Last weekend was the big one, Ironman New Zealand, my 2nd Iron distance race ever and I was eager to race after some good preparation early January with a training camp followed by Challenge Melbourne and 2nd at Huskisson Long Course two weeks out from NZ.
The race started off fast and the 3.8km swim felt more like a half distance speed. After 1k I was swimming just off the front group and decided to cool things down and let the next group containing Brown to catch me so I could save some ammo for the rest of the day. A smart decision as three of the guys up front all broke the swim course record.
I felt great out of T1 and settled into a good pace leading the chase group with the man Cam Brown passing me around 12k in, he was driving it hard eager to catch up the 5min or so we had lost in the swim to McNiece and Skipworth. I sat back watching until about the 35k mark where I let him go, it was too quick and looking back now this was a good decision enabling me to ride my own race. The cross winds early on proved this, it didnt matter if you were riding solo or legally 12m apart the ride was hard.
Here's my Bike data from the day. It was a big improvement from my first attempt, I was able to hold some good power all the way to the end and not fade which allowed me to claw back a couple of minutes in the last 40k to be only 5min down on Bozzone and Brown at T2 and 4th off the bike.
The run was interesting, I got into an amazing rhythm from around 5k to 20k where I started catching everyone bar the leader and moved into 3rd, then to only to hit the wall 1k later. It took a good 5k to gather myself and I was able to run at a decent speed to get home but my good position was in jeopardy from behind with McNiece gaining time over the last 10k. He would catch me around 500m out as I battled some solid muscle twitching from the fatigue. I waited until he levelled along side me where I then proceeded to start the sprint myself and end it myself with me blowing 100m later, my second detonation of the day left me having to catch my breath at an aid station before hobbling to the finish in 4th.
It was painful and it hurt a lot, probably more emotionally than physically at that latter stage to lose a podium spot. I won't forget that one but it'll make me stronger for sure. I certainly had some mixed feelings about the race; I hit my numbers that I'd been training for but ultimately the placings was out of my hands, thats racing.
The day ended in the medical tent slightly disorientated where I was weighed and kept there to drink as I had dropped from 64 to 59kg due to fluid loss, I need to work on that one.
Thanks to my sponsors who allow me to race with some amazing products and to M5 Management for making it all happen:
For me its now time for some recovery before I head into another block of racing in April.
Stay safe. Go hard.
Text and images: Alex Reithmeier