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Race Report - Ultraman 2024 - Paul, you are an Ultraman

Updated: May 19

Three days of cadio completing a lofty goal that started in 2022 after seeing first hand what a great event UM Australia is.

In preparation, 2023 was the year for biggish events like BVRT E2Ex2, The Guzzler, and Ultra355. Official training for Ultraman started January 2024.

Packing up the car the week before feeling good and injury free was the best start I could hope for. A big thanks to Jacinta at @recoverwisephysio for sorting out my niggles leading in. My race goals were set and felt achievable. A big shout out to @dietitian.approved and Lisa's TNA crew for improving my nutrition plan and answering my fueling questions.

Check-in, as always, the McDonald's were running late, and Andy, our crew captain, was there waiting. It was great to see the UM Dream Team again and meet some other athletes whilst getting last-minute race info and a quick medical check. There was a raised eyebrow from Shane the TO regarding my 1x gearing choice, but he was reassured it had been tested on much steeper climbs. Then it was time for my super crew and I to prepare for Day 1, rest up and eat.

Day 1.

Swim day, blahh 🙄

Waiting for the sunrise, the surf sounded calm and flat, and daylight confirmed I couldn't blame the conditions on a bad swim time. I can not thank Jess, my paddler from Noosa Surf Club, enough for giving up her Saturday morning to expertly guide me around the course. All I had to do was stay alongside her board like sitting on @supermoi1 hip at every @darwintriclub race. The wavering turn buoy added some extra distance on laps 3 and 5, but I was very relieved to run up the beach in just under 3 and a half hours.

With a smooth but casual transition, including a shower and snack, I was off to roll up and over some of the steepest hills on course. I took the wise words of @garywallie_ to heart and my overzealous effort on the way out made for a tough return home. #gohardgoearly 🤣

Then came what I found the hardest part of the whole race, eating enough food betweens days, which was unexpected.

Day 2. It's just a bike ride. A. Big. One.

It was very cool to have a lead out car for the 10km neutral start. Then, we were unsupported until the 50km mark through a foggy but spectacular loop at Boreen Point while watching the sunrise.

As we settled into our pace, I found the 3 or 4 people I was going to spend the next 8 hours ride around. Another hour or so of rolling undulations lead to the first time through the out and back and a chance to see where the other athletes are. Then, into the upper loop, which I had forgotten had a large hill before returning to the T intersection. That was halfway done! I was holding good power, feeling great, and having a blast.

After Day 1, we revised my fueling strategy and were alternating between real food and gels. I was able to keep on top of my nutrition. The cold potato gems were the hit of the day.

My favourite part of Day 2 was the Kenilworth Range (proving my 1x setup was just fine). The crew's highlight was stopping for doughnuts at the @kenilworthbakery! Here, my gain over fellow competitors was once again lost after bathroom stop #2 (I refuse to pee on my bike).

Kenilworth to Eumundi was the most unpleasant section of the day. Rough roads made it hard to get into a flow, leading to a drop in nutrition and subsequently mood. Ate more potato gems and road it out.

Nicer conditions to Yandina brought power and motivation back on track. Once you cross under the Bruce Highway, there were only some punchy rollers before hitting the coast and the home stretch.

It had been another great. Then home for more eating. Urgh... Monday Runday Funday tomorrow!

Day 3 - Monday Runday Funday

It was a nice surprise that my legs felt good, and I got straight into my target pace. It was lovely running along the coast as the sun was rising, just spectacular.

I was under the pump to make it to Marcus Beach in time to see @theorganisedtriathlete and the kids before they had to get ready for school - mission accomplished. It was great to see them out again cheering! They had been popping up whenever they could each day giving me a real boost with their signs and stuffed toys.

Around 15kms in another athlete, Boris and I started running together. We both had the same target pace, so it was great to have someone to run along and chat to.

@marlizezb, my pacer joined the crew mid-morning and jumped out for a warm-up jog just before the halfway mark.

One marathon down and a marathon PB as well (I no longer count my run times from my 20s)!

The legs kept up with the goal pace with the help of Marlize's peppy pacing until about the 55km mark, which was also when the hills kicked back in. Turns out two and a half days of cardio catches up with you eventually.

It was a steady pace over the hills in Coolum. A huge thanks to Andy for jogging and chatting through this section (probably for a bit longer than he intended thanks to my overly caution crew, making sure they were nowhere near the crew exclusion zone)!

My pace never quite recovered, and I developed quite the shuffle to make it home. It was also great to have Lani take a turn as a pacer, and we reminisced on her 2023 Ultraman.

I saved enough energy to run with the whole crew down the beach and across the finish line. What an amazing event! High fives and hugs all round.

Final instalment...

P5 Overall. 1st Service Member. 1st in AG.

Total time = 26:38:49

Swim 10km = 3:29:20

Ride 421km = 14:22:22

Run 84km = 8:46:58

A result I didn't set out for, but I am incredibly proud to have achieved.

To borrow the words from Jeff, captain of the UM Dream Team, you can make it to the start line on your own, but you can not finish UM without a team. Not once was I left wanting anything from my team. They just got everything right.

Firstly, an enormous thank you, Lani and Andy, the crew captain and chief navigator! Your experience and knowledge kept both Lisa and I calmed and reassured throughout the entire event. You guys are an impeccable team, and Lisa and the girls loved hanging out with you. Every crew needs a Landy 😉🤣

Thank you to Jess from Noosa Surf Lifesaving Club. It was amazing that she and the other volunteers gave up their Saturday morning for us. She kept me straight and on pace while looking extremely casual.

Thank you to Marlize and Jan for travelling down from Brisbane and taking Monday off work. I am sure Marlize never broke a sweat, but it was great having your enthusiasm out on course, especially those last 10 km.

Thank you to Giuseppe from @brisbanebicycleservice for 420kms ridden without a single issue. Thanks for getting those tires in time and servicing my pedals.

Thank you to the fabulous staff at @cocobayresortnoosa for another great stay. We certainly utilised all of your spacious apartment over the week and enjoyed recovering in the pool.

Thank you to Terry and Kerry, Lee-anne, and J, N, and K for randomly appearing on course to cheer me on. Those surprise cheers really boosted my spirits.

Thank you to the UM Dream Team. You really know how to make everyone feel like family. Best race vibe ever!

Finally, but certainly not the least, thanks to Lisa and the girls. Lisa would be disappointed if I didn't try these ridiculous things, and the support that she gives me throughout all the training and race day is the best.

Incredible photos by Sunny Coast Photos

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