With the Ironman World Championship over for another year, we decided to catch up with some of the athletes to get an insight into how they prepared, what gear they used, and ultimately how the race unfolded. We also caught a look into what their family and friends got up to on the Big Island before and after the big day. Yes, there is plenty to do other than race or support someone racing; although it would be easy to miss this during race week!
Here we catch up with Amy Marsh of the USA
Result: 17th professional female – 9:35:29
Swim: 54:15; Bike: 5:02:11; Run: 3:34:16
The athlete files:
Coached by: Paulo Sousa since April 2012
Training base: Austin, Texas USA
Training camp pre Kona: Flagstaff, Arizona USA
Favourite place to eat in Kona: Lotus Cafe
Number of times drug tested whilst in Kona: One – blood only
Amy’s equipment of choice:
Bike: Cervelo P5
Wheels: HED Jets
Aero bar: 3T Aduro
Saddle: Cobb Cycling Max
Running shoes: Nike Pegasus
Swim Skin: Roka Sports
Nutrition: First Endurance EFS
Race day, how it unfolded:
Trizone Women: The night before, did you get any sleep?
Amy: The night before I didn’t really get any sleep! Due of course to nerves, and having to get up multiple times in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom!
TZ: How do you combat the issue of sleepless nights pre race, any specific strategies?
Amy: I just try to make sure I get plenty of sleep the days leading into the race, since I know the night before may be a little restless.
TZ: Race morning: Any superstitions, routines, favourite breakfast? Anything you specifically avoid?
Amy: I guess my superstitions/routines would be… Asking Brandon a ton of nervous questions race morning, even though I already know the answers to the questions that I’m asking! I paint my nails red before every race, and also avoid getting my hair cut at least a week before any race. Pre-race breakfast is First Endurance Ultragen and toast with almond butter.
TZ: Swim start: How do you decide where to position yourself?
Amy: Well, since I don’t swim straight, I usually try to line up on the right because I swim to the left. If I line up to the left and the course goes right then I’ll just swim in a circle and be lost!
TZ: Transitions: any little tricks or tips for the age groupers?
Amy: Keep it clean and simple.
TZ: Please make a few general comments on each discipline, whether it is something that went wrong, things that went to plan, anything of interest that happened during the race?
Swim: I started to the far right and found myself in good company, with Meredith to my left and Leanda to my right. I had a good start and swam near the front of the lead group until the turn, and was then at the back of the pack by the end of the swim.
Bike: I had some issues in transition and lost some precious time to the lead group I had swum with. By the time I got on my bike the girls were already gone. This just goes to show how important transitions are, even in long course racing. I should have drilled it in the beginning to catch back up to the lead group, but instead I just settled into my own pace right from the start. That was a poor decision on my part. I ended up riding the course solo and could see the lead group of 10 or so about 90 seconds ahead the majority of the way to Hawi. So frustrating! I was able to stick to my watts though since I was on my own, focus and still have a good ride.
Run: I felt pretty good starting the run and just tried to settle into my pace. I started to fade a bit about half way and unfortunately just went downhill from there. It was a combination of probably not fueling enough early on in the run, and pain on the bottoms of my feet that hurt with every foot strike.
TZ: Nutrition: did it go to plan, if not what happened?
Amy: I did a good job with my nutrition on the bike and finished all my calories that I had planned. I could have done a better job with my fueling early on in the run as I suffered pretty bad the last half and was “wogging” (walk/jog – more than running!).
TZ: Post race recovery strategy:
Amy: Lots of walking around to get the blood moving in my elephant feet and sausage toes!
TZ: Hindsight is a fantastic thing; if there is one thing you could change about your race or preparation, what would it be?
Amy: I thought my preparation went really well. We spent the summer in Flagstaff, Az which is at 7000ft. Altitude is tricky and people respond to it differently. Brandon responds really well to altitude and I’m a bit more hit and miss. I think doing a few more rides and runs at lower elevation would have been good so that I could dial in my Ironman pacing a bit better. It was great having Brandon racing as well as we did the majority of our training together.
TZ: What’s next on the training, racing or recovery calendar?
Amy: A lot of recovery! No late season races for me.