*** many thanks to Ray Thompson for this race report ***

The road to Austria Ironman 70.3

Where to start? Well in a past life I did play active sports:  Swimming, Squash, Cricket, and Running. Mind you, this was when  Oz was a guy from the North East, living in a hut in Germany, KIT was a car, not a wet bag, A-Ha were hunting High and Low, and Nu Shooz, just couldn’t wait. A long time ago.

August 2013:

August 2013 my weight was 110kg, I decided action was needed.  Eat less, and drink less beer, 8 pints instead of 12. No joke……..

September 2013:

September 2013 my weight was 107kg. At this point I decided more was needed. I saw TriDubai on my Facebook page somehow, and sent message in “ I would like to join however I am not sure I can swim far enough” Reply came back “ Dear Ray you need to be able to swim 400m in open water”.

So, I said to my wife, were going to the beach Friday with the kids and I need you to do me a favor, no problem Sharon said. I entered the water at “Roys Beach” opposite end to Burj Al Arab. I said to Sharon, Sharon I said, I’m going in to about 100m out, then I will swim along the coastline for as far as I can manage, you pace out how far I have gone, on the beach. So I set off, after swimming for what seemed an age, I lifted my head to find the Burj Al Arab at 7 o’clock, instead of 12 noon, Id headed straight out. I was worried, and about 250m from shore, swam back in as fast as I could. I had gone about 80m along the coast. Ah the joy of not having a clue about sighting. So I guess that was my 400m+ in the bag. Thankfully not a “body” one.

To my amazement, I was accepted in the TriDubai page, “these guys will let anyone in”, ha.

I saw the advert, by a Mr Hasan Itani, that the pool at Battuta would be open for members, at certain times. So I went along, 107kg of me, and embarrassed to be fair, and still am, at 91kg. I remember my first session, I did 50 lengths, having to stop after every 2, to catch my breath, but really enjoyed myself. Great encouragement from Lynette, Hasan, Gary W, and Christian B (thanks for the lift Christian owe you one).  I also started running in my apartment gym as well.

I do recall a session (my second at the pool) maybe a Saturday, very shortly after hearing the tragic news of a well-loved athlete, Mr Roy Nasr. I didn’t know Roy, however I have seen such admiration and respect for the man, he certainly has had a positive effect on my decision making in the past 8 months. His towel, and top, came with me to Austria.

So I decided to get my arse into gear. I completed various events, Super sprints, Double Super Sprints, Half Marathon, Charity Aquathon, Runs etc. “With my Mountain bike for my first TRI”. I struggled, but loved every second.

My first event was the Ignite Pink is Punk swim run, on the palm, with help from Kieran Duggan, I managed to make it….just, but finished in a heap.  Thanks mate.

By October 2013 I wanted more, the TriDubai effect in terms of inspiration was kicking in. I could see what others were doing, and how enjoyable it seemed to be for them. I registered for an Olympic distance at Mamzar. Too be fair thought I had bitten off much more than I could chew. So I asked Warren to reduce my distance to sprint, he said just wait till the event and see. Sure enough I got the mail a few days before the event, asking me what distance? I replied Olympic please :), Warren sent a reply back “good man”.

Shortly after, I bumped into a tall Irish gentleman, by the name of Mr Moodley at Jones Lang, Jebel Ali, I asked for advice, and we talked, the girls also talked. We agreed to meet after, and sure enough after informing Rich that I planned to do Olympic Mamzar and Sprint Abu Dhabi, he planned my training, we need a plan he said..”We”,.this word I liked.  Thank you Richard. Owe you big time, for your time and effort. Class

November 2013 ish.

A Mr Whyte collars me at the pool, “ not the Tarantino White” the scarier & faster one. “I have brought you a bike to use, crack on mate”, and off he proceeded to smash the end lane up in the pool, with Nils. So in the words of Bruce Willis “Now I have a Bike HO HO HO” Well Alan Rickman actually said it, but you know what I mean. The bike was great, the saddle was savage, I changed it for an arm chair, it’s a long story. Thank you Gary top man.

Sometime in January 2014: Ray: “Richard I have registered for Austria 70.3, It was Kieran Ballard-Tremeer’s fault, she told me to do it”. Rich: after a few expletives and the word Dude…!  Rich proceeded to pass me a training plan, a few days later, which would either kill me in the short time we had, or allow me to crawl over the line. Death before DNF.

I have to say motivation throughout my training has not been difficult, I managed most sessions, and stuck to what the coach said apart from one time which cost me big time. Do not change two things at once! said Richard. So what did I do, bought new trainers, and bike shoes complete with cleats, and proceeded to use them together. I went for 2 loops, jumped off the bike, ran for 8 K and ended with a large bump on my right ankle, Achilles. This put me back quite a bit, however by this time I was registered for the Desert Tri, a certain Mr Venn persuaded me for that, before the injury I might add. Which I really enjoyed, and did ok to be fair.  Coach Moodley was right, as per usual.

Lynette gave me some exercises to do, which helped no end, and the Dr. sorted the problem in 4 weeks. I was very lucky. Many thank’s Lynette.

Cut to the chase:

My training for 70.3 in the final 12 weeks up to the race. Circa..

8hrs / week, month 1.

