Monday, May 25, 2015

Vietnam Half Ironman 70.3

Race Report Vietnam Half Ironman 70.3

This was the first running of this race in Vietnam as Ironman continues to do their best to expand in Asia. The organizing committee for this race is Sunrise Events, the Phillipines-based company that also organise Cebu 70.3 and a couple of other races in Subic Bay in the Phillipines. They generally do a great job of putting on events so we had faith that it would be a good race. The timing was about right for the first race of the season as it maybe gave me enough time to get some sort of fitness after the usual winter hibernation. After last year when I had a bit too much fun over winter, I had designs to stay fitter and almost got a some sort of elite Age Grouper special entry to the famous Strongman race in Japan which is really hard to get entry to, a long distance triathlon on April 22. I thought if I entered that then I’d have to keep fit through winter and not blow out again. As it turned out I got rejected as they were looking for people who had a top-shelf performance at Kona (cuts deep bro) and once I found that out, I kind of felt like I was let of the hook and it gave me a free reign to concentrate more on snow-surfing, beer and cocktail drinking and less on indoor triathlon training. It's a hard knock-life.

Cross training
 We also had a few business deals that meant I had to go to Tokyo a few times and could not really ride a bike while there, and I hit a tree snowboarding and tore the crap out of my troublesome calf muscle which ruled me out from running for over 6 weeks, so by March I was in a pretty sorry state.  I called Ness sometime in early March and said “I really don’t think I’m going to be ready to race that Vietnam thing – maybe we should pull out?” Ness replied that she was unfit too after being busy-as-bro in Singapore, but she had just booked our flights and a hotel for the race, so we wuz innit, like it or lump it. Dagnabbit! I knew the allure of those unfried, roll your own, rice paper spring-rolls were too strong for her to ignore! So by hook or by crook, we was racing.

I had the usual end of season blow out at the Hong Kong 7’s, where I generally figure that as far as my fitness is concerned I have dug myself into a hole as deep as it could possibly be, so I may as well grab the shovel and start beating myself over the head with it. And maybe if I dug a bit further I might hit something hard and rebound, or even start to feel the molten lava burn my feet, which could make me faster! A short training camp in Hawaii had me claw back a little fitness, but unlike religious people on their deathbed, you can’t be forgiven for all your sins just by saying “Please forgive me”, unfortunately we all need to be responsible for our actions, and I was reaping what I had sowed.

I'm sorry and accept Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour / Alahu Akba - Am i all set for a 4.20 Half Ironman in 40 degree heat? 
Ness and I had both had to deal with waning motivation to do what is needed in training year after year as we entered our 8th year in the sport, with not much more to prove and no chip on the shoulder. But you got to do something with your time so this was as good as collecting stamps I guess.

We had also decided to make a change of coach. We had been with Woody for 6 years and will be forever grateful for what he’s done with us and there is certainly no ill-feeling on either side, just we felt we were due for a change and were lucky enough to snag a spot with Matt Koorey, who is one of the top tri coaches in Australia and competed in the Commonwealth Games for Australia and still crushing his AG in every race he enters. He’s also worked closely with Brett Sutton for a few years, and is a bit of a major hard ass. The training had a lot more moderate and medium paced efforts and less easy and hard efforts than Woody’s, so it felt like it was good to change things up a bit. 

These moderate and medium efforts are easier to do when training on your own but on returning to Singapore were hard to keep on the group bike rides here, where the goal is often to prove how tough you are to your mates in every single ride and everyone is trying to rank themselves against their riding buddies in every ride.  And the roads in Singapore that we ride every week, almost come with instructions on how you are supposed to ride them. 

Always good to know.
There could almost be a sign at the start of each strip, telling you how you are supposed to ride each section, and everyone reacts to the guy that is in the mood at the time:  West Coast Freeway: 1.4 x your FTP for as long as you can. Every bridge with a hill: 2 x your FTP on the way up, Changi Strait and LCK 1.4x your FTP as long as you can sustain, then hide behind some other dude, then repeat and try to time your time in front so you’re there at the end. None of this is very relevant to triathlon bike leg, but it’s just how things are done here OK! And to be fair to does make it more fun than just a long sustained even effort.

