Thursday, June 8, 2017
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
We are so proud of this amazing lady as she tackled Kona for the first time. Her time of 10:08:32 scored her fifth place in the 25-29 age group... SUPERSTAR!!! Make sure you read her race report right to the end.. it has a fantastic conclusion ;)
KONA RACE REPORT by Claire Davis
KONA RACE REPORT by Claire Davis
This year's world championships theme was Kupa'a. It means strong, steadfast and immovable. It was something I thought about in the lead up to the race. I got to Kona just over two weeks prior to race day and managed to see all parts of the course. There is nothing easy about it. The swim can have a current and waves, the bike course is hilly and windy and despite being an out and back course, riding out into a headwind does not guarantee that you will have a tail wind coming back. The run is for the most part lonely, and the lava fields are beautifully barren and never ending.
Kate and I had spoken about the importance of being patient until at least the last 10 kilometers of the run. I hadn't raced an ironman since November 2015 and on my training rides on the Big Island, the lure of blasting out of town was difficult to ignore. I hadn't raced an ironman since Malaysia in November 2015 and I couldn't help but feel like I had forgotten how to do one.
Getting to Kona early meant that I got to experience the town without the craziness of ironman. By Monday of race week it all changes. Everywhere was busy and you could feel the tension in the air rising. I stayed about 2 miles from the pier and only went down Ali’i drive when I absolutely needed to. Friday rolled around and I went to bike check in. If you assume that everything is easier at Kona, compared to other races, think again. When I got there the line was all the way up to the traffic get lights on Palani. I sent Luke off to get some more water as it was going to be a bit of a wait. Then there is a line of people from all aspects of the triathlon industry hanging over the fence and looking at all of the components you have on the bike. Bike brand, saddle brand, rear hydration, front hydration, handle bars, peddles, power metres. You name it, they wanna know how many of each there are. When you finally get in to transition, you are assigned a volunteer to personally takes you to where your bike needs to be racked, gives you a run down of how it will work and then takes you to drop your bags. There are almost 5000 volunteers for 2500 Athletes and they are all amazing!
I couldn't help but shake the feeling of "what happens if I have a bad day" But just before I fell asleep, I thought about what was going to happen the next day. I knew my swim was close to my best; I was running pretty well and had done so much work on my bike. I did a quick calculation on what I thought I could swim bike and run and told myself to stop being ridiculous, as the time I guessed was still pretty good and refused to let myself think about having a bad day again.
I was stupidly calm on race morning. Nothing was going to faze me and I even tried to gee myself up about being at a World Championships because I felt so relaxed. There were long lines to get in to transition and so many processes to go through, but I hardly had to do anything other than pump my tires and put on my bottles and I went to meet Luke, Kate and Guy near the hotel pool for last minute pep talk, hugs and sun cream application.
I made my way to the pier just before the men started so I could make sure I got into the water with time to swim to the front as the start is about 50 odd metres off shore. Once I go in I was excited. I was now part of the iconic ironman images that I had looked at so many times. My friend Jackie swam over to me and I was happy to see her as we can swim about the same time and if I am on her feet, I can trust that she is going the shortest way possible and sighting regularly. It was pretty relaxed on the front. Half a dozen of us were trying to attract the underwater cameraman's attention but he was too busy snapping sea turtles he didn’t look at us. And then we decided that maybe holding our breaths underwater trying to be photographed was not the best use of energy and oxygen before the start of an Ironman!
BANG! The cannon went and I took off. My plan was to sit in the group until the turnaround and hopefully launch myself off the front towards the end. However after about 200m, I found myself with Jackie, off the front with another girl about 10 meters ahead and the group already about 15m behind. We caught the leader after about 750 and sat on her hip but I noticed a significant slowing in pace and the chasers catching us quickly so I went around and Jackie came with me. So much for sitting in and letting the pack do the work!! We swam side by side to the turn around.
