Kona v3

I’ve never done a race report before. But due to the massive support and good wishes I received,I thought I might try to share my day and the feelings involved when racing in Kona🤙

0415 alarm, surprisingly slept like a baby. Usually I wake up several times to check I haven’t missed the alarm🙄
Nervous bite to eat, some black coffee and off to T1.

Once tattooed and bike checked it was out to the usual waiting spot for sunblock,nervous goodbyes and any last minute advice from Xavier Coppock. In reality all the training was done and we had discussed a plan for pacing the marathon. It was now time to enjoy the day for what it was!

Race start.
Still feeling quite relaxed! Probably because the only time I enjoy swimming is in the ocean. Being a terrible pool swimmer the buoyancy of the salt water allows me to enjoy swimming. So I swam out and seeded myself pretty much in the centre and a good 5-6 rows from the front.
The cannon fires and straight away I realised I probably should have been a bit further up. As I swam over and around others for about the first 1500m. Did cop a fair beating myself at the same time🤪.
Just swimming in the moment and sighting off the little bump on the land in the distance got me to the turn buoys in 27 mins!
Happy, surprised, but worried about the current on the way back. Surely I wasn’t swimming that fast! Yes I was correct, slight current but uneventful return to T1.

Swim 1.03

Quite a slow transition. 2015 I was so sunburnt so now I spend a little extra time covering up.
Now my favourite part of the day! I get to ride my bike
Out on to the queen k, down palani around hot corner. Due to the crowds and adrenaline I monitor my power from very early on. Up the kuakini climb it stayed above 300W but felt very easy🤔 hopefully we’re in for a good day?
Now out on to the QueenK for the long haul out to Hawi. I pressed the lap button on my watch to get a more accurate idea of my current power but when the watch is in triathlon mode it went straight to T2. 🙄 ( now I won’t have any idea on overall bike split)
Which is fine, just reset and start again. Monitor power, perceived effort and nutrition plan. But most importantly dodge the massive amount of AG men that exited the water at a similar time. If there is something that stresses me during an Ironman it’s trying to find your own space to allow you to stick to your race plan. The quality field in Kona and 1500 or so male competitors alone make it very difficult. Unless you swim under 55 mins you will never ride to the front.

Heading out through Waikoloa the wind was down and conditions were cool! Wow, this can’t last? Just keep drinking and staying cool! So far I hadn’t checked my avg speed but went solely on how I felt and pretty much made sure I wasn’t holding too higher power. So far I was avg 260W approx.

Contrary to what you might hear from spectators the draft busters were out and the penalty box at Hawi had a traffic jam of cheaters.

No special needs, so now the fun descent back to Kawaihae 🤙 with no cross winds at all it was just high speed for what felt like forever. So cool! The climb out of Kawaihae is short but usually hot and having done 130ks already it’s best to take it easy and save your legs for the final push in to town.
Still no head wind? Power was still 260-270 and scrolling through my screens I noticed ride avg was 38.2kph. On track for a pb bike split👌🏻
Right. Time to finish it off and just tick other riders off one by one. My maths is no good at the best of times and after 5hrs or so of racing and no idea of my overall time it was just a push all the way back in to town. Shoes off, see ya bike!

Bike 4.44 ( had to ask Xavier when I ran past)
NP 255W Avg speed 38.3 (165.9k)

T2 lucky the run around the pier is carpeted! My running legs still hadn’t shown up. Race belt on, hat on here we go. My running in training had been pretty good. ( although a lower leg tendon issue? did pop it’s ugly head up a month out)
Run plan was very simple. Run out along Alii and back to the Palani aid station at race pace 4.35-4.40. Walk to the top refuel then do the same out the energy lab, then the same back to the finish. Simple! 😂
1k in Argh shit I feel terrible😳 try to look good because Xavier is right there! Ok downed 2 gels and some more salt. Within minutes I was feeling better and able to hold 4.45 4.50. Sorry Xav that’s all you’re getting for now!
Finally I get to see Rach and the boys for a quick Hi 5 and cheer 🤙

Back along Alii to Palani still feeling good so I ran up to the aid station, walked through, sampled the buffett then moved on.
Downhill now along the Queen k. This is the best I felt the entire marathon, so I dialled it back because from experience these good times don’t last! About now was where Gary ran past, and for a split second I thought I might just run with him😬😂
Slowly he disappeared in to the distance. No wind also meant it was Hot! Not ‘beating down sun hot’, but more ‘holy shit I can’t cool down’ hot?
Almost at the energy lab now and starting to struggle. Each aid station was about ice water, cold sponges and coke. Then on to the next. No more 4:_ _ something’s on the watch🙁 just cool down and run to the next aid station.

Funny thing is this is my fifteenth time in this situation. 30ks in to an IM marathon and you know the battle from here is all mental. You prepare for it, visualise it in training but it still seems to suck! Now it was just a matter of being in the present, running the best I could and knowing that if I just focus on the here and now the finish line will show up eventually.
And a big man dressed in orange on a bicycle yelling at you to keep running helps a lot😉👍

Now for the reward and best part of the day! The family cheer squad on Alii and the finish line 🏁 in sight.
Run 3.44

Finish 9.42 mins

Biggest thanks to Rach and my boys!

Second biggest thanks to the crew at Bicycle Centre Cairns. These guys have helped out and made a lot of things possible over the last few years👊