Melbourne Ironman 70.3 - Sub 5 Debut
Michael completed his first 70.3 at Melbourne last weekend and what a super debut it was. Here is his summation of the day....
1.9KM Swim / 31:38
Alarm sounds at 4am. The day hath cometh.
No time for nerves, just run the checklist and get on course.
Quick stop halfway to recheck the check list. All seems ok. Play on.
I arrive on time. T1 is soaked from overnight rain. Are we really swimming?
Set up looks right, tyres are pumped, wetsuit is on. We are definitely swimming right?
Quick regroup with the MTC crew, hugs, photos and we are good to go.
Still no nerves. Am I a robot?
Lined up with my fellow blue cappers (2nd Wave) and the butterflies greet me. Hello old friends.
Ding ding ding!!! WE ARE RACING.
I get out well, find some rhythm and control the heart rate, but alas, no feet.
Don’t stress, they will surely come.
1, 2, 1, 2 – follow the rhythm. Whoops. Oh no. That was a lot of water to swallow. Don’t worry. That’s tomorrow’s problem.
Back at it, the pace feels good and I’m around the second turn. Still no feet. Passing some pink caps (Wave 1). This feels very good. Keep going.
Am I enjoying this? Yes, yes I really am. It’s amazing what 6 months can do for you.
Reach the final turn after the back straight and I’m feeling confident. I take the inside of buoy 3, plenty of traffic, few elbows, hope that toe was tasty champ.
After navigating some more bodies, a quick sight and I can see the beach. I’ve got this.
Come out of the water strong and do a double take on the watch. Today is shaping up as a good day.
90KM Ride / 2:37:57
Into T1 and out again pretty fast. Bike mount goes well, straight in the drop. HERE. WE. GO.
100 metres in and the chain is off (literally). A semi quick fix on the side of the road as plenty of passers-by observe with mixed feelings.
Chain is back on and so am I, but now with fear riding next to me. Is this going to be the feature of my ride today? Please no.
Start rolling through the km’s, albeit in the same gear out of fear of another chain incident. Pass Sandy and begin the 9km of rolling hills. Ok time to try a new gear. Boom. We are good.
Alright, LET’S RACE. Sticking to the top end of the power range feels ok. Can I hold this for 3 hours? Maybe. Will I still have legs for the run? My mind wanders … “GO FLUID!!!” The encouraging words from a stranger bring me back.
Coming up on 40km near Luna Park and the Fluid crew is in force. Faces are a blur but the voices are known and uplifting. Foz is excited. Power blows out to 130%. Pull back mate. The day is long.
Lap 2 begins and so does the second bottle of nutrition. The plan is working, just as Lyndsey said it would. Time to neg split this sucker. I hit the 60km mark and the crowd thins. I’m passing plenty. Am I going too fast or have they just not done the work? My mind wanders …
“GO PARKOOOOO!!!!” I’m back again but this time I stay present. It’s time to dismount. I wanted change from 3 hours. The watch says 2:38. This day is getting better.
21.1KM Run / 1:38:01
Into T2. Bike racked. Shoes & race belt on. Choke down a gel. IT’S GO TIME!!!
I tear out of transition with a box full of matches and the confidence of a teenager. I see my legs moving but there is no feeling there. Just gelly stumps for now, but they are heading in the right direction. Nothing to see here.
The plan is 3km slow. Mid 5km even and then drop the hammer for the back end. I can do this. I’ve done it before. This should be my jam. Fly past the Fluid team. Blurs again but the energy is electrifying. I’m sub 4mins. SLOW DOWN!!
3km in. Ok we have rhythm, but hello stitch. What is this? The sun pours out, the wind kicks up. All of a sudden, I’m in the hurt locker. An aid station looms. I water up. The stitch rides shot gun. I can’t shake it.
I push passed the 8km mark and accept that I am struggling. My pace is holding but I have doubt for how much longer. Few more Fluid high fives from the Fluid on-course athletes and I’m determined to push. The stitch drops away but it’s done some damage …
Pass the 12km mark. Clip Clap Clip Clap. These carbon shoes look good (thanks Matt), but I would make a terrible ninja. The km’s are moving by slowly, but the pace is holding. Foz said there was dough out here somewhere. I can’t see it yet, but the hunt is a welcome distraction.
Make the turn, and it’s time to head back to base. Am I really going to finish? Yes. Where is my hammer? Who cares. JUST KEEP MOVIN!!!
18km mark and the left calf makes a little noise. Hmmm better watch that.
19km and the left hammy starts tightening. Houston – Problem. Back right off. There will be no hammer today.
The end looms but feels surreal. I’m spent. Body is wobbly. The left chain is seizing. Just need to steer this ship home.
A glimpse of the red carpet and some familiar tones. Emotion’s charge. I cross the line.
Match box is empty. Heart is full.
Today has been a very good day.