We started catching AG men and I worked really hard making sure I was following Jackie’s feet. At about 3km I started to lose contact and she took off and I got to the pier about 40 seconds after she did. She was still in the tent when I got there and we had a bit of a laugh about how it was a bit of Ironman Malaysia déjà vu.
On to the bike. I was racked almost as far from the mount line as you possibly could be. And I can’t do a flying start. So I carried my shoes and bike about 150m closer to the line and saw a gap where I could put them on without cutting off anyone else. Winning. That bit was causing me some stress. Up Palani and first time round the “Hot Corner” There were so many people. Luke was up on the Queen K where there was not many spectators and was good to see a familiar face. Down Palani for Hot Corner again. The crowd was about 10 deep and so loud. I think I cried a little bit because I didn’t really believe I was racing Kona!
The road was crowded and you had to sit up to make sure you didn’t touch wheels. I managed to jump into a gap and get around and went past Jackie. She said she was boxed in and I told her to be aggressive and push your way in!
We had a tailwind to Waikaloa but it soon turned into a straight head wind. I led the women’s race until almost the end of the Queen K. I was thankful for a headwind up Hawi as it is easier to manage than the cross winds. You just have to keep working in to it, but at least the wind is not trying to flip the bike out from underneath you! I was pretty happy to get to the turnaround. I decided against special needs as I still had a full rear bottle. About a kilometer later that blew off going over a bump. Argh. Thankfully I remained calm, and had run through this possible scenario in my head, I have enough concentrated infinit for about 1.5 more bottles but Oh well Gatorade Endurance for the rest it is! Not the end of the world, I just had to realise that I would not be getting as much calories and salt as anticipated to adjust what I was doing through aid stations.
Despite having a headwind up Hawi, I also had a headwind coming down. Which is not unusual on this course. I was pretty happy to get back on the Queen K but I didn’t feel like I was riding that well. I can’t explain it, I just felt I was lacking some power and speed and never felt as comfortable as I had been on my bike. A couple more girls past me, although not in my AG and I had to tell myself that I was passing more men than there were girls passing me, so I can’t be riding that bad. I was happy to get to Scenic Point as there was only 30km to go. And there was a tailwind. BOOM I’m going to be back so fast! Nope. About 2 mins later is was right back to headwind. I tried to keep positive as although I was not riding as well as my training had dictated but was still going to ride a PB. My legs were hurting and I tried to make sure I got to T2 in the best shape to run a good marathon.
I felt awful getting off the bike. I had diluted the Gatorade Endurance to make sure I could process it, but probably left myself short on calories and salt. My legs did not want to run a marathon but after standing up in the tent, they were slightly better. I took a salt tablet and off I went. 4th place exited the tent just in front of me. I sat about 20m back from her but was running too fast. Kate was on the bike and she asked what my pace was. I told her 4.20 and she said “You know you can’t run that for a marathon. Slow down and don’t worry about anyone else”. It was now more important than ever to embody Kupa’a.
I felt so nauseous for the first 15km. I was running fine, but I felt like I wanted to throw up. I adjusted my aid station strategy, diluting the Gatorade and taking my Clif blocks. I turned up Palani as Daniela Ryf was coming down to the finish line. It was pretty cool to cheer her on and boosted my spirits. Once I got the Queen K I felt instantly better, and it became slightly overcast and more comfortable to run in.
I was leapfrogging with a German girl in another age-group. I was running quicker uphill and she was rolling down them quicker than me. Kate was trying to encourage us to work together as we weren’t impacting each others place. She was NOT INTERESTED! She sort of half-annoyed, half amused laugh/groaned at me as I caught her up another hill so that was that. Fair enough some people hate running with others. She was moving quicker through aid stations and I lost sight of her.
