Ironman Western Australia 2013 Race Report

 A bit of a departure from the Sports Medicine posts today, with a race report from my recent Ironman Triathlon race in Busselton, Western Australia, on December 8, 2013.  Apologies for the self indulgence here - but it's good to put these things down on paper (or the computer screen) sometimes.

This was to be my fifth Ironman and first since March, 2012. With a new coach and a really consistant build (I think I’d missed 4 or 5 days in 10 months, and 3 of those were international travel days), I was quite optimistic about a good results, and improving on my PB of 10.37 over the Ironman distance.  PBs earlier in the year over 10k (36.36), 15k (58.00), half mara (1.21.41), and Ironman 70.3 (4.34 at Shepparton 70.3) all pointed in the right direction.


Busselton is a long way from Melbourne! We had a four hour flight from Melbourne on Tuesday night, followed by an overnight stay in Perth and a 3 hour drive the next day down to Busselton. This race is notorious for hot hot weather and after a cooler than normal October and November in Melbourne, this was a bit of a concern but race day ended up being a very pleasant 23C with a mix of sun and some overcast periods

The days before the race involved quite a few swims – the water at Busselton is crystal clear and warm enough to float around in for a while. A shark fatality 50km down the coast a week earlier had race organization on high alert and with pre event practice swims we had to check in/out and also had a helicopter overhead watching for sharks!

Thankfully the Ashes cricket was also on which helped the Friday and Saturday before race day pass quickly.

Anyway, into race day and with a 5.45am race start this called for a 3.15am alarm. Some people like the details so I’ll include them though the day – breakfast was some oats, nuts, seeds, some canned fruit (peach I think) and some greek yoghurt – the same as most other days! Also 2 cups of black coffee.

Down to race start and I was very relaxed until the last 15 minutes or so when I started to get a bit nervous – more worrying about the uncontrollables than anything else (like punctures) which is a bit futile to worry about as I can’t effect it.

We had a beach start, at shin/waist deep water. I lined up on the far right (first turn was 1.9km away at the end of the jetty and a left turn). BOOM went the cannon and off we went. The first few hundred metres wasn’t two physical, I got 1 or 2 hits to the body but nothing more than that. The rest of the swim went smoothly, I was WAY underdone for the swim for this race so it was about getting though efficiently and without losing too much time. Into the shore and glad to be through the swim. Good to see the family waiting at the end as well


Swim: 1.14.18, 120th in a/g (of about 190), and 781st o/all (of about 1600).

Strava file here:

(I think this is my quickest IM swim which is a bit of a shocker!)

Onto the bike after a bit of a clunky slow T1 (4.00 flat, 45th a/g and 252nd o/all). I had some power targets on the bike and this made the pacing very non stressed. Aim was to take 1 hr to ease into things at 5 watts below target power and then gradually build from there. Because of my slow swim I ended up passing a lot of people on the bike and it was quite congested for the first hour or so. After that it spread out and I was able to spend a lot of the last 90km or so in legal pacelines (at 12m behind the next rider)

Race conditions were PERFECT – cool and very light winds. I wore a DeSoto Long Sleeve top which was great to keep cool and I dumped water on this at each aid station (every 10-15km).

It was good to see my splits for all 3 of the bike laps were within a minute or so – no fade which indicated bad pacing. Had a 2 min loo stop at 120km in but otherwise stayed on the bike.  The power on the bike became more difficult to hold into the third lap, but not TOO hard and I still felt ok as we rolled into T2.

Nutrition on the bike was 2 cans Chocolate Ensure Plus (first 2 hours) and then about 12-13 gels (High5, various flavours) mixed in with some essential amino acids (about 8g per 3 gels) and 1 saltstick capsule (1 per 3 gels).

That gave ~750 CAL from the Ensure and 276g CHO (1104 CAL) from the gels and maybe another 100 CAL from the amino acids, so almost 2000 CAL total or just under 400/hour. Which was about to plan!

Bike 5.15.46 61st in a/g, 281st o/all

Had now moved up to 76th a/g and 371st o/all

Bike strava file here:

T2 went very smoothly – not too much to do – bike shoes off, run socks and shoes on, race belt on, visor on, grab one flask of gels (with 2 panadol just in case – I had had some SIJ pain a few days before the race which was a concern and I raced with tape on but it was ok on the day)


Out on to the run and I just felt GREAT. First few km went though in low 4.20s, and I was thinking, “This isn’t going to end well!”. But the RPE wasn’t too high and I felt controlled through the first lap (run course was 4 laps of (10.5km). There were 3 others from the Nuna Tri Club racing that day and at 2km into the run we were all within 50m of each other which was quite funny!. Great to see Luke and Ange have PB days. Gavin didn’t have his best day after training out of the sauna of Brunei for the last few years.

The rest of the run actually went relatively uneventfully! Kept fuelling (3/4-1 gel every 2km at the aid station chased with water). I had the smallest hint of pre-cramp in one hamstring and some annoyance from a blister and my shoe digging into my ankle a bit, but nothing worse than that.

Through the half mara in 1.32 and things began to get really hard around 27-28km and my pace slowly fell away to ~4.40/km for the last 10-12km

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Coming towards the finish I was so happy – the day had really been flawless based off my current fitness, and I’d set PBs in swim, bike and run.

Run time was 3.08.40 (5th a/g and 22nd o/all)

Run strava file here:

Run nutrition would be around 15 gels (Powergel on the run), so about 1500 CAL over 3.08 hours, so about 500CAL/hour – a lot! But no GI issues.

Final race time was 9.44.50 for 28th in a/g and 121st o/all, and a 53 minute PB.

So, so happy!

Recovery went smoothly – maybe a little too smoothly with a few beers at the on course pub after.

What next? Challenge Melbourne (half IM) in Feb and IM Melbourne in March. And a lot more swimming!

Thanks to: Anna, Mum and Dad, Kieran, Andrew, Loz, Nathan, Jess, Luke, Ange, Gavin, Buzz, Meagan, Tori, Campbell and everyone else who has helped me continue doing this sport that I love!

Sub 9.45!

Sub 9.45!

(TL; DR: Good swim, bike, run, PB of 9.44. Very happy)