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20.01.14

Kona: So you've qualified...

What had once been a distant dream was now only two months away!

After I qualified, things calmed down and real life swallowed me back up. My ego deflated and I no longer expected cars to stop and let me cross the road because I'd just done something amazing. Let's face it, in the outside world only a handful of people even know about Ironman. The dust had settled.

The problem with qualifying so close to Kona (apart from the challenge of finding accommodation on a very small island) is that there is very little time to sit back and enjoy it – it's straight back into planning and training.

Research says it can take a month to recover from a marathon. But this was more than that. In a perfect world I would have allowed myself more than four weeks recovery. Then if you add in acclimatisation training, travel and a taper suddenly there was no time at all.

I had been one of those people that said it was all about qualifying and I was just going to go to Hawaii and enjoy it! Ha! I've learned that I'm not built that way. I admit it - I am competitive and I want to do my best. Not necessarily win, but to give it everything and be happy with my own performance. My first hint of this was using The Vitruvian half-ironman as a 'training' event in the lead up to Bolton. As much as it gave me vital data that I used in Bolton, I did come away from that race feeling that I would have liked to have done a lot better.

After Bolton I took a week off. No watch, no power meter, did what I wanted, when I wanted, which wasn't much. Regression versus recovery...recovery should always win.

This recovery time did give me a chance to think about my objectives for Kona, and how I wanted to approach it.

Enjoy it versus compete overall..? Well I wasn't going to win, so this objective was out.

Enjoy it versus compete in age group..? Again, perhaps not this year!

Just enjoy it? But what the heck did that mean in the context of Kona? I was enjoying it already and I hadn't even reached the start line.

I had read about the island, the build-up, the race - but what was enjoying it for me...?

I decided to give this some thought, do some soul searching, go back and review all the efforts over the years to get this far in triathlon.

For me, I want to perform my best in each element and sew them all together with equally good transitions. That's why I do triathlons. It's about the component parts and doing all of them well. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. Bolton made me one of those lucky triathletes that can say that on that one day I put it all together and had a perfect race. It had never quite happened before and who knows it may never happen again.

Racing at Kona for the first time was going to be daunting, no doubt about it.

The biggest names in the sport were going to be there. The best pros. The best age groupers. No-one was training through. No-one was going to be holding back. Everyone would be tapered and everyone was bringing their A game.

This made it exciting and intimidating. To cut through all this noise...I decided to focus on my own race, me against the elements and my own time goal, which was to break 10 hours.

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