Spectators are only allowed up to a certain point and then you begin the lonely stretch of about 10kms up and back to the Energy lab. I hit another bit of a low point as, there is nothing to look at other than the sad faces of other competitors experiencing the same thing. I saw the leader of my age group exit the Energy lab as I went in. Damn. She was 6km ahead of me at that point. I descended the mile into the energy lab and every step I took forward and didn’t see another girl made me feel better and better. I saw second place at the bottom, meaning that she was probably only 2km in front of me and 3rd and 4th were even closer. At that point I couldn’t compute what I needed to do other than to keep doing what I was doing. Once I got out of the Energy Lab I told myself there was less than 50minutes of running to go. I was breaking the course down too. 2km to Kona Mountain Coffee. Then 2km to Hina Lani St. Then a mile to Kate and Guy and Luke. Then about 5kms to go.
Once I got to Kate and Guy and Luke, things got manic. This part just flew by so quickly. Kate said to me “ This is the real race now. You have been patient all day and are in a good position. We are racing NOW!”. I frantically told her there was someone coming up quickly behind me and she told me to focus on the girls in front and I could potentially catch them if 6th caught me.
Guy and Kate and Luke circled back to me on their bikes every 200 m or so giving me encouragement and willing me onto the podium as I thought about how 6th wouldn’t be so bad. “You don’t deserve to miss that podium!” Kate screamed at me. At the bottom of the last hill on the Queen K I accelerated. I sprinted down Palani, and was probably lucky that my quads didn’t cramp. I was hovering dangerously close to the edge. You can hear the finish, but you start running away from it. The run to Hualalai St felt like forever! But down on Ali’i Drive, the crowds are Tour de France-like and everyone is screaming your name.
I hit the chute and it was pretty crowded. A friend told me never stop, as he was passed in the chute and finished 6th in Kona. Two guys were lapping it up carrying their flag. Part of me was jealous I didn’t get the opportunity to do that, but I had no idea how far ahead I was and I had sprinted the last 2 miles of an Ironman marathon to get here. I squeezed my way around them and saw my German ‘running mate’ cross the line 1 second ahead of me.
It was over. I had done what I desperately wanted to do. The finish was a blur of bright lights, loud noises and so many people, volunteers, officials, Photographers and other athletes. I walked down the ramp and dropped to the floor. My legs said ENOUGH! Two volunteers pulled me up and walked me to recovery (which is about 600m!) I had a cry, some pizza and a massage and shared a big plate of hot chips with the girl who came 4th in my age group.
It’s so hard to explain how to race this race. There is nothing else that comes close. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and I have never forced so much pain on myself. I feel like I understand it so much better and would love the opportunity to do it again (although people who have qualified multiple times tell me each year is different!!!)
It’s finally over. Something that really started straight after Ironman Melbourne in 2015, when Kate suggested attempting to qualify at Malaysia. I am such a different athlete compared to then and even compared to Malaysia. Thanks so much to Kate and Guy for getting me to where I am and I’m looking forward to getting even better!
For now, it’s back to normal life. Although just when we though October 2016 couldn’t get any better, Luke and I got engaged in Siem Reap last week!
CONGRATULATIONS CLAIRE & LUKE! xxx
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Its official .. training over a Perth winter is the worst ! Well, at least the winter we have just had anyway. In my relatively short triathlon “career” I have successfully managed to rest up over the winter month’s, mainly thanks to work that used to have me O/S for most of August each year. This year however was different, a change in roles at work, and qualifying for the 70.3 World Champs last November (at Mandurah 70.3) meant that my winter month’s this year were going to be spent in the freezing cold, and pouring rain as I ran, swam and rode myself to some fitness for the big event. After racing Cairns IM in June, it took a few weeks for my soul to return to my body, however Guy’s “new” program focus on running yourself into submission quickly snapped me back into reality. I won’t lie, the training was hard, and at most times very lonely, but thankfully my GK buddies helped out when they could to share some of the enjoyment at bike interval’s and my swim sessions with swim buddy Super Ruth made it as enjoyable as it could be.
