Bigger in Texas.. how we raced 1.5 IRONMANs in April
Texas.. the state of “everything being a little bigger” and we Love it!
I am in this triathlon game for the love of winning, competing against the best and spectacular bike efforts..
..with this in mind planning commenced in October 2017 with my coach Mark Pearce. We agreed that Ironman was “fun” following my debut in Barcelona last year and I would like to do more, but was the goal Kona? (the Ironman World Championships) easy answer to that is yes IF the results show I am ready..
Ironman70.3 Texas was kind in 2017 rewarding us with my second professional IM70.3 win. Ironman kindly invited me back to race the double and the courses are well suited to a TT girl riding round in Drag2Zero colours
Preparations were underway in October and our first focus was run speed. I spent many lonely hours on the track at the UEA, Norwich.. early mornings waking Mum and Dad up on the treadmill below their bedroom window and some longer runs with our Alaskan Malamute, Suka.
January arrived and it was onto bike mileage focus so I headed out to TriSports Lanzarote with Nikki B. and we both popped IM70.3 Dubai in the diary later that month to see how winter training was treating us… OK however my run speed wasn’t showing through.. yet
February and March were the magic months for me. The focus now was bringing the training together and getting race ready and I did this out in Águilas, Spain with my coach and perfect training partners. We chose to target the Ironman training and allowed the 70.3 in Texas to act as our warm up.
The Texas double execution..
- swimming.. endurance, speed and technique all carefully considered and trained, thanks coach
- bike.. ironman endurance looking good, top end power sacrificed
- run.. 1/2 marathon PB in March 1.26.31
- big brick.. completed with Amy K. on training camp 7.5+ hours of bike and run
- sleep.. sufficient sleep to support recovery
- Ironman race fuelling.. tried and tested on training camp in March with Emma’s guidance
- heat prep.. in the comfort of our Jacuzzi J480IP and home built sauna
- race weight.. on point thanks to support from Emma who joined us on our March training camp, Performance Chef for some great recipe inspiration and race fuelling and my trusted ‘fitness pal’ calorie counter
- body.. all moving functionally thanks to Leon from StayBodyFit, Norwich.. hair and nails also sorted.. pretty important
- strength.. consistency with weekly 121 with Steve from Woodlands
- me.. happy the check list is ticked
70.3miles | 8th April
Race Plan – bike flippin quick, multiple World Champions on the start line who can run a lot quicker!
Race Reality – swam in the main pack with Heather, Mel and Rinny.. super quick T1 to avoid their company (as lovely as this is off the race track!) Biked to the 45km turnaround sub 1 hour thinking Wow this could be quick. Realised the strong head wind coming home, lacked nutrition on the bike as my hands were too cold to grab my bottle. 4min lead coming into T2, hands too cold to attach my watch so just ran.. ran ran ran myself to a 1.25 half marathon and being rewarded with 4th position behind inspiring competitors.
140.6miles (bike course 1.78% short, so let’s call it 138.6miles to save any upset) | 28th April
Race Plan – swim likes it’s a swimming race ensuring good company. Bike to race watts whilst being adaptable to any company on the bike. 80miles + push on.. run a 3.20 marathon split
Race Reality – I woke up and knew a 3.20 marathon wouldn’t be quick enough to win the race! Ben and I drove down the Hardy Toll road at 4am and I mentioned my race plan to run a 3.20 wasn’t going to be enough for my ambitions of a Championship podium.. we agreed I would relax into the run and settle at a pace that felt comfortably/ hard… what is that pace after biking 110miles? It’s a funny feeling..
The VIP Package on offer at IM Texas was absolutely awesome, Ben indulged in a pre race breakfast at 5.30am along the swim start with fresh berries, homemade granola, nuts, pastries and freshly ground coffee.. lush! I was getting my swim bands out, getting the HR up ahead of a hard 3.8km swim that I had before me..
The swim start was beautiful, picture perfect.. I was on Lauren Brandon’s (super swimmer from the US who was speedy company for Lucy Charles in Kona 2017) hip for the first wait 10metres.. is that all I could manage? Then it was Meredith Kessler’s feet for 20metres then it was me leading a small trio and then the vibrant smile of Michelle Vesterby shone through the goggles and I settled in..
The swim course finished with a 400m stretch along the water ways where you could see and hear the supports lining both sides cheering and filling us with their excitable energy. Out of the swim into T1 and the volunteers were slick to retrieve our bags and hand them over to us, a little assistance was also welcomed in the change tent. Onto the bikes and the “Roar” as we mounted our bikes for our Hardy Toll cycle ride was electric. The course had a nice little out and back section to start us off to get a gage of race dynamics. I wasn’t far from Meredith in second however Lauren Brandon was well ahead.. 7 to 8minutes up the road. I borrowed some extra bike watts from my bank to minimise that gap to Meredith and managed to get ahead and push on solo in chase of Lauren’s lead.
Running out front in an IRONMAN is an incredible feeling.. I could have been Bolt running his final 100 the support was so electric! I ran ambitious, the entertainment started with sexy police officers (bikinis and hand cuffs!), a dustbin band wearing tribe apparel, showers shooting out of glamourous lakeside homes and a RedBull DJ booth.. I will treasure those memories. On for a 3.10 marathon split was a good effort for the first 30km but it’s a marathon and I still had over 10km to go when the wheels fell off. I quickly dropped from 2nd to 8th in the final lap of the run.. this wasn’t as painful as the pain in my body at the time so I soaked up the support from the girls who ran past congratulating me on a brave bike effort out front and a strong run thus far.. hints like “stay on top of your nutrition Kim” were well received. Thank you ladies
I crossed the line with ice cubes in my mouth, coke dribbled down my front and a wonky cap with a sponge falling out the side.. it got a little emotional out there. Ben I am sorry I kissed you just before the finish line.. you must of thought who’s this monster!
I am delighted to achieve my desired run split (even if the pacing was a little silly) and I swam and rode strong pulling away from a Championship field. However 8th doesn’t excite me and I will be back in Kalmar on the August 8th to race again for Champagne
Congratulations Mellissa on your double Texas wins.. a World Class girl from AUS. who inspires my training day to day. And congratulations to all the IRONMAN finishers.. it was a brilliant race with an unbelievable atmosphere!
Thank you to absolutely everybody for supporting, family out in Texas.. thank you so so lovely to share and spend time with you.
Thank you Ben.. exhausting for you I know, I appreciate everything so so so much. Thank you family too I know you are there in the tracker and you push me on every moment I’m training and racing
Drag2Zero and Endura have created the perfect bike platform and I am so grateful and proud to be representing the best in the business.
Jacuzzi UK, Certikin, Endless Pools thank you for the continued support
CEP, Pedal Cover, Performance Chef, Scott, ENVE and Ceramic Speed thank you .. always achieving better