“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
These are the words of Calvin Coolidge a modest Farmer, School Teacher and Store Keeper who in 1923 became the 30th President of the United States of America. I first read these words as a 16 year old and they immediately struck a chord. I knew nothing of the man who wrote them until recently when I took the time to read about the remarkable life of President Coolidge. I have had a shortened version of these words written on the white board in my ‘pain cave’ for years. Simply, “Persistence is omnipotent”.
“Persistence is omnipotent” very simple words, but words which remind me every single day, every single training session, every single interval, stroke and stride that all power comes from chipping away blow by blow. Not aimlessly but planned, measured and purposeful repetition. I believe that the knockout punch will be delivered, but the 2013/14 triathlon season didn’t quite bring that for me just yet. Just over three weeks from my last race I have enjoyed some gluttony, mental rest and the opportunity to focus my energy on other aspects. On reflection and removing myself from the emotion of a finish line and the fatigue of two Ironmans in six weeks, I can see several positives, lessons and significant progression from 12 months ago. Whilst I may be wearing Rose Coloured glasses and perhaps even ‘sipping a little of my own Kool-aid’ this will provide me with the motivation and belief required to ‘persist’.
Sunshine Coast 70.3 – 10th showed good bike improvement with a pb despite a mechanical (the old seat drop) Poor run and didn’t follow through on a good set-up to the day.
Murray Man – Injury, DNF long drive for no chocolates.
Shepparton 70.3 (after a week trying to get injury right after Murray Man) – Around 10th again (can’t find results) but very ordinary Swim and Run.
So after a great winter of training these results did not reflect the improvements I thought I had made. A little frustrating but as they say the numbers don’t lie and they (numbers) were telling me good things so it was just a matter of onwards and upwards.
Cape Patterson Olympic Distance – 2nd Another bad swim and good bike/ starting to find run legs.
St Kilda Gatorade Olympic Distance – 1st in Open (non-drafting plenty of faster ITU kids in the draft legal race) 1st quick run off hard bike / swim.
Geelong 70.3 – 6th was really happy with this after a terrible swim exiting 4min down on the leaders. Only lost five minutes to the lead group on the bike riding solo and then 3rd fastest run split. Some consolidation that bike is improving. Tough day at the office, with horrible weather conditions.
Melbourne Ironman – 18th in 8.36 (See Below for details)
Port Macquarie Ironman – 10th 8.58
My goal for this season was a sub 8.30 Ironman at Melbourne. At the end of the 2013/14 season I managed to podium at Ironman Australia, however I was a long way from the win and this day demonstrated the progression required to get to a more competitive level. So on top of the 8.30 goal at Ironman Melbourne I wanted to race as much as possible without interrupting my other ‘hats’ work, coaching, kids. Racing experience was what I was after and I got that. There were many lessons; with positives to be drawn from each of my races allowing me to set some clear pathway’s to continue to work at achieving my long term goals in the sport.
As you would expect for an Asia Pacific Championship and one of the biggest prize money / point races outside Kona the field was loaded with the highest of quality and depth. I wasn’t deterred by this as my goals for this event were time based. I wanted to go fast. Looking at the field there was a group of about 6 guys I thought I would exit the swim with. I didn’t. I was 5mins down on this group and a ridiculous 10min’s from the leaders. Even in such a quality field I should be better than this and I was pretty disgusted with myself.
Onto the bike and I set about nailing my ride, I knew it was going to be solo. I refocussed and set about nailing a smooth, even paced ride, which I did. I didn’t catch any other riders (Actually rode a minute into that group of 6 or so in front) and nor was I caught (except Luke McKenzie who past me at the 20km mark after being stopped on the side of the road with helmet troubles, I tried riding with him for 10km or so and wasn’t feeling too bad but the numbers were telling me I soon would and trying to keep pace with a bloke who dropped the entire field in Kona 6mnths early was a little silly) I felt great for the whole ride, a pb split for power and time. I nailed the ride as I had hoped Average Power 244watt, Normalised Power 252 watt VI 1.03 (Meaning I kept pace smooth without spikes for whole ride) 3.66W/kg .76 of FTP (Functional threshold power) Av Cadence 79. Looking at the file I only went over my FTP 6 times, this accounting for me feeling great at the start of the run.
