Monday, December 12, 2011

Taupo Half Ironman race report

My main goal for this race was to break 5hrs and earn a super cool MINI coat from my dear friend Neilio - he suggested a PB to earn the coat but I thought that would be too difficult at Taupo since my PB is at Tauranga where the bike is as flat as a pancake.  I figured swim 33mins, bike 2hrs40, T1+T2 6mins (T1 includes a 400m run from the water...) which would leave 1hr 41 for the run - considering my recent comeback and therefore lack of running it could be tight.

I started in the 2nd row of the swim and was a bit worried I would get trampled but it actually turned out ok, had a little bit of contact with other swimmers but probably mostly me swimming into other people... I felt like I was swimming well, I went pretty straight and followed feet pretty much the whole way.  I wasn't wearing a watch so hoped there would be a clock at the swim exit, so many times I think I have swum well then I get out of the water and see a disappointing time so I was dreading seeing a clock. As I came out of the water and looked up I saw the seconds say 57, 58, 59 and in front of it was a 31 !!!! I almost had a party there and then.  Then of course I thought it must have been short but I decided to bask in my glory for the meantime anyway.
I ran pretty hard up to T1 having to pass a few people along the way - why do people run to transistion so slow, don't they know it's a race?! When I got to my bike for once I wasn't the lonely bike on the Elite rack - Rooroo had company! Not for long though, my friend Two-Piece had swum about 30sec quicker than me and was just about to head out as I ran in.  I then saw Sammy the Seal across the rack from me who always swims quicker than me so I suspected then that perhaps the swim distance was legit and I'd actually had a good swim.
I then forgot how to put my helmet on properly and lost about 45sec trying to figure that one out.
Looking very calm on my way to T1 but secretly partying it up on the inside
Once on my bike my initial goal was to catch Two-Piece since she wasn't far ahead of me which I did within about 5km.  The weather was a bit yuck and not really as predicted - very drizzly and foggy and by about 1hr it hadn't let up and my hands went numb.  Eating got very difficult and I had to shove my Em's Cookie Bar down my top because I couldn't navigate my pockets properly.
I rode pretty steady and took advantage of the downhills on the way to Reporoa.  I saw J-Rad go past in the second group with Davo on his wheel which I was impressed with, only to see actual Davo go past a few minutes later - the cold must have affected my eyeballs.
I got to the turn at Reporoa and started the long slog back only to realize that we'd had a slight headwind on the way out so a tailwind for the way back - yeeha! This made the hills in the last 20km not so bad at all and I realized the I would make 2hrs40 easily, once I got closer I thought 2.35 would be possible and I finally rolled in with a 2.34 - the clock at T2 had a cumulative time of 3hrs10 so I had 1hr50 to run to break 5hrs - easy!!

After a quick toilee stop I started my trot.  The Gayman took a while to fire up but I planned to hold 4.30's which would give me 1hr35.  The first few km's were quick and then I settled into 4.30ish pace.  The first 10-12km were pretty good, but about 13-16km I was starting to get a bit wary and times were creeping up into the 4.40's and then 17km came and BOOM! I was over it, baby steps to the finish.  I had a girl from about the 18km mark who was slowly coming back to me and I wanted to try and catch her but just couldn't quite do it.  There was a nasty uphill in the last 500m which I went up at absolute snails pace but by the time I got to the top and made the tun to the finish chute she was right in front of me.  I am not known for my ability to sprint but thought what the hell so I gave it a go and I got her! As I ran towards the finish I saw 4.49 on the clock so I had made it with over 10mins to spare.  Run time was 1hr37 which was a bit over what I wanted but as Coach Lawson says I have to be happy that I can now do a whole race, run included, so I will take it.
The finish line area was pretty poos with only water and Balance on offer - no food, get your act together Taupo Half - $245 entry and no food at the end! How bad is that.

So overall a pretty good effort I think - exceeded my swim and bike expectations and held together for a reasonable run.  And not wildly far off the big girls either.  PB by 4mins and 7th girl overall.  J-Rad had a solid performance to be 8th overall in 4.14 with a run PB and Captain Pudding punctured but perhaps wasn't meeting his KPI's for the race anyway.

Hopefully some more photos to come...

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