Reflecting on my recent race on the weekend, I am happy to say that I feel I am heading in the right direction! 70.3 Ironman Subic Bay, Philippines was the start to assert my authority in the long course triathlon scene in 2016. I am starting to feel I belong as am known to be the “consistent performer in the Ironman Asia-Pacific ranks”. Yes, I may have only come 3rd overall (I wouldn’t say I am happy finishing on this step of the podium all the time but I will take it) but it was a result which came with taking some risks and actually seeing what I could do racing the best in the business. The top 2 women who I finished behind are world class champions with multiple accolades to their name including Olympic representation, 70.3, long course, and ironman podiums and wins.
The Xterra Speed Suit stands out in the pack!
I was not going to be deterred or so called “psyched out” of racing these fantastic women who I admire both on and off the race circuit. I am a strong believer that no one is unbeatable! I already knew I was going to be a few minutes down coming out of the 1.9km swim. Instead of worrying about it (I was dropped from the lead swim pack after 300m) I focused on my form and technique and was able to produce my fastest swim time over that distance swimming solo! (maybe it has something to do with my Xterra Speed suit :)). It was then a matter of getting onto my bike and closing the 3min gap to the leaders.
Onto the bike and the strategy was to obviously bridge the gap. I had worked hard over recent months on bike setup and form and it paid dividends! My coach Jurgen Zack, suggested I use the top male age groupers who were potentially stronger on the bike (they started 2 minutes behind the pro women) as a pacer to make up some time. It took them 60km to catch me so once this occurred, I sat my legal 12 meters behind the group and conserved some energy. I was feeling great until I made a silly error by missing the final 2 aid stations for water…not completely my fault but one I will also take blame for. I knew then I was potentially in trouble and within the next few minutes I started to cramp badly in my upper legs. Trying to reduce the problem I immediately took some salt tablets hoping that would ease the problem. Fortunately it did somewhat and I was able to ride relatively strong for the remainder of the ride which also produced my fastest time over the 90km distance.
The run segment which is usually my strength didn’t show today
Heading out of transition 2 and onto the 21.1km run I was just under 4mins down on the leader. For the first few kilometres I tested the legs to see if they were ok but immediately knew that my mistake with hydration on the bike would pay the price. Every time I tried to pick up to my race pace I would feel cramp was imminent. Being an out and back run course I used the first 10km to get in the adequate hydration and calories from my Sponsor gels. In the event the front girls had gone out too hard I felt this way I may be I could bridge the gap on the second half of the run. Unfortunately to my disadvantage and full respect to the professionalism of the top 2 women, no mistake was made and I had made up no time on them. So for me it was a matter of consolidating 3rd place and surviving to the end. It was disappointing to finish my race this way as I knew my running form has also been good. Never less, I am happy I stuck it out and finish respectfully in front of a welcoming Philippine crowd.
I love being part of the Alaska Ironkids! Just one of the commitments I am part of with racing in the Philippines.
I am always impressed by the standard of the races in the Philippines. The Sunrise Events team run by Alaska CEO Fred, and his leading hand – Princess, do an amazing job looking after the athletes whether they are the Alaska Ironkids, age-group participants and professionals. I look forward to supporting their events over the next few years!
The Z-coaching team dominated with multiple podium results across all age groups including securing their spot for the 70.3 Ironman World Championships!
So now it’s time to get back to the training track with the Z-Coaching team and continue to strive forward. With my next race coming up in 7 weeks time, it is a matter of fine tuning and working on both my strength and weaknesses.