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Monday, May 21, 2012

Ironman Austria 70.3

Today I competed at the Ironman Austria 70.3 for the third time. Every time I compete here it is the first race I do in my trip and hence is hard because of jet lag (10 hours difference and even harder when you have a baby who needs to adapt) and today was no different. And so it was another 7th place finish in Austria for me, but this race was always only meant as a hard hit out and I never expected too much of myself here. I have bigger ambitions for the next couple of half distance races I am doing as I will be nicely settled in Europe by then. And of course my biggest ambitions are for the full distance races Ironman France and Roth, the distance I am best suited to.
So here is my race report. Swim we dive off pontoon and we swim in two lakes with quite a long run in between. It was nice to have a separate women start 2 min after the pro men. I dived in and felt like rubbish in the swim, felt tired and did not have my best swim and came out in about 6th place which is not normal for me. My transition was very bad made lots of mistakes, couldn't for the life of me get my wetsuit over my feet! Took me quite a while, need to keep practicing this.
It was a relief to get onto the bike and then my race could really start. I felt much better on the bike. I have been working hard at some gym work which has solved my back problem that bugged me in Ironman NZ and Ironman Melbourne. I was going very well was keeping up with the likes of Caroline Steffen at the beginning who completely blasted me in Melbourne. I caught 3 of the girls going up the first climb but they came past me about 20k or so later on the flat along with the amazing Natasha Badmann and Erika Csomor. They got slightly ahead of me but I could still see them and passed again the same 3 girls going up the second climb as before and could see Erika just ahead, then we went into the last 30k mainly downhill and everyone got away from me. I have never been the greatest at down hill but this wasn't particularly technical but I just wasn't as fast going down hill I don't know why. So they all got a big gap on me and I got passed by Sonja Tajisch as well. But all in all I did a big improvement on my bike than in previous years, about 8 min faster than in the previous two years, but this year the competition was just that much hotter.
Onto the run after another appalling transition not being able to find my bag and taking ages to put on my shoes as the ground was so wet and I didn't want to have blisters that would affect my later races so I tried to dry them as best as I could before putting on my shoes. I felt quite good on the run but a little bit more puffed than usual. I was holding just under 4 min km for the whole run, I had no idea what was going on, what place I was and who was in front and by how much, there was no places to see competition in front of me. I kept my pace as best as I could. At the end I made a huge mistake. Part of the run is to go around a 400m track and then run through a stadium around and back through stadium and then back onto 400m track. I had studied the run course map a lot as I found it confusing. It showed on the map to do this at the start of both loops and then head straight to the finish which is what I did, but what I should have done was do this 3 times and then back onto track and into finish. Also on the ground they had painted direction arrows for 1st lap, 2nd lap and finish and I followed these and I think they should have said 1st, 2nd and 3rd and then finish in separate chute. I finished and walked around for a while and then was told I should have done the 400m track again so I had to do it again and then finish for the second time. So my end time of 1.25 includes walking around for at least 1 minute and then heading back out onto the course. So if I had of done it as I should have I think I would have been just under the 1.24 mark as I was holding under the 4min per k throughout the run. Also I just got pipped for 6th and got into 7th and I have no idea if I would have got 6th if I had done this properly as the course was busy with people doing their first laps. So the end was quite disappointing for me as even now I go back to the map of the run and I still think it shows what I did but obviously no one else had issues with this so completely my mistake.
So all in all it was a great training day. My legs feel not sore at all, no blisters and I feel like I could put together a very good marathon run which is ultimately what I am after. So next up for me is Ironman Switzerland 70.3 in 2 weeks time. I will be racing most of the same girls again so it will be a good test and motivation for me to improve.
Benji was an absolute awesome baby on our long trip over. We were worried as he is not one to sit still but he was very, very good but he has found the jet lag quite difficult waking up at midnight and not wanting to return to sleep and screaming and screaming. We have been worried we would be kicked out of hotel!! After a few days he improved but then we drove 6 hours to the race start and despite making multiple stops we could not keep him awake in the car and so we were back to square one with him being wide awake at night but now he is doing a lot better which is great!! Also he has just begun the last few weeks to walk and is getting slightly better each day. It is so amazing to see your son learning to walk! So next update in 2 weeks after Swiss 70.3!