Ironman Edinburgh 70.3 Race Report

Ironman Edinburgh 70.3 Race Report

So i think like allways that it would be good to start this race report by setting out what my race plan and targets were for Edinburgh and then seeing how well i executed them. I didn’t get the chance to visit Edinburgh prior to the race to sample the course and is it was the first race on this course I would effectively be racing it blind.  With the only info available for the race being the small amount that Ironman have on their website.

The plan: SWIM

I think it’s fair to say that most people were apprehensive about what the swim might be on the day, what with tails of low temperatures and high winds even a good swimmer like myself was starting to worry.

My plan for this swim was just to do as best as I can. I hadn’t done anything extra in my preparation that meant that I should expect anything else but a normal 28-29min swim.

The Plan: BIKE

Having not ridden the course before it was hard to predict what time I thought might be acheiveable so I had to rely on gps data and BestBikeSplit to give me an estimate.  I was aiming a little higher than in Mallorca and shooting for a Normalised Power of 280 watts for the 90km.  BestBikeSplit predicted that this would bring me in at just under 2hr 30mins which giving the extra elevation (1000meters) I though would be tough to achieve.  Never the less I was keen to prove to myself that the extra training I had been doing would pay off and I could finish with a higher Normalised Power.

The Plan: RUN

Having had not the best run split in Mallorca 1:34min my aim was to try again and break the 1:30min barrier. Again I had not been on the run route prior to the race and with the extra climbing on the bike and the run reporting over 300 meters I was open minded to the outcome. I didn’t feel as though I was any run fitter than in Mallorca so wasn’t expecting a PB!

The Reality: SWIM

With a reported water temperature of 12 degrees and high winds that morning Ironman decided to cut the swim for both pro’s and age groupers. Which actually was the right desision to be fair.  I was moaning about it before the race as I tend to do well in the swim and gain a few minuets over my closest rivals but once I was in the water I was thinking “thank f@ck” they shortened this.

With a rolling start I started off near the front but not as far forward as I normally do due to a last minuet loo requirement! We were not allowed to warm up (or down!) before the start so I didn’t get to experience the temperature before hand and as soon as I jumped in I though “O my god”! I doggie paddled out to the first boy which was the roughest part of the swim and then tried to settle in.  But I couldn’t bring my breathing down to settle into a rythem and started loosing lots of time.  After a few minuets I had a word with myself and “manned up” and got myself into a rythem.

As the Swim had been halved to 950 meters it didn’t take long to complete and I have to admit that I was happy just to get out of the water in the end. What i hadn’t realised at that time was that instead of gaining on my rivals I had lost a few minuets! Dam!

Transition (3:46mins) was fairly uneventful apart from not being able to put my warm top on due to my fingers not working but I was out and off into the bike to warm up!

Official swim time of 18:56mins 

The Reality: BIKE

So with an aim to hit as close to 280 Watts I set out a little higher at 300 Watts to try and pull in a few people. About 5 mins after starting I had to take off my warm top as it wasn’t as cold out on the bike as I thought it might be.  As I had driven the course the day before with Evan and knew that it was up and down all day with no real parts to get your head down and TT along which is actually the part I like best.  I have to say that I didn’t like the course all that much, it felt as though it had been shoe-horned into Edinburgh too much as there was too many twists and turns.

The whole bike section was fairly uneventful and passed quite quickly but I knew with the high winds that day that a sub 2:30 mins was not going to happen. The course was so up and down that I was struggling to stay on the power and missed my power target by 7 Watts.

There was a lot less grouping on the bike compaired to Mallorca and I didn’t have the same issues as I did there. The other athletes that I was racing against were very good and kept their distance at all times. Not once did I have someone on my tail..

My bike ended with a 4:45 which I have to say I was pleased with on the day. The PROs averaged about a 2:30 so being 15mins behind them on a hilly windy course I’ll take.

My final power output was 273 Watts so I was short by 7 Watts. I think if the course was less dead turns, undulating and gave more oportunity to concentrate then I think I could of hit my target. My VI was 1.05 so had kept the power on and consistent which was surprising due to the nature of the course.

The Reality: RUN

For the first time coming off the bike I didn’t feel so great and it took a little while for me to get into my stride. It didn’t help that straight out of T2 there is a long climb to start with so it wasn’t until the second lap that I started to settle in.  

My wife had flown up to support me and try and give me my run splits and position but as usual the Ironman tracker was useless. Why they can’t sort this out I don’t know.. pisses me right off! I missed the podium by just over a minuet so had I of known I was a minuet behind could I of pushed the pace a little? Guess I will never know..

The run I found tough as you were either running up or down hill and this course definaltely suits the stronger runners. I was just trying to hold a steady pace and not loose too much time using other athletes as markers for how I was doing.

It was nice to see the PROs on the course and watch them flying effortlessly! This was the toughest run course this year and I would of loved to get close to my target 1hr:30min but I didn’t feel as though I deserved any better than the 1hr 36min I got on the day.  I started the run in 5th and ran into 4th on the day!

Conclusion

Much that I was hoping for a podium I have to accept that my swim/run lost me that place somewhere and I will take valuable experience away from the race.  My overall place was 51st including the PROs and only a few pro woman beat me on the day!

It now time to put my head down for Chattanooga and improve that run…

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