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Race Report - Sunshine Coast 70.3 2023

Updated: May 17

By Greg Mc

Sunshine Coast 70.3 2023 Race Report It is uncommon these days for me to go into a race with a time goal. I’m a proud middle-of-the-packer, I train for satisfaction and smiles and participate in events for the opportunity to learn about myself. That said, last year I got a great time at this event and thought “If I take my training a little more seriously, I could crack 5hours”….. And there kicked off a 12 month experience.

Good news, this report is not about that 12 month journey, but the 5hours and 22min journey of the day.

Felt great going into this race. Fitter than I have ever been. Injury free and ready.

The morning of the race walked into Transition in high spirits. This being my favourite distance, and having eight under my belt, this race was my 6th Sunshine Coast 70.3. I was calm about completing the distance, but having a time goal made me feel on edge. There are many things that make up long course triathlon and I’d need most of them to go well today.

My transition setup - I thought at the time - went well and took the normal amount of time to get done. Went looking for Nathan to check in, found Conor, had a chat. Found Nathan, had a chat. Left transition. Found Harmony and Megan and began to get final prep under way slowly. By the time I had my wetsuit on, Conor and Nathan had joined us and the usual pre-race banter was keeping spirits high. Ellie was MIA, but otherwise all was ok.

We walked down the the swim start, hand shakes, high 5’s, pats on the back and all the usual athlete pre-race interactions done. In the interest of Sub-5hrs, I wanted to get amongst the front 1/3 of swim starters and made my way into the front section of the mass of athletes. Standing there, saw Mal lining up and gave him a nudge, wished him luck.

SWIM I just could not settle. No real reason, just couldn’t find a good rhythm. Was regularly overtaking people and my pace was 'ok' but no where near what I was capable of nor what I had intended. I felt like I had forgotten how to swim. Got it done but for a swim I normally thoroughly enjoy, I did not enjoy it what so ever. 1967m / 34mins41secs (avg 1:50/100m pace)

T1 Last year I had taken my sweet time in transition, this year was an opportunity to make up time. Into T1, socks on, helmet on and go. 3mins52secs

BIKE I really enjoy Sunny Coast 70.3 bike course. A good portion of it is on the highway and it gives you an opportunity to put the head down and just pedal. Previous years I rode to around 70% perceived effort, this year my intention was up to 90%, to push it. I have previously typically averaged 32-34kph for the 90k. This year I wanted 35-37kph, secondary I wanted 2hrs35mins.

Hit the highway and was holding mid-40k/ph. That told me there was a strong tail wind. I knew from previous years to use it while I could because it was always a head wind on the return trip.

About 10mins in, I looked down at my bento box and realised I had not put my gels on the bike.... They were neatly in my running shoes from me packing the night before. This meant I had a 800ml and a 600ml drink bottle on the bike and would need to use the aid stations. Using the aid stations was not the plan as they would slow me down and break my rhythm on the bike. It is what it is. First Aid station came and I grabbed a gel, pulling away I realised I should have stopped and got 6 gels to last me the entire ride. Plan was now to drink more drink and grab another gel at the aid station on the way back.

Hit the turn around, and WHAM - head wind !! It was strong. Really strong. Stronger than I’ve ever experienced at Sunny Coast. Took a few big slurps of drink, but could feel the energy was not ‘up’ as I had planned. Coming back through the Aid station I did not slow down enough (as it would seem) and missed two opportunities for gels. Plan now was to drink more drink and grab a few gels at the aid station on the 2nd lap.

Hit the first lap turn around at 1hr15mins, I was actually on track. However, energy was getting low.

Got to the aid station, pulled over and grabbed 4 gels. Ate one straight away, rode off and had another gel a few mins later. A third about 5mins before the turn-around (before the head wind). Glad I did as the headwind seemed worse. Plan now was to put the head down, pedal and just suck it up.

Another gel at 20mins and started to feel ok, not great but ok, coming back into town. Came into T2 feeling about 60%. 90km / 2hrs46mins / (avg 32.5kph)

T2 Helmet down, gel in, shoes on, pee-break, grab hat, race belt, sunnies and go 2mins29secs

RUN Plan was for a strong run, plan was 5:05mins/k for 10k and then see how I felt. Plan was to run to each Aid station and walk 50m grab a gel and go.

But my energy just was just not there. Plain and simple.

Held 5min/k for 2k, saw my heart rate was over 200bpm. At 3km my guts started to play up, slowed to 5:15min/k. At 5km I had a stitch, slowed to 5:25min/k. At 8k I walked a few times every few hundred meters. In my head it was falling apart.

And then something flicked. Something changed.

New plan was to run at 5:30min/k pace to each Aid station instead. 9th K clicked over and I felt ok. 10 and 11 clicked over and the energy was returning. By 12th k my head space was sorted and I was feeling good.

Turn around came and went and I felt better on the 2nd lap than the first. By the time the finish line arrived, I was mentally ready to run another 10k if I had too. 21.1km / 1hr55mins41sec (avg 5mins29sec/k)

TOTAL TIME 5hrs22mins46secs 31/100 in Age Group

Wasn’t the sub 5hour I had hoped, but gained many a lesson - Even if you have done many of these, slow down and respect the preparation (i.e. put the f’n bike gels on the f’n bike) - I am not someone who enjoys racing to time. I enjoy racing with flow - My mental strength is stronger than ever - My family is amazing - Racing with friends make this event, any event, better

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