Challenge has been 12 months in the making. Standing around either watching or being a Technical Official with a broken toe I needed a long term goal. Challenge Melbourne was it, I registered and typically forgot about. After running Run Melbourne and having some 4-5 weeks away from sports with cold and running a Half Marathon with it, maybe not the best idea. I then suffered some Professional and Personal Challenges. These took a total on my training and racing but I still went on. I raced Sri Chinmoy and went to do Sandy Half and fell sick the Thursday before the race. So I signed up for my 4th Half the Mornington Half Marathon. While my race times where not great these were great build races. Something was not right, I loved the sports, but I couldn’t be stuffed.
After seeing a post on Facebook from a good Friend, Helen, I sent her an email and Helen followed it up phone call. We had a few long chats and got my mind and direction sorted. During this time our Club put a link about Sport and the Mental awareness hosted by Lakeside Sports Medicine. I went a long and it gave me a bit direction and backed up what Helen and I worked on.
I was very disconnected from the squad doing my own thing. I would cross paths with some members of the squad, but I busy being a quite achiever and feeling good about me doing my thing.
I went down to Hazelwood and did the Sprint I got 3rd in my Age Group, I went to Noosa took 6mins 30secs off last year. Things were looking good, after Noosa start the build for Challenge the work load is high, very high. I showed up for my first Long Course (LC) ride, one of the coaches said, short course is at Elwood today this is Long Course. My response yeap know that. A Team, Dave said to me, “Simon have you grown a set of balls”. Yes was my response and this draw a few comments of good stuff, etc.
I signed up for a few open water swims, and then there was Hell Week. I kept pace with the fast crew, but got dropped. My run speed finally came back, my swim was quick. I was feeling very happy with myself after racing Gatorade Tri in January I knew everything was on track.
Shit got real when the race pack arrived in the Post, but I was in taper town. Saturday morning before the event it was a little windy the group did a ride to Black Rock and back followed by a little run and ice the legs. I went home changed and came back to collect my Cap and T-Shirt and walk through transition to find my home.
|My Rack Space|
Saturday afternoon after preparing the bike I stayed at home, drank heaps of water and rested. I started to think should I swap my front race wheel for the factory wheel. I didn’t sleep much Saturday night, I woke up around 4am and checked out the iPad and before getting up and getting ready. When I got to the venue it was busy and windy. Normally I rack my bike by the seat, not today the wind was blowing bikes around everywhere. I setup my area and went to the team tent. I could feel the pre race nerves and I went for a walk to the Public Toilets, I knew the queues would be smaller than the Potaloos. I could see the bay was a washing machine the swim was not going to be easy. I went back to the team tent got started to get ready.
|Race Bike Ready to Race|
When I got down to the swim start I went into the bay to test the conditions. It would be tough going out, on the 2 outward legs of the M shaped course, but the push back to the beach would be good. When I got out to listen to the race briefing the wind was not cold. Few teams came down to wish us luck.
When called up I made my way into the starters gate. The horn sounded and off we went, the waves where full on it seem to take forever to reach the first turning buoy and then coming in was very fast. I was passing other people in the waves who were not coping well in the swell. After coming back in I head to head out for the 2nd half of the swim. Out at the deep water turning buoys I could feel it raining on back of my head. On well I’m in the water anyway was my thought. After turning and heading into the beach I used the waves as a bit of rest bite. I came out of the swim feeling beaten up, but relaxed, I run into transition got my wettie off and placed it over my shoes to keep the water out. I know it sounds strange a wet wetsuit over your shoes to keep it dry, but the wetsuit is inside out and it will keep them dryer if it rains. After the event we heard that Elwood Life Saving Club rescued some 68 or 92 from the water (reports differ on the number) and there were some 40+ who elected not swim, but had to wait for last person in the wave before they continued on.
After getting my helmet and sunglasses on I grabbed my bike and ran out to the mount line. I got on my bike peddled a bit and then sorted out my feet and shoes. I used the first half lap to work out where the wind was blowing and where I could push, where to be in aero and where not. About half way through the first 15kms the rain started. On my way back from Mordy was the quickest 15km segment over all. After the first 30kms it was sub 1hr. I thought to myself I can’t keep this pace up for the rest of the bike leg. After the 2nd Lap I was sub 2 hours. The rain clear up and on my final 15km back from Mordy the sun came out. I was busting for a pee and stopped at a toilet. When I went to get back on my bike I couldn’t click in correctly. My cleats was full of mud. I had to stop and stamp my foot down a few times to clear the mud. I got going again I was clipped in correctly and I pushed home. I dismount and ran my bike back into Transition, rack it and took my helmet off. Took the wetsuit off my shoes on with socks and shoes and headed out.
|On the bike in the wet|
|At the turn around in the wet|
21km to go, I felt pretty good, but didn’t want to overdo it. I need to pee again and at the first aid station was Hampton Life Saving Club with Public Toilets but both where in use and there was queue. I kept on going, as we moved from the beach to the tee tree a few male competitors where in the bush peeing. I joined them, problem solved. We headed along the beach path and down to the bottom of Jetty Road and a little loop before heading back up Jetty Road to the bike path. Them some 2.5km back to finish area before doing another loop. The second loop was uneventful, but I could feel my felt hamstring and glute tightening up. On the final lap around 2km from home coach Greg passed me and asked what lap I was on. When I said 3 he said hang on my tail and don’t drop off. About 500m in Greg said looks like we might collect another 2. As we passed Mark and Rowdy Greg said hang on! They did, Greg said right here is the last aid station we will stop quickly grab a drink and run home. I did what I was told, but Mark and Rowdy dropped off. Greg kept me going until about 500m when he said he was going to bolt home keep going and sprint up the little hill and into the finish line. I tried, but I didn’t have much left. I crossed the line, stopped the Garmin, got my finishers medal and towel. I took off my race time belt and handed it in. Greg was there I shook his hand and thanked him. We waited for Rowdy and Mark and then headed into the finishing area for some food and fluids.
|On the run, getting hit with the surf on the breakwater|
|At the finish line|
Took me a little time to process what I just had done. My First Half Ironman Distance, something I thought I would never do in my life. I went back to the team tent feel pretty good, I bumped into Ollie who ask how I went and I told him I got the job done. There was a fair crew in the team tent and we got chatting, Roofie made the comment it’s the only race he was done with a 86.6% chance of drowning on the Swim, Bike or the run. He was right but still I got it done.
There was so many people who I know from the Club and from Triathlon in general not only where the conditions bad for those that race, but for those supporting. I thank you all for your support not only on the journey but on the course as well.
My final time was 5 Hours 48 Mins and 35 Secs
Swim 34m 25s
T1 4m 05s
Bike 2hrs 55mins 40sec
15km Splits 29m 09s
30km Split 27m 46s
45km Split 28m 26s
60km Split 29m 06s
75km Split 29m 24s
90km Split 31m 47s
T2 3min 11s
Run 2hrs 11mins 11s
3.5km Split 20m 13s
7..0km Split 21m 53s
10.5km Split 20m 55s
14.0km Split 23m 24s
17.5km Split 22m 03s
21.0km Split 22m 42s
So far my recovery has been pretty good, post race massage and taking it easy, lot less volume. Will I do another Half, yeap you bet.
|Back next year|