After a few days of reflection I thought it was time to share my Cairns Ironman experience. Like most, if not all that competed, the build up to race day was far from perfect. About 4 weeks out I felt great, however after another iron infusion my training suffered – although not as bad as before Melbourne due to some cooler weather and a better training plan. (Big thanks here to Dr Chris Ball from NQ Sports Clinic and my good friends Paul and Jo from Healthy Life Townsville for their advice, but mostly their patience as I question, research and confirm everything….. as I advise all to do, take responsibility of your own health!)
After coaching myself to a solid result in Melbourne IM (with some great advice from friends) I decided that having a coach was my best way forward. Over the past 10+ years of racing I’ve gone between self coached and being coached, and believe it’s important to have a great coach, mentor or support network to keep both mental and physical training on track. For me this has meant re-uniting with Elite Triathlon Performance Academy (ETPA), coach Darren Franklin and an amazing network of resources to help develop as an athlete and person. I’ve found without this support and guidance its easy to fall into the trap of thinking more is better and following new fad training methods instead of a custom, methodical approach.
That all said in race week this network is invaluable, I got tired, stressed (physical & mental) and distracted with work and the fact that I would see my partner for the first time in 3 months 2 days before the race.
It was interesting to notice different feelings during this time and what affects them. For me its always stomach, lower back and hip related, initially I thought my diet was off and training wrong, but upon reflection this wasn’t the case. It was stress, anxiety and lack of sleep/recovery. In race week I find it common to distract yourself by over committing to other tasks and almost giving yourself a way out. Thankfully I picked this up early in the week after reading through some Paleo LIFESTYLE books (yes not just diet but exercise, recovery, play etc.) It reminded me the importance of keeping life fun!
I’ve been doing a morning meditation for about 6months now which includes breathing but last week I added some yoga to it, moving creating shapes and exploring. I started really thinking about the race, my fears, what the day may bring and really identifying what techniques can help manage my stresses.
With that all said come race morning the demons arose and I really didnt feel good, lots of doubt, lots of excuses and some niggling injuries as well. So what changed? For the first 2 hrs of the race all I could think of was stopping. That was until a smile from a stranger changed my day! Coming through an aid station having these kind hearted volunteers laughing, smiling and yelling water, food, energy drink stuff… it dawned on me just how lucky I was in that moment. It reminded me of all the perople that had generously given me there support and time to get to that moment. A special mention to Pete Lever from trispecific/fatblack podcast, who on race morning not only shared his time but some great advice, no matter whats on your mind just be here today, commit to this day and then once finished any issues will still be there. Pete along with Kristian on the fatblack podcast have been a great resource over the last few months for all aspects of training and life.
From this point on my race went well, really well, by the end of the bike I’d averaged more watts than Hawaii last year and overcome some demons to the point where I found great joy in being on the bike. This feeling was something I’d not had for a long time and had me in a great Headspace to start the run.
I did have doubts after working so hard on the bike if I could still produce a good run. These doubts were quickly forgotten as I felt great getting through the first 10, then 20ks of the run with sooooo many supporters and kind words spurring me on, that was until I started the last lap about 30ks in and after taking in some fizzed up coke I started to have stomach issues and just couldn’t keep the energy coming.
I’d gotten to that stage using mainly my custom infinite nutrition and some gels, but once you can’t get the fuel, the engine slows! (Lesson learnt, take more infinite bottles ).
I still finished well and in a very competitive age group came 4th and 11th overall with a 30min improvement on last years time!
Since the race I’ve been straight back to work and focused on nutrition again. Stopping by Paleo Cafe Townsville city each day to get some home made bone broth to help replenish and heal the stomach. (They’re even adding tumeric this week for extra anti-inflammatory )
I know this has been a long report but one I felt needed to be shared as we all tackle demons along the way.
I will finish by again thanking my sponsors and supporters; Paleo cafe, ETPA, lightenup nq & the wellness hub, Healthy life, Madds Larsen for sorting the bike, Custom bike fit for continued advice and lastly my amazing family for their unconditional support and love.