So Ironman 70.3 Port Macquarie was my 2nd race of the season, (you may have noticed I’m not a super prolific racer… But that comes with being a long course athlete I guess). The major difference between this and 70.3 Sunshine Coast is that I trained strait through this without a taper, (Ironman WA in 7 weeks being my main goal I wanted to take minimal time off). This would be the first time I’d done this for a 70.3… a nice experiment as in the past I feel like I may have ‘over tapered’ for a couple of events.
I love the Port Mac course, a fast swim, (although that proved not to be the case this year!) hilly honest bike course and a quick run with good crowd support. So was really looking forward to the race. Nutrition wise I was trying a couple of new things, namely Master Amino Acid Pattern before the start, Hammer HEED on the bike and Coke at the end of the run. Sometimes these things have to be done when it’s not an ‘A’ race.
So the swim; really happy with the start – good warm up, went out hard, got in the mix and found some feet and stuck with them. Also very happy to be in the wave right behind the female pros – this would mean I wouldn’t have much conjestion to deal with out on lap 1 of the bike… which would be a big point of difference from the Sunshine Coast 70.3. But the cruel currents of fate weren’t going to let me, (or many other people) have a decent split; the pace was solid until the turnaround then BAM… like swimming in an endless pool… except there is supposed to be an end. And it wasn’t getting any closer. So despite being a stronger swimmer than I was 12 months ago I was 2 minutes slower. Oh well.
After an uneventful transition, (I seem to have them pretty down now… which is a far cry from my early races) I was out on a very quiet bike course. Most people will tell you that the challenge of Port Mac is the hills. No. It’s the shit, shit road surface – seriously, they have 2 triathlons there every year, (not to mention how many other events) and they still haven’t bothered to patch the potholes. Oh well, having some fair bike handling skills I consider this a way of getting a competitive advantage over skittish triathletes :). My main takeaway from the bike is the need to have a more even split of power – I tend to go out a little hard on lap one and fade a bit on the back half; my gut feeling is that a more even distribution of power would, (at the same average power) lead to a faster run split… to be tested.
Really liking the Hammer HEED on the bike by the way – mild flavour, maltodextrin based, easy on the stomach. Will be my drink of choice at Busso IM, the High 5 2:1 I had in the heat at Sunshine Coast was too sweet and sickly tasting; I mean, you get it down you, (taste isn’t the no.1 priority) but it does make for a slightly more pleasant race experience.
I didn’t push the run, from experience I knew that how hard i went here would have the biggest impact on how quickly I was able to get back to training for IM… having said that a race is a race and I didn’t exactly jog it either. Having had a strong bike split and being in the first AG wave I was one of the first age groupers out on the run course… which was mildly creepy, (felt like running in a post apocalyptic wasteland… only with aid stations) and a little mentally though as I do generally enjoy having people to run down. But after lap 1 it got busy and it was nice to start seeing the rest of the TSS and BRAT crew out on course, (also, high fives have been proven in tests to make you run 3.7% faster). I also liked the change to the run course – the little incline just helped to freshen up the legs and recruit some different muscles, it also made for a little point of difference in the otherwise pancake flat course.
Coke on the run – that was a new thing, (I can’t believe people drink that shit in ‘real life’… it’s fucking rocket fuel! What the hell are people doing swigging it at their desks!) I had some at the 3rd to last and last aid stations. I felt a little bit of a boost – but I don’t think it’s as necessary in a 70.3 as in say, a full Iron distance race when you’re seriously glycogen depleted. But the test did give me the confidence it wouldn’t upset my stomach in an A race… I’ll be testing it again in a race simulation before Busso.
A further note on nutrition; it was hard to know if the Master Amino Acid Pattern made much difference to performance during the race, (or in training for that matter) in terms of any feeling of additional energy. However, I can say that my recovery from Port Mac was significantly shorter than from Sunny Cost, (I was back to training on Tuesday); after I’ve done some more testing I’ll write up a full review.
One of the highlights of the day was seeing Swim Coach and ‘weapon pro’ Lisa Marangon take out the women’s race with a dominant performance – I saw her on course a couple of times with the ‘lead female’ bike and the got board waiting to see how far back the no.2 pro was. Awesome.
All in all a good day at the office.