Kona Diaries 2010 – The Ironman Aftermath

I’m sat in Lava Java waiting for a huge slice of carrot cake and cappuccino to arrive. It’s three days since the Ironman and in a matter of hours I’ll fly back home. The race is done, the fatigue and soreness are fading and my season has come to an end. For once there’s nothing on the horizon the next goal event isn’t until July.

Since crossing the finish line life in Hawaii has consisted of serial consumption. Whether it’s coffee and cake, midnight snacking on expo freebies or indulging in Splasher’s burgers. I’ve been making up for lost time on the condition that when I leave the island it stops. I’ll accept a little winter weight gain, but no more yo-yoing.

Rather than recount the meals I’ve eaten I thought it more appropriate to use this blog to gather some thoughts around the race and the year ahead. Whatever the outcome completing a goal makes me reflective. I can’t claim to have achieved what I set out to, but I’m happy with the result.

One of the challenges with racing is arriving on the start line in good condition. How many of us on Saturday had injuries or illness to deal with? Ironically I remember discussing how one of the remarkable aspects of Chrissie Wellington’s performances was she’d always turned up race fit. As we saw anyone can have a bad day and be taken out before they reach the start line.

A combination of massage, Spidertech Kinesio tape and Compressport calf guards kept my injury at bay. My calf passed through race day in comfort whilst the rest of my legs fell apart. I expected problems, but made the choice to play out the race as if I was fine.

Slowing on the Queen K I considered how I’d coach someone in my situation. Ninety percent of the time I’d advise them to take the run easier or perhaps even pull out. Sometimes that’s not an option and you have to take the chance. A goal race or World Championship event is just that occasion. Months of work would be sacrificed if I didn’t at least try.

I’m happy with my result because I tried and whilst it may not have worked on another day it could be a different story. Elements of the race vindicate recent training and are another step in breaking an obsession with volume. I swam steadily for a better result and then I biked easier than a training ride. So much time has been focussed on pushing the bike that race day genuinely felt easy.

I set myself up such that had I run to form then the potential was there to break 9:30. Watching the clock that possibility existed all the way along Ali’i Drive. It died on the Queen K to be replaced by a goal of sub 10. Eventually even that goal was lost, but I didn’t give up, I remained focussed on completing as best I could.

I have a longer term goal of podiuming in the 35-39 age group. As this year’s results demonstrated it’s not going to be easy, even my perfect race wouldn’t have made it. I’ve taken steps in the right direction if I can bring my best swim, bike and run together on one day I’m close. The goal is long term, there’s time to build.

By Thursday I’ll be back in the UK and facing my first winter for a couple of years. Kona has felt like the close to a chapter of my life. Okay perhaps that’s a little melodramatic, but having been migratory for a while I’m settling down. It starts with a training break and time to focus on other goals.

On a personal level I’ve a whole season to build aiming at a Sub-9 Ironman in Austria. The planning alone is a major task it’s going to take focussed sessions to achieve this goal. I have to face up to the fact I’m a working athlete with limits on my time. Business is growing rapidly and needs attention.

I’m looking forward to the challenges of being a successful coach and athlete. While the last two years have been filled with ambitions for my racing I now find myself setting out long term coaching goals. I may not be travelling the world, but still have an adventure ahead of me.