Ironman Port Macquarie Race Report – Dom Marks
Race Date: May 1st Results: 2016
- Swim 3.8km: 52m50s
- Ride 180km: 5h20m31s
- Run 42.2km: 3h21m21s
- (+ Transitions)
Overall Position: 39th M30-34 Division Rank: 7th
This was my 2nd Ironman; I had previously done IMOZ last year in a time of 10hrs 17min.
I had a bit of a goal time but was unsure if I was able to achieve it as I had only really been in the sport for 3 years. The aim was to try to get a spot to Kona. I knew of a few of the guys racing in my age group (30-34) and knew what they had previously done.
Last year I was a touch disappointed in my swim time of 55mins, I was hoping to be in the low 50s so this year I was determined to be closer to the 50 minute mark, I have always swam growing up so that is by far my strongest leg when you compare it to triathlon swimmers.
There was no warm up swim scheduled for age groupers this year at Port which I was a bit disappointed about, I need to roll the arms over for about 800m to get everything moving nicely but that wasn’t to happen so a little jog and shoulder stretches and I was in the sub 1hr holding pen for the rolling swim start. I was about 1/3 of the way back from the front, I would have liked to be a bit closer but it didn’t bother me too much. I got in to a good rhythm early and just kept a good cycle going through “catch, pull, breathe”, that’s all I thought about for the 3.8kms. I was overtaking a large amount of people in front and finally came together with 2 other guys and we swam the back half together overtaking a couple of the female pros and catching one of the male pros. I got out of the water in 52:49. I think I could have pushed harder in the swim but was happy where I was positioned.
In to the first transition, socks on, on the bike and started to focus on getting going and hoping to stay with a few of the good riders. The bike is by far my worst leg, I have focussed a lot on it over the last year but I knew I wouldn’t have the strength to go with the front guys. I pushed hard early to go up the hills out of town and once I got to the long flat between Port and Lake Cathie I was happy where I was and just stayed aero for as long as possible. First lap went by and I was surprised on how good I was feeling and my time for the first lap. On the way out of town on the 2nd lap it looked horrible what lay ahead, the wind had swung around to the south and it was raining, with the same effort on the first lap I was struggling to hold over 31kms/hr on the straight to Lake Cathie. I couldn’t see anyone in front nor behind me, I was in no man’s land and the bad thoughts started to creep in, I thought I had already blown up and was going to struggle to even get 180kms done, I reminded myself what some experienced athletes had told me in the lead up, “stay focussed, pedal smooth and stay aero”. If I didn’t have this advice I would have been sitting up and feeling sorry for myself. I got to the turnaround for the last section home and realised I hadn’t lost much time at all to the guys I was with on the first lap. Everyone was facing the same conditions and everyone was struggling with them. Already people had blown up and were sitting up and I’d say were in for a long day. The rest of the ride was uneventful and I got back in to town with a bike time of 5hrs 20min.
Quick change of socks in T2 and I was out on the run leg, Last year I had avg 5:06m/km for the marathon and I thought I was in much better form due to the Flyers Long runs I had been doing so I was hoping to run much quicker, but seeing as though I had only run 1 marathon at IMOZ the year before, I wasn’t sure if it was possible.
It felt very easy running the first lap, I was avg 4:40m/km and I was a bit worried, but my heart rate was low and it was the plan to try and hold that pace throughout. There was a lot of support out on course which made it a lot of fun even though it was raining quite heavy. My nutrition I use for racing and training is a complex carbohydrate solution of Rice Malt Syrup (that you can buy from any supermarket) mixed with Lemon/Lime juice and Himalayan Salt. I had used one bottle of the mixture on the bike which contained about 300gms of carbs and had 2 flasks for the run. I also use SaltSticks for electrolytes and just take around 2 capsules of salt an hour, I have never had problems with cramps so I keep this nutrition plan when racing. I didn’t want to start drinking the Coke on course until late in the marathon so each aid station I would just grab some water and then have a sip of my fuel once I past the aid station.
Everything was going to plan until about 25kms in, things started to get dark and tough, I had just run past Rich Munro who had yelled out some encouraging advice, I focussed on my stride rate and kept counting it out, within 4kms I was out of the rut and back in to the pace I wanted to hold. This happened again on the last lap, I had to bring my mind back to exactly what I was doing at that time and not focussing on the finish line 6kms away. At the 40km mark I looked at my watch to check the overall race time for the first time and I was at 9:30, I wanted a sub 9:40 so I went all in for the last 2kms and got it done.
I ended with a 9hrs 39min and a 3:21 marathon and finished 7th in my age group.
I had spoken to a couple of guys who finished above me and knew they weren’t taking their spots to Kona, I presumed there would be 4 spots, so I needed 1 person to roll down.
This didn’t happen, I think my wife was relieved, she had put up with me training so much over the last 8 months and was happy that I will now be able to spend a bit more time with her. No plans for any specific races coming up, I’ll be aiming to get some more run training under my belt for a few half marathons throughout winter.
Thanks to all the Flyers for the long runs, I honestly believe if I didn’t get my runs done with the group I would not of had such a good run. I’d encourage anyone to jump in on the Flyers runs to help with the run improvement.
Avg distances for the last 12 weeks of the training plan
- Swim: 12km/week – Longest swim 6.5kms
- Bike: 210km/week – Longest bike 195kms
- Run: 46km/week – Longest Run 30kms