|Just after my 100m warm-up|
|Trying to finish strong|
Note to self, next time you decide not to tape extra gels on the bike, change your mind!!! All of those hard earned miles on the bike in the early morning hours, totally wasted, I cycled faster in my 1st half ironman attempt last year with one month of cycling under my belt! Staggering into T2, I knew the run could be very very iffy, so I Took my precious time to inhale a few glucose tablets I laid out “in case” along with some endurolytes. The lights are coming back on!!! Ok Chris, those long bricks you worked so hard at are going to come into play, relax and keep it consistent. Legs are burning a bit, lungs feel quite good actually, and energy seems to be coming around. I am afraid to look at my watch once the 1st K split beeps but I do anyways, “3:43”, wow, how did that happen? Keep it going buddy, maybe your race isn’t blown, you can still PR even though everyone is out of sight. As I pick people off on the course, I hear some remarks about my pace and how I will soon die, but it only motivates me. I fluctuate between 3:48 & 3:54 each K through 10k’s when I begin to slow a bit hitting mostly mid-upper 3:50’s until a random 3:46 at 15k which looking back was another bad mistake. After catching up to a younger guy who was a relay runner, he just tucked behind me to block the wind, I eventually asked that he perhaps jump up front since I had been racing well over 3hrs and he had been out there for 20 minutes but he refuses, so I drop the hammer for about 200m to break him, success, ahhhh yea that doesn’t feel so great now.
Nearing the finish of my 2nd lap, I noticed Steve Gleeson up ahead and surge to catch him, he is rolling and I throw some encouragement his way and tell him to jump on board. Mr. Gleeson had a heck of a race and he rolled past me with 300m left in his race to finish very strong, but I had another lap remaining! As I make the final turn past the finish line, I turn back to look for my race rival, Jason Rhine, expecting him to be well behind me, he literally is about 60m back! Surge or slow down and let the race come to me? I kept pace for a bit then decided that it may be best to slow it back a bit and just push in with Mr. Rhine. 6k to go and we are swerving in and around people on this narrow path along the beach stride for stride. Stay relaxed, we are hitting low 4:00’s, not too bad but slower than I wanted. As I hit the 2nd loop I could feel my upper left quad really begin to cramp and I kept telling myself anything I could to not give up. “USA, USA, USA, come on brother!!!” Here Jason and I were having pretty much awful races for both of our standards but we found enough deep inside to give whatever we had left to test our limits.
|Macka and I|
Several times I drop a surges thinking I would lose him but he always fought back stronger each time. Wow, this guy has some guts, I need to make sure I dig deeper than ever to pull this day off the best I can, hopefully winning this classic duel down under in Busselton while most of the athletes had no clue what was taking place. We begin to push the pace harder and harder hoping to break each other at this 4+ hr mark into our race but no one gives an inch. Less than 1k to go, come on Chris, all year this is one of the guys you have wanted to beat, dig dig!!! The crowd was fantastic, but as we approached the finish, many athletes were continuing on for their remaining laps and Rhine shot out like a dart when he saw his opportunity down the Shute as I mixed between people. I knew this would happen, but I also knew I had another gear I had been holding back and as we hit the grass I gun it. I was flying down the home stretch for my disappointing 4:30 finish, but in delight that I at least conquered one goal on the day. Somehow I was able to stagger home enough after my hamstrings massively cramped 5 meters from the line just in front of Jason. Looking back Jason and I dropped the pace from 4:11, 3:57, 3:49 and 3:43 on our last 4k’s in an effort to break each other, our own “Iron war”.
|Institute of Sport celebrating|
Men’s Top 10:
1) Tim Berkel (Port Macquarie, NSW) – 3:51:27
2) Matty White (Magill, SA) – 3:52:50
3) Tim Reed (Lord Howe Island NSW) – 3:53:59
4) Josh Rix (Glen Iris, VIC) – 3:56:05
5) Jamie Whyte (Auckland, New Zealand) – 3:57:10
6) Guy Crawford (Napier Hawkes Bay, NZ) – 3:58:15
7) Mitchell Anderson (West Melbourne) – 3:59:55*
8) Leon Griffin (Kangaroo Flat, VIC) – 4:00:09
9) Lajos Varga (Perth, WA) – 4:01:14* - Worked his way through the pro field
10) Paul MacKay (Wembley, WA) – 4:01:28 - cracked the top 10!