Race day T–2: The bright sunshine that welcomed me on my first day at the Sunshine coast made those few months of hard training seem a distant memory. After a quick breakfast and letting Pinky out of her box, it was out for a quick ride of “The Hill” (an 18 deg short sharp section of the bike course) with Lisa and Ruth to make sure there were no surprises on race day. The rest of day was spent catching up with the family that had travelled from afar to support, and also a late night dash to the airport to collect Janine and Jack who had stayed a day longer in Perth.
Race day T-1 : The full GK crew had all assembled and it was out for the traditional bike, run, swim with the crew to prepare ourselves for race day. Time then for bike and gear check in (which threw me a bit for a 70.3 – I think my body started to reject me briefly thinking I was making it do another IM …) and home to rest before the big day.
Race Day : Up early to find a beautiful day as forecast. Janine and Lucy joined me for the 2K walk to transition, made all the less enjoyable by having to go up and over the run course hill which I would end up doing about 8 times that day … Transition was a buzz, with 3000+ competitors, and not a dodgy bike to be seen. I had a bit of time before my wave start, so off to the beach to watch Guy tear out in the lead pack from his swim, and good luck hugs to Ruth and Lisa and it was time to don the wetsuit and enter the holding pen. The good thing about racing in the 40-44 AG is there are always the most qualifying spots for the World’s at races due to so many competitors … the bad thing with this though it ,means that on race day though you have the largest group to contend with – 269 in total to be exact. The swim start was chaotic, it normally is, but this was the worst I have had. For what felt like the first 10 minutes, I was going nowhere as every stroke into the water ended up on someone’s back instead. Finally it thinned out, probably because I was at the back of the field … which was a bit disappointing as my swim had really been coming on in the last few months, but I was used to making my move on the bike so was no different this time. Swim 33:55
Bike – normally it is a 90K solo TT for me as I move my way through the field, however at a WC event – everyone can ride ! I found a group of about 15 riders to push me along and work with, especially on the out an back highway section. After 40K you start to hit the undulating sections, which allowed me to pull away from that group and continue to find new groups to work through. My bike power had been a worry for me leading into the race, as my constant fatigue from the run training had impacted my power, but Kate and Guy had promised it would be there on race day, which it was, and Pinky and I pushed as hard as we could until the end. Bike 2:23
Run – the sun was bright and the day was getting warmer, but the legs felt strong off the bike and before I knew it I had nearly completed the first lap and was back at the run course hill. My legs let me know that I had been pushing pretty hard at this stage after the up and over and back in short succession on that hill .. but after easing back for a K they were right to go again so time to finish the run off. I had extra motivation knowing that one of the top guys form my AG’s from WA was only just ahead, which let me continue to keep pushing ahead and holding the fatigue monsters at bay until I had passed him and the finish line was in site. A quick pep talk form Guy on the last hill, and sharing he had managed 18th which is just awesome was enough to carry me to the line to finish off what had been a pretty challenging course. Time to grab the medal and towel, and then headed straight out to see my incredible support crew, led by my beautiful and supportive wife. Run 1:30 Total 4:35
The day was not complete until all the GK athletes had crossed that line and achieved the goal of competing at a World Championship event, so it was a slow walk back along the run course to our hotel to cheer then all on. Not only was it a tough course, it is easy to forget that your are competing against some of the best AG’s in the world, so time and the position you finished is less relevant, just making the start and finish line was the achievement in itself. The entire experience will be a lifelong memory, and made all those subzero rides in King’s Park worth it.
J ) - Brad Kaye
Saturday, September 17, 2016
My 2016 Perth City to Surf Marathon – 28 August 2016
A marathon. Something I had never even contemplated doing until I was diagnosed, underwent treatment, and BEAT bowel cancer. After finishing Busso 70.3 this year, it was time to consider a next new challenge and I thought of the Perth Marathon. That was not to be as the lead up time was too short. The City To Surf Marathon at the end of August was perfect timing for the right amount of training….so full steam ahead.
