Thursday, May 7, 2009

Busselton Half Ironman

Well, a week and a half ago Jason and I headed off to Busselton to compete in the Half Ironman ( for those of you that don't know, a half ironman is a 2km swim, a 90km cycle and a 21.1km run. This was Jason's one and only triathlon!

We headed down to Busselton on Thursday night after work, going via Pinjarra for a quick dinner stop. We arrived in Busselton at about 9pm at Forte Cape View Apartments ( This was our place for the next 4 days. It wasn't long until we had it looking like home either especially the amount of stuff we took with us! Here's our apartment, a 2 bedroom place (Jason's parents joined us on Friday).

Our car was packed to the brim on the way down with kitchen supplies, food, triathlon gear for two, clothes, laptops and more... here it is with just the tri gear.
Busselton is a little cooler than Perth, probably by about 2 - 3 degrees and Friday at dawn was nice and cool. I do enjoy the cooler mornings and evenings. The heat during the day is not so bad but hot nights are crappy!

We had a short training session to do on the Friday morning, but before this we took a walk on the beach... I am so glad that we did as well, it was STUNNING!!!

Here's Jason channelling some energy from the sun for the race.
And Jason and me playing with the timer on the camera.
After playing with the camera we couldn't put off training any longer, so off back to the apartment it was. We were into our tri gear and off on a 15 min cycle and 8 min run. It seems so short but it felt good. I knew I was ready to race!!!

After the final training session we were off into Busso (as the locals call it) to watch the "swim with the pros" to try and ascertain whether there are any currents/flows to be aware off. There wasn't much to see so we headed into town for a cup of tea/coffee and scones. Mmmmmm carbs before the race are great. While hanging out watching all the other tri geeks showing off their tanned legs and fancy bikes we caught up with ex-Brit/Wellingtonian Matt Illingworth and his partner Ann. It was nice to know someone at the race hehehe.

After an hour or so we figure we should be on our way. We then reccie'd the bike course, pleased to see that the road surface was pretty awesome and the course was pretty easy to remember, I was a little concerned about the amount of riders potentially going to be on the course and the drafting difficulties that it may entail... but not worth worrying about before the race... or so I thought.

After the bike course drive we headed back to the apartment (via the supermaket) for rest and relaxation.

At 4.30pm we headed back to Busso for race registration, like the 1900 athletes... but they had a pretty good system going and registration was pretty quick. Jason had a slight issue with his registration as he didn't have any id to prove he was who he says he was. But the busy nature of registration worked in our favour and they decided that Jason's lack of id was the least of their worries that day.

We bought a couple of last minute supplies from the expo and then it was off home again for... you guessed it... food! I went to bed around 9pm and Jason waited up for his parents to arrive.

Race morning
Race morning dawned nice and early (not as early as usual race mornings though mind you as the race wasn't due to start until after 8am) with the alarm going off around 5am. We started with porridge and then toast, and washed it down with a little sports drink.

After a little while mucking round we figured we would just head down to the race start and transition rather than try to while the time away at home. It was good as it meant that we had plenty of time to set up our transition spots, find secluded and virtually unused port a loos, and get into our wetsuits etc. It was a very relaxed race morning start and both of us were feeling good and ready to go.

The race had a number of wave starts:
7.45am AWAD
8am Open (Female and Male)
8.02 Male (18-24, 20-24, 25-29, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74)
8.05 Male (30-34, 40-44)
8.08 Male (35-39, 45 - 49)
8.12 Female age group
8.25 Teams

So Jason had a 7 min head start on me from our wave starts. I used the time to warm up in the water, relax and generally get in the zone. After the horrible swim at Nationals in NZ I was not looking forward to the mass start swim of over 400 competitors so I spent a lot of time picking my start position. What was in my favour was the fact that we were starting in thigh deep water, not a deep water start (which I am not good at). Before I knew it the hooter went off and our races had begun.

Here's Jason in his "gay" purple cap (hehehe) before the race start...
And here Jason is exiting the swim.
Swim review:
Jason- a good swim, just steady pace as he was saving himself for the rest of the day. 26.14 ish. Pity about the stingers though! Jason got smashed by the stingers, especially in the last 100m.
Jacinda- the bad thing about the waves starts is we have to swim through the slow male swimmers, the good things is, the hundreds of competitors that have gone before us have scared the majority of the stingers off. I was pleased with my swim, a 27.30, and 17th in the females.

Onto the bike ride...
The bike course was a 3 * 30km cycle course and there was SOOOOOOOO much congestion. I fell victim to this congestion and got a 5 min drafting penalty- about 2 min after I caught Jason. My main issue with the penalty was that I was passing a massive bunch at the time and as I neared the front a person pulled out directly in front of me, I sat up to try and slow down but the draft buster said "penalty 459". I was gutted. The rules are that you have to do your penalty on the lap that you get it. I had 15 km to ride until the penalty box so I aimed to ride as fast as I could until the penalty area and try to make up for the penalty. I arrived at the penalty area with a 39kmh average which I was stoked with.

Hmmmm 5 mins is a long time to wait... but I used the time wisely, eating, drinking and stretching. Getting angry or upset wasn't going to help anything at all. The whole time I was in the penalty box I was wondering if Jason had passed me again.

Back onto the bike and my legs felt a little crappy... I didn't get back into my routine for a while which was a little annoying but that's life. At the end of the ride I had a ride time of 2.21, with an elapsed time of 2.26 (due to the penalty). Even with the penalty I was the fastest age group cyclist and the fastest pro only did a 2.24 so I was really pleased with that effort.

Jason's ide was a little less eventful than mine, riding comfortably to a 2.42 ish. He said that his first lap was probably too fast but then he settled down a little. Jason in the ride:
The run:
I arrived into transition the first age group female (even with the penalty) which I was pleased with. The run was never going to be great after a mixed build up. I was running ok, but lost a little concentration in the second lap, being passed by 4 girls. I got the concentration back in the last lap and caught two of the girls pretty quickly and was gaining on the others... but just ran out of race track. I did a 1.42 ish for the run which is about the same as both other times I have run a half IM so I can't be upset with that. Here I am heading out of transition.

Jason had a little more of a smile for the camera heading out of transition that I did.
Jason still looking good on the run...
Hmmm not looking like he is enjoying it quite as much right now.
Here I am putting in that last little effort to the finish line.... towards a 4.40. A race PB with the penalty and a massive one without the penalty!!!
Jason really wanted to break 5 hours for the race and he knew it was going to be close... at the end of his run (1.53 ish) Jason was heading down the finish chute at.... 5.03.... a fantastic result for a first half Ironman.

I popped back in to the finish area to ctach up with Jason after he finished the race.
And finally.... a hard earned drink for both of us.
Last but not least... have you seen Jason's stingers hehehe
All in all a great day out for both of us.

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