2016 Ironman 70.3 Ballarat

After putting in some serious weeks of training in preparation for the Ironman 70.3 in Ballarat last Sunday I was super excited to get there and race. With my JDRF fundraising activities and my wedding early next year this race is going to be my only 70.3 triathlon for this summer season and I really wanted to make it count and get the best possible result that I could. I took a relaxed attitude into the race, prepared as I normally do and raced to enjoy the day, which I did. Apart from a couple of incidents it was a great race where I performed really well in all three legs. A puncture on the bike, along with a couple of hypo’s cost me some time but I still crossed the line in 4hrs and 33 minutes just outside the top 10.


Crossing the finish line with a smile!

The Ballarat course was fantastic and provided for some very fast racing. A swim in the calm Lake Wendouree, a generally smooth bike course and a flat 3 lap run to finish in perfect sunny conditions were ideal. Although I really wanted to do well I didn’t put any added pressure on myself and my lead into the race was really relaxed and my BGLs reflected this. From my last couple of years racing experience I know what basal rates I need to program for a race and these worked really well for this race, not even an 18.0mmol/L reading overnight caused me issues. On race morning I always have a carb option and a no carb protein option for my pre-race snack, on Sunday things were tracking so well that I was able to have a bit of both. The race started in the 16-degree water of Lake Wendouree and I happily swam off the front of my group and into the masses that started before me at 8:18am. When you’re relaxed and enjoying a race it really does go quickly and even with my puncture this was the case for me. I was also fast and on a PB 70.3 time until the puncture and hypo’s got me. I had the following incidents during the race:

  • Rear tyre puncture 45kms into the bike leg; a split in the side wall and then it was difficult to get tyre bead to seat when pumping up the tyre (took 11 minutes to fix)
  • Minor hypo at about 60km on the bike resulting in my power being down whilst I ate and got my BGLs back up, this was also when the course had an incline and was into a head wind which slowed me further
  • Rapid hypo at 15km on the run; my levels had been fantastic on the run to this point (6.0 – 8.0mmol/L) and this sudden BGL drop caught me by surprise

Without my 11-minute puncture and my two hypo’s I think that I might have gone close to a 4hr 20min 70.3 which would have been a great PB for me! This not being the case, I still took some really positives from the race and although I’ll be waiting till later next year to race again I am excited to see if I can break the 4hr 20min barrier and maybe go faster again. So I was really happy with:

  • I performed really well with only one 4-week block of 70.3 specific training before the race (training for marathon before this)
  • Remained relax leading into and throughout the race which helped keep my BGLs stable
  • I generally got my nutrition and hydration right for the day (apart from after the puncture where I forgot to eat)
  • A good swim coming out of the water in 27.33 and in 4th place
  • Felt strong on the bike and I was able to maintain slightly higher power than my previous races (apart from my hypo)
  • Even with my puncture and hypo my bike split was OK and would have been great without these incidents
  • My transition into the run was fantastic and I felt really good for the first 14km of the run holding close to 4min/km pace


ballarat-703-2016-24 ballarat-703-2016-36

From both my performance and my diabetes, I learn something from every race. From Ballarat I learnt a lot about what type of training and recovery my body needs to perform at its best. There is no substitute for hard work and my improved run performance can be attributed to the time put in training for the Melbourne marathon. In the swim and on the bike I focus on getting my high end quality sessions completed 100% and then managing the remainder of my training load around how my body was feeling. I still did double and triple session days of 8hrs just because I’m a little crazy but I was smarter managing things around these days.

From a diabetes perspective the race reinforced that you can’t ever assume that your diabetes will just take care of itself. I made smart decisions the night before when my BGL was as high as 18.0mmol/L and in the morning when I chose my pre-race snack (about 1hr before the start). Getting my nutrition and hydration right during the race was also really beneficial and although I did have two hypo’s I was encouraged with this aspect of the race. With regards to the hypo’s I didn’t eat when I should have after getting the puncture and once your BGLs start tracking down whilst exercising it is difficult to pull them back up. My second hypo on the run was really unexpected as I usually trend high at the end of the run. My lesson learnt here is the importance of being proactive with my nutrition and keeping my BGL’s up a little.

