Monday, March 26, 2012

Auckland Half Ironman Race Report

I have done this race once as a individual in 2010, DNF'd in 2007 after rolling my ankle and faceplanting halfway through the run and not being able to carry on with my ankle which had swollen up like a mofo, and as the team runner in 2009, so I know the course pretty well.  The stretch from Maraetai to Clevedon is very common ground to us and from Clevedon onwards is a reasonably familiar road.  So I knew what I was in for.
The results haven't come out yet (!) so not sure about my times for any of it.


There was a little bit of a chop on the water, which is usually dead calm, but nothing like Wanaka or any of the Kohi swims.  It's a 2 lap course where you have to get out of the water and run on the sand for about 20m and then flop back in. 
Getting ready to flop back in
 I really have no idea how well I swam until I see some results but don't think I had the break through moment like at Taupo.  I had people to swim with most of the way so only went off course a couple of times.  I hoped to be close to my friend Two-Piece who has been persevering with the 6-7km swim program and does appear to be paying off as she was 2nd/3rd out of the water! I was about 20sec behind her at Taupo so it will be interesting (or depressing) to see the results.
Still some people behind - whew
 Had a pretty average T1 - I really struggle to get my Giro Advantage helmet on and get the straps in the right place when I'm in a race, I think it is mostly due to having a ponytail to organise as well.  Not sure if I am the only one who has this problem but people with short/no hair have it a lot easier.  I'm not about to cut off all my hair to improve my T1 by 20sec so may need to look for other solutions.


This is a hard bike course.  Very undulating, rough roads, very spread out field and that fricken headwind coming back from the turn around.
I started out ok, passed a few in the first 10km and had a battle with a woman who would pass me and then slow down so I would have to pass her, etc until I finally got rid of her. 
Got to Kawakawa Bay (30km) slightly under my goal time of 55mins, power was a little bit high but I figured it would settle down a bit.  I caught a few people going up the first big hill but got dropped big time on the downhill which was the story of all the other hills on the course. 
This headwind sucks
Heading out to the turnaround I saw the lead 3 men in a tight little group, a big gap then Jared with Dickie Speer on his wheel, a few solo riders including Coach Poo who seemed to be tootling along.  The leading lady was Belinda Harper who was towing a group of men - my fellow podiatrist buddy Bobby D was behind her keeping a good distance but it made me so mad to see the rest of the group so far up each others arses - some of whom I recognised which made it even worse.  Apart from a few bunches there really is no need for draft busters on this course so these people can get away with it which really sucks and there was such a headwind on the way back so riding in a bunch would have made it so much easier.  It was very disappointing to see the eventual winner Britta Martin glued to a man's behind - I realise it was just a shapshot in time but it does concur with other people's sightings on the course.
Anyhoo there was certainly no drafting in my little bunch of one. 
No drafting here
I was a bit concerned that I was doing 35-40kph easy with the turnaround approaching meaning that I had quite a tailwind.  I counted 7 girls in front of me - I expected to be in about 6th so started to feel a bit despondant.  My friends Two-Piece and Beable were not too far ahead so I thought that maybe I could catch them but I never made it.
The last 30km were very hard into the wind and a few nasty uphills.
I hoped to bike around 2hrs50 but ended up with 2.56ish (I think) and my WKO file shows my poor pacing which is really dumb - the whole point of a powermeter is to measure your effort so I really stuffed that one up. 
I wasn't so keen on running but didn't have a good enough reason not to.
Muppet man having a muppet moment


I was hoping to hold 4.30's to get me 95mins - the first few km's went ok, it's a 3 lap out and run course with the last maybe 1.5km of the out part being mostly uphill so I expected to be a bit slower on that part.  It is a good course to see where other people are and keep an eye on competition. 
 I got very excited to see J-Rad in 4th place and quite a way back was Captain Pudding who was threatening that he was going to catch me which he never did - WHEW. 
Run J-Rad run
Two-Piece was moving through the field and moved up to 4th place but quite a way back from 3rd.  I was gaining on the 5th-7th girls but not quickly enough.  I had moments of feeling great but lots of moments where I couldn't really be bothered.  My feet were a bit sore and my legs were tired but not sore so I didn't even really have an excuse.
So I crossed the line in 8th place in maybe around 5hrs15, so much for my top 5 and sub-5hr goal...
Where are my coke and chippies
I was pretty disappointed in general, I guess once I can compare my times to the other girls it will give me a better idea of things.
I just felt like a was a bit of a mess the whole time - like I was really fumbling my way through.  I think part of the problem is with it being at home it doesn't seem like as much of a big deal race - not having to leave Auckland, stay in a motel, etc it ends up feeling like a bit more of a training day.  So maybe I wasn't in a very good mental space to begin with.
Jared had a great race and held his 4th place and was making up time to 3rd but fell a bit short.
Our dear friend Neilio was our saviour providing us with sexy new tri kit, chauffeuring us back to Maraetai to get Jared's car and then me all the way back home while I bleated on about how much I sucked, and provided us with coke and chippies to help us recover.  We love you Neilio, you are such a dear :)

Now to sound like a typical triathlete I am starting a run focus to try and get my running back to where it was in 2009 before I broke myself.

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