9 – 10 hrs / week, month 2

10 – 12 hrs / week,month 3

Won’t go into the breakdown, just followed the plan as best I could. I have to say I have enjoyed every single minute. The coach and I were in touch every day, and made loads of changes on the go, it worked well for me.

Taper week…2 light runs…2 swims light, till I felt good on all, then stopped during each session.

PS..I have tracked all my swims in terms of distance since October 2013, including event distance I had completed 102,125 meters (102k), Average about 3.64K / week.

Readiness snapshot: Austria Ironman 70.3 

Swim, I was ready, very happy I put myself as average pace, for me, endurance felt great, I could swim forever. Lynette’s training and set up from September, last year has helped me no end, technique, catch, & breathing.  Thanks Lynette.

Bike: Not ready in the slightest, I put myself as slow, anything off flat on an incline over distance I would knew I would struggle, many more hours required on bike, coach did say…! BIKE BIKE BIKE and more BIKE needed.

Run: I was sort of ready however running a 10k, and running 21K after a 90K bike is very different, more brick work required in future.

Nutrition: Must improve in future. Nuff said.

The Race:

Flew to Austria on the Thus evening. Stayed at NH airport hotel (X1 nite) due to late evening flight arrival at Vienna, also handy collect the hire car first thing.

The hotel near the event had a pool so, done some short lengths on both days before hand, to keep loose.

Slightly higher carb foods the two nights before the race, with 1.5 bottles of wine on each evening, I have to say I had it early on, late afternoon. 2 glasses in the bar, and a nice Viognier for our balcony at the hotel. I can say the night before the race was a nightmare, went to sleep at 10pm, was woken up by Pharrel Williams singing Happy at 3am, there was a wedding on downstairs and the guys were partying hard.

Anyway left the hotel at 4am, for the venue.

I decided I would test the water, it was perfect, I went for a pre race swim with other “athletes” check me out ! “athletes”.  The Pro’s went out, I was amazed at their swim technique; head very high, and the speed they were moving was super quick.

Lots of things going through my mind. Someone commented ages ago when I was with some tridubai people, not directly to me, and I can’t remember who it was, but along the lines of.. “Roy used to say, you get out what you put in”, and I was happy with what I had put in.  This comment has always stuck with me.

Richards Death before DNF was with me for the full weekend needless to say..:)

07:05 Swim: anyway my turn. I positioned myself in the middle of the pack, no more out on the side, let’s be having it, let’s get in the mix and come back with experiences. I started, with a good pace which I could keep all day, and there they were, the pair of feet Lynette said get behind if you can, so I did, I was pulled along nicely for the first 1K with no exertion whatsoever. Ran across bridge the bridge, jumped back in the lake couldn’t wait. 0.9K to go. My sighting was good as I approached the final yellow buoy. The guy in front decided to switch to breaststroke, bad news for Ray, kicked in the face, goggles still on though, I remembered to put them on before the cap, good job Ray. First time I can say I was happy with a belt in the face.  Swim 41 mins

Bike: Wetsuit off remembered Richards tip about cap and goggles in left hand while pulling wetsuit of, and leave them inside the wetsuit sleeve as you pull your arm out. Tip top, worked a treat. Put my trainers on, no cleats. Bike went well on the motorway, 34Kph ave for the first 15K ish.  Then the hills, first one not too bad, but my lack of training for this showed, I was being passed left right & center. Then long beautiful flat stretch before the big climb. Lots of High 5’s with spectators on the way round a few “morning” or “Morgen” as they say, I enjoyed the interaction. Second climb was torture, nothing more to say. Oh yes a certain Mr Le Pelley came past me at 77k like a shot, and shouted some good motivational words, which made me smile, couldn’t reply as he had gone :).   I was happy with the time, but in future this is an area I must really work on, very poor at present on the bike. 3:17mins

Run: Got off to a great start, and really did think I could manage a decent time. 4 K done quite quickly by my standards, then started to get a painful niggle in the left knee, I had this before. So I slowed down to a poor pace, and jogged the remaining 17K. Crowds in the city were great, lots of encouragement. Run time 2:17 mins   pants.

Overall : 6:25mins

Thanks to all who have helped and trained with me, I have learned so much in a short period of time. The motivation in this TriDubai team / group is great; it’s a pleasure to be a small part of it. TriDubai gives me good habits, which I need.

I have to say I take my hat off to all of those who do, and did the recent Full IMSA, I watched it none stop all day, exceptional performances, well done all, to take that on.

Cheers:  Coach Moodley, Kieran Duggan, Paul Venn, Gary Whyte, Arturo,  Christian B, Lynette Warn, Hasan Itani, Edgar Schurman, Vicky A, Ian Le Pelley, Paul Dunlea. Kiearn B, Isobell B. From loads of help, to the odd comment it’s helped make it an easy experience.

Thanks to Sharon & Lauryn & Alissa, as ever, only full support for whatever I want to do, x. Lots of love.

Now do I go back to playing golf at the Emirates, in a buggy? 

Hell, no chance, restart the training, in a few days. Can’t wait, benchmark set, where to next Vegas anyone Oct ?

Need to be faster, and 85kg’s

Events list to date, along with STD chartered 10K, below. I have to say these were good training runs.