IronMan Zurich Race Report
By Derek Leahy
Switzerland Ironman 15TH July 2012
Having done Switzerland Ironman last year (July 2011) and finished in 10.14.23 I had my sights set high for this year’s event . Also finished off last season with a qualification slot to the half IM World Championships in Vegas ( Sept 2012) from the 2011 Galway 70.3 race. These factors gave me a lot of confidence going into the training for 2012.
Run training was disrupted for most of the lead up though with Achilles problem but bike and swim training went fine. The injury also prevented me doing any warm up sprint , olympic or half IM races as I could not risk the ankle. Only after the event though do these factors get looked at as a reason for times achieved or not achieved as the case may be.
Race number was 911 – this could go one of 2 ways – fast race (as in Porsche 911 !!) or crash and burn like the twin towers . I chose to go with the former and there was no conservative race strategy to be employed here - a sub 10 and a Kona slot or bust in the 45- 49 age group!!
Arrived on the Thursday and was staying with Patrick Grealy and Anne Lewis (ex piranha members) . They were kind enough to put me up again this year and it made for a very relaxed and comfortable lead up the race on the Sunday . Met Frank O Connor (for first time) in transition on the Saturday and he was looking forward to the race and in good spirits. All the logistics registration / bike drop off etc were fine and arrived at the race start 6.30am on the Sunday morning , relaxed , focused and ready to go .
Usual fighting at the swim start (7am Sunday )for space and got knocked back by stronger swimmers . Did a 1.18 in 2011 so thought a sub 1.15 or even 1.12 was on. Exited the water feeling very comfortable and looked at the watch 1.20 . What !! could not understand why no improvement over the previous year and already behind the eight ball overall. On reflection after the race I have to be honest with myself and say that although I put in the metres / time. I did not swim these at a sufficient enough pace or tempo. Most of my swimming was done alone and to make the big improvements I should have swum in a masters coached lane where I was being pushed and driving a higher heart rate ! Also I would have had more feedback on actual times achieved rather than ‘assumed ‘ improvements.
Back live to the race. Very quick transition and out onto the bike . Had a relatively new saddle on the bike which allowed me to sit more forward and slightly more aggressive and aero . However it felt crap on the bike for first 20 kms until I settled into any rhythm . There was a lot of wind around and squally showers and it always seemed to be in your face – funny that ! Felt fast and strong throughout the bike after that once I settled into it. Nutrition plan went well and stayed well hydrated throughout . The only gauge I had was time . The HRM was jettisoned this year so was not pacing on heart rate , purely time. Not sure this adversely effected performance as I felt the pace was challenging but sustainable throughout .
Hit T2 – bike split 5.33 . Again this was 15 mins of my target pace . Not really sure why I was so far off. I could not have pushed harder on the day . Maybe I needed more gauges like HRM , Speedo to judge the pace . Maybe I needed more races in lead up or 2k worth of deep rim carbon ZIPP wheels . Who knows!! It was a disappointment as less than 1 min better than last year. At this stage I was basically at the overall race time as the previous year 6 hours 56 mins and on the road for the run - I knew now a 3.03 run or thereabouts would be required to break 10 hours . I also knew this was not really on - I’m a realist. My target at that stage was just to put a solid run together and try to get as close to the 10 hour mark as possible.
First 6 km of the run were really tough . No rhythm and felt anaerobic but kept a good pace regardless . Again expected this . After that ran fairly consistent pace but could not lift it . Was not as strong as 2011 . The lack of long runs and consistent running in the lead up definitely was a factor . Again nutrition and hydration plan was spot on. There was no real drop off in pacing or energy . Simply could not sustain a high enough tempo or cadence .
Race goals had to change a few times once it became clear I would not beat previous years overall time. Eventually I said just keep strong , relaxed and focused through to the finish and post the best time you can on the day . Last 3.5 km were my second fastest split . Crossed the line 10:24:03. 18th in my age group and 219th overall (there were about 45 pros in the field !!) . Glad to be finished but very mixed feelings about the overall results . Did not go to roll down ceremony on the Monday with 6 slots available unlikely to go down to 18th and it didn’t .
Need to assess if I go for IM again . Would need to do things a lot differently to my previous attempts particularly around the swim and bike. I think you can put in a lot of ‘junk’ time which does not lead to actual time improvements in the different disciplines. Also I was not getting enough feedback on times / improvements during training . I have the slot in Vegas in Sept but again still carrying the Achilles thing so might not now be going , we’ll see!!
A big thanks to Patrick and Anne for the great hospitality . Congrats to Frank on completing his first IM in tough conditions. Great to get the bike box from the club which saved a few euros . Thanks for all the good wishes from Piranha club members in lead up to the race.
And finally a big thank you to my wife Cathy for her patience and support throughout the year .
• A few pictures - http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/79118709/1/DerekL?h=b4794e .
• Finishing videos of the race http://www.ewzpowerteam.ch/ - type in 911 .
• Splits available
• 2011 Race IM Switzerland Report
Weekly Training plan 20-26 May
Posted by elena - May 21, 19:26
2nd hand bike wanted.
Posted by ellenshilling - May 21, 19:22
Athy roll call (and night out)
Posted by Petrina - May 21, 19:12
Nippy little run-around
Posted by gearoid - May 21, 18:07
ucd swim ; adv lane?
Posted by katief - May 21, 16:41
Baby Girl for Fionnuala and Michael
Posted by Aileen - May 21, 13:58
Well done Ellen!
Posted by katief - May 21, 09:54