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Race Report - Ultraman 2022 - Paul you are an Ultraman

Updated: May 19

By Paul Skelton - Endurance Coach


Race Link.- https://ultramanoz.com.au/

My Training

Being 59 years old, I need to protect myself against injury and stress fractures. My strategy was high volume, but short distances. The longest ride was 145km, and the longest run was 26km, however, peaked at 80km running and 300km riding per week. The strategy was to avoid training in atrophy. There were frequent double-run and triple-ride training days.

Training – 80/20 Short distance, high volume

Fuel base: Trailbrew Sponsorship: EliteEnduranceProducts Race: Ultraman Australia Location: Noosa

Swim 10km | Ride 421km | Run 84.3 | Ride Elevation 3800m

The Crew

A huge thanks to my crew. This event has no aid stations, and much time is spent in the rural hinterland and coastal paths. You would think there is a lot of waiting for the crew. Wrong, it is full-on! A good crew is essential to a good race. Huge thanks to Mal, Sherie, Woody and Mair!

Expectation

Being the oldest competitor, the goal was to finish the race within cut-offs! Maybe close to mid-pack.

Day 1 – 10km Swim

Not an unfamiliar distance for me, took it steady with great navigation from Mal. Hit halfway in 15th feeling solid, at 8.5km in 13th. Felt good so gave it a nudge and finished in 9th place at 3:00:22. Longest 22 seconds ever!


Day 1 – 147km Ride

The plan was to ride like an IRONMAN race. Steady but solid. Felt ok for 1st 30km but soon felt bloated due to overconsuming carbs early combined with an overdose of sodium from the swim. Really battled fueling for the rest of the ride.

The ride is hilly with two cat hills at 60 and 65 km. I am usually a good climber, but today my HR skyrocketed to 182. Climbed off, ditched the ego, and walked both hills. I later discovered my rear wheel had delaminated and was dragging the brake! The walking wore out my left cleat so it would not clip in for the last 85 km!

Limped through to 130km then stopped and threw up considering my options for the rest of the race! Got going again and missed a turn due to poor focus and added 4k to the ride. Eventually finished 5:37:21 for the ride, 8:43:02 for the day. 25th on the bike, but 13th for the day!

I clawed myself off the bike, broken. Put on a smile for the crew, but seriously had doubts about the 275km day 2 ride! The crew had found new cleats, and EliteEnduranceProducts loaned new a set of wheels.

Day 2 – 275km Ride

We were led out by a police car for the first 9km in order for our bike time for day 1. When we were released I let them go and dropped to the back so I could ride steady at my pace. The first test for the legs was at 55km with the hill up to Sunrise rd. Found it easy passing 5 others with no real effort and HR of 140 bpm. My confidence returned.

The crew were awesome, one waited at the bottom of feed hills with a radio to tell the crew at the top what I needed. We were well synced, I got what I needed every time.

From there it was chipping away focusing on the next rider to pass. Controlled nutrition tightly at 30gm per hour Trailbrew and the odd cookie. Counting down the milestones. 200km to go… 180 and just an ironman ride to go… 150 to go… 90km, Just a 70.3 ride to go… I developed a goal to get to the top of the Kenilworth climb at 200km with a ride average of 28 km/h and hold on to it to the end. I expected the rot to hit the legs at around 200km and I would need to drag but butt home from there. 200km came and went. 220km and Yardina, nothing happened. Hit Twin waters, with a ride average of 28.5 km/h. Tailwind home, legs still had plenty so ramped up the power and 34km/h pace. Cruised home with a ride average of 29 km/h. 09:39:34, 16th for the day, 15th for the race.

Day 2 was my best ride ever, enjoyed every minute. I told the team that whatever happened on Day 3 would not ruin this. Day 2 Ultraman would always be my day!

Day 3 – 84.3 km Run

Rain, rain and more rain. Standing at the start we were all soaked through to the bone, socks and all. This was going to be one tough day!

Started at the back again singing “Let ’em go” (to the Frozen tune) and ran my pace. The first 5 km was solo with pacers joining from there. Woody paced the first section, pace steady, still pouring torrential rain. At 16km Sherie paced, we had a good yarn, hit flooded roads and waded through, and totally missed the 21km marker! And still, it poured down. Walked the Coolum hill after which Mal took on pacing duties.


Fuel was looked in at 2 calories a minute, or 120 cal per hour (30 gm) with the odd ½ banana or cookie and caffeine gummie.

Hit 42km on 4:45, still feeling steady, amazingly no blisters! I was now waiting for the inevitable wall to hit at around 60km. Again nothing. At 64km my sugar dropped. Sherie handed me a Gel, next time we saw the crew I grabbed a coke and we were back on pace within 5 min. Great Crew!

Mal jumped into pacing at 18km to go. Still raining! Passed a couple of runners, Wadded through a couple of streams. Downhills were now agony, the bike legs were finally biting! At 10 to go Mal looked back a said someone was catching. I felt I still had legs so we accelerated. After 3 km I worked out Mal was telling porkies, there was no one catching, but the strategy worked, we were flying. I was hurting, but I didn’t realise Mal was hurting too having run an IRONMAN the previous weekend! Still Raining!

Down the seven stairs, onto the beach where the crew were waiting. 400m along the beach and we were done.

Finish


The finishing pic shows an expression that wraps up the weekend. Relief, pride, exhaustion all in one shot.

Run time 9:40:36 18th place.

Race time: 28:03:14 16th Place.

Thank you to the organisers, volunteers, crews and participants. What a weekend, I strongly recommend it for anyone wanting to test themselves.

When I signed up I really expected to struggle given my age. My expectation was to be a back marker, but that changed 2 months out when the high volume, short distance training strategy started to kick in. I certainly exceeded my expectations.

As Buzz Lightyear said: “One day you’re going to come up against something you don’t think you can do, and then you’re going to do it. And from then on, you’re you.”


Fitsets Coaching - https://www.fitsets.com/


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