UltraHumps: 2 Down 1 To Go (For Now)!!

Hi Blog Followers

Well out of the 3 for the 3+2+1=Charity I have now completed 2 of the 3 Half Ironman events over 3 consecutive weekends.  Last weekend (3 December 2016) was the IronMaori Half Ironman in Napier and this weekend just finished (10 December 2016) was the Ironman New Zealand 70.3 (Half Ironman) in Taupo.

Ultraman Australia 2016: Competitors on the Start line (Humps is middle row on the right)
Ultraman Australia 2016: Competitors on the Start line (Humps is middle row on the right)

During the week I had a sports massage to flush out stiffness etc in my legs and to get ready for the event.  I also visited the Physio who gave me some dry-needling to get my calf twitching and he taped up my calf with his magic tape.  He himself competed at the IronMaori event and his partner was competing at this Taupo event, so I knew he would be on the course watching.  His race plan to manage my calf, which I had consulted with Coach Ray. Once I was off the bike, I was to fast walk for the first 20 minutes at about 75% of last weeks pace, then run/walk  (1 minute running and 1 minute fast walking) to the finish line.  If I had any problems with my calf, I was to switch to walking for the remainder of the Half Marathon phase.  Even though my legs would be warm after 90 kilometres on the bike, it was a different motion, so it was important to make sure we had it right.  A race walker in the merchandise tent who knew me gave me some advice for the walking style.

So how did it go?

After checking into Registration the day before, I arrived at the event at 0500 to check my bike and set everything up.  This included squeezing into my wetsuit.  Then I headed down to the lake after playing a couple of Elvis tunes to get my head into the right focus (Moody Blues was appropriate with the rain clouds looming lol).  We were set off in waves based on our age and gender.  I was looking at the sign thinking 50+, where is the 50-54, 54-59, etc.  A silver headed guy was laughing as he saw me and must of read my mind.  He said “welcome to the club old timer” ! Bugger!

A Noosa School Choir singing Advance Australia Fair at the start of Ultraman
A Noosa School Choir singing Advance Australia Fair at the start of Ultraman

The swim went reasonably well. I started to the left staying away from the rest of the swimmers in my wave to avoid the washing machine effect, even though it doesn’t phase me too much these days.  Another guy was with me and he was hanging onto the Safety Kayak and I watched him make the fateful mistake of adjusting his goggles and they snapped just as the starter gun sent us off.  Bugger, but there was nothing I could do to help him! (Once my goggles are on they stay on, to avoid exactly that or also to avoid the possibility of them fogging up or leaking).  I only got one decent punch to the head (non-intentional) as I swam around the turn buoy but she did apologise.  Apart from that it was good to be back in the lake again, swimming past the golf balls from the Hole n One Pontoon.

The bike went well. I thought I had slight muscle fatigue from the week before, but soon realised it was more the slight head wind which was more of a nuisance than anything else.  The turn around made a great fast ride back to Taupo from Reporoa with the wind pushing us along.  The Technical Officials were in full force.  If they rode a Harley, like at Ironman, you would hear them coming, otherwise they would sneak up on you like a cheetah ready to pounce on their prey.  I only received smiles, as when caught up in the mix I was seen to either pass or drop back to maintain the 12 metre rule of no drafting, but I could see others getting the 3 fingers held up as a warning of a 3 minute penalty box or sent to that sin bin for 3 minutes if a card was shown to them.

Taupo 70.3
A local aboriginal performer playing the didgeridoo at the start of Ultraman Australia 2016

The run strategy worked like a treat.  It was hard not to get carried away and run straight away, but the plan was to run/walk.  If I didn’t follow the instructions I knew I would be really annoyed at myself.  I couldn’t wait for the first 20 minutes to be over, then I was into it.  Richard the Physio jumped out to offer me encouragement when he saw me (ensuring I was following the run/walk plan).  He even took some photos of my legs as I went past, possibly a further debrief to come.  Everything held out for the duration of the Half Marathon following the plan. I was quite stoked to do the Half Marathon in 2:19:43 considering I walked half of it, having completed the 90 kilometres on the bike in 2:56:16.

My additional highlight was catching up with Mike Ramsey, who is a Navy vet who has completed every Ironman New Zealand since the event started 32 years ago.  (He came 2nd place in his age group at this Ironman New Zealand 70.3 event.  Well done Mike)!

So next weekend I am off to Rotorua for the 3rd Half Ironman of the 3+2+1=Charity and I hope to get some further photos of this event and next weeks to publish.

The current photos are some of my favourites I found from Ultraman Australia this year which I competed in and won the Military Division Award.  The Didgeridoo guy performing his art at the start of the event, followed by a local school singing the Australian National Anthem, then us athletes congregating prior to the Swim.  Photo’s courtesy of Barry Alsop of Eyes Wide Open Images, Official Photographer of Ultraman Australia 2016.

Take care team and I’ll let you know how the Rotorua Half Ironman goes.

Regards John Humphries (Aka Humps, Aka UltraHumps)!

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