Coach Ray

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Client Stories Ultra Humps

UltraHumps: Rotorua Half Ironman

Hi Blog Followers, I’m having a few computer glitches with the internet at home and also at Camp, so I have chosen to continue to include some favourite photo’s from Ultraman Australia 2016, which is the event for my charity of 2016 and the finale of the 3+2+1=Charity which I finish in May 2017.  The next couple of blogs I hope to be able to include photo’s from the Ironman New Zealand 70.3 (Half Ironman in Taupo), which I completed on 10 Dec 16 and the Rotorua Half Ironman which I completed this weekend (17 Dec 16), both of which were after the Napier Iron Maori Half Ironman on 3 Dec 16.  These 3 events over 3 consecutive weekends make up the 3 of the 3+2+1=Charity.

Ultraman Australia Noosa 2016
Ultraman Australia Noosa 2016

So I got through the Rotorua Half Ironman which was eventful to say the least… One would think I would have learnt to check the course details by now, as this was the first event of such a distance that I ever did in 2011 I didn’t think much would of changed, but in the five years since the course route had definitely changed, for the run at least…lol!

I left the Army Leave Centre at 0530 thinking that would be plenty of time, once I arrived I realised all the bike racks were taken, so I followed the other late arrivals and laid my bike down on the grass beside the rope fence ensuring it wouldn’t get damaged and then laid my gear out.  I needed an urgent toilet stop and couldn’t believe their were no portaloos and had to queue up at the public toilet which was taking forever for the queue to get through, but I had no option for this toilet stop lol.  By the time I got in and out again they were announcing the Race Brief and stating 4 minutes until the men start.  I had to run back to where my gear was and get my Wetsuit on which isn’t an easy task, find someone to help me zip it up as it is one that zips together from the top to the bottom, grab my Transponder, Swim Cap, Goggles and Garmin and run to the lake (I can just see Coach Ray rolling his eyes back reading

Ultraman Australia Noosa 2016
Ultraman Australia Noosa 2016

this).  With my Swim Cap and Transponder on the starter gun went off and all the swimmers took off.  I threw water on face and dipped my Goggles, shook the water out and placed them on, smacked the start button on my Garmin then then played catch up to get to the swimmers… Bugger! At least I didn’t have time to consider pre-race nerves.  I knew I caught them by the 2nd buoy as I got a smack in the back of the head by accident by another swimmer.  The course was 1 lap for those doing the Quarter Ironman and 2 laps for us doing the Half Ironman.  The course obviously thinned out for the 2nd lap and then I went through transition to run to the back to where my bike was, under the careful watch of my partner who snapped a couple of photo’s and gave me grief for being so out of character disorganised.  Those that know me know I have everything laid out and prepared to the “T”.

I headed out on the bike and knew once over the initial hill from Blue Lakes it was a steep downhill.  It was reported later there was something like 4 accidents on the bike.  I came across two on this downhill with the ambulance in attendance, but the one I saw really had me worried for the young female cyclist unconscious on the ground which I won’t describe any further, needless to say it left a sickening feeling, and with ambulance and bystanders giving her attendance, the only thing I could do was follow instructions and cycle past, I would of only gotten in the way of her aid.

Ultraman Australia Noosa 2016
Ultraman Australia Noosa 2016

On the bike I saw Qwik Kiwi’s Helen and Ness.  As I past Helen a wasp landed on my forearm of which I tried to flick it off, it wasn’t having a bar of that and took exception to my actions, as such it reared up to plant its sting, so I grabbed it with my other hand and dispersed it, followed immediately by unloading some cold water from my water bottle onto my inside forearm.  The sting didn’t appear to have struck but a rash was immediate and visible so I thought I’ll just carry on and see what happens.  When I saw Ness I was going downhill at speed and got the speed wobbles, which sent my hands holding onto the brakes to slow down and get control and my Heart Rate Monitor advising me I was up in orbit somewhere.  Vanessa raced past and when I caught up to her again she said she saw the speed wobbles (probably heard my language that wont be mentioned coming from my bike).  I am sure it wasn’t as bad as I am making it sound, but it gave me one hell of a fright, which a work colleague (Dave T) would of loved.  I also saw Daryl Bloomfield who runs the infamous Scorching Events in Wellington and is also a good friend of Coach Ray and the Qwik Kiwi athletes that do his events.  Off the bike after the dreaded slow tredge up the hill that was the cause of a few victims on the way out, the hill climb went forever…

Well I had already done a 50km Ultra-Marathon this year which was a trail through forests, thinking it was a road run.  When I did the Rotorua Half Ironman in 2011 it was half road and half trail with the trail being relatively flat from what I remember.  Now it is all trail… Running over ground that had small rocks or tree roots protruding in places, and out in to the middle of no-where to the turn around points, but at least there was no mud this time being December.  Across the lake sand only to do another lap around the lake through the forest trails then back across the sand to the finish line.  The plan from the Physio which I ran by Coach Ray later was to fast walk the first 20 mins again, then run 2 minutes and walk 1 minute repeating throughout, and switch to walking til the end if the calf plays up.  With the increase in running time, the calf held out extremely well, which I was stoked all things considered, and felt I could of ran a lot further than the 2 minute periods but didn’t want to push it, a race plan is a race plan after all.  I did the run in 2 hours 28 mins, which considering the undulating trail ground and amount of walking I was relatively happy, but more so that the calf handled the task on that course.

Ultraman Australia Noosa 2016
Ultraman Australia Noosa 2016

With coming in at 6:28 over all and about halfway through the placings, and in the heat of the day I was happy to receive my finishers T-Shirt and Medal which was in the design of a bottle opener (pretty flash one) which is designed for the athlete to use on the free beer they receive.  Well that went to my partner and I downed all the free water.

The enclosed photo’s from Ultraman Australia are my favourites from the Swim Course on Day One.  The Kayakers out their waiting for the Athletes to join them, the Athletes focusing on the surf, the Support Crews focusing on their Athletes and then Game On as the Swim gets underway for 10 Km’s in the Ocean!  Photo’s courtesy of Barry Alsop of Eyes Wide Open Images, Official Photographer for Ultraman Australia 2016.

Take care blog followers and have a Merry Christmas with careful training on Boxing Day to burn off the Christmas Dinner Calories, regards John Humphries (Aka UltraHumps, Aka Humps)!


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Ray has competed in triathlons from sprint to ironman distance (both IM Taupo and Challenge Wanaka). Consequently he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complimenting other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments etc…). • Entering your first triathlon? • Stepping up to a longer distance? • Looking to go faster? • Wanting to turn previous negatives into positives? Ray has coached athletes to achieve these and more. Training programmes are accessible online, so athletes can be located anywhere and still reap the benefits of Ray’s coaching. Contact him to discuss how he can assist you to achieve your goals.
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