Monday, March 10, 2014

Ironman New Zealand 2014

These were the final moments of my 17th Ironman finish...much to reflect and ponder on.
My fifth, successful foray at Ironman New Zealand, yielded a challenging race and my poorest finishing time. I suffered symptoms of early hypothermia so that made Transition 1 longer. I received medical attention, and pulse checks suggested that I could carry on, after I assured them that I would consume calories on the way out of the changing-tent. I did just that, whilst they gave me an extended observation, seeing me out from the aid-station.
I had a decent swim time, easing into a nice rhythm and pace. The two-loop ride leg was made more challenging with a fast, downhill decent for the first 45km, and a slower ascending return leg. Headwinds were prevalent on the second 45km stretch. This would zap the legs and tap on energy reserves on the second loop. This year, I took six pee-stops at aid-stations (with some queuing) as I played it conservatively with more fluids, more calories and CrampFix (my electrolyte solution). I warded off some potential (cold) cramps, and finished my ride with relief. I suspected that my marathon would be a make-or-break proposition.
The three-loop (undulating) course was achieved as such: I jogged the first 14km, walked most of the second loop, and did a run/walk combination on my last. For a few occasions, my mind questioned the validity and relevance of completing this cold course, powered with a chilly breeze. 
What began as a cold morning start (7 degrees Celcius ambient temperature, and 17-18 degrees Celcius water condition), warmed up into the mid-20's. However, I believed I dipped too much into my 'box of matches' and drained my glycogen and mental reserves. I had exhausted myself prematurely, but regained some control at the end. On my third day or rest, I recovered well to walk steadily with little residual soreness.
Overall, I had a memorable 30th anniversary of Ironman NZ in Lake Taupo.
*Photo-Credits/Video-Credits: Melina Chan*


Wei Han said...

Hi Enrico,

My name is Wei Han. I'm from Singapore and stumbled upon your website. Your adventures and persistence in the triathlon sports impressed me. I'm trying to move into the world of ironman triathlon now - e.g. learning how to swim properly (under a swimming coach), learn how to handle a bike (engaged a coach from Athlete Lab) and run. All this takes up a lot of time and money. As such, your ability to balance all these persuits with your professional life is most impressive.

I hope to race along side you in an Ironman race one day. I'm aiming to do IM Western Austrlia in 2016 (while doing IM 70.3 Putrajaya next year), will you be doing these races?

Enrico Varella said...

Hi, Wei Han. Thanks for writing. You seem serious and focused in your preparation - I applaud you. Meanwhile, do short and small races to get used to the idea of racing. Races give us a sense of purpose and motivates us during our training. Work-life balance is actually work-life priorities. Priorities take precedence. Make decisions and commit. Once you achieve a task or challenge, move on to the next. However, you must enjoy or have fun at you do, or else it becomes hard to continue. I have completed IMNZ and IMMelb in the past four weeks, and am doing Boston Marathon. Write when you have questions. Cheers.