Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

From bike riding in your bathers to making the distance

Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby Hebden » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:19 pm

Hi All,

This Triathlon thread in BNA is still pretty new so in the interests of promoting triathlon amongst you cyclists I thought I would write about my latest triathlon experience. It was a long race so it’s a long report, if you’re not interested, what are you doing in the Triathlon sub forum? :wink:

Ironman OZ 2009 was held at Port Macquarie NSW on April 5th. 1326 Triathletes started in the event. 1280 finished inside the 17 hour time limit. They had to Swim 3.8kms, Ride 180.2kms and Run 42.2kms.

The Swim
The professionals started at 5:55am and the remaining age groupers started at 6:30am. The Swim start is a mass deep water start, the athletes are given colour coded swim caps on estimated swim time, with faster swimmers positioned to the front and slower ones at the back. For those of you that have not participated in a mass swim start in a triathlon, it’s a full contact sport. It will usually ease up about 400 meters from the start and then there is more biffo at each turn when we bunch up again. Most of the contact is unintentional, it’s hard to see with all the churning water and if the person in front stops to look around you usually just swim straight over the top. Seeing the media Helicopter swoop low over the swimmers is a real thrill too. I had a good swim and overall comparing to others in my category my swim is my strongest, only slightly though. I seem to be equally mediocre in all three sports. I was out of the water in 64 minutes for the 3.8km swim.

T1
T1 or transition 1 is swim to bike. You run into the transition area and grab your bag (pre packed before the event) and head into the change tent. You sit down and volunteers come up and help you out of your wet suit and open your bag and start handing you all your stuff. Now all equipped with helmet, shoes, spare tubes and race belt with my number, I am off to grab my bike that was racked with the 1300 odd others the day before. 64min for a swim is in the top 3rd so there are still plenty of bikes in T1. I found mine ok and got out on the road in good shape.

The bike
Ok, Triathlon is a non drafting event. That is you must remain 7 meters or 4 bike lengths from the rider in front. If you are passing, you have 15 seconds to do it then the passed rider has to drop back before they can re take you. So it is essentially a 180.2km Time Trial. Of cause some people cheat, and some make honest mistakes and get a little too close. These people will receive a 5 min stop go penalty if one of the referees on motorcycles catches them. Still even riding at 7 meters you still get some advantage so some of the faster riders ride in pseudo groups and clock up some impressive times (40kph avg!). Personally I was aiming for a 30kph average which will give me a bike leg of 6 hours. The Port Macquarie bike course is said to be hilly, as far as triathlon and Ironman bike courses are concerned I guess it is. It’s a three lap course of 60kms each lap with approximately 330 meters of ascent each lap. There are aid stations every 10kms with stacks of volunteers running along to provide you with Gatorade, water, cookies and bananas. There were some rain periods and some caution was needed for part of the bike leg, I saw 1 rider go down on a corner, not serious though and he got back on and finished. I managed to keep my effort pretty consistent, a head wind going out kept my flat terrain speed to 30-32kph but on the same stretch coming back in I was 34-36kph, obviously slower for the hills. It’s important not to get carried away on the hills even the gentle rollers, any lactate build up on the bike will come back to haunt you in the marathon to come. I finished my bike in 5:57:00.

T2
Bike to run. A volunteer (these people are just awesome!) takes your bike as soon as you get off, you grab your run gear bag (pre packed before the event) and head to the tents, again volunteers help you unpack and pack you gear and you’re out the other side and running your Marathon before you know it.

The Run
The Ironman OZ marathon at Port Macquarie is a 3 lap course and it’s fair to say there are some hills. And you get to climb them three times! You get given a scrunchy to put on your arm after each lap, two scrunchies and they will let you in the finishing shoot any less and they send you around for another lap. There are aid stations every 2kms so you are never far from food and water. My first 20km where fantastic, I held on to my target pace of 5:10min/km and felt pretty good. However around the halfway mark things started to deteriorate. My left knee started producing some serious pain to the point I started limping every few steps. I was determined to run the whole marathon and forced myself on. I did concede to power walk the aid stations to ensure proper hydration and fueling and to rest the knee. It seemed to help, although running was still painful I could keep going, although slower, my heart rate was down and my pace was 6:00min/km. Still I was at least running and my original goal was to finish under 12 hours and my pre race estimate was 11hr30min based on my training times. And if I could run though the pain for the last 20kms I was going to achieve this. The last 7kms where the toughest, I was hurting bad, but I was determined to finish strongly and pass some people, this was a race after all. I picked up 15 places in the last 7kms, 6 of them in the last 2kms which I ran at 4:30min/km pace or better. It hurt but as my HR was down as I slowed to protect my knee I had energy reserves and used the thought of the finish line to try and overcome the pain my knee was producing. It worked. I finished in 4:11min for the marathon, only about 11min slower than I had hoped.

