Monday, March 8, 2010

A Race Report from Down Unda! Mike and IM New Zealand

Mike Wares is the guy smiling in the right side of this photo collage
Mike Wares is the brains and the engine behind   This is his fifth Ironman and he traveled back to New Zealand in hopes of achieving a personal best.  And, you guessed it, he smoked the race with his record setting time of 10:33!  Here's Mikes play-by-play of his amazing day.  
SWIM 1:04:09
BIKE 5:29:32
RUN 3:51:44
TOTAL TIME  10:33:24

PRERACE — I can’t stand this part.  I can’t think about anything other than making sure I did not forget anything……did I do everything I needed to be ready……is my nutrition plan going to work ok…….should I use special needs for the bike and not carry three bottles…..whats the weather going to be like…..wind….no wind…..etc….etc.  Slept great on Thursday night after registration but not to good on Friday night.  Got down to venue with no issues… problems with the bike.  I remembered this time that 8.2 bars is 120 psi for tire pressure (last time I just guessed and I think my tires were overinflated).  Finally heading down to the swim I felt pretty calm and relaxed and ready to start the race.  The announce said the winds were forecast to be light…..typical weather forecast……you can’t count on them!

SWIM –  I love the swim in New Zealand.  The water is crystal clear and the temp is perfect….66 degrees.  Also, there are only about 1200 competitors vs. 2500 at US events.  The race announcer, Mike Reilley said there were about 400+ first time Ironman competitors.  I decided to line up right at the front.  I was debating on were to line up and decided that if I was going to go for it I might as well line up at the front.  I forgot that about 80% of the competitors were from Australia or New Zealand and they can swim fast.  I have had clean swim starts at every Ironman in the past including Kona.  Not this time.  The gun goes off and it is shear pandemonium….the price for lining up in front.  Good thing Paul and Laura made me do all the Hypoxic drills!  I kept telling myself to not panic and don’t get kicked.  It was like that for at least the first 300-400 meters and then things broke up and was able to settle in.  One funny thing…..some of you know that I just sent back a brand new Blue Seventy Helix… did not fit me well and  I just felt more comfortable in my Desoto.  As I was swimming and getting passed I think everyone that passed me was wearing a Helix!  The water seemed a bit choppy this time because I got a few gulps of water along the way…..I could tell the wind was picking up….so I had the feeling I was going pretty slow.  I had a goal time of 64 minutes.   When I got to the turn around I was surprised to see my time at 30:39 so I was pretty motivated to keep up the same pacing which I felt pretty comfortable at.  I drafted as much as possible and soon was on the beach and remember crossing through the timing line just a few seconds past 1:04…..nice!  As it turns out, I made up most of my time from my last IM NZ in the swim…..pretty cool…..I have to give props to Paul and Laura for all those tough workouts…..they made the swim awesome!

TI/BIKE — the run to T1 is way long and includes going up a steep hill with stairs… seems like it takes forever.  Got my stuff and off to the bike.  One of my shoes came off just as I got on the bike……never had that problem before…..collected it calmly and off.  As you saw from my first loop, I was doing really well.  On the first loop the winds were pretty light.  About halfway back into town they started to pick up, but was still able to pace pretty good.  In fact as I was riding along I came up on the guy that finished second in my age group last year and passed him……that was pretty awesome.   I could not tell exactly what my first loop time was but I knew it felt pretty good and as it turned out it was 2:32.  My goal was to go around 5:15 for the whole bike and was on track.  I soon as we started the second loop I could tell the wind was getting bad.  Once out of town on the open road it was pretty crazy.  On the way out of town it was mostly a cross/tail wind and then cross/headwind on the way back.   All I could think of was get to the turn around and then try and maintain pacing as best as possible.  Finally made it over the last hill back into town and into transition and off the bike.  Even though my finish time was only a couple of minutes faster than last time, it was a much harder ride due to the winds blowing the opposite way this time……overall I was very happy about my ride.  One note…..the roads in New Zealand are pretty rough chip seal and the new COBB saddle was way way better than the last time.

T2/Run –  Had a pretty good T2…..and headed out to the run.  Last time I could barely run……this time felt much better.  Was running just over 8 min pace for most of the first loop and felt pretty good.  My goal time for the run was 3:35 and based on my first loop thought I was close to 3:40 pace.  Unfortunately the wheels came off pretty much during the second loop.  On the way out of town, the wind was blowing about 20mph in your face.  I seemed to be able to handle it on the first loop, but not on the second.  I would look down at my watch and with the wind and hills my pace was 9:30 but I could not go any faster.  I would have to say that this was pretty much the most suffering I have done in a race in a long time.  Getting to the turnaround took forever and when I finally got there my watch read almost exactly 9:30.  I thought with only 10K left I could still go under 10:30.  The last 2 miles I could not go faster than 9 min pace at best.  One guy in my age group past me with less than a mile and it was all I could do to try and stay with him thinking that maybe I could repass him before we hit the chute… no avail…..there was nothing left.

FINISH –  the finish is great…..Mike Reilly calling out your name, but I did not hear mine this time for some reason.  I was looking for the camera to give everyone back home a thumbs up but could not find it.  They escorted my to the tent and I sat down and was feeling pretty dizzy.  Next thing I was laying down on a cot in the medical area and they were taking my blood pressure and heart rate.  Looks like I got pretty dehydrated so I spent about 45 minutes with the medics until I could actually walk on my own.

Mike's finish time was sixth in his age group of 55-59 males.  His next race is St. George Ironman in May.  I think I smell a Kona qualifying time.....

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