SWIM 1.9kms 31min

The swim was really nice with a beach start right outside the lovely Hyatt resort on China Beach, Danang. The water was glassy still and we were in the second wave 8 minutes behind the first group. The water was shallow for quite a while and I use by longer pins and mad Aussie beach skillz to run a lot longer and dolphin-dive more than the rest and I was leading the way for the first 400m and was leading the group around the first buoy. I think this really helped as I soon found a nice pair of feet and just stayed there going pretty easy for the first km or so until we started to run into the typical 4-wide breast strokers from the wave ahead. About 1.5kms in I did a classic comedy skit maenouvre by swimming head onto one of the buoys that was hard plastic that felt like it was filed with concrete. Shoulda sighted more! It stopped me dead in my tracks and sent me backwards a bit. There was a long run to T1 and I was feeling fresh as a daisy, overtaking one or two from my wave on the way to T1, which is normally not my go. Must have been those moderate swim sets.

BIKE 90kms 2.22

The bike leg here looked fast, but with several U turns and a big hill on a bridge. Like Robin Williams said: “"How hot is it out there today?" "It's hot! Damn Hot. Real Hot. So hot I could put food in my shorts and do a little crotch pot cookin.”

On the bike you aren’t quite as aware of the heat as on the run, as you have the wind cooling you and drying your sweat as you go, but it does still take it’s toll. I went through the first 40kms in just under an hour and had made it through to first in our Age Group wave, then the German metronome Olaf Kastern came through with Assad and some other dude from the earlier wave on his coat-tails. I’d had issues with my brakes not he BMC all week and been going all around Singapore to get them fixed but on race day they were still not right and I was still unclipping to drag my foot on the road to slow me down on the and into the U turns, Flinstone style.

Good to know

 I rode with Olaf and his merry men for a lap or so on the three lap course with 6 cx tight U turns but on the turnaround I had to brake well ahead and take the corner extra wide on the U-turns and Olaf knew he had to drop Assad if he had a chance to beat him, so he put the hammer down out of the U turns to try and drop his fan-boys and I was off the back and spat out.

Out the back
I started to feel sorry for myself and get hot and was having trouble staying down on the aero bars and limped it home and my images of a 2.11 split like I had in Busso 70.3 a year earlier turned into a Benaude-esque two for twenty two.

RUN 21km (don’t ask)
As soon as I stepped off the bike it felt like I had a nail in the outide of each foot as the bike shoes were old tri-spefic ones I’d not worn for 5 months and I had bone bruises from the cleats on my metatarsals that was pretty excruciating.  I think I'd I’d had this before but only mild and it had gone in the first few hundred metres of the run, but this time it was impossible to run and I was hobbling on both feet and wondering if I could do it for 21kms.

That'd be the culprit
I had a few tablets of codeine in my number-belt pouch for things such as this and downed them straight away, but they didn’t kick in for almost 45 minutes. So I hobbled the first 6kms doing little test runs that were fruitless and I looked pretty ridiculous. Eventually I was able to run pain-free and I shuffled home in the 40 degree heat to a time so slow I dared not look. On the bright side I managed to hold 5mi k pace from about 6km through to 13km mark or so before the heat started me on a run-walk strategy.

Whatever gets you through to the finish line is owright.

Ness had a better day than me (as usual) but still not her best, and Whit Raymond gave her some ribbing for not winning her Age Group for a change.

Next up is the Bintan Triathlon which will also involve a fair bit of humiliation, then nothing until August in Cebu and maybe Bintan 70.3. I’ve got a crazy idea to do IM Lake Tahoe, then Kona and Tour De Bintan and Laguna Phuket.

Edit: Did the Bintan Triathlon and was lucky enough to grab an AG win in the 40-44 despite a pretty average day/and especially on the run again - but no foot issues. I say lucky because my main competitors in that AG had recently moved up - and if I was in 45-49 I would have been 4th! Ness was 3rd overall and won her AG. The guy who won the race overall (Andy Wibowo) is the same dude who was coming 2nd when I passed out while leading the race 2 years ago! Damn we have gone in slightly different directions since then = (

It's lonely at the top I tells ya

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bevan, It's nice when reading your Report for 70.3 Ironman Vietnam. I also raced for the Event.

    Could I translate your Report into Vietnamese and post in my Blog?

    Thank you and see you some day.