IM70.3 Penrith – a Tale of Two Races

We had a few members racing the inaugural IM70.3 Penrith but here’s the tale of two entirely different race experiences.  Brett ‘Chippa’ Murray and Tim Ford.
brett tri suit

I first met Brett – or Chippa – in Cairns and I was blown away by his enthusiasm for his cause.  He really is someone who makes a difference.   He tirelessly dedicates so much time and energy to Make Bullying History it is great to be able to share his journey.

Also racing was our weight loss transformation Tim Ford.  It’s been such a ride watching Tim go from strength to strength and this race was to be his A race, the one where he finally gets under the magical 4.30. Tim has been training with our coach Ben Hammond and has made terrific progress.  Below are both their race reports.

It just goes to show that the same race can have such different meaning to each individual.

Brett: The non wetsuit swim in fresh water means you’ll probably be 5-7 mins slower than a wetsuit swim in salt water. So I aimed for at least a 32-34 min swim, especially after seeing the top pro only deliver a 25mins to lead the field.
Happy out of the water in 34mins, on target. I might mention at this point tgat I seem to always set myself impossible goals in triathlon. Last time I did a half, Challenge Forster November last year, I did 5:49. Goal for this year, hopefully under 5!! Hopefully…

Tim swimTimThe swim started and I took off at a solid pace. I had my plan to follow the line and it was working well, until I realised that my ‘local secret knowledge’ was not so secret. Everyone seemed to be following the wire and it meant I was constantly overtaking people. Anyway the swim felt good, I didn’t swim as well as I wanted but I felt like it was ok. I got out of the water and my garmin had me at about 32ish minutes. OK, not as fast as I wanted but acceptable, it was a non-wetsuit swim after all. 

Brett: Onto the bike and I felt very good. The predicted heat had not yet hit as we had an early start. .Powering out on the first 20km was awesome with very smooth undulating roads. I was sitting g on about 37.5km/h. Holding that for me is amazing!! A third way through the first lap I hit what was more patchy road. But still not the worst I’ve experienced. Coming back to the regatta centre I was passed by Mike Robbo Robinson and then into the center entrance itself by a flying Tim Ford.Out on the second lap, feeling good until about the 65km mark. With 15km to go Rommel swished past and I was starting to struggle with the heat.

Tim BikeTim: I noticed straight away I was working a little bit harder to get to my cruising pace of about 40km/h but I got out onto the road and pushed a little bit harder. I was flying now. Considering how flat the course was, I found it a lot more difficult than I expected with some tight turns and other riders practically slowing to a stop to go around the turning points. The road surfaces were rough in parts but I was only slightly behind where I wanted to be. I realised that I wasn’t going to ride the 2:15 that I wanted to so instead starting aiming for a 2:20. I was going ok and looked like I would make the time until about the 60km mark. This is when my day started to fall apart. I noticed I was getting a bit of  a stitch, I never get a stitch on the bike. I figured, it is hot, I will just drink more water. My pace dropped right off at this point as I was dealing with it and therefore really pushed the pace for the last 15kms. I got sick of sweet stuff about 75kms into the ride as well and stopped using my redskins. 

Brett finishBrett: The run was a painful and hot ordeal, I passed Tim who was struggling, but well ahead of me so I just pumped out the encouragement, then saw Robbo and Rommel. I make it a priority to encourage as many as I can on course, this race was no different. Realising that the heat had really Glen it’s toll, I thought I just need to be consistent, walking through the showers and aid stations and running a modest 11km/h in between, I came in at 5:31, not breaking the magical 5hrs, but still a PB by 18mins.
Still improving, still a way to go, but happy nonetheless. Well done to everyone who raced, that’s the last race for me for the year, 2015 will be a huge one.

Tim: I started running and felt a bit off, this is normal off the bike. I was running sub 4min pace but it was really hurting. I ran past my family (the first time they have all come to see me) and I realised  I was in a bit of trouble. The stitch from the bike was back and had gone form being on my right side to all across my diaphragm. 2kms into the run it became so bad I could not run. I stopped. For the first time since I was over 120kgs I was walking on the run. I thought, its ok, get it sorted and push the pace. I breathed deep and started running again, BANG, it was back and even worse. It brought tears to my eyes. I made it to an aid station and stopped again, walked and drank and iced and drank. I took off to run again and it happened again. My day was over! Goodbye sub 4:30, I could not run.
I went to a negative place. What should I do? walk the run or make it to the turn around point, hand in my timing chip and hide? I had literally a hundred competitors during the day ask if I was ok, ask if they could help, encourage me to keep going. I kept going and realised that I could run, just a lot slower than I wanted. I kept going. I wanted to quit.
Tim FordBut my whole family was here. I started to jog and I walked the aid stations. As I started heading back to where they were the stitch became even worse. I sat down and started to cry.
I kept going. The worst part was when I came to where my family were. My wife knew that something was wrong because I had not come past and my splits were so slow. She saw me stumbling through an aid station and all I hoped was that she wouldn’t spot me. She came and said “Whats wrong?” I burst into tears again “I can’t do this”. She said “Yes you can” I kept going and as I ran past them all I really started to cry. What the hell was going on? I am not a crier! I kept going and only walked the aid stations.
I realised that I might be able to make a sub 5. The last km I gave it everything and crossed the line in 4:59. I collapsed and had the medics come over to me. It took me 15 minutes to get form the finish to the recovery area with a combination of me crying, cramping and collapsing.
I am absolutely motivated to train even harder so this never happens again.  I know I can’t put everything that happened in a blog but yesterday I quit triathlon about 10 times. I was in a negative head space and managed to work my way through it. It was horrible, but in some ways it is good that it happened. Everyone has a bad race. I have had mine. Onwards and upwards!


You can read the entire race report at Tim’s blog.