Total Race time was 11:12:38 finishing 469th out of 1326 and 79th out of 169 for my category - M30-35. This is not fast but I am happy with my effort. The winner for the men was 8:24:53 and the woman was 8:57:10.

Cheers,
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by BNA » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:29 pm

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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby casual_cyclist » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:29 pm

Thanks for the report and great job on finishing within your target time and especially pushing through with a dodgy knee. Looks like there was a pretty good finish rate all up considering the number of entrants.
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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby toolonglegs » Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:24 pm

Swimming I used to do for 12years...cycling I suppose I could handle...but running a marathon after that....no f'ing way dude.You guys are insane!!! :D . Hey I can't run 50 meters without repercussions... so running a 26 miler with a dodgy knee is impressive... how is it now?.Well done BTW!.
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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby Hebden » Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:42 pm

casual_cyclist wrote:Thanks for the report and great job on finishing within your target time and especially pushing through with a dodgy knee. Looks like there was a pretty good finish rate all up considering the number of entrants.


Thanks man, yeah you need to have completed a Half Ironman during that season to be able tyo do the full, and as registration is $690 AUD people usually want to finish.

toolonglegs wrote:Swimming I used to do for 12years...cycling I suppose I could handle...but running a marathon after that....no f'ing way dude.You guys are insane!!! :D . Hey I can't run 50 meters without repercussions... so running a 26 miler with a dodgy knee is impressive... how is it now?.Well done BTW!.


Thanks TLL, yeah it's funny most people are scared off by the swim, I am sure with some steady preparation you could build up a solid run/walk strategy they can be quite effective time wise too. The cutt off times are quite reasonable and with yoru string cycling you could finish with a very respectable time.

The Knee is still swollen and walking up and down stairs is a bit painful, but the opposite leg (muscle) is really sore too, I think because I was compensating. I don't usually get that sort of knee pain on a long run, though my overall run kms in preparation were a little low this year. I can rest now anyway, and am planning a cycling focus for a while now, I have dreams of sub 5.5hr bike splits in a couple of years when I return to Ironman. :roll:
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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby lang » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:32 pm

Wow! Anyone who finishes an Ironman deserves great respect. Congrats.
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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby simonn » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:13 pm

There should be a "we'er not worthy" icon.

I really am in awe of triathletes. I'd struggle just with the cycle leg in one day.
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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby Risque » Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:15 am

Great write up, Heb - I can't get over how gruelling it sounds.

After reading your recount, I know why they let anybody who finishes call themselves an Ironman (not just the winner). Bloody top shelf mate.
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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby JV911 » Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:48 am

HOLY CRAP!

"5 min stop go penalty" for drafting - time for a nap!

5min 10sec / KM after swimming 3.8km and riding 180km is awesome. you're a machine!!!

Well done Hebden!!!
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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby drubie » Thu Apr 09, 2009 1:38 pm

We were driving north last weekend and the numbers of cars going south to Port Macquarie with time trial bikes on the roof was truly impressive.

I can't imagine what an Ironman is like - I did a Sri Chinmoy "classic tri" in Canberra about 10 years ago and it damn near killed me to come in stone motherless last in my age group. That thing was less than a quarter of the distance that hebden did. I crawled out of Lake Burley Griffin after 1.5k and couldn't decide whether to throw up or collapse, so I got on my bike to take my mind of it :oops:

I think i'd struggle with the cycle alone - 180km! Awesome effort hebden.
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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby Addict » Thu Apr 09, 2009 5:32 pm

another person in awe here..

my goal is to do a HIM... still stuck doing sprints for now.. :D :oops:
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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby moosterbounce » Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:25 pm

Great race report and well done on your time. Some would argue that Tri-folks aren't "real" cyclists, but who gives? This was a great effort and inspiring for all.
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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby ClownBoy » Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:12 pm

Thanks Iron Man - you sold me.

I have only done 1 triathlon and I loved it. I am doing my second in 2 weeks - both were sprint distance.

I am ready to do the whole Gatoraide series from October to April this year and either the Noosa or Mooloolaba full triathlon (or both). I am now considering making an iron man into my 2011 goal.

Scares me though - cannot imagine those distances - you rock for getting the job done!
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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby Andrew69 » Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:28 pm

Well done Hebden!
I was at Port to watch the fun and it was a great day from a spectators point of view. A bit wet in places after saturday nights deluge, but still an awesome event.

After watching the fun (translation: suffering) had by many of the competitors, Ill stick to doing halfs for a while longer thanks :mrgreen:
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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby bracko » Fri Apr 24, 2009 2:28 am

i got exhausted just reading that :shock:

hats off to you, it's something I'd love to do, but i know i never could.... I'm starting to train for my first tri in spring though :D

cheers for the write up.
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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby pine » Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:25 am

I :!:
Last edited by pine on Wed Aug 12, 2009 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ironman OZ 2009 Race Report

Postby jgreen » Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:11 pm

bloody hell, that sounds grueling! 12 hours hard exercise straight! plus the point i coudn't even finish the run or swim :D
well done!
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