I now have a good basal program, pre-race prep and snack, a hydration plan (no-sugar) and race nutrition which doesn’t upset my stomach or spike my BGLs. Very happy with what I have learnt from my last 2 years of racing and I am confident now racing in any event, managing my diabetes effectively and performing to my best.

My focus now turns to cycling 1,000’s of kilometres to raise money for JDRF Australia including riding from Melbourne to Adelaide (Barossa Valley) and participating the JDRF One Ride Event (JDRF One Ride 2017). I will miss the summer of triathlons, especially the varied training, but I am excited to stack clocking up the kilometres for JDRF and Type 1 Diabetes research.

Please have a look at my JDRF fundraising activities and consider making a donation (Donate Here). The work which JDRF does really makes a difference and they have directly contributed to improving the quality of my and other Type 1 Diabetics lives. Thank you.


T&D 7 Feb

Race week turned out to be a real challenge and ended with a DNF in my first race of 2016. With my diabetes not as controlled as I would like in the past two weeks and physically not being 100% I struggled with my preparation. I was also mentally struggling coming into an event not been 100% ready. It was a challenging week but having gotten through it I have learnt a lot and I think that I will be much better from the experience.

Geelong 70-3 2016 (4) Geelong 70-3 2016 (2)

Although my race didn’t go to plan on reflection I was happy to get through to the 10km mark of the run leg and I was able to test myself during all legs and take away some positives which I can build on for this next training block. I’ll be posting a full race report in the coming days but here a a few of the major things I’ve learnt from the week.

  • Don’t change what works: With the issues that I have been having with my diabetes I have been changing things regularly to find some better stability. In doing this I ended up not really understanding where things were at and went into the race with a diabetes strategy that wasn’t 100%. In the end it was a technical issue with my CGM that led to my DNF but a sounder diabetes strategy would have been far less stressful.
  • Check BGLs at the first sign of something going wrong: Especially when racing I find it difficult to take a moment to assess how I am feeling and I usually just push on (struggle on). I was feeling average at around the 60km mark of the bike leg and I should have checked my BGLs then rather than waiting another 1.5hours when I was near collapse. I would have been able to stabilise my BGLs then and finish the race if I had only taken a minute to check earlier.
  • Trial everything, constantly: With the regular changes to my pump settings I haven’t had a chance to properly trial a race plan. This is critically important so that a plan can be setup and then you can trust it during the race. The added mental stress and guessing what was going to happen during the race was the result this poor preparation.
  • Look at the positives: As I walked back along the run course to withdraw from the race I was initially very disappointed, but as I walked the 1km back to the transition area I realised that there were some great positive to come out of the race. All considered I was actually in a pretty good place to continue to build from this performance. It’s a simple saying to look on the bright side but keeping that positive attitude really does bring the best results.
  • There is no substitute for hard work: Coming back from my broken collar bone things just haven’t been right and my training has been up and down. I know that I haven’t done the work on the track nor spent the time getting my diabetes plan right for this race. No excuses, put in the work, get the preparation right, and the results will come. Simple.

It is onwards and upward from here. I am taking the positives out of my performance yesterday and I know that I can identify and work on certain areas to make a big improvement in my performance. I want to be better and I am motivated to put in the hard work to achieve my goals. Some recovery and planning coming up this week.

  • Review where I am at and design my next training block with my coach; Ironman 70.3 Port Macquarie is my next goal race at the beginning of May
  • Review race weekend diabetes performance and look at how I can manage my BGLs better
  • Set some short-term goals for my next training block focussing on where I want to improve in my race performance
  • Complete a full recovery and sort out all body issues so that these do not hold me back during this next training block