Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The glory box and the experience box

For most of us age-groupers it is a given that we will not be chasing podiums in every race we do. However we prepare and target some races for a best possible scenarios such as “I want to be in the top 25%” “I want a top 10 age group finish” or else. If things go right we get what we wanted, and if they’re really OK many of us surprise ourselves and others with a great result. If things go wrong we find plenty of excuses and ways to deal with it.

And we also learn. If I am to classify the races I’ve done I could easily put them on either box. There will be two or three on the glory ones. And a bunch on the experience box. It is certainly an experience to race 10k for the first time and have a stitch the size of my chest and it is a whole new thing to ride a bike with a falling seat. It all tells me something I can improve for next time: be it race preparation or race execution.

Last weekend’s Rotorua half will certainly go in the experience box. It was meant to be a solid race, and on paper I should have had no trouble with race prep or race execution. But I did, and I paid with a sub-par run. Let’s go and see some numbers:

Swim – 28:15 – HRAv 144 HRMx 172

Nothing that you wouldn’t see in other races… a bit of punching here and there but all nice and clean after 500m. I realized I was doing all the work for 6 other people behind me after the 1st lap, so I let them share a bit of the effort for the rest.

Bike 2:40:35 (incl T1 and T2) – HRAv 167 HRMx 173

All of a sudden it started bucketing down like there’s no tomorrow. I got sights on a group of 4 guys ahead of me and would not let them go no matter what. It was testing… but certainly paid off. I was expecting a 2:35:00 or less and I did just that. The rain was a problem for visibility and safety, but I did not realize it would be a problem for later as well.

As a side story, it kept raining for the next 24 hours which was quite a bummer for the post race activities such as pricegiving and trash talking.

Run 1:38:36 – HRAv 155 HRMx 172
I don’t recall how and when, but somewhere after the first couple of k’s I started to feel cold. Not, chilly, not fresh, really cold through the spine and spreading all over the rest of the body. I kept pushing but the ticker would not go any harder. I kept the nutrition regime as per plan and added a few cokes here and there to see if the extra calories would heat me up. Unfortunately they didn’t and although I won’t throw away a sub 1:40 for a half marathon off road run, I was happy it was over. I jumped into the car for a hot bath right after I crossed the line. I was aiming for a 1:25:00 run and to go so much out of the way was a bit hard.
Heat loss by water evaporation takes a lot of energy. I did not feel any signs of it, and I didn’t feel the cold when I was on the bike, but moving onto the run something happened. It will be good to plan for this in case IM is a wet day.

Another one under the belt. That’s 3 years after my first half ironman, and 5 half IM races. Not bad for a beginner. I never quitted and I’ll make sure I never do. These are races to finish.

Now it’s Xmas holiday, so I will enjoy a couple of days off before starting with the schedule for the holiday.

Stay safe


  1. So hard to take into account things like rain - happy holidays!

  2. congrats on another half iron!
    these are the days that will make you a stronger racer....keep up the great work toward IM!