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 Liz Blatchford, our Aussie Brit, or British Aussie…!?
Result: 3rd professional female – 9:03:35
Swim: 54:07; Bike: 4:57:40; Run: 3:03:23
The athlete files:
Coached by: Mat Steinmetz since December 2012
Training base: Gold Coast, Australia and Boulder, Colorado USA
Training camp pre Kona: Four weeks in Kona pre race
Favourite place to eat in Kona: Daylight Mind
Number of times drug tested whilst in Kona: Four
Other points of note:
Best coffee shops in Kona: Daylight Mind on Alii Dr next to Bubba Gump and Green Flash coffee at about the 2 mile marker on Alii dr, great place to go for a quick toasted sandwich and coffee without having to go into town during race week.
Check out the town of Waimea. There’s a great dirt road for off road running up there called Mana Rd, worth the hour drive from Kona if you have a long one whilst training pre-race.
Liz’s equipment of choice:
Bike: Fuji Norcam Straight with Shimano Di2
Wheels: Shimano C50 (front) / C75 (rear)
Aero bar: Shimano Pro Evo with integrated Di2 / XLab Torpedo hydration bottle
Saddle: ISM Adamo TT
Running shoes: Pearl Izumi Road N2
Swim Skin: Blue Seventy PZ3TX
Nutrition: 32gi Accelerade, salt sticks, 32gi chews, 32gi food bars and Coke!
Race day, how it unfolded:
Trizone: The night before, did you get any sleep? Do you have any strategies useful for getting a good night’s sleep before a big race?
Liz: I had a good sleep the night before race day. This is always a concern for any athlete, there’s nothing worse then laying there all night thinking about the race. I take a sleeping tablet at about 8pm the night before every race! I’ve been doing it for a few years and have no adverse affects – just a great night’s sleep! I don’t use them any other time though.
TZ: Race morning: Any superstitions, routines, favourite breakfast? Anything you specifically avoid?
Liz: Race morning breakfast is always some toast with almond butter, honey and banana and some 32Gi Endurance drink.
As for superstitions/rituals, sometimes I take a minute to pack sand mounds around my feet if its a beach race and make a wish for a good race. This started when I was 9 yrs old racing surf club in West Oz. They are called my “lucky slippers”!
TZ: Swim start: How do you decide where to position yourself?
Liz: This always depends on who’s racing…. If there are some quicker swimmers than me in the field I will look to be next to them on the start line. I try to focus on getting off the start line fast and into some clear water as quick as possible and then look for the fast feet.
TZ: Transitions: any little tricks or tips for the age groupers?
Liz: I still set my bike up in T1 for long course the same as I did in ITU. I set my shoes up with rubber bands so they are set and ready to go when I jump onto my bike. In T2 I put my stuff (except shoes) in a large clear ziplock bag within the transition bag. This way i can start running and pull out my visor, number belt, gel flasks, sunglasses etc as I am already moving.
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: Went well, felt easy as we had a big pack of women in the front group. We had a current against us heading out to the first turn which made it easier to sit in on the feet of others. This plus more quality swimmers in the female field than ever before made for a large front group of 12 women.
Bike: I was very pleased with my ride. Having a large group together riding out to the turn around kept me mentally focused. I was happy with my last 30-40k of the bike as I have struggled here in my first two Ironmans. To only lose 2 minutes to Rachael, Meredith and Jodie in the closing stages of the ride when I felt like I was struggling was a big improvement. The only let down for my ride was the 4 minute penalty I received for throwing an empty water bottle from my bike within the last 20km of the ride. I had a complete brain failure and as I threw the bottle, I realised what I had done and looked around to see the Marshall holding up a red card…. lesson learnt there. I got to T2 in 5th place, just over 2 minutes off the lead.
Run: After standing in the penalty tent for 4 minutes in T2 and watching another 5 girls come and go I was very keen to get out of there and start running along Alii Drive. My legs had other ideas though and I felt pretty rubbish for the first 5-10km. By the time I had made the turn on Alii and was heading back to town I started to pick up and began passing some of the girls. I was counting the places and getting more and more excited as I moved further up the top 10. When I finally passed Yvonne for 3rd in the Energy Lab I almost couldn’t believe it, but knew that I had to stay calm and smart. Still a long way and a blow up could end it all! I finally relaxed and enjoyed it as I ran down Palani through the incredible crowds. It was an amazing feeling, still gives me goosebumps thinking about it:)
TZ: Nutrition: did it go to plan, if not what happened?
Liz: My nutrition was spot on and I must say a big thank you to my nutrition sponsor 32GI. Mark Wolff from 32GI has been amazing with my nutrition and diet tips over the past year. Greg Cox from the AIS has also helped with my race day nutrition for all my Ironman’s and definitely know his stuff.
TZ: Hindsight is a fantastic thing; if there is one thing you could change about your race or preparation, what would it be?
Liz: Not much really. Except the obvious – I wouldn’t have thrown that empty bottle from the bike and avoided the 4 minutes penalty. Then I possibly would have gone under 9 hrs instead of 9:03…..
TZ: What’s next on the training, racing or recovery calendar?
Liz: Noosa tri this weekend will be my last race for 2013, then I’m off the Bali for a few weeks of surfing and fun. I will be making a plan with my coach Mat Steinmetz sometime after Bali and look at which Ironman I might do early season 2014.