I was reasonably happy with the training done for IM Melbourne. It didn't roll out as smoothly as I hoped for and energy wise, I was a bit up and down, but I felt I had done enough work to still be able to pull together a good race. I had a cold 10 days out so just backed off the pedal to give my body some space to recharge for the ironman ahead.
Thursday morning I was invited to the Specialized product launch of the new Sitero saddle at the Ironman Expo http://www.slowtwitch.com/Products/Saddles/Specialized_Sitero_unveiled_3481.html.
It was also a great opportunity to meet the Specialized team based in Melbourne including a visit to their Head Office and tour of their super cool workshop/training room. I even got to test the strength of a Shiv frame by smashing it with a hammer! I'm learning everyday about all aspects of Specialized - their products, research and technology, training opportunities...a dynamic environment to be part of.
Strong winds & rough water conditions presented at Frankstron on race day. The start time & swim course changed periodically throughout the morning - safety being first priority (@2000 age group athletes). By 8.15am the female pro field were off (a few minutes after the pro men) with the course shortened to @1500m 'L' shaped swim. The change to the swim course & start times between pro & age group athletes significantly changed the dynamics of the day. Kristy Hallett & I did the swim together which was great as we gave each other support in the rough conditions. With age group athletes starting their race 5 minutes after us it was only a matter of time before we were caught. With the direction of the swell, I went off course & exited the water a long way from the beach exit, with Corinne Abraham (who eventually won the race).
There was also a strong head wind which made conditions tough. I did enjoy riding the Shiv in the windy conditions - the bike feels glued to the ground and its frame design allows you to tack like a sail.
I then started to get a lot of pain on the bike (adductors & groin of all places!) which set in around 45kms and got progressively worse and significantly affected my power. I slowed down, I had a bomb of salt (on top of what was already in my electrolyte drink), I then couldn't pedal properly and was constantly moving on the saddle to try and manage the pain (unsuccessfully). At 94kms I stopped and stretched but just felt worse. I had a similar problem a few years ago which was tendonitis and symtoms felt similar.
I rode up the road a little further. Stopped again, sat on the road for 10 minutes. Then tried to ride again but the pain still very much there, getting cold didn't help either. This is not why I race Ironman or achieves any personal goals. Things were clearly not right early in the race and I'm not going to push my body into a situation that's obviously not good for it and going to cause more damage. Incredibly frustrating and disappointing...especially after a disappointing race in Geelong.
Since returning to Sydney, its been a process of catching up with my support team of specialists and assessing problems on race day as well as reviewing the past 2-3 months, what needs improvement and making decisions to move forward - Reminding myself of my personal motto...
"'Live your best life'...Pursue your passion, failure can be a gift, listen to your spirit, respect your body, gratitude is essential."
A big congratulations to all athletes who persevered with the conditions and decisions that were made at Ironman Melbourne 2013 - it was definitely a very challenging day mentally and physically and to make that finish line is a massive achievement and one that every athlete should be proud of. I take my hat off to those pros who put everything on the line and threw everything at the race irrespective of how the day ended - your my inspiration. There were multiple stand out performances including first time Ironman experiences which shows the bar in triathlon and Ironman is constantly raising, we have a super exciting future ahead in our sport.
Thanks to my sponsors - Skinfit, Eyeline, Specialized, Saltstick, ISM Seats Australia, Team Latitude, Compressport, TriShave for your support and messages. Also to friends and family, your messages of support mean a lot.
Cheers for now