of electrolytes to sip to thirst. I’ll make sure I’m nibbling on this and stop eating with 15 mins to race start to let things settle and get my zen on.
Swim swim swim…
As soon as I’m on the bike, I’m wanting to settle things down by getting outta town, finding my flow and maybe sipping some electrolyte to start with. Once settled, roughly 10-15mins in, my day of smorgasbord starts… roughly every 15-20 mins, I’m going to drip feed the fuel in. Little bits and more often. Why? Because it’s far more gentle on the stomach to be putting little bits in more often than one or two bigger lumps of energy every 40-60 mins and once you start your body on all the refined sugars you’ll be pumping in all day, you need to keep the fuel flowing or you’ll risk having a sugar crash… make sense!? (I hope so).
For me: the first two hours on the bike will be a mixture of a high carb solution fluid mix in my bottle and small bits of clif bar, maybe even a banana. In the next few hours I’m keeping everything in liquid form. Mainly from the bottle and I’ll have back up bloks and gels onboard in case I lose a bottle or get sick of the drink (it happens occasionally). I’m aiming for 60-70g of carbs per hour and I’ll hydrate to thirst based on the weather conditions. Because it’s Port, I anticipate it being a bit cooler 20-25 degrees celsius and no humidity so I won’t be over doing my hydration (just staying on top of it within reason).
Once on the run, for me it’s all about bloks, gels and coke. My carb intake decreases as my HR climbs so I’m aiming or 40-50g per hour mainly from bloks. I’ll have a blok every 15 mins and top up with a caffeinated gel every hour or so. Once I’m sick to death of gels and bloks, I’ll move to coke for the last part of the race… as late as I can hold out.
If I get any distress in my gut throughout the race, I back off the fluids for a bit, especially water and back my effort off as well, but keep moving forward. Then slowly ease back into it.
As much as you want to get stuck into all the treats… think about fuelling your body with as many nutrients as possible as well. Post race for me is still very healthy on the whole with my meals based around lots of veg and protein to rebuild all that damage from the day before. And keep eating and drinking well for a few days before you hang up the boots. And be nice to yourself, sleep as much as you can, eat well and catch up on all those little jobs you’ve been neglecting to get the big race done.
It’s important to remember and prep yourself, that rarely does everything go to plan during an Ironman, especially in regards to your nutrition. But going in without a plan is a sure fire way to leave one of those things you can control, to chance. So get on it if you haven’t.
Enjoy the ride, have fun and crush it!
Feel free to chuck any questions on the FB post in the collective too, I’ll be happy to answer them as best I can.
Head Coach Scotty Farrell is a qualified nutritionist and age group Ironman Champion - learn more about him here!
By Coach Lisa Spink
So we are all now well into the year, we have poured over endless race calendars, finally locked in our goals for 2018, paid the race entry fees, booked the flights and accommodation BUT now what!!?
Now it is time to put a plan in action.
If you really want to achieve your best you need a plan that is made for your lifestyle, your family, your work and well simply put - YOU. That is where TZero comes into its own – with fully individualized, custom programs with 24 / 7 access to your coach and you can be anywhere in the world.
Now you have a program and coach you can trust to support you in achieving your goals BUT the job is far from done. I like to say there are three A’s to “Living Your Potential” and here they are.
A – Attendance. Without doubt the key to success is training consistency. Looking at the current world ranking, stalking your competitors on social media, researching the wattage of the Tour De France winners or finding the latest and greatest gadgets to add to your racing kit can all seem important, but nothing is more important then getting the training done. I am not saying this is easy, endurance training is tough, it takes dedication, commitment and sheer determination – but for most of us that is what draws us to it. There will be times when you are smashed and the thought of that 5 km swim set, 6 hour ride or 2 hour run is just too much to handle - this is where the 5 minute motivation trick comes into play. When times are tough, instead of looking at the total session, thinking it is all too hard, ignoring the alarm, rolling over in bed and feeling guilty all day because you missed a session, just look at the first 5 minutes. Put your training gear on, get to your training venue and complete the first 5 minutes of the session. You will find once you get through the first 5 minutes more often then not the rest of the session will roll on and you will have gone from completely missing a session to attending and completing at least a large portion if not the whole session. Attendance equals consistency which equals results and every session sessions starts with the first 5 minutes.
A – Application. Whilst turning up is the first step towards success, it is really what you do when you get there that takes you to the next level. As TZero coaches we spend a lot of time on planning your season, your macrocycles, your training weeks and then right down to the durations and intensities of each set. As one of the head coaches commented to me, if an athlete is doing 10 sessions a week and does an extra 5 minutes each session, that is an extra 50 minutes per week of training, similarly if you cut sessions short. Adding or missing parts of sessions, increasing or decreasing prescribed intensities and changing the times / days of sessions can all dramatically affect the outcome of the training program… In a negative way! That’s why you have access to your TZero coach so they can make decisions on any changes that may need to be made for whatever reason. This not only applies to duration and intensity, it applies to skills and intentions. The greater you hold yourself accountable to performing skills during the sessions the greater your success. Application is all about performing each session as it is prescribed with the greatest amount of purpose possible.
A – Attitude. This is the game changer between the good and the great. Listen to yourself when you talk and you will get an insight into your attitude. What do you relate to?
I want to achieve X or I can achieve X?
I have do X session or I will do X session?
I was (insert excuse here ie sick / injured / the training program was wrong / had a mechanical / weather was bad, watch / computer / power meter didn’t work) so I could of gone faster / finished on the podium / got a qualifying slot or I did everything I could on race day and I will keep learning and getting better.
When you listen to the greatest athletes in the world, their attitude center’s around
I can ……………………..
I will ……………………..
I did ……………………..
You are in control of your own attitude – just like swimming, riding and running – keep training your attitude towards - I can…, I will… I did …….
Good luck to everyone in 2018 – “Live Your Potential”
Coach Lisa Spink is one of the best endurance coaches you have never heard of! With over 20 years experience and incredible stable of results, we are super proud to call her a T:Zero Multisport Coach.
The newest addition to the coaching ranks at T:Zero Multisport, Bonnie explains why she is looking forward to the transition from athlete to coach.
By Coach Bonnie
Triathlon has been apart of my life since I can remember. I started out swimming and running so the natural progression was to get on a bike. I have been involved with Triathlon for over 10 years now and whilst I have taken a back step to racing myself, I am taking a forward step towards coaching and giving athletes the opportunity to achieve goals like I have over the years.
Ironman Western Australia, Busselton… renowned for flat, hot, fast racing and in more recent years, the art of a collective blow up on the run leg (for most). Actually, this seems to be a pretty common occurrence across most long course races these days. However, those few who adapt well to changing conditions and stick to a race plan seem to still do really well.
It was an absolute privilege to have been contact by the St George triathlon club a few months ago asking our interest in conducting a training camp in their home town. Having received a grant from Triathlon Queensland, the club was looking at having a weekend that would expose the athletes to some higher knowledge, some quality training and some educational tools that can be ingrained within the future training plans of the club. This was an opportunity simply too good to refuse :)
At the beginning of 2016 the seemingly ludicrous notion of entering an Ironman crossed my mind, and before I knew it, I’d made a date with Bussleton!
An amazing collection of training and racing advice from the T:Zero Multisport coaches- with the occasional guest blogger! Read this blog to help you live your potential!