Training was HARD!!
It started off quite reasonable and gradually built into the last big running weeks with 3 weeks achieving up to 60km, each including a 32km run. I cried in two of them, the only exception being the long hills run…who would have thought I’d like running hills?!!
So, skip to race day…
After being quite ill with a head cold, conjunctivitis and gastro (yep, all at once!) for the week before, I rose at sparrows fart to consume some toast and espresso, shed a few anxious tears and catch my lift to the city. The city was buzzing with athletes everywhere at 5:15am – and a few stragglers still getting cabs home from the night before!
Bag drop, toilet stop and a quick warmup jog with Loretta up and down the terrace with some pick ups to get the body a little warmed up. Then off to the start line to join the masses. 3, 2, 1….we were off!!
I had intended to start off steady and warm into the first half – but got a little caught up in the crowd adrenalin and the first couple of km’s were too quick. Consciously slowed myself to an easy 5:30 pace, but by 30 minutes in I was ready to quit! Everything felt terrible. My legs hurt, my butt hurt, my neck hurt, it was cold and windy and I would have rather been back in bed! Fortunately I had felt the exact same way in training, so I knew it would pass…and it did. I slipped into a nice 5:20ish pace and found myself running with a couple of FTC guys for about 6km…then their pace got quicker, so I let them go! By 14 km in, I looked at my watch and was like ‘wow, a third of the way, that went quick!’. Had some bloks and drink. At this point, I knew I was going to have a great run J
At about 16km got some great cheers from Renee, Ruth and Courtney to spur me on. The sun reared its head through the clouds and with the wind at my back I breezed through the next 5km back to the city. Cheers through the City from Kate S, Vic and Neil kept me smiling some more, until heading around the corner and getting a visual on the first big hill. It was bloody tough after 21km flat, but my geriatric ‘jog’, (little faster than a sloth) got me to the top, where I let out an involuntary ‘woohoo’.
Into Kings Park and totally enjoyed the scenery and the undulating terrain. It was tough on the hills, but thoroughly enjoyed coming down them and stetching the legs out. Alee, passed me in KP looking strong and relaxed. I finally got to a point where I felt warm enough to remove my wind jacket, so I took a minute to walk, remove jacket, eat some bloks, drink and set off once again. From here, I took water at every aid station and started on the caffeine gels.
The next part went in kind of a blur. Before I knew it, I was at 32km and that’s when I really started smiling!! I knew I was going to make it, and in my goal time of 4 hours. My though was ‘only 10km to go, it’s under an hour, just like a Wednesday morning training run!’. At 34 km, another big woohoo!! Just passed my point of longest run ever. Every km after that was just a small step closer to the finish…the best one being the km after two cups of redbull!! I’d heard all the report of the hills and there being one near to the end…but there were sooooo many hills near to the end, I didn’t know which was the last one! The last one was sooo hard with less than 2km left to go. But by crikey, I made the most of the last downhill!! By the time I got to the bottom and for the last 500m I was dizzy with elation and had the finish firmly in my sight. Crossing the finish line was an amazing feeling. My family were all there seeing me though and I was so happy to see them. All that hard work in training has paid off. I made it! And it felt relatively easy – it didn’t make me cry in pain! Thanks coach Kate – your race plan was spot on.
Catching up with many friends in the finish area was wonderful. I was jumping out of my skin with euphoric happiness and fulfillment and feeling so proud of myself and everyone around me for all of our achievements. The atmosphere was electric and I couldn’t get enough of it.
After getting home and trying and failing to sleep (a week’s worth of caffeine in four hours will do that to me!) the aches and pains started to set in. The best and most well-earned aches and pains I’ve ever had. Still smiling next day and starting to think about my next marathon already…..sometime next year maybe and hopefully in a new destination. Looking forward to it J
29 August 2016
Thursday, September 8, 2016