Ironman Western Australia – race report

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in Race reports | No Comments

Race: Ironman Western Australia
Time: 2014-12-07, start kl.05:33 am
Location: Busselton, Western Australia, Australia.
Distance: 3,86 km – 180 km – 42,2 km
My result, time: 57:54 min –4:55:28 h – 3:14:33 (9:11:13)
My result, place: 7th place
Complete results: Click here!

Short story:

Fourth and last IM for the season was, in retrospect, maybe one too many for me. Mentally I did not have it the last part of the race, and could not keep it together to race my normal level, which was a shame, as I was in a physically good shape, and I was eager to race.

I had a good swim despite a lot of fighting in the beginning, and I did end up getting my finisher medal, which was a big accomplishment, taking the struggle on the run into account. Despite a disappointing a 7th place, it start field was as strong as it ever has been in this race, and I tried my best. Therefore, there are still good things I take home from this experience, and I did learn a lot from this race.

Long story:

Pre start:

After a long season, we took the chance of putting me up to the last IM of the year, which was the fourth for me in 2014. Despite only 8 weeks between Hawaii and IM WA, I still had motivation to train and I felt in pretty good shape. I had less desire for yet another training camp, so I chose to stay at home in Odense, where the weather conditions were harsh and backbreaking. But physically, it payed off, but we were aware that it was a gamble to end a long season with yet another long trip and big competition, both mentally and physically.

I chose to spend the entire tapering period on site, in the small fisherman town Busselton, 2.5 hours south of Perth, WA, Australia. The jet lag was worse than usual, and I caught a cold in the week leading up to the race, which, of course, was not optimal in the preparations. Besides that, the preparations went smoothly, and I stayed with a very sweet and generous family close to the start. Thank you again, Robyn, Whayne and Andrew!

Swim: 57:54

We started from the beach, and we swam around the 2 km long jetty. The water was quite shallow and very clear, and generally very calm, which benefits me. On the actual day of the race, it was however a bit more choppy than expected when swimming back towards land, than it had been the other days. Some days it was flat calm waters and idyllic beautiful.

I got a good start, but within seconds the chaos was a fact. I ended up in the middle of a big group, unable to change position to get clear water. I got punches and kicks from right and left, and it took a unusually long time before people spred out a bit. Usually I do not experience such aggression at the start, as everyone realizes that everyone loose from fighting in the water.

It ended up with me loosing the group, after a very energy consuming start. Once I got free water, and found a rhythm, I caught up with the group again. When we rounded the jetty, it was surprisingly choppy and I lost the group again. It took a while to catch up this time, but once I did, I felt strong enough to pass most of the group, and I exited the water as # 2 in the group, which was the third group.

It was a great experience to be able to finish strong in the swim, and having a generally good feeling, even though the start was unusually rough for my part.

Bike: 4:55:04

We rode on a flat two-lap course with 11 U-turns in total. Potentially it was a very fast course, but when large parts of the course were close to the Indian Ocean, winds could affect the race quite a bit, and on race day it proved not to be an exceptionally fast course.

I felt strong and happy, and I enjoyed racing the first 120 kilometers and slowly worked my way up through the field. I chose not to even try to hang on to those who rode past me in faster tempo (van Vlerken and Hufe, with the fastest bike split), but rather to focus on my own pace, even if it was only a marginal difference. In retrospect, it was probably the right decision.

After about 125 km, it was as if the power ran out of me. I know my nutrition status was well, I could keep a good cadence, but the power was not there. I tried to motivate me with everything to keep the pressure, but nothing really had an effect, and the last 50 km was a big struggle.

T2: Came into T2 with Britta Martin, who later won the race with an impressive run. transition went smoothly, but I took it easy in the run, as my legs were very heavy.

 

Run: 3:14:28

Britta soon disappeared out of sight, and I tried to focus on finding a rhythm.

As a new experience for me, I almost a panicked when realizing I had only run 2 km and had another 40 left, and I could not in my wildest dreams imagine that I would make it to the finish. Again, I tried all mantras and motivation attempts to keep the pace, but I realized that it would be a fight only to get to the finish line, instead of competing against other participants.

I lost only one placement, to Beth Gerdes, who had the day’s fastest run split, and I got my finisher medal. I was so incredibly relieved that I finished, despite knowing that I ran at a time that was potentially 5-7 minutes slower than my normal potential. I really didn’t want to pull out of the race. I’ve never pulled out from a full distance race, and I did not want this to be the first time. And it wasn’t!

Post race:

I spent only one day in Busselton after the race, before I left to go back home. As usual, I prefer to go home as soon as possible after a race when I have a few days with no training, and especially when you haven’t had a good day. We spent the last day on the jetty fishing, playing around and where I got a last swim with the dolphins.

It is now officially off season, and I will spend it studying a small class in medical school, and visit my family and friends is Sweden. And, of course, eat lots of Christmas food!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who supported me and followed me in 2014, and I wish you Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

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