WWake-up....just prior to the race start with Christain and Jan.
IM Korea Race ReportWell, I am certainly glad it is all over. Typhoon Chaba made it's impact on the 2004 IM Korea. Race morning was pretty clear but there was a stiff breeze already blowing at 5.00am, and the surf conditions as expected were mounting. The decision was made early that there would be no swim. Let me say this.....I would have given that swim a try, but I have a lot of surf swimming background. It would have been long and tough, particularly getting in and out of the surf twice. For the race organisers, it was without doubt the correct decision.......some of the swells coming through were very big and very dangerous, with the tide very high.
So after being up since 4.30 am....the race was set to go at 8.00am so that police and volunteers were not caught unaware by an early onslaught of cyclists on the course. My race # was 20, so I was off about 1 minute and 20 after the leader. The first mile and a half was straight uphill. My game plan was to take the day like a long training workout.....start out easy and build.....no world records,just pace and nutrition. Amazingly enough I stuck to that. Heading out in a very sedate fashion up the hill quite a few athletes came roaring by, one of wich was young Japanes pro Naomi Imaizun. It is obvious she is a very strong cyclist.
Once we got up onto the main road, we were greeted with overcast skies and high wind. The first couple of hours of the day were spent riding a very flat part of the course straight into an unrelenting headwind. After having set my pace, I reeled in Naomi around 7 miles on the course. I was amazed at the big gears she was pushing into the wind. The windy conditions, strung the field out instantly. One would have thought that packs would form due to the start format, but it was quite the opposite. Not to mention the overly vigilant KTA (Korean Triathlon Association) officials, whose idea of 10m is actually closer to 25m (they need these guys and their whistles in Kona).
I continued to pace myself and concentrate on fueling as the bike progressed. I left Naomi a little ways up the road to set the pace. I always had it in my mind after seeing the course that the last 25 miles was the time to make any real effort. Once the course turned uphill to the high road, Naomi and myself road up on a male competitor....as we crested the hardest part of the hill, I backed off into my pace, whilst she surged forward up to him. It was at that moment that the ever present KTA official rode up from behind and caught her squarely behind the other rider. They are fast with penalties, and she was pulled over immediately. With the wind at my back for the moment, I started to gain momentum. Fueling, fueling and more fueling....the temperature was climbing. I was hitting the salt tablets hard, and thankful for the camelback I had decided to wear with Gatorade Endurance. It made for easy drinking in the winds.
Coming down the high road it was a Hawi experience. The wind was blowing from the side, and it was the leant over look, with gusts almost lifting my front wheeel. With the turn for home, my legs felt great and I got into a nice spin for the headwind home. It was at this point I knew I had paced myself as I started to reel in some of the male pro's who had started ahead of me.
Coming into transition, my goal for the marathon was just a run a conservative pace and keep moving. I am unclear what my lead was off the bike (I think around 7-8 minutes). Once out on the run course, I knew it was going to be tough. The wind was making it tough to run into in one direction, and when it was at your back, it was gruesomely hot. My goal was just aid station to aid staion (which were 2km apart - to long I thought). There was no way but to stop at every aid station and cool off with sponges and get sufficient to drink. It was easier at the start, but later as the run went on, it was just outright congestion as everyone was doing the same thing. By the first turnaround at 10km, I saw my lead had expanded to around 11-12 minutes....so I just kept my pace. Halfway, it was up closer to 18-20 minutes. So I settled in to just get through it. I was so happy to see the final turnaround - I took a split and it was a little over 20 minutes. At this point I was so grateful for it. My 'undertrained ' body was starting to feel it. My stomach was coming undone (Pocari Sweat, banana's and salt, had been the order of the run nutrition).
With about 4 miles to go, I had to find a bathroom, and then give myself one of those little mental lectures and keep going. I have to say that the last 2 miles (which are basically uphill and into a very strong wind at this point) were some of my ugliest to date. I felt like I was barely moving. I think Murphy, who runs pretty slow by my standards would have dropped me. The worst part is that, the make you run all the way around the stadium to get to the finish line. Nonetheless, I was so releived to see the finish line with the fire crackers going off.
In retrospect, it was an enjoable day, with the exception of the last 4 miles of the run. For once in my life, I set a plan in my head regarding pacing and effort and stuck to it, and with the limited miles I have been able to put in over the past 4-weeks, it worked out well. This was one of the more scenic and challenging bike courses, and the run.....well think the Queen K highway, but hillier.
As I made my way back to the hotel, I spoke to Paul in Canada....it was 3.00am Sunday morning there, and he and Roch were on their way out to set up the courses in a nice cool Penticton for the 2004 IM Canada.
Hope you have enjoyed the Korean adventure with me. Later.