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Hardman Long Distance Tri – 27th August 2011

[Congratulations to Peter Coulahan on another fantastic “Ironman” success.
Here’s his race report…]

I had done less training for this race than last years iron man. However I reckoned that the experience of having already done an IM would help in that I knew what to expect and that the best way to deal with any pain was to keep going and get it over with.

Early start on Saturday (3.30am ), big brekkie and off to Kiallarney Golf Club for the swim start. Only 16 individuals and 9 relay teams doing the race so a nice calm atmosphere, none of the hype that goes with a 1,000+ competitor IM race. Race was supposed to start at 6.00am but at this stage it was still pitch black so we waited until around 6.25 before getting into the water. Course was really well marked out by a local open water swim club with huge red buoys so even I couldn’t go wrong. Fabulous sunrise over the mountains and then we’re off. We had been warned the night before that it would be a tough swim but the lake looked flat and for the first few hundred meters it was fine. However after the first turn we came out of the shelter of the headland and the wind and waves were hitting us from behind, after the next turn they were hitting us from the side and after the next turn in the face until we came back into the shelter of the land again. Two laps and the swim certainly felt like a long swim. Exiting the water I looked at my watch and seen 1.25hrs. I was really disappointed with that time having gone 10 minutes quicker last year and I’m swimming much better this year. However it was good enough for 12th place out of 25 so it can’t have been that bad. I was the 7th fastest individual male out of 14.

T1 was nice and quick in just under 8 minutes and off I went for a nice scenic ride around the Ring Of Kerry. I was worried about the bike. I had done little enough training on the bike and only a couple of 5hr plus rides. I had however been up and down the 9 stones from Bunclody more times than I can remember including one day when I did it three times. After suffering on the hills in last years IM I wasn’t going to repeat that mistake. The bike course was fantastic. The road surface was rough in parts but the scenery in other parts made up for this. None of the climbs were too bad and the descents were brilliant (I hit 62kph at one stage). Things got a bit rough at 100-120kms when the road surface combined with a strong headwind slowed me down but it was just a case of grinding away. With 140kms completed the last climb of the day loomed large – Molls Gap – 11kms of climbing. It wasn’t that steep but after 5hrs in the saddle this hurt – I averaged around 15kph going up. It was well worth it though with more fabulous views from the top and another fast descent. Getting back into Killarney was a bit hairy with Saturday afternoon lunch time traffic so care called for here. Back into T2 in 6.47hrs. Happy with that. I’d kept my heart rate low, averaging 144bpm and had ate really well taking in around 2,500 cals on the bike. The course had 1,442m of climbing – http://connect.garmin.com/page/activity … id=3325498 My time was 14th out of 25, and that 25 included 2 ex semi cycling pros I was the 7th fastest on the bike of the 14 individual men.

T2 took 8.29 and then out for the marathon. Legs felt great with no numbness or jelly legs. I was running the marathon off heart rate alone with no reference to pace. The plan was to stay aerobic for the full run keeping the heart rate in the mid 150’s. The run was a three lap route through the national park and it was really scenic. Run was going well and I felt great up until around 17 miles. Pace was slowing but was long as I kept my heart rate steady I was happy enough. At mile 17 I dropped my feed bag at an aid station and when I went pick it up I got almighty cramp in both hamstrings. That really knocked me for a few minutes and it took me a few hundred meters to get running again. Lesson learnt, next time I’ll ask a marshal to pick up anything I drop. Got back into a rhythm and felt ok again but was ‘running’ slowly enough. Last 5-6 miles seem to take forever but eventually I finished the third lap and turned towards the finish. I crossed the line in 13hrs and 12 seconds with a 4.29hr marathon. 20th fastest marathon out of 25; 11th fastest individual male out of 14. A little bit disappointed by the marathon time but I really couldn’t go any faster, especially after the hamstring cramps. I hadn’t realised I was so close to getting a sub 13hr finish, if I’d have known that I wouldn’t have stopped to say thanks to all of the marshals on the run The marathon is something I need to work on.

Overall very happy. 50 minutes quicker than last year off less training. I was 18th overall out of 25 and the 10th individual male home out of 14.

Legs recovered very quickly, an indication that I paced and fueled this race a lot better than last year. It didn’t have the hype and numbers that go with an Iron Man branded race but I really enjoyed it and hopefully the numbers increase next year. Its worth doing for the bike course alone.

Back to Kerry in a couple of weeks for the Lost Sheep – my last race of the year.

Hardman Info, Results etc

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