Check out the data here: http://www.trainingpeaks.com/av/ENUBNCGHPW6MGMFDDY3TG6U3AU
Out of T2 I realised I had to run sub 2.45 to break 8.30. “Stuff it I am going for it” I told myself tail wind, undulating course (which I like as it gives you a chance to use slightly different muscle groups), feeling great everything in my favour. I was on track to do this until around 29km when the wheels started falling off. My quads started getting really tight and it got more and more painful each km over the last 10. I just focussed on form, cadence and embracing the hurt. I finished with a 2.50.40 Marathon the 7th fastest of the day after riding with Pat Malone all day. I was content.
Check out the run data here: http://www.strava.com/activities/123375066/embed/88ddf39ad90bee208cebac973130bf58d67592d4
A week later after allowing myself some recovery I turned my attention to Port Macquarie. This race was always going to be about showing up, putting my hat in the ring and seeing what happens having raced an Ironman 6 weeks prior. After a good chat with my coach Kristian it was evident that something was lacking in my swimming. I am not the best swimmer but I am not that bad. So we sort out the help of Craig Percival who did some great work with me on technique, pacing and well just teaching me to hurt myself a little in the pool again. This worked well and I got back to where I should be for Port Macquarie. My swim will be the focus of this off season, it is still the thing that is limiting my performance in races the most. I hope to work with Craig a little more over the winter. It also turned out I had strained my quad in those final 10km at Melbourne so it was another week of no riding and running before leaving myself 4 weeks to get ready for Port.
I felt in good shape for this race and was excited at having another opportunity to race Ironman, on my favourite course and see what I could do in a much less competitive field than Melbourne. I had the best swim of my life exiting the water in 50.20 just under the planned 1.20 pace.
Onto the bike, the forecasters had predicted correctly and it was bloody windy from the start (I was happy about this as I had ridden well in the wind at Geelong 70.3 a few months earlier). I was coming to Port to take some risks and learn. I did this on the bike and pushed myself a little harder than in Melbourne going with surges, working the hills etc. Whilst staying within the realms of reality I pushed the boundaries and this can be seen from the data. I made some poor decisions on pacing (in hindsight), which probably cost the legs a little. I certainly got taught some lessons in patience from old hat Jason Shortis and young gun Nick Baldwin (who was very patient in the first lap and then I thought he attacked the second lap, but he actually just held pace).
Port Mac Bike Data: http://www.trainingpeaks.com/av/5WQTCNDPIIW6NPVKWOPCR2C25M
I got off the bike only 7min down on the combined swim/bike time from Melbourne. (Much harder bike and weather) This excited me and I felt pretty good despite knowing I had worked a lot harder on the bike. The first 10km was tough but I was on pace (just under 40min) even though the wheels were starting to fall off. I gradually got slower and wanted to pull out. I had none of the speed from 6 weeks earlier in Melbourne and knew from that point it was just about finishing. I wanted to walk every step of the way, however despite knowing a few age groupers were in front of me I was hanging on to 6th Pro, which would mean $. This was motivation enough not to walk; I knew the beer would taste better that night knowing I had at least paid for the trip. So I plugged away at what really felt like an Ironman Shuffle (but I never let myself walk), I was surprised latter to see I had actually still run 3.03 and was happy to sneak in under 9hrs in 8.58 despite a pretty poor run. (No run data I switched the garmin off when I switched to survival mode) Big Kudo’s to the Nine guys that beat me across the line and also Luke Bell riding 4.37 on that course in that weather is unbelievable.
Big thankyou to my fantastic sponsors Peak Cycles, ROKA wetsuites and Saucony.
So I have a lot to be positive about this winter and a lot of work to do. Time to roll up the sleaves J