4.20am: My alarm goes off and I find myself rolling out of bed with a real feeling of excitement about the day ahead.
4.45am: Those earlier feelings quickly evaporate when my car doesn’t start…..
Ladies and Gentlemen! there are moments in every athlete’s life where one must overcome the odds, battle through the harshest conditions, climb the biggest mountains and emerge as a new and improved specimen. I knew that time was now, so I mustered up everything I had, got out my phone and called the local taxi service...
A 1.9km swim in Geographe Bay alongside the iconic Busselton Jetty in conditions that were ideal for a fast swim but had enough to make you shiver.
Standing on the beachfront ready to swim you could feel the electricity and excitement surrounding the event as 15,000 spectators eagerly looked on. As I made my way to the front of the start pack, I took one last breath, closed my eyes and let rip one last toilet activity that would have inspired the ages (don’t lie you do it to!). A 6-month block of training had led to this day and I was focused and ready to perform.
Without hesitation hundreds of athletes rampaged through the water looking for a quick start. My focus for the early swim above and beyond everything else was not to drown, but after that I suppose not letting your heart rate explode in the first 400 meters was a good approach. While I pushed the pace, I knew even at a strong effort I would get away and stay with the front pack, which fortunately I did. I then focused on the next 1.2km being at a steady pace where I could sit on feet, control my breathing and try not to drown amongst the avalanche of swimmers!
As I approached the final few hundred meters I started to bring the legs in and as I headed towards the beachfront I ‘Dolphy Wolfied’ in superior style onto shore.
My swim was completed in a time of 27.49.
A two-lap 90.1km dead flat course with surprisingly very little wind impacting the ride (bonus!).
The bike continues to be a point of frustration for me as well as an area I am determined to develop, after all I have limited background in it. I have always enjoyed swimming and running because it relies less on technology, equipment, maintenance and money spent to perform and more on pure individual ability! (amazing what a good bike and some Zipp wheels can do!).
Early onto the bike course and the focus was to mow down ‘Crowie Alexander’ and obliterate him on the bike while setting a new Ironman course record….. (wait, no wrong guy, just a random age grouper, damn!). Nutrition Liam Nutrition, stop daydreaming! The first 45km loop was strong, the only hiccup was a bike pump that seemingly tried to commit suicide by jumping into the front wheel of my bike (cheeky bugger!). The second loop was less about having to overtake a massive field of age groupers and more about settling in and maintaining a strong cadence, speed and leaving something for the run. As I approached the end of the second loop I shifted my focus to T2 and the half marathon that was left between me and the finish.
My bike was completed in a time of 2.27.18.
A 3 loop 21.1km half marathon flat run alongside the coast in nice cool overcast conditions. A huge crowd of support including a dancing gorilla!
‘Run Liam Run!’ and that seems to be what I did, a 4.03 pace for the first 7km and I felt amazing! Maintained form, relaxed breathing, good posture, steady leg turn-over it was all too easy. As I approached the second loop all of a sudden I found myself having to work a little bit harder and as I approached the end of the second lap (14km) we were sitting on one hour of running, still on track for a 90-minute run!
The third loop of the run course could be best described as a mix of receiving a cricket ball to the groin, waiting for your Microsoft PC to update or being naked. Yes, it hurt that much, took that long and was truly that hideous to watch. As I ran past a spectator with a Mario mushroom power up sign I decided to slap it, after all it works for Mario right? Still no luck.
As my run time approached 90 minutes I still had a kilometre to go, no sub-90 run today unfortunately. I mustered every last ounce of energy I had left in me and made a bolt for the finish, I was about to become a 3-time Ironman 70.3 finisher and smash my personal best.
My run was completed in a time of 1.34.47.
Total Time = 4 hours. 34 Minutes. 45 seconds.
I would like to conclude by firstly thanking my parents, sister and her boyfriend for making the trip down early Sunday morning so they could support me. I would also like to thank my fellow F4L Triathlon Coaching athletes who I have spent the past 2 years training alongside for their ongoing support, knowledge and for developing an incredible training atmosphere.
On a last note my biggest thanks goes to that of Jedi Master ‘Paul Jones’ who as my coach over the past 2 years has helped me develop into a very strong age-grouper. We have a vision, we have our lofty goals set, this is the beginning of great things to come!