January 11th – Official Result

I’ve now checked the website and my official result was 443rd male to finish in 6 hours 36 minutes and 55 seconds.
My splits were 56.43 for the swim, 3.09.18 for the bike and 2.23.51 for the run with a 3.47 1st transition and a 3.16 2nd transition.
I’m pretty satisfied with that, but reckon that with some good swimming coaching and some hard work I could become a 45 minute swimmer and then maybe a 3 hour biker. Can’t see me running much faster, especially after a bike ride. Give me a half marathon from scratch and I reckon I could do 2 hours, but not at the end of a triathlon.
Anyway, as my right foot is strapped at the moment with a planta facia (arch of the foot) injury caused by over use – according to the podiatrist – I won’t be running anywhere for a while! Love the biking and the swimming though.

Half Ironman Photos

Thanks to Mark Cairns, Paul Garratt and marathon-photos.com for the images.

January 9 – The day after !

Well I did it. 6 hours 36 minutes and 55 seconds officially. I have to say I felt most them too.
But there is a tremendous sense of achievement for having completed the distance.
There were times when you just thought “I can’t go on” but you somehow dig a bit deeper and before you know it how the rhythm has returned and you’re away again.
I was glad to finish the swim because that is always the most nervous part of the race with the mass start and the water being like a washing machine. But I was comfortably under the hour – well by a few minutes – and the bike went well. The wind direction was helpful, with the easterly helping on the way back to the Mount from Papamoa.
The run was a battle and my legs never really kicked out of low gear. But thank goodness for the water stations and the flat Coke that was on hand at the feed stations for the second lap of the run.
I have to say also that the support from friends and family, and from the general public was just sensational. Despite me wearing headgear and sunglasses for all of the bike and the run, many people on the side of the road recognised me and there seemed a constant chorus of “go Pete” from the side of the road. All of which was rather embarrassing but very encouraging.
I must also thank the many people who have donated through this website and through cheques and cash. We are well over $7000 now, and I’ll be delighted to hand that money over to Look Good Feel Better in a short time. Yvonne and her team from LGBF were down here yesterday cheering me on, and that was fantastic also.
My contribution to the cause is that I’ll pay the Paypal commission, meaning every cent of your donation will go the cause.
We’ll offer a few more thoughts in the next few days, but this has been one of life’s most rewarding experiences – the training process, the event itself, the charity cause and the publicity associated with it – has been a real privilege to do.
As yet I haven’t decided if I’ll do this Half Ironman again, but speaking on the day after, the odds are not great ! However, as the kilos pile on in the next few months, who knows what I might be motivated to do!

Link to One News Story, 8th January


January 5

A quiet time in the lead up to the big event in Mt Maunganui this week-end. I kept up the light training in and around Wanaka last week and then have worked well since coming back to Auckland on Sunday night. I have to say it’s a lot easier to train in the warm and humid weather up here than it is down south. Sometimes when the wind was blowing and the rain falling in Wanaka it was darn hard to get some enthusiasm for a run or a swim. But somehow it seems a lot more fun working out in the humidity of the north. As someone who grew up in the South Island, it would appear that I’ve become a softie.
Anyway, this week has been about getting in the right mental shape as much as anything, while trying to avoid injuries. I had a good 2 km swim at Parnell this morning – 14 lengths for 800 metres, out of the pool for a quick walk, then back in for 22 lengths or 1400 metres which is emulating what we have to do on Saturday – then I went for a 10km run along the waterfront ticking over a kilometre every 6 minutes, going by the markers on the footpath. So I’m hopeful I can keep that up on Saturday after the bike ride and complete the run in about 2 hours 8 minutes.
I’m back working this week till Thursday night before going down to the Mount. Guess I would have liked to go down earlier, but a man has to earn a living.
Last night I had my last beer till after the race. It’s helped by the fact that I have to work tonight and then drive tomorrow night. So Friday night will be the only real hardship. But then that night will be about getting stuff like food and drinks and equipment ready.
Only 3 days to go. Let’s keep healthy!

December 27 – The Lake Hayes Tri

Well if my ambition was to break 1 hour 30, I failed miserably. I was just a bit over 1.41 by my own stop watch (haven’t seen the official results yet) so that’s a bit disappointing.
But may I say there a few mitigating factors. It was not windy but it was really wet. The rain started just before the start of the swim – which was calm and the lake was very warm – but it just got heavier and heavier and the bike ride was, I thought, a bit dangerous in parts because of the surface flooding, especially towards the end of the ride.
Anyway I did about 20 mins for the swim, but was pretty slow – and wet – through the first transition, went pretty well on the bike for a while until my chain came off down the back of the course. I’d passed quite a few by that stage – mostly those on mountain bikes admittedly – but they all flew past me while I fixed the chain. Then I got them all a second time, and a few more too.
The run was OK, although I started going the wrong way for the first 100 metres or so, so that was waste of time and energy. Am I a novice or what ??
But I enjoyed the experience of the run along the shores of Lake Hayes even if there was a whole lot of mud towards the end.
This tri has been going since 1983 and puts itself about as the oldest in the country. The driving force behind it is Tom Pryde, an Invercargill lawyer who I knew at the Old Boys rugby club there 35 years ago. He’s a high quality age group triathlete himself and while he didn’t compete today, he was out there on the water marshalling during the swim and then doing the finish line announcing and the prize giving afterwards. Tom’s been organising this event, and another on Lake Hayes at Easter for 27 years. That’s over 50 races. Remarkable.
Nikki Samuels was the women’s winner. She had quite a day. She rode from Wanaka over the Crown Range to Lake Hayes and was going to ride home again after the race, but she did an hour’s training run instead because of the weather. I guess that’s why she’s world championship standard.
Anyway for me, back to a training programme for the rest of the week here. Let’s hope it stops raining because right now it’s persisting down and has been for over 12 hours.
Thanks also to John Knight of Outside Sports in Queenstown for the use of his bike for the ride today. It went really well, apart from the little chain mishap.

December 26 – Merry Christmas

I spent a very unenergetic Christmas Day with absolutely no exercise except for a very slow after-lunch stroll for half an hour or so. But isn’t that what tapering is supposed to be about!
Like most of us, I had a lot to eat, but didn’t do too badly on the booze – just a couple of beers and a glass of bubbles.
Today, because I have an event near Queenstown tomorrow, I’ve kept things pretty quiet too. We came back to Wanaka this morning from the Maniatoto where we’d been for Christmas and I had a 40 minute run on the shores of the lake to burn a few of the December 25 calories.
Tomorrow is the Lake Hayes triathlon. It’s fairly short – 750 metre swim, 20 km bike and 5 km run – but it’s going to be windy. I just hope that Lake Hayes is a bit more sheltered than Lakes Dunstan and Wanaka, both of which had plenty of white caps and a rough swell today. If it’s as windy around the Wakatipu Basin tomorrow as it has been in Wanaka today, the short event might feel quite a bit longer. Will let you know how I get on. Would quite like to break 90 minutes for the distance.

Bay of Plenty Times Article

Link to article in the Bay of Plenty times on Christmas Eve, “Half ironman not about the speed, says TVNZ newsman”.


December 22

I’m back in Mt Maunganui for a few days before heading south for Christmas. With no TV commitments, it’s been great to put in some serious work on the course in the last few days. On Monday, I had a 4 hour ride and a 2 hour run, Tuesday was a 2 hour ride and then – after a rest – a 1 hour swim.

Today I did a good “brick” session ie putting disciplines on top of each other. I started with a swim up and down the harbour, and with a cruise ship in port, it was great to use that as a reference point for the trip up. On the way back I had first hand experience again of the strong currents that can get you in Pilot Bay. At one stage as I was swimming past a moored boat, I felt as if I was literally going nowhere. But I finally got some momentum and finished the return trip to the Mount end of the bay. Then it was a quick run/jog back to our apartment, off with the wetsuit, on with the cycle gear and out for a lap of the bike circuit. Total distance was 44 km and the return leg was tough going into the wind. But it was a good trip out to Papamoa with a big breeze up my bottom and with my new aero bars – thanks Jon Hume – I was able to get up to 40kph in some places.
When I got back, it was straight into the running shoes and a 60 minute run along the Pilot Bay foreshore and back, then around the Mount, along the foreshore again and back to the Towers on Marine Parade. So a good session and I felt really good at the end of it. I think the key was eating well during the bike, and drinking plenty between the swim and bike when I scoffed pretty much a whole bottle of Powerade.
Today I also entered the Lake Hayes triathlon next Monday, December 27. It’s pretty short – 750m, 20km and 5km – but it will be a good competitive experience which I’m really looking forward to. Thanks to John Knight at Outside Sports for the use of a bike for the event.
Tomorrow I have another big ride/run day planned, but the best part I reckon will be the appointment at the massage therapist !
Only 2 weeks and 2 days to go. I’m feeling pretty good. Maybe I could even break 7 hours on January 8th.

Dec 16

It’s been quite a hard week so far with more to come. On Monday I did 3 km at Parnell pools, then took a break, came back late in the afternoon for another kilometre and then ran for 45 minutes off the back of that.

On Tuesday it was an indoor cycling session at Les Mills because my bike is still at Mt Maunganui. The session was really boring, but I ground out an hour and a half and then did a fast 20 minutes on the treadmill straight off it. Inside on a humid day, I’ve never been so wet at the end of a training session.
Yesterday, Wednesday, it was 90 minute run with some up-tempo segments ( 3 x 8 minutes with a slow jog between) and then a 45 minute indoor ride to “flush out the legs” as Mark Watson so eloquently puts it. I was pretty stuffed at the end of the day.
But I figure this week and next are going to be the two hardest, so I just have to make sure I eat right and get plenty of sleep. That didn’t happen yesterday